Pet friendly travel tips, Dr. Donna J. Spector, BS, DVM, DACVIM

Count your pet in this summer when you make your travel plans! Pet friendly hotels, campgrounds and other summer vacation facilities recognize that “family vacation” just wouldn’t be the same without Fido and Sylvester!!

Being prepared will ensure your summer trip is a fabulous pet vacation as well! Things to keep in mind:

  1. What type of trip are you taking? If you plan on spending most of your time outdoors; on the beach, hiking in the woods, taking long leisurely bike rides and having dinner on the grill….your dog will have a great time. If you are planning on touring buildings (museums, etc), taking guided tours, visiting the spa, and dining out on the town….your dog may be bored to tears….or worse, destruction of a hotel room. Even well-behaved dogs can exhibit unsavory behavior in strange places.
  2. Inquire about local leash and dog laws…can your dog be on the beach? In the woods? On or off leash? Is he allowed at outdoor cafes and restaurants?
  3. Have you inquired about pet friendly hotels or facilities in your vacation area? Facilities run the gamut from being “no pets allowed” to “pet tolerant” to “pet friendly”. Pet tolerant facilities often require a deposit and there is usually no special treatment for your dog or cat. Pet friendly hotels and facilities usually go out of their way—offering special treats at check-in, play programs, day care and sometimes even special spa treats and turndown service for your pet. Call ahead to get details and to reserve a space for your pet.
  4. Is there a local pet day care in the places you are going? This may be fun for your dog while you are out to dinner or getting that massage!
  5. If you are flying, call the airline and reserve a space for your pet. There is a fee and there are a limited number of pets on each flight. Depending on your pet’s size, they may be unable to fly in the cabin and this will require further information from the airline. You might also be interested in checking out Pet Airways, the world’s first pet-only airline!
  6. Visit your VCA veterinarian. Make sure your pet is current on his vaccinations, as well as flea, tick, parasite and heartworm prevention. Make sure your pet has been micro-chipped. This will enable identification if he ever gets lost. Get a health certificate and all of his vaccination tags. If your pet has a medical condition, take a copy of pertinent medical records in the event of an emergency. If possible, identify a veterinarian in the area where you will be vacationing. VCA Animal Hospitals are located nationwide:

Checklist of pet travel gear:

  1. Food and water bowls
  2. Portable (collapsible) bowls for day excursions
  3. Food in airtight containers—it is important to keep your pet’s diet the same while on vacation to prevent stomach upset
  4. Poop scooper and bags—to properly clean up after your dog
  5. Extra collar and leash—in case the original gets wet, torn or lost
  6. Identification tags—make sure there is a cell phone number on the tags in the event your pet gets lost
  7. Medication—bring any prescription or non-prescription medication your pet is taking
  8. Pet First Aid Kit—ask your veterinarian what to include for your particular pet. Good things to include are benadryl (diphenhydramine), triple antibiotic ointment, general antiseptic (nolvasan or betadine), bandage material (sterile gauze and a wrapping material), tweezers (for tick removal from pets or people if needed!), emergency veterinary contact information
  9. Pet bed or something comfy to sleep on
  10. Dog life jacket (if you are taking any aquatic excursions)

Traveling with pets can be fun and enjoyable for all! Happy Trails!