At this time of year, many families are traveling to various destinations to see friends, family, or just get away from the blustery winter weather. As a pet owner, you may be weighing the options of whether to include your family pet in these vacation trips. The Humane Society of the United States has some tips to consider to help you with this decision. First, it is extremely important that you obtain a veterinary examination and be sure your pet is up-to-date on all required vaccinations. You should be provided with a wellness certificate that you can take with you; you may be required to produce this document depending on where you travel. You may even need to have this health certificate stamped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so do your research in advance!
Your needs for pet safety and comfort will vary depending on your mode of travel. Be sure to check in advance whether your hotel will allow pets, and if there is an additional fee. Pets traveling by car or air may need a mild tranquilizer, which can be obtained from your vet, to help them remain calm during any travel chaos. Dogs in cars may be able to travel with a harness, but airplanes will require a kennel. Be sure your pet is on a leash and has an ID tag and collar at all times when being out of his kennel. Carriers should be large enough to be comfortable, but not so large as to permit your pet to be "tossed around" during air turbulence or bumpy car rides. Be sure to include bowls of food and water for airline trips. Ice cubes can help settle a pet's stomach. The most important thing to remember is to do your research about the requirements of your mode of travel and regulations, and include everything neccessary for your pet's well being and comfort.