Anyone who travels frequently, or who travels for vacation, probably understands how much more enjoyable a trip is when the trip is well suited for traveling with pets. Preparing for a trip—especially an international trip—requires considerable advance planning. People who travel with pets also need to deal with potential issues before beginning the trip.
- Make Sure Your Dog is Healthy
In addition to purchasing temporary medical insurance to ensure against unexpected health problems, and possibly going to see your physician if you have a health condition that may be exacerbated by traveling, the American Kennel Association advises people to take their dog to the vet for a thorough checkup before going on a vacation, especially before an extended trip.
Dogs need to be current on all of their shots prior to a trip, and dog-owners should carry records of those vaccinations with them. Airlines require health certifications, and a trip to the vet can provide you with all of the necessary certifications and documents.
To guarantee that your dog stays healthy on the trip, make sure you bring a supply of the dog’s regular food. A trip is not the time to experiment with new foods; especially if you don’t have something on hand you know the dog will eat. Also bring bottled water, just in case there are problems with water at your destination, and all medications your dog regularly takes.
- Have a Proper Travel Crate for the Dog
The New York Times stresses the importance of having the proper pet carrier. People who travel with pets would be wise to purchase a carrier from a company with a solid reputation, because those companies sometimes guarantee that they will refund the full cost of an airline flight and the pet fee, if the passenger is denied boarding due to the carrier.
- Be Prepared for Huge Pet Charges on Commercial Airlines
Commercial airlines are now charging substantially more than they used to charge travelers to bring pets on board. Most of the major airlines charge an additional $100 for children who are traveling alone, but the fee they charge for pets is more than that, and it varies, depending on whether or not the dog is small enough to fit into the cabin.
- Send the Dog on Pet Airways
Pet Airways offers convenience for pet owners who want to ensure that their dog is properly cared for on a long trip. Flight attendants board the pets and personally check on them every 15 minutes. In addition, animals are given regular potty breaks. Pet owners pick up their pets at the Pet Lounge of their destination after the dog has had another potty break.
The disadvantage, at least for now, is the fact that Pet Airways only travels to a handful of destinations, including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, Omaha, Phoenix and the Washington DC/Baltimore area. On the other hand, people who are traveling with dogs may want to look into the list of destinations to which Pet Airways travels.
- Send Fido on His Own Vacation
For people who can’t bring their dog with them, there are upscale kennels that are equipped with everything from bone-shaped wading pools to pet cams that allow pet owners to log on to the Internet to watch their dog as they play. For example, at Best Friends Pet Care Inc., a chain that owns 42 pet-boarding centers in 19 states throughout the United States, guests can enjoy extra goodies like milk and cookies for cats and chewy treats for dogs, and V.I.P. suites that have web cams and flat screen televisions for your pet.
For anyone who travels with his or her pet, making travel plans long before the trip is essential. The only way to know whether accommodations are pet-friendly, and whether they have suitable space available, is to make your reservations early. Take the time to find dog-friendly amenities in the destination to which you are traveling. The trip will be more enjoyable for everyone if your dog has the opportunity to run around and play and enjoy the trip, too. Safe travels to you and your pet!