Do’s and Don’ts of Pet-Friendly Travel
More older adults are traveling with their pets, and it’s easy to understand why. A beloved pet can help reduce travel stress and provide companionship during long trips. For adults who travel with service animals or emotional support dogs, knowing how to plan a pet-friendly vacation can make the experience enjoyable and safe for everyone
More older adults are traveling with their pets, and it’s easy to understand why. A beloved pet can help reduce travel stress and provide companionship during long trips. For adults who travel with service animals or emotional support dogs, knowing how to plan a pet-friendly vacation can make the experience enjoyable and safe for everyone.
When traveling with your pet, there are many things to keep in mind. The most important thing is to ensure your pet’s comfort and safety throughout the journey. Many factors contribute to this, including how well they’ll react to traveling by plane or car (and how much time they’ll spend in each). Another important factor is ensuring that you have all the necessary supplies before and after your trip—and knowing exactly what those supplies should look like before making any purchases. Here are some do’s and don’ts of pet-friendly travel.
Do Make a Trip Plan
Don’t wing it when traveling with your pet. A trip plan can help you find pet-friendly travel options and ensure that your itinerary aligns with your pet’s needs. Sites like gopetfriendly.com, petswelcome.com, tripswithpets.com, and vacationpetfriendly.com offer planning tools to help map out the perfect pet-friendly trip. They can help you locate pet-friendly travel destinations and resources along your route, accommodations, and more. Some even include information for locating kennels and pet sitters for your pet during your vacation. Should you fly or would you be better off choosing pet-friendly bus travel? What pet restrictions are there on public transportation? A trip plan can help you answer these important questions.
Do Call Airlines Ahead
Air travel is a great way to get away with your pet. However, it’s essential to call and check your airline before flying with your pet. Find out if pets are allowed, and if so, be sure to add your pet to your reservation. Some airlines might require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and may have age requirements for your pet. You will be asked about your pet’s species, size, and general health. Note that some airlines might have restrictions on certain types of pets or specific dog breeds. The size of your pet matters, too. Most airlines only allow small pets in the cabin, and you may be asked to fit them in a pet carrier under the seat in front of you. Some airlines may allow you to purchase a seat for your pet. A carrier is needed in all cases. Larger pets may need to travel in the cargo hold of the plane. For best practice, mention your pet when making flight arrangements. Also, ask if your airline has a list of pets and dog breeds allowed on their flights.
Do Pack Pet Health Records
Be sure your pet has identification tags. Documents showing the health of your pet are also essential when traveling. This includes crucial information that shows your pet is healthy and can travel safely. Be sure your dog or cat is up to date on all vaccinations. Other documents include your microchip records, rabies vaccine, and parasite treatment certificates. International travel has additional requirements, so research the locations you’re visiting to be sure you have the correct information. There are different ways to carry and store your pet’s important health records, including paper documents and digital apps like MyPetCredentials.com.
Don’t Forget Pet Supplies
Bringing your pet on a trip is easier when you have the right equipment. Because delays can happen, pack plenty of toys, snacks, and a bowl for water. Treats are a great distraction for your pet during stressful situations, as is a favorite toy. Also, carry plenty of your pet’s medications if needed. Keep in mind the TSA has restrictions on the types of food that can be passed through security checkpoints. Plan your pet’s meals wisely. Avoid giving them too much food immediately before boarding a flight. Some pets can experience stomach issues with the stress of flying. Instead, try to feed them before heading to the airport.
Do Find Pet-Friendly Accommodations
While many hotels can accommodate your pet, not all do, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Be sure to check with your hotel ahead of time to find out if they offer pet-friendly accommodations. Some hotels will only accommodate service animals, while others have generous policies to accommodate pets. But it’s best to call to check on non-service dogs, cats, and exotic pets. Also, be aware that some accommodations may have limits on the size of pets they accept. And they may charge a fee or require a damage deposit, so be sure to ask about these expenses when booking your room. Ask about pet-friendly hotel services, like dog walking or pet sitting. Some luxury hotels offer pet beds, bowls, massages, grooming, pools, and manicures, so be sure to ask about the types of amenities available for your pet.
Don’t Ignore Your Pet’s Travel Ability
Age, health, injury, and temperament should all be considered when deciding if your pet can travel with you. If your pet is difficult and uncooperative at home, don’t expect good behavior from that pet when you hit the road. Travel is stressful for people and animals, and a stressed pet or one that is poorly trained can lead to unwanted behavior. Take the time to ensure your pet is trained with basic obedience. Try taking shorter trips to get your pet used to unusual sounds, sights, and smells. If your pet has a difficult time in a car, flying on a plane or taking a train might be just as difficult. Weigh these things before deciding if your pet is able to safely travel with you on a trip or vacation.
Pet insurance can help reduce the cost of vet bills. Spot Pet insurance plans don’t have a network, so you can visit any licensed vet or specialist in the U.S. Members of AgeFriendly.org can save up to 90% on eligible vet bills. Learn more here: info.agefriendly.org/spot.