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Tips for Traveling With – or Without – Pets

Whether you're taking the pets along or leaving them at home, here's how to prepare.

It's summertime, which means it's time for vacation! Now, what to do with the family dog?

  • Should you take the dog with you? If so, where can you stay?
  • Should you leave the dog behind? How will you provide for it? 

If you choose to take your dog along, you'll need to find a pet-friendly hotel or campsite. Ask whether the hotel has any restrictions on breed or size, and see if there are any fees to bring your pet. Some hotels charge an extra $15 to $25 for pets. You should also make note of the phone number of a veterinarian in the area, just in case.

Some dogs get upset when owners make changes to their routine, such as when packing. Once on the road, dogs can get carsick; a good idea is to take ice cubes for them instead of water because they will not be able to gulp it down quickly. Also, keep the food to a minimum – there is nothing worse in the car than a dog that isn't feeling well and vomiting.

Make sure your dog has its ID on. It is always good to make sure your dog is microchipped, but also have a tag so anyone who finds your dog can reach you immediately. Take all of your dog’s records with you; many companies, including hotels and airlines, will require proof of a rabies vaccine. 

If you are flying, check all airline requirements for your pet. Some dogs are so small the airline might let you keep them in a carrier under the seat, but others may require them to fly with the freight. 

If you have decided that you want to take a vacation and your pet does not travel well, you will need to find somewhere for your pet to go.  There are many places in the area that will watch your pet. You can go three different routes. You can:

  • find a kennel; 
  • find a pet sitter who works out of his or her home; or
  • find someone to stay in your home while you are away. 

The kennel or sitter will need to have your dog’s records and veterinary information in case something happens. Also consider placing a new tag on your dog with the kennel or sitter's contact information in case your dog gets away. A temporary way to do this is to place masking tape over the tag you have now and write in the information for the kennel or sitter.

When choosing a kennel, be sure to do a walk-through tour. If the kennel will not let you see where your dog will be kept, I wouldn't recommend leaving your dog there. Search on the Internet for reviews of the place where you are thinking of leaving your dog. Are the reviews positive or negative? Keep in mind that no one is perfect, and there are going to be some bad reviews, but you should be able to sense the majority opinion from the comments.

No matter where you leave your dog, be sure to take the food the dog is used to eating, and take enough to last the whole trip. Your dog may already be upset that you are leaving, and having to eat a different food can upset its stomach.

Everyone wants to have a great vacation, including your dog. If you know your dog is in good hands, your vacation will be even more enjoyable. 

Planning to leave town? Find local pet supply stores and pet sitters in the Clearwater Patch directory.

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