Traveling With Fido

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:13

Tips from the North Shore Animal League - celebrating its 70th anniversary this year - for taking your dog or cat on vacation

On a typical warm sunny day, you may find yourself driving your car with the windows down while your dog is peering out the window ? wind blowing in his face. This may appear to be harmless, but it's actually not a safe practice.

While we all love to see the shiny nose of a dog sticking out of a car window, the reality is that your pet's eyes could be injured by debris and other dirt in the air. Moreover, a passing squirrel or another dog or cat could prompt your pet to jump out of the window ? a serious and often fatal mistake.

Summertime means vacation and road trips with friends and family. Taking your pet along for the ride could make vacation memories all the more special. The Animal League offers some tips on traveling with your pet that will help get your vacation off to a great start.

Make an Appointment with Your Vet

A visit to your veterinarian is important before traveling with your pet to be sure that he or she is up to date with shots and has received appropriate flea, heartworm and tick repellent.

Copies of your pet's health records may be required if flying anywhere. Also, find out what your options are should your pet become carsick or nervous while traveling.

Copies of your pet's rabies certificate and other health information are particularly important if you are traveling by plane, as most airlines require these documents dated no more than 10 days prior to your first day of travel. Information about your pet's health will be invaluable to local veterinarians should your pet become ill while you are on vacation. Information about medications and shots will prevent the vet from administering duplicate treatments.

Tagged, Collared and Leashed

Homeless pets are often found without tags or collars, making identification particularly difficult. Consider having your pet microchipped ? a safe, quick and inexpensive way to ensure that a lost pet will be found.

Animal hospitals, humane societies, kennels, and shelters nationwide use scanners to read implanted chips, which are encoded with specific identifiable information. Speak to your veterinarian to find out more about microchip procedures.

When you and your pet are in an unfamiliar place, keep your pet on a leash and make sure the tags on your pet's collar can be easily read. And while it is hard to imagine a pet getting away from its owner, it happens more often than we might think. Having a recent picture of your pet on hand, as well as a written description of your pet (name, breed, sex, age, any microchip or tattoo numbers, a description of coat, color and unusual markings, weight and height), will make it easier to describe your lost pet to someone who may see it wandering about.

Car and Boat Safety

Traveling in a car for the first time can be scary for pets, so if you are planning an extended trip, take overnight or short trips beforehand to acclimate your pet to being in a car. Seat belts and harnesses are now available for pets that will not only keep them safe but will prevent you from being distracted by your pet while driving.

Life vests are available for pets traveling by boat and are a great way to keep pets that are older, arthritic, or who cannot swim safely while on the water.

Pack a bottle of fresh water and a collapsible bowl and avoid sudden changes in diet.

Air Travel

Pets must be transported in a crate if traveling by airplane. When choosing a crate, purchase one in which your pet can lie down, stand up, sit, and circle around comfortably.

Avoid crates that are too large as your pet may become injured as a result of excessive movement. Remove leashes and never muzzle your pet while traveling.

Your pet's name and contact information for your home and destination as well as "Live Animal" should be written on the outside of the crate. Pets that travel in the cabin are required to fit under the seat in front of you.

Book a Pet-Friendly Hotel

Nowadays, many vacation spots welcome animals but have specific rules and restrictions regarding pets. Call ahead to find out about any restrictions and fees associated with booking a room with your pet.

Happy Trails!

Traveling with a pet can be loads of fun if you take some time to prepare for the trip. By following these tips, you and your pet will be well on your way to having a memorable vacation.