Pet-friendly options are trending, making it more feasible to scratch that wanderlust itch as a pet owner.
When making travel plans, choose what is best for your pet, considering their safety and comfort. Each pet has a different temperament, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Here are some great summer travel tips for pet owners that will ensure a safe and low-stress trip. Make the most of your travel experience and create unforgettable memories with your best friend!
Knowing what to expect and being prepared for it ahead of your travels will make a much smoother trip for you and your furry companions. Pet travel requirements change frequently. Do your research and call ahead to verify your travel arrangements.
1. Confirm that your pet’s vaccinations are updated.
2. If your pet has any health issues, discuss any concerns and/or limitations.
3. If it’s your first time traveling with your pet, ask for their recommendation for motion sickness, diarrhea, and anxiety in case you need it.
Airlines can require an up-to-date health certificate signed by a veterinarian. You will need a copy of your health and vaccination certificates from your vet dated not more than ten days before your trip. More than ten days before travel is considered out of date. Please do yourself a favor and schedule your office visit for a check-up right after you book your flight, making it one less thing to remember to do later.
If you are traveling with a Service Animal, contact the airline ahead of time to ensure you have proper documentation. To learn more about Psychiatric Service Dogs, click here.
Regardless of how you travel, it’s a good idea to have a copy of your pet’s immunization record on hand and a recent picture in case you need proof of immunization or, in the unfortunate circumstance, that your pet gets separated from you.
Be prepared with local vet info when you travel and look up the nearest 24-hour emergency vet locations where you will be traveling. Jot the information down and have it on hand in case of an emergency.
Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.
Don’t leave your manners at home. Be considerate of others and abide by the rules of the places you visit. You still want to be a “good neighbor” when you travel. Please keep your pet on a leash when required, clean up after him, etc.
Brush up on your basic courtesy commands: come, heel, quiet, sit, etc. Practice your progress and test your pet in an area with plenty of distractions: out to lunch or at the dog park are good places to put your pet to the test!
Recent air travel restrictions have made traveling with pets a little more challenging. You can see a list of the most pet-friendly airlines here.
Here is a compilation of all the need-to-know info before flying with your four-legged friends to make it easier for you.
Additional Fees: If you are flying with a pet or Emotional Support Animal, you will have to pay an additional pet travel fee for them to fly in the cabin of the airplane. Service Animals are permitted to fly without additional pet fees. There are a few requirements for in-cabin flying to be aware of. Fees can range from $100-125 each way.
Restrictions: Airlines limit the number of animals that can fly in-cabin on each flight. You have to call before booking your flight to ensure that your pet can fly on the flight you plan to book. There are often breed and weight requirements. Many major airlines have prohibited the shipping of pets in the cargo area, and, overall, it is not recommended by the Humane Society primarily due to safety concerns.
Pet Carriers: Your dog’s carrier counts as a carry-on. A pet flying in-cabin must fit into a kennel that’s stored under the seat like a typical carry-on. Begin familiarizing your pet with its carrier in advance. Ease them into it. Practice going places around town with them in it to get used to it.
● Avoid layovers when possible. It might seem like a good idea to break up the day and give your pet a chance to do their business, but it makes the travel day longer. If you have an anxious flyer, booking a direct flight avoids re-stressing your dog each time you board a flight.
● Get to the airport early. You may be asked to go through an assisted check-in station to ensure that your pet is properly identified. You also want to allow extra time for potty breaks.
● Book an afternoon or evening flight to give yourself the chance to get plenty of exercise in and wear your pooch out before traveling. This will help them to snooze the flight away.
● Feed your pet about 4 hours before takeoff. This will give your pet plenty of time to digest their food.
● Bring a portable water bottle for your pet. You can’t carry water through TSA checkpoints, but you can access water after you have gone through security.
● Look up where the animal relief areas are before arriving at the airport.
● Use the pet relief area before and after every flight.
● Travel with some wet wipes to help wipe your pet’s feet or fur off if needed.
● Be a good traveler and clean up after your pet.
● Treats: reward your pet for good behavior at security or other key moments of travel.
● Chews: provide a good distraction to help calm anxiety.
● Security Blanket: you can use one of your pet’s favorite blankets inside their carrier to keep them cozy and calm or drape it over the carrier if you need to limit distractions to let them sleep.
If you don’t want to incur all the additional expenses of air travel or flying isn’t your thing, then a road trip might suit you best. Road trips also tend to be a more straightforward, less expensive, and pet-friendly option. Enjoy traveling by train? Amtrak makes allowances for small dogs and cats to travel specific routes. It’s a pretty cost-effective option at just $26. Weight restrictions on Amtrak are similar to conditions on an airplane limiting travel to pets 20 pounds or under.
Consider the following:
The great part about road trips is that they are entirely customizable to your preferences. There are so many options! Want to explore a new city, go hiking, hit the beach, visit a national park, or hop aboard a train? You can do it all!
For some fresh travel inspo, Go Pet Friendly is a great site for ideas and all things pet travel-related. They have a planning tool to help you find lodging, restaurants, activities, and pet services.
If you are traveling in the summer months or headed outdoors, be sure to read our guide on safety before you head out on a new adventure!
Hotels have become more accommodating to pets, welcoming the pet travel trend with open arms. Some specific chains like the W Hotel or Aloft go above and beyond to accommodate your pets in style. Hotels are now offering amenities just for your pet. Items like food and water bowls, pet beds, gourmet dog treats, and a puppy menu in the on-site restaurant are becoming popular. You can even find hotels with outdoor runs, dog parks, doggie room service, and a pet concierge.
When you book travel accommodations, be sure that you know the answer to these questions before making your reservations:
● Does the hotel accept pets?
● What, if any, weight or breed restrictions are there?
● How many pets are allowed per room?
● Are there any additional pet fees?
● What amenities does the hotel offer for pets?
● Can pets be left unattended in the room?
● Are any areas of the hotel off limits to pets?
Here’s a simple checklist to help you pack.
● Food and treats (take a can opener for canned food!)
● Medications, vitamins & supplements
● Drinking water
● Food and water bowls
● Pet bed, security blanket, and toys!
● ID tag (be sure your contact info is not outdated!)
● Waste bags or travel litter box
● First Aid Kit
● A towel, paper towels, and wipes for paws and messes
● Up-to-date health documents (vaccinations, health records, etc.)
● Photo of your pet
The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!
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