Bringing Your Pets on Vacation? Follow These Tips for a Fun and Safe Getaway
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – Because of the economy, many people are forgoing expensive, far away vacations to places like Hawaii or Europe in favor of staying close to home, and traveling by car to get there. On one hand, it means those dream vacations will have to wait another year or more; but on the other hand, close-to-home vacations make it more likely that people’s four-legged family members will be accompanying them on their travels. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, 29.1 million Americans have traveled with their pets in the last three years, with 78% of the traveling critters being dogs, while 15% were cats.
“When you vacation closer to home you generally travel by car, and that makes it easier to take pets with you,” said Joe Fucini, spokesperson for Pet Supplies “Plus.” “Plus, you save the cost of kenneling your pets or hiring a neighbor or pet sitter to take care of them. The key is to plan in advance for your pet’s holiday needs, just as you would your own, to help make your getaway smooth and stress-free.”
With a little preparation, taking your pet with you on vacation can be a fun and enjoyable experience for all involved. Pet Supplies “Plus” offers the following tips to help keep your pet safe and happy while traveling this summer:
*Check with the hotels at which you are planning to stay to ensure they are pet-friendly, and if they are, what additional fees they charge, if any. There are several web sites that will help you identify pet-friendly accommodations.
*Get your pet ready for a long car trip by taking him on drives that gradually increase in length. This is especially important if your pet’s only travel experience has been trips to the vet.
*Ninety percent of lost pets without proper identification never return to their owners. Make sure your pet doesn’t become a statistic by having ID on him at all times. Microchipping is a good idea, but your pet should still wear a collar with tags imprinted with your cell phone number, as well as your home information and an alternative contact. Have a recent photo of your pet with you and know the name and location of the closest animal shelter to your destination in case he does get lost. Also, bring current vaccination records with you, especially if crossing state lines.
*Bring a favorite blanket or toy for your pet. The familiar feel and scent will be comforting to a pet, especially in the unfamiliar surroundings of a hotel room.
*Your pet doesn’t need to pack extra shorts and flip-flops, but he does need his own food and water from home. Pets are especially sensitive to dietary changes, and there is no guarantee that stores in your vacation area will have the same food, especially if it’s a specialized food. The Store-N-Feed To Go system from Dock Dogs by OurPet’s is a raised dual-bowl pet diner with storage for up to 20 pounds of dry food, making it ideal for getaways of any duration. The nylon carry case keeps has pockets for leashes, treats, toys, water bottles and plastic bags, to keep all your pet’s essentials in one place. Think of it as your pet’s suitcase!
*Bring a first aid kit for your pet. You can purchase an already filled kit or put one together yourself. There are several web sites that have lists of supplies for nearly every type of pet. The kit should also include the phone numbers of your veterinarian and an emergency veterinary hospital near your destination.
*Feed your pet a light meal 3-4 hours before departure. Pets, like people, can get car sick, and allowing a few hours for Fido and Kitty to digest their food will reduce the chances of this happening.
*Remember, your pets may need more frequent potty stops than you do. Always be prepared to clean up after Fido or Kitty with a supply of plastic baggies and/or some kind of poop scoop. Skoop-N-Pak from PetZone by OurPet’s has several options for portable pet waste clean up, all with environmentally-friendly modified polymer bags.
*Feeding your pet on the road is easy when you use collapsible bowls. Dock Dogs Portable Food Bowl is made of nylon with a waterproof liner that prevents leaks and allows the bowl to dry quickly.
Dock Dogs’ Walk-N-Water Pet Canteen holds 1 liter of your pet’s favorite water and has a sturdy bowl that snaps on the outside of the canteen when not in use.
*In the event of a car accident or a sudden stop, an unrestrained pet can easily become a projectile, and end up seriously injured or being killed. Always have your pet in a travel kennel or pet carrier when in a vehicle, or get him his own “seat belt.” The Avenue Nylon Safe-T-Belt from the Rolf C. Hagen Co. works with your dog’s own harness and your car’s seat belt to securely tether him in the car. It comes in two sizes – small and medium/large – to accommodate all sizes of dogs. It works for cats, too.
*If your dog takes a dip in the lake, rinse and towel him off when he comes out of the water. Lakes can have various microscopic parasites in the water that can irritate the skin cause illness when ingested. A quick-drying microfiber towel will help dry Fido faster so you don’t travel to your next destination with a wet dog.
*Does Fido need a bath? Unless your dog gets very dirty while on vacation, opt for a quick grooming with Pet Botanics Herbal Bath Spray from Cardinal Laboratories. This “bath in a bottle” has rosemary extract and lemon peel to naturally deep clean and freshen. It’s easy to use, too – just spray it on and wipe it off. No bathtub needed!
For information about OurPet’s products, visit www.ourpets.com or call 1-800-565-2695; Cardinal Laboratories products, visit www.cardinalpet.com or call 1-800-433-7387; Rolf C. Hagen Co. products, visit www.hagen.com. For more information, contact Fucini Productions at 248-374-2882.