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Traveling with Pets

February 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Article Submitted by Larry Janian of Life as a Pet

A furry pal makes an excellent travel companion. He never asks, ‘Are we there yet?’ His expectations are always met. And he never argues about which road to take to get where you’re going.

Traveling with a pet has other pluses. It can open the door to meeting new people — animals are a terrific conversation starter. With pet in tow, you’ll be more focused on the great outdoors, so your holiday will challenge you to approach a destination with a new perspective. Of course, not all resorts welcome Rover with open arms. If you’re planning a trip with your pet, don’t leave home without a copy of “Mobil ‘99: On the Road With Your Pet,” (Fodors, $15) a comprehensive guidebook that offers more than 4,400 destinations for travelers with dogs, cats and other pets. It’s smart to verify pet policies ahead of time, since they are subject to change.

Before you even consider jumping in the car with Fluffy, Andrea Arden, director of the Manhattan Dog Training and Behavior Center, offers these fail-safe tips for making your holiday a tail-wagging success:
* Is your pet is a good traveler? Taking a pet along is a responsibility, to the pet, as well as the public at large. The best candidates for a road trip are pets who are even-tempered, well behaved, sociable and in good health. If your pet is anxious, aggressive or easily stressed, best make other arrangements. Also, if your pet is less than 12 weeks old, they aren’t ready to hit the road just yet.
* Consider the weather. A trip through the Grand Canyon in summer will be unbearable for your animal. Choosing a different time of year would make all the difference.
* Be willing to devote time and attention to your pet. If your plans involve a lot of socializing, you may want to think twice about bringing Sparky along.
* Opt for pet-friendly destinations. Camping is a great choice for pet travel, as long as you know in advance if the site permits pets. Since your pet will be in unfamiliar territory, and there might be wild animals around — keep him on his leash while at the campsite.
* Be prepared to leave a deposit with the hotel/motel owner in case of any damages incurred by your animal companion. This is standard procedure — don’t take it personally.
* Train your pet for the trip. Hopefully he has a head start already, but be sure your pet can greet people, settle/calm down on command, get into a carrier or crate if necessary, walk on a leash, come when called and get down to their business without too much delay.

Always clean up after your pet — no exceptions. Avoid walking your dog in flower gardens, public areas, etc. Wipe his feet before coming inside. It’s a good idea to get a vet referral for your destination, in case of an emergency.

Who Will Take Your Pet if your traveling with a plane?
If you are considering flying with a pet, be sure you are familiar with the airline’s policies, which vary considerably. Choose direct or nonstop flights wherever possible and try to travel off peak, when you and your pet will get the attention you need. If your pet weighs in at 20 pounds or less, he can fly in the main cabin provided you use an approved soft-sided carrier, such as the Sherpa bag. You’ll need a health certificate from your vet before the airline will accept your pet as a passenger.

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