For many families, vacations take the form of road trips, and pets are often taken along for the ride. If your pet is included in your plans, there a few things that will make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
If your pet has never traveled, it might be a good idea to keep distances short at first. Make sure your pet's overall health is good; if not, or if he or she is prone to carsickness or has a destructive streak, it may be better to leave them at home. Pack your pet's food and water dish; unfamiliar things can cause undue stress and stomach upset. Be certain to have a good supply of treats on hand (use these to reward good behavior) and that your pet is equipped with identification tags.
It's a good ideas to include a selection of your pet's favorite toys, and bring along updated medical records, medications, collapsible food and water bowls (as a back up), a blanket or towel to sleep on, and a crate in case a hotel or motel has rules about leaving pets loose in rooms.
If you're traveling by car, make sure you stop every few hours to let your pet relieve him or herself and stretch their legs. If your pet has never gone for long trips, keep the distances short and make frequent stops. A trip by plane will require you to ask the airlines about their animal policies as well as a trip to the vet for a checkup. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on its vaccinations, and get written confirmation of that fact from your vet. Obtain the appropriate airline kennel -- a small or soft one to go on the plane, or a bigger one to go in with the luggage. Fill the box halfway with shredded paper and put your pet's name and picture on the box so airline handlers will know it isn't just another piece of luggage. The box should be equipped with a securely-affixed water bottle. Prior to leaving, you may want to get your pet used to the box by allowing them to spend a little time in it each day.
Always call ahead to the place where you plan to stay and ask about their pet policies. Check sourcebooks to see which hotels, motels, and inns across the country are pet-friendly.
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