The Travel Blog
Mar 2, 2021 at 8:10 AM in Explore
Traveling with Pets: Hitting the road
As the days grow longer and the number of COVID cases decline, many of us have our sights on spring and summer travel. Some people have already started to pack up the car and take off for outdoor adventures whether they’re headed for the snow or the sand. Indeed, there’s rumbling afoot and people are once again seriously considering travel. We all know what it takes to be safe and by following the key precautionary measures recommended by the CDC and more people vaccinated against this coronavirus, prospects of changing up the scenery grow more promising every day.
With travel comes the question: do we bring our pet or have him or her stay home (or at a kennel or with a trusted friend). That’s the first thing you should ask yourself when considering travel with your cat or dog or in some cases, cats and dogs. (They are best in pairs, aren’t they?)
Our feline friends are generally happier at home and can manage better there without your company than the pups. But many cats are great travelers, so don’t rule out taking them as well. You should know if your cat is a good traveler by how he or she behaves when being driven to the vet’s. In addition to bringing your cat to the vet, try cruising around in your car with your furry friend to see how it goes. Always make sure you have your cat in a carrier with a nice cushy bed inside. (You might want to line this bed with paper towels for easy clean up because some cats do become carsick, especially on windy roads.) You can also try spraying the carrier with pheromones, since they are known to be effective in calming down the kitties.
The Map Geek has flown across the country many times with her cat safely tucked under the seat in front of her in the cabin and it has gone great. She even had a tabby that traversed the Atlantic three times! Even better, one cat once escaped out of the carrier and I didn’t know it until a man came up the aisle from behind with the kitty in his arms and said, “Excuse me miss, is this your cat?” What a shock! From now on, the zippers will be firmly closed on the carrying case. Fortunately everyone in the cabin aware of the situation was bemused.
The airlines have tightened up their policies these past months regarding traveling with pets. They’ve always required extremely current health certificates that say that the animal is up to date on vaccinations and that it was recently examined. (Or at least the vet says so.) Now most airlines are asking for the paperwork and you have to make sure you have it before you board each flight. For in-cabin pets, most airlines charge about $125. and just like for you, you have to make that reservation in advance. (Only a certain number of pets are allowed in the cabin per flight, so do plan ahead.)
Note that Airlines have cracked down a lot on what is to be considered a service animal, since there was some abuse and every other Tom,
Dick and Henrietta started to obtain certificates that said they were in need of their buddy. How unfortunate! That, of course, adversely affected those people truly in need of a service animal. Fortunately, all seems to have tightened up in that department and those in need can still bring their companions.
Putting your pet in the cargo hold requires much more consideration. It’s a good idea to discuss this with your veterinarian to make sure this is a suitable option for your beloved family member. Also, there’s the question about whether to medicate them or not?
Car travel is way easier, which is why you often see the family dog out on vacation all over the country. (This is also why the Map Geek started this story highlighting cats because they are often left out of the family fun even though some are sturdy travelers.) As with for cats, remember to have a secure and comfortable spot for your dog to travel in your vehicle. For smaller dogs, it’s also a good idea to have a doggie harness that clicks into the seatbelt on the backseat.
With greater emphasis on road trips and outdoor activities than ever before, we’re seeing lots of pooches out and about with their human companions. From campgrounds to hotels to vacation rentals, travel has become increasingly pet friendly. Combine that with a desire to hit the trails with your beloved Golden or German Shepherd and you have a winning formula for a good time. When pondering whether or not to bring your pup, it’s important for you to consider the destination. Your dogs will be happiest if you bring them to a pet-friendly town or area that widely expresses “We love dogs.” Translation: Water bowls are left out in front of coffee shops and other establishments and/or there are designated “Puppy Parking” areas where owners can safely leave their dogs (typically in the shade) while they shop, drink and/or dine.
Colorado ranks high as perhaps the most dog-friendly state in the country. It’s a mountain town thing. People say, in fact, that as soon as someone moves to a mountain town, they get a dog (that is if you didn’t move there with one). After the dog, comes the girlfriend, or boyfriend. (Also, if you arrived without one or broke up with the one you came with after you settled in, which happens a lot.) Puppies are known to be major chick magnets although that’s more of a worldwide phenomenon. So it comes as no surprise that Boulder, CO is a pet-friendly town par excellence. Plus, it’s a big college town and man and his dog go together like football and beer. Travel Boulder features a whole bag of tricks and treats you can share with your pup. Have fun trying to keep up with your dog out on the trails of which there are many. And bring lots of water for you both.
Burlington, Vermont, another important college town with a groovy vibe, is also very welcoming to dogs and their owners. There are even brew pubs, cafés and markets that have created special spots–mostly outdoors on decks or patios–for you and your best friend. Hit them after you’ve hiked together on one of the region’s trails or paddled your pup around on a paddle board. Now that’s what you call a vacation!
As for our feline friends, they, too, enjoy a change of scenery and cats are more adaptable than people think. The Map Geek’s kitty loves to visit Grandma and he even enjoys nice camaraderie with cousin Lily, Grandma’s big putty tat. They’ve learned how to team up and beg fortreats knowing full well that two against one weighs in their favor. Who ever said you can’t travel with cats? If you had nine lives, wouldn’t you travel for at least eight of them?
For air travel, take a look at the rules and regulations of major carriers outlined on their sites
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