Jenny Magli, N.H.C.
I’ve been blessed over the years with animals that travel pretty well. Some were singers and some were sleepers. Overall they were fun to have with us and we were glad we had them along. There have been plenty of occasions when the destination did not allow pets, so we have kenneled when needed. In this day and age, in order to avoid unnecessary vaccinations and stress we would likely have a house sitter care for them at home where they’re comfortable instead.
Traveling with the family pet, be it dog or cat, can be a great adventure or an absolute nightmare for all. If you are not willing to devote time and effort to their care and needs during a trip, (like a small child), then travel with them might not be a good choice.
There are many “pet friendly” hotels, motels and inns that welcome family pets, but also have guidelines and restrictions you need to be aware of in your planning. So be sure to gather all the necessary information in advance.
In addition to choosing your accommodations, there are many other choices to consider as well – everything from your mode of travel, (car, bus, train, plane), to the weather, to your patience/stress level, and your pet’s current state of health and comfort. Please be mindful of these things when planning your trip. Sometimes it’s better to board your pet or possibly having someone trustworthy housesit and care for your critter.
So, here are some tips for traveling with pets:
1. Whatever your mode of travel, pets should have a good collar with your home address and phone number, (emergency information), on a tag of some sort.
2. Pack for your pet as you would for a child. Bring toys, bedding, blankets, food, treats, medicine, cleanup bags, leashes, good drinking water, feeding and water bowls, etc. Retain as much routine as possible with their regular foods and treats.
3. Consider some type of restraint. Pet carriers and/or safety restraints, (harnesses), in the car can keep your pet secure and comfortable. NEVER allow your pets to travel unrestrained in the back of a pickup truck. It is not safe and their lives are at great risk if they fall out.
4. Consider not feeding your pet (or feeding lightly) before a trip if they tend to get carsick. Offer only small amounts of water during the trip.
5. Dogs LOVE to stick their heads out the window while cruising down the road. Related risks include eye, nose and windpipe injuries from debris or insects in the air. Also, beware of electric window controls that they may step on and cause injury to themselves.
6. Be aware of the temperature. Use air conditioning or open a window to prevent overheating. Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. In the summer, the temperature inside a car can become fatal in an instant.
7. Take advantage of rest stops, both for you and your pet. You’ll both benefit by stretching, exercising and enjoying the fresh air.
8. Be aware of your surroundings. Pets are tempted to eat things that appear “interesting.” Pay attention to what they’re “checking out.”
If you will be traveling by air, be sure to check with the airlines regarding restrictions, guidelines and safety issues.
Jenny Magli is a natural health consultant for pets and their people. She lives with five clowns (three dogs and two cats). She is available for consultations and presentations. Jenny can be reached at (906) 235-3524.
Adapted with permission from the Fall 2011 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.