Monday, December 21, 2015

Traveling with cats and dogs for the holidays

Many people view their pets as part of the family and more than half of U.S. pet owners take their cats and dogs with them when they travel, according to a study by AAA and Best Western International. Dr. Denise Petryk, an on-staff veterinarian at Trupanion pet medical insurance, provides the following tips for making the holiday travel season with your pet a little more merry.

--Test Runs: If the vacation is a road trip, make sure pets get plenty of time in the car during the weeks leading up to the trip. This will help pets get used to being on the road. Even if they usually love going for car rides, the extended drive time could cause them to become restless or even carsick.

--Call Ahead: If a hotel stay is on the agenda, call ahead to verify the hotel’s pet policy. Verify pet fees, the policy on leaving pets alone in the room and if there are size or breed restrictions. Ask the customer service representative from the hotel to email the information so that it will be in writing.

--Pets Allowed vs. Pet Friendly: Many hotels allow pets, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are pet friendly. Look for a hotel with a large grassy area nearby for walks and romps and for one that offers extra services such as dog walking or luxurious pet beds for use during the stay.

--Microchip: Safety is always a concern when traveling with pets. Having a pet microchipped is simple and inexpensive. A microchip will be the only hope of being reunited with a pet should they get lost while away from home.

--To Fly or Not to Fly: Make sure to check carrier policies. Use a properly ventilated pet carrier so your pet can breathe easily. Never put the pet’s leash in the crate with them and if you feel your pet needs a sedative, always check with a veterinarian first. The best option is to only fly if the pet can be in the cabin. Most airlines will allow this with many conditions.

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