More and more people are traveling with their pets nowadays, and more and more pet-friendly restaurants, hotels and campgrounds are springing up all over the country. It’s now even possible to fly your pet safely to several US locations in the cabin, not in the hold, with Pet Airways.
Here are some tips to help you plan ahead, before hitting the road, trail, or skies with your pet!
1. Call ahead to be sure you won’t be turned away when you arrive and check all regulations, (such as size of dog, requirements for kennels). It might sound unnecessary, but many establishments promote themselves as ‘pet friendly’ but have pretty stringent size restrictions, surcharges for larger pets, as well as pet cleaning fees and regulations about whether or not you may leave your pet unattended in your room or if you can take her to the restaurant.
2. Make sure you understand the leash laws. Most national parks allow dogs at campgrounds, but require that they are tethered or on a leash at all times. Many pets are fine with this but others can become quite frantic at all the wonderful sights and sounds of the big outdoors and this can create a stressful situation for everyone if they struggle to settle down and can’t have a good run to blow away the excess energy. Keep in mind that in many areas, dogs are not allowed on hiking trails – even if leashed!
3. Be sure to have your dog’s paperwork together. You may need to take your dog license or rabies certificate for some destinations, particularly if crossing the border to Canada or Mexico. If you are flying, you will need a current (no more than 10 days old) health certificate from a veterinarian. If you are driving to either Mexico or Canada, a health certificate is also recommended. It would be best to contact border officials to be sure you have appropriate paper work. For pet friendly destinations and ideas in all over the world, visit Fido Friendly Magazine online.
4. Make sure your dog’s identification tag is securely attached and that all contact information is up to date. If your home phone number is listed on the tag, consider getting a travel tag that lists your cell number, or a contact number for the place you’ll be staying at. If your pet goes missing and is located by a passer-by, he could still end up in the shelter if no one can get hold of you on the phone.
5. Be sure to observe proper outdoors etiquette when meeting other dogs. Your dog may or may not be accustomed to meeting new dogs; even if he is friendly and calm, be aware that not all dogs are created equal, and others may be less comfortable in new situations. Don’t let your dog bound up to others especially if they’re on-leash, and don’t allow nose-to nose greetings unless you’re very comfortable that your dog has impeccable manners, and you’ve first checked with the other owner if it’s okay for them to say hello.
6. Take along some pet waste bags to make sure that paw prints are all you leave behind. Poopbags.com makes a great biodegradable bag that will decompose along you the waste.
7. For your dog’s comfort, bring his food and water bowls, blanket or bedding, and any favorite toy that will comfort him and make him feel ‘at home’. Rescue Remedy is great to take along, too – a few drops in the drinking water or even behind your dog’s ears can help to calm nerves that may be frazzled by time on the road.