The Dog Gone Travelin’
Going on a trip or planning a fabulous vacation can be fun, but what about traveling with our furry friends? Going the extra mile to ensure their safety is an important part in the packing process.
Luckily, pet travel products and procedures have really changed over the years. Before traveling-whether by land, sea or air- make an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and to obtain a health certificate dated within 10 days of your departure. Many airlines require this before travel. When traveling outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country for precise information.
Anna Kugler, junior buyer for Hollywood Feed, said the number one thing about traveling with your pet is to make sure they are safe with you.
“Safety comes first. It’s important to have anything your dog might need with you. I always make sure to have a water bowl, poop bags, leash, food, treats and a blanket for the kennel. It helps to make a list before taking a trip,” Kugler said.
“Hollywood Feed in Oxford is a one stop shop for anything having to do with pet travel. We carry a line called Kurgo-it’s a company created by two brothers and they make a fabulous line of leashes and harnesses. A first aid kit is also important no matter which way you’re traveling. Be sure to make one for both you and your furry friend in case of an injury.”
Hollywood Feed also carries several brands of calming treats and supplements for dogs who get anxious in the car or while traveling. “We carry a new product called Pet Relief, which is a diffuser type essential oil that can help animals relax and treat anxiety in the car. We have a motion sickness one, and also one with hemp oil that helps with a lot of different things. Travel calm can help with an upset stomach and is a great option traveling with a pet,” Kugler said.
Pet travel has really come a long way, and now there are products available like collapsible bowls for water and food on the go. If traveling long distances by car, a good thing to have is the proper harness. “We have a crash tested harness for cars-it’s super comfortable, adheres in the car but also can be used for walking. Then there’s an impact harness that is crash tested up to 130 pounds. It’s the safest harness on the market. Using a car harness can help keep a dog contained while driving. Sometimes if pets get scared they want to jump from the backseat into our laps, but this can be very hazardous especially while driving on an interstate,” Kugler said.
One unique product is a life jacket for dogs. The removable flotation layer can be used as a warm vest in the winter. It also includes handles on it for you to grab your dog quickly out of the water if needed. Waterproof backseat covers can help keep your car clean. If a dog is dirty or sandy from the beach the seat cover is machine washable and comes in different fabrics, sizes, colors, etc. A six-way leash is a great option for people always on the go. “You can make it into a three-foot leash, use it as a two dog leash belt style, you can go hands free and put it around your waist, hitch it to anything, wrap it around a tree, park bench, etc. A lot of people like that it comes with a bottle opener,” Kugler said.
Crates are important for the safety of your pet during travel. Hollywood Feed carries airline-approved carriers. To keep your dog preoccupied while in the crate, be sure to bring along a toy. Kongs are great to fill with peanut butter, a rubber Frisbee is fun, and Dog for Dog makes a brand of granola bars especially for dogs. “For $2.99, it’s easy to put a few in the car with you to keep your dog satisfied. It’s great for protein and a boost of energy.”
Really soft and luxurious blankets can make riding in a kennel comfortable. Kugler said that they carry waterproof pads for kennels in case of accidents- along with beds that can fit in the back of a car. While traveling by plane, it’s best to book a direct flight if possible. Smaller breeds can travel with you under your seat in a kennel, depending on airline policies. It is important for travelers to check with their airline to find out specific rules and regulations. For example, Delta Airlines will not allow pets under eight weeks old, as well as certain breeds like pugs and pitbulls, on the aircraft.
Exercising your dog before a long trip can help them to relax and be well rested. Make sure that your pets are safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. While flying, take extra care your pet’s crate has proper identification. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. While being away from home your dog will experience a lot of new sights, smells, sounds, and potential food items. Make sure you’re watching them, especially in an area where your dog could accidentally ingest.
Many boutique hotels offer concierge or butler services to tend to your pet while you’re enjoying the day out and about. Be sure to call or have your travel agent call and ask about pet policies and procedures. Staff members at pet-friendly places can recommend local dog parks, restaurants that allow dogs on patios, and local veterinarians if needed.
While there are very few cruise lines that will let you bring your pet, the Queen Mary II is an exception. “An on-board kennel master is in charge of pet’s regular feedings, walks, indoor playtime and cleanup. Upon arrival, pets receive complimentary goodie bags that include name tags, food dishes and toys. Pets are supplied with beds, blankets, gourmet food, snacks and either individual playtime or group playtime. Owners may visit pets throughout the day in two-hour blocks of time. Cunard recommends that passengers book their passage as far in advance as possible, as Cunard Cruise Line allows only 12 pets per voyage.”
Pet owners should create a pet passport for their dog, a collection of all identifying and required documents for entering a given country. Knowing pet import rules will help make traveling with your pet safer and more enjoyable. Most European countries except England, Ireland, Sweden and Malta will welcome your pet if you have the EU form 998. Some countries have strict pet quarantine laws.
Beverly Brent, a travel agent for Avoya Travel said when travelers are looking at travel destinations, the resorts and places that are pet friendly will have a pet paw showing in the details on a room or resort. “Put their food in small snack size ziplock bags to make it easier to feed them. And always if you have doubts on whether a resort or hotel accepts pets, just ask.”