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Traveling With Pets: Do’s and Don’ts

It’s the end of the summer travel season—and some travelers are gearing up to take advantage of off-peak prices. If you’re a pet lover, you may want to bring your pet with you on your next vacation. If so, here are some guidelines for traveling with a pet.

Know when a pet isn’t an appropriate travel companion

Some pets are great to travel with. Others just aren’t suited to it. If your pet is frightened by change, doesn’t enjoy time in the car, and would not enjoy the experience, it’s much kinder to leave them at home with a trusted sitter. In addition, avoid traveling with a pet who has delicate health or is not fully housetrained, or one that barks loudly, jumps up on other people, or otherwise invades others’ personal space. 

Pet Travel

Traveling with pets adds a new element to your travel plans—but it can be done.

Find out the hotel’s policy on pets—and be considerate

Some hotels will charge a fee or ask for a deposit if you bring your pet in. Others have a strict no-pets policy, while some are very pet-friendly and even encourage visitors to bring their pets along. A more pet-friendly hotel might be willing to make sure your room has easy outdoor access and offer other amenities for pets. Be sure to check up front. Avoid allowing your pet to lie on the bed or other furniture unless you use your own cover.

See Also: Assisted Living Facilities

Avoid letting pets run freely

Unless you’re in a designated area where that’s permissible, such as a dog park, don’t let your dog off the leash in an unfamiliar area. You may not be able to predict your pet’s behavior or the behavior of other people and animals around him.

Bring your pet’s belongings

If your pet has a favorite toy, food bowl, treats, cushion, or other belongings, bring them along. Your pet will likely enjoy having something familiar with them in an unfamiliar setting.

Always clean up after your pet

Don’t give the hotel managers regrets about allowing you to bring your pet with you. Always be sure to clean up a pet’s mess, no matter where you are. If your pet has caused any damage, take responsibility for it.

Research pet policies on public transportation you’ll be using

Different airline carriers have different policies, but it’s frequently expensive to bring a pet on a plane—sometimes as much as $250 one way. In addition, larger pets have to be checked as cargo, and this can be stressful and even dangerous for them. Some destinations have quarantine requirements for animals coming in from outside. Be sure to look into all requirements and restrictions, and try to choose a method of travel that will be both cost-effective and minimally stressful for your pet.

Consider sending your pet on vacation

There are plenty of “pet hotels” that offer extra amenities including cushions and comfy places to rest, wading pools, toys and games, treats, grooming, and even cuddling. These places may be less stressful for pets as well as easier for pet owners. Do some research and find out if this would be a better option for you.

Traveling with pets adds a new element to your travel plans—but it can be done. Be sure to check ahead with your hotel and transportation to be sure you know the restrictions—and practice responsible behavior as a pet owner. Avoid traveling with pets that aren’t well trained, wouldn’t enjoy the experience, or who have behavioral or health problems. And consider whether a pet hotel would be a better option for your pet. If you do, you’re much likely to have a good experience on the trip—and so will your pet.