Who doesn't want to take Fido with them to the beach or on a family vacation? If you love packing up Fluffy and taking her on trips with you, you're not alone. According to the American Pet Products Association, there are 77 million dog owners in the US and 85 million cat owners. And an estimated 37 percent of those pet parents take their pets with them when they travel.
If you're going to pack up Kitty and take her on the road with you though, here are a few things you must do before you go.
1. Pack your pet's papers
In a ziplock storage bag, pack all of your pets' most recent medical records. Inside the bag, you may also want to include any medications they are on, as well as the name brand of their most recent flea treatment. That way, you'll have everything in one place, along with the pet's veterinarian's phone number, just in case something goes wrong.
2. Call your hotel/Air BNB/rental agency and double check on their pet policy
Nothing is worse than finding out that no one is going to clean your room if Spot is actually in the room with them, or finding out when you get there that your 30 pound boxer is above the 25 pound hotel weight limit. Ask for a written policy, including any additional fees they may charge, in advance. If you have it in writing, that will trump any oral agreements (or disagreements) -- and those tend to be pretty fluid anyway.
3. Find out about the airline's or train company's pet policy
Make sure you know what will happen to your pupper once they leave your hot little hands, or whether you need to buy an extra ticket in order to have your doggo sit in your lap the whole flight. Also, if your pet will be flying in the cargo hold, double check with your vet that it's safe for them to travel that way. Some dogs, for instance, cannot fly because they have too many difficulties breathing. Pugs are a good example.
If you'd like to know which airlines you should (and shouldn't) consider for your pet getaway, check out The Best (And Worst) Airlines To Fly With Pets.
4. Blankie, bed, and boo bear
Make sure your pet has their favorite comfort items and a bed of their own while you're traveling. The day you leave is not the time to see if they like it, though. Make sure to give the new bed or blankie a breaking in period before you leave. Most vets recommend letting them get used to it for at least a month in advance. Bringing a little piece of home on the road can help to assuage anxiety.
5. Research the vet clinics at your destination
When time is of the essence, looking up the name and number of a vet isn't the easiest thing in the world. Knowing who you want to call in case of an emergency saves time and relieves stress.
6. Pack a clean-up kit!
Accidents DO happen, as we all know. Pack baking soda, tweezers, cotton balls, dryer sheets, and a squeegee. Baking soda helps with accidents on the carpet, while tweezers and cotton balls help with extracting ticks. Dryer sheets will help get rid of static electricity, and squeegees are wonderful in getting dog hair off of... well, almost everything.
7. Exercise the poop out of your pet prior to taking off
Go for a walk around the neighborhood; spend an hour playing an epic game of fetch; get out the laser light and go to town... whatever it takes to wear out your pet. Travel, with kids and pets is easier if they are asleep.
8. Consider a GPS app for your pet
Several apps now let you use satellite tracking to find your dog or cat -- wherever they may be. Good for those times Fido walks off in the woods, but also for helping to prove he couldn't possibly have peed on Aunt Lois' carpet cause he just wasn't there to do it. GPS tracking isn't just for creepy exes and helicopter parents anymore!
We hope these tips will help you have fun with your furry friend on the road. There's noting like traveling with your best friend. Happy trails!