Vacationing With Your Pet


While vacations are designed to relieve stress in people, they can be stressful for pets that are left behind. If you're planning a vacation, have you considered taking your pet along?

Many hotels, motels, rental homes and lodges allow pets and even cater to them, offering extras like grooming and pet room service. Some beaches, parks, national forests and campsites also allow pets.

Whether you're traveling my car or air, be sure you have a note from your veterinarian stating that your pet is in good health and current on immunizations. Make sure your lodging choice will accept pets and find out if there are restrictions.

Make sure your pet wears I.D. tags during the whole trip. Include information for a contact person who can be reached at your destination. And always carry a current photograph of your pet with you.

When you arrive at your destination, keep your pet in a calm, quiet area and give him plenty of time to adjust to his new environment.

If traveling by car:

  • Make sure your pet is accustomed to being in a car or take him on short trips to condition him.
  • Accustom your pet to a crate, which should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down in.
  • Pack a supply of regular food and water to avoid dietary changes and upset.
  • Exercise and water should be given during rest stops. Do not allow your pet to run loose at rest areas.
  • Under no circumstances leave your pet alone in a parked car.

If traveling by air:

  • Call the airline to inquire about health and immunization requirements.
  • If bringing a cat or a small dog, take him or her on board with you. Again, be sure to contact airlines to find out the specific requirements for this option.
  • Use direct flights. You will avoid mistakes that can occur during transfers and delays.
  • Always travel on the same flight as your pet.
  • When you board the plane, notify the captain and at least one crew member that your pet is traveling with you or in the cargo hold. If the captain knows that pets are on board, he or she may take special precautions.
  • If traveling during the summer or winter, choose flights that will accommodate the temperature extremes: early morning or late evening flights are better in summer; afternoon flights are better in winter.
  • Do not feed your pet for four to six hours prior to air travel. Small amounts of water can be given before the trip.

Don't rule out traveling with your pet. For a complete list of motels and hotels that cater to pets, log onto these websites: Pets Welcome, Pets On The Go, Travel Web and Travel Dog.

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SPCA of Texas Voices

"I'm absolutely in LOVE with Kitty (formerly Kaleigh). I know her name isn't original at all but I just started calling her that until I could think of a name and it just stuck - it's so her! I've attached two photos - she's seriously the most beautiful kitty in the world! She loves to steal tennis balls and bones from her dog sister - she thinks she's a dog! She enjoys going for walks and car rides, snuggling with mom, bird watching, drinking from the sink, playing with her pipe cleaners and getting into mom's makeup in the mornings. I couldn't 'imagine life without her. She's the absolute best!"

Laureen Jankins

Pet Owner