Taking your pet away on vacation can be a particularly rewarding experience for you and your family. Not only will it enrich your vacation, but it also takes away one of the biggest stresses pet owners face when they travel – how their pet will be looked after. Pet travel is certainly more popular than you might expect, with 34% of Americans taking their dogs away with them, whilst 11% bring their cats. But what do you need to consider when taking Fido or Fluffy away on vacation with you?
Where to Vacation
According to the Pet Travel Survey, 90% of pet owners who planned to travel with their pets said they’d alter their plans to better accommodate their companions. Fortunately pet-friendly hotels in America that not only allow, but specifically cater to your pets needs are out there. A quick internet search will reveal an array of options. From hotels by the sea with rustic charm, to the decadent luxury you’ll find at the pet-friendly Beverly Hills Hotel – there’s something to suit all.
Don’t just limit yourself to hotels however. Camping and hiking vacations are especially good fun with the family dog in tow, whilst a luxury cruise might be just what your fancy feline has been waiting for. Cunard Cruises operates the first and only pet-friendly transatlantic liner, the Queen Mary II. On-board dogs and cats will be treated to the finest gourmet food, 24/7 care from a dedicated kennel master, along with all the toys, treats and playtime they could possibly wish for. Whether you and your pet are easily satisfied or have a taste for opulence, you’ll certainly find something to suit.
Jet Setter Pets
22% of pet owners that took part in the Pet Travel Survey said they’d be travelling internationally with their pets. For many of them, this means flying. Many owners shudder at the thought of organising international travel, but it’s not as complicated or as daunting as it might at first sound. The most important thing to consider is whether your pet is right to travel. If your pet is in good health and not easily phased, then they’d probably be a good candidate for flying. If they’re of a senior age or particularly timid however, then it might be worth speaking to your veterinarian for advice. Some owners opt to sedate their pets before a flight; though this should only be done under the instruction of your vet (doing otherwise could be dangerous).
A health certificate is the next thing on the to-do list. To fly to another country with your pet you’ll need a health certificate from your veterinarian no less than ten days old – though receiving countries will sometimes require one even more recent. If this is your pet’s first plane journey, then crating your pet is something you should prepare for in advance of your flight. Getting your pet used to the idea of being inside a crate will make the experience less stressful for them. Advice on crate training can be found here.
Travel Size Tips for Your Vacation
- Keep a watchful eye:The sights, sounds and smells of a new location can be exciting (or intimidating) enough for us humans, let alone a pet. It’s not unusual for animals to display unusual behavior when they’re out of their usual environment, so always be sure to reassure them or keep them from getting over excited.
- Hazards: Location depending, their may be potential hazards on your vacation which you’ve never had to look out for at home. If you’re taking your dog camping for example, then be sure to familiarize yourself with flora or wildlife that may be harmful to your pet.
- Leaving pets alone in the hotel: Whilst your pet will probably accompany you during the majority of your vacation, it’s important that they feel comfortable within the hotel room when you’re not present. Dogs in particular may bark if left alone, disturbing other guests – it’s important you make them understand that this isn’t ok. A good way to combat this is by leaving your television on when you leave the room, which can help drown out sounds from the rest of the hotel.
- The familiar scent of home: Bring along your pets favourite toy or blanket. The scent of home can be hugely comforting for both cats and dogs.
- Pet crates: If you’re taking an international vacation and your pet has travelled in a crate, then keep it in your hotel room. By now your pet should associate the crate with safety and security, therefore making it an ideal space to settle down in if they’re feeling insecure.
- Enforce the same rules: As noted above, your pet’s behaviour may change a little during a new vacation experience. Enforce the same rules and principals as you do at home, to ensure your pet understands that you’re still the leader of the pack. Note: this is perhaps more applicable to dogs than it is to cats – as we all though, they tend to make their own rules!
Dogs and cats today are viewed more as family members than they are animals. With the love they give us however, they’ve certainly earned their place. Whether you decide to treat Fluffy to an indulgent break at the Beverly Hills Hotel or take Fido on a camping adventure, a vacation with your pet in tow will always be more memorable.