Almost everyone who has adopted a pet would agree they are one of the family. They are very precious to us. Pets get attached to us too, and miss us when we are away for an extended time.
Many people like to take their cat or dog with them when they go on vacation. This can be a better alternative than boarding them somewhere or having a visitor come over on a daily basis.
Some pets do not have the temperament for a long trip. If you have a senior cat or dog, or if the animal is having health problems, it may not be a good idea to take them with you. However, I know it is hard to leave them at home.
If your companion is healthy you should be able to take them with you without any major problems. Here are some tips on travelling with your pet.
Pet Travel Tips
Prepare your pet for the kennel or carrier ahead of time. The easiest way to get the animal used to it is to leave the kennel open and allow the pet to enter it voluntarily. Do not force him or her into the kennel initially. You may want to entice them by placing treats or a blanket in the kennel, but allow the animal to chose when they want to go in it. I suggest doing this for a few days before your vacation. The pet will become familiar with the kennel and may even decide to sleep there.
If the animal has never been in a car, you should give them some time to get used to it. Take the pet on short rides at first. Gradually increase the amount of time you drive. If they have been in a car and are fearful or upset, don't get discouraged. They should adjust after a few attempts and no longer be anxious. The more time you give to your pet to adjust to the kennel and car, the easier it will be when you go on your trip.
Take your pet to the vet before your holiday. Any possible health problems can be taken care of before you leave. It is probably a good idea to do this a couple of weeks before you plan to leave. Then if any health issues need to be addressed there is time to get the medical care he or she needs.
If you are going to be in another country, your animal may need certain vaccinations. When travelling from Canada to the USA, for example, you need proof that some vaccinations are up to date. Otherwise, the animal may be denied entry.
If you are concerned that the pet may become anxious despite your best efforts to get them used to the kennel and your vehicle, you may want to discuss with the vet the possibility of giving it some medication.
I do think that even high strung animals will adjust in a short time, but you know your pet better than anyone else does. If you are going to be flying, a sedative may be a good idea. I don't normally like to medicate my cat, but there are times when it is the best alternative.
Other Suggestions to Make Travelling With Your Pet Easier
Does your pet have a favorite toy? He or she may have a blanket they love to sleep on. Bring that with you. It will be comforting for the pet to have something familiar that they love with them. This alone can help reduce anxiety.
The animal should always be in a kennel when travelling in the car. Something could suddenly occur which might frighten or startle them. You do not want a dog trying to get on your lap while you are driving. It is not worth taking the risk even if the pet is normally well behaved and calm. For your safety and theirs, they should be restrained at all times while the car is moving.
Make regular stops so the pet can get some exercise and fresh air. We need regular breaks when travelling, and so do our companions. Major highways have rest areas every 50 miles or so. These places are pet friendly and there is ample room for a dog to run and play. You both will benefit from getting out of the car for short periods.
Be sure the pet is adequately hydrated. Animals may refuse to eat until you arrive at your destination. I wouldn't be too concerned about that, as they often won't eat if they are in an unfamiliar environment. However, an animal generally won't refuse water. Animals can become dehydrated quickly in very warm weather just like humans.
Never, never, NEVER leave a cat or dog in the car once you have stopped. It gets extremely hot in a car quickly, and animals develop heat stroke very rapidly. This can happen within minutes, since they do not have the ability to sweat like people do. Rolling down a window does not help. Please remove your pet right away when you have stopped the car for any length of time. Temperatures in a parked car can reach over 100 degrees in a short period of time on a warm day.
Most hotels have pet friendly rooms. You may have to pay a few dollars more for one of these rooms. Hotels and motels charge an extra fee due to the cleaning they may have to do after guests leave. Most units are designated as pet suites and are not used for any other purpose. People who may have allergies don't have to worry about being in a room where a cat or dog had recently been.
If you are travelling with a cat, be prepared for them to hide under a bed as soon as they are out of a kennel. Cats tend to identify with their environment and don't like being out of their homes. I once took two cats on a 2000 mile trip. I just put the food and water in dishes and let them come out when they were comfortable doing so. It is normal behavior for a cat. Dogs generally are happy as long as they are with their owners or other people they know.
Hotels may have rules about the size of the pet. Generally small dogs and cats are welcome at most places if you ask for a special room. These tips should help ensure a safe and fun trip when you are travelling with your pet.