Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Secrets to Traveling with a Pet

Memorial Day weekend is approaching. Are you thinking of traveling with your pet? Just like Kelly and Brooks here, from a few summers ago, it's good to be prepared!

I've teamed together with travel expert Kenda Thornton to bring you some great tips. Here are our tips, and then read the great tips from Kendra!

1. Pack a Goody Bag

Be sure to bring a leash, plastic bags for cleanup, a familiar toy, a container of water and a bowl. I bring a portable nylon travel bowl that folds up neatly for storage, but if I have room I also love the K9 Cooler bowl. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with up-to-date ID tags. If space allows, bring along your dog's own bed or blanket.

2. Exercise Before You Leave

Make sure your dog has enough time outside or your cat has an opportunity to use the litter box before you leave. Take your dog for a nice long walk or play vigorously so she'll rest on the trip. Feeding just before you leave only increases the odds of car sickness or needing more pit stops along the way!

3. Practice Car Safety

If driving, make sure your pet is not crawling around and distracting the driver. Some pets do well in a crate or pet carrier. Look into a dog seat belt, which attaches with a harness (never around the neck), or a zip line which will keep your dog contained but allow for some movement in the back seat.

4. Be Mindful of the Heat

Park in the shade, and never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. Even with windows cracked open, temperatures rapidly build up to extreme levels. If you have a pet in a crate, use a small, battery operated fan to help cool the air. Be sure your pet has plenty of water.

Now, here are some tips from Kendra!

My family loves to go on trips to all kinds of places, and we never forget to make arrangements for our pets to come along too. There's nothing better than bringing along our dog, but some planning is necessary to make sure that she's as comfortable as everyone else. I always go through a checklist to ensure that I have everything ready to bring her along.

We also have family headed to Chicago next month and they will be bringing their dog, and it's going to be really important that I plan ahead. These tips will keep me sane and ensure a great trip for our furry friends, too.

5. Prepare for the Trip

I always try to find the rules and policies regarding animals for wherever we plan to visit on our trip. Whether that's a beach or a hotel, there's always a note on what animals are allowed and what animals are not. Since our pup is microchipped, it's easy to get through quarantine lines and transportation restrictions because all of her information is right in the chip. You also want to have a health certificate handy to show that your pet is all cleared for travel and has the necessary vaccinations.

6. Bring the Crate

You might not want to crate your dog, but it's a necessity when you're traveling. Unfortunately, dogs can get confused or become a bit anxious in new territory. They can also get pretty scared without having a comfortable place to sleep or be carried in. Our dog feels safer in her crate when we travel. Before going in the crate, dogs should get a lot of exercise, and they should have all of their favorites like treats, toys and water.

7. Learn Hotel Policies

It's best to check with a hotel on their pet policy beforehand. Some hotels have breed restrictions, and others don't allow any animals on the premises. Then there are hotels that are very pet-friendly and even provide amenities for Fido. If our dog starts to bark in the room, we take her out to get some exercise, but we don't offer extra attention to encourage that kind of behavior. It's a bit of an embarrassing battle. If you have a barking dog, you should factor that into your plans for which hotel you choose. I suggested my family stay right in downtown Chicago. Downtown has plenty of great hotels that are pet friendly and they’re even close to all the sites!

8. Don't Do Planes

Unfortunately, dogs really don't like planes, and it's really not a good idea to bring a dog on a plane. They get very scared, and you can't always monitor your dog. For example, many dogs get placed with cargo. There are guidelines set by PETA to make flying with your dog safer, but it's still a better option to drive.

I hope these tips help you and your family have a happy, safe holiday.

Thank you Kendra! Those are excellent tips.

My name is Kendra Thornton and I am a mother of 3. Before being promoted to the position of full time mom, I was the Director of Communications at Orbitz where I was able to travel around the world. I now live in Chicago where my family is my number one priority in everyday life.


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  1. Great tips! We will be taking our first trip with Ruby in July. Hopefully, she will enjoy traveling as much as Pip did.

  2. Frankie and ErnieMay 21, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    AND don't furget to take your NO WALKIN WAGON... Just in Case you get tired of walking and need a nap.

  3. Thanks for this very helpful post! We are taking our dog Riley to a woodsy cabin next week and were worried about traveling with him. These tips helped ease our worries :)


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