Summer Travel Tips

Are you planning to take Fido along on a trip this summer? A lot of people choose to do that rather than leaving the family pet behind. Here are some tips to help ease the stress of traveling with your pet.

1. Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car.

2. Create a pet kit. Keep all your pet's essentials in one place. Include chew toys or a favorite toy to keep him busy, grooming supplies, medications, a waste scoop, plastic bags, a favorite blanket or pillow, and a full supply of food. Pack a pet first-aid kit, vaccination records, your vet’s number in case of an emergency, and a list of pet clinics on your route. Not a bad idea to include Benadryl in case your curious pet checks out a beehive or something. The iPhone app MyPetED electronically stores all your pet’s documents for easy retrieval on the go, so you don't have to carry a lot of paperwork.

3. Plan your pet's travel-feeding schedule. Start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Don't feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle—even if it is a long drive.

4. Bring your own water. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area he's not used to could result in tummy upset for your pet.

5. Make sure your pet has sufficient identification. Be sure he is a microchipped and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information.

6. Check in advance that your destinations are pet-friendly. If you are beach bound, check restrictions and inquire whether the surf is safe for dogs. Invest in a doggie life vest. If you are in the ocean, beware of jellyfish and stingrays. If hiking is on the itinerary, keep your pooch on a short leash to avoid encounters with skunks, snakes, and painful burrs or foxtail.

Some hotels will cater to your pal with pet treats, comfy beds, free dog-sitting, grooming sessions and even canine massages. Other hotels restrict pets over a certain size or don’t permit them to be left alone in the room. Ask whether your hotel requires a deposit for pets or if you will be required to pay a non-refundable fee.

Many campgrounds are dog friendly, but don’t assume every pup in camp has good manners. Follow campground etiquette and keep your pet leashed, pick up after him, and don’t let him bark after dark. RV campgrounds often welcome pets, but some may restrict size to 10 pounds or less.

7. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Whatever you choose, make sure it's large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Iit's smart to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip. And please be sure to always secure the crate so it won't slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.

8. Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

9. Break often for relief and exercise. Your GPS can locate parks and rest areas along the way where you can stop every couple hours for fun and potty breaks.

10. Take your pet on a cruise! Check out this link for some fun information on including your pet on a cruise with you.

The Golden Rule: Expect the unexpected when traveling with your pet, and pack accordingly. Always bring more water than you could ever need. Never take it for granted that the next town is there.

A kind viewer of our website added the following tip:

"I always have a sheet that I keep in my wallet and a copy in the glove box that explains that should we be in an accident and not able to give instructions or care for our pets what we would like to be done. I explain that we have pet insurance and we would like for them to receive whatever life saving care they may need. If they are not injured we beg of one of the responders to hold on to them and call the name and phone number listed on our instructions to pick them up. etc. Whatever your wishes are I think should be carried with you in writing."