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Pets On Vacation

The official start of summer is approaching, and for many that means vacation time.

Owning a family pet, however, can make planning that trip a little more complicated. To help pet owners, The Early Show resident veterinarian Debbye Turner shares the following tips to make traveling with furry friends as easy as can be.

  • Do Bring A Health Certificate For Your Pet
  • Do Carry A Current Photo Of Your Pet
  • Do Be Sure Your Pet Has Proper ID
  • Don't Leave Your Pet Alone
  • Don't Put Your Pet Loose In The Back Of A Pickup Truck

More than 68 percent of owners travel with their pets, according to a survey conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association.

So Petco advises those owners to follow a few travel tips:

Before you go, make sure your pet's shots are up-to-date, and do not administer any medication or treatments without first discussing them with your veterinarian.

Obtain documentation from your vet to show that your pet's vaccinations are current, and that your companion is healthy. If you are traveling to another country, check with that nation's embassy to determine what precautions will need to be met in order to safely take your pet with you. Many countries require long quarantine periods for pets coming across their borders. Petco says you will want to know these specifics so you can determine whether or not you really want to take your pet with you.

If you are going to leave your pet behind, the ideal setting is your own home, in a familiar environment. If you can find someone trustworthy and reliable to take care of your pet while you are gone, the pet will experience less stress as a result of you being away. If not, find a reputable kennel; inspect the premises, and tell them any special requirements they need to provide to make your pet comfortable for the duration of your trip.

The first thing to consider is the mode of transportation: Will you be driving or flying? Taking the train or the bus? Before answering that question, travelers need to find out what kind of restrictions those carriers place on animal travel. Some companies do not allow pets on board at all, while others require specific documentation and/or charge an additional fee. The more information you have before booking your travel arrangements, the fewer surprises you will have as you set out to enjoy your time away from the daily grind.

Car Travel

If you are traveling by automobile, think about the animal's safety as well as your own. A dog or cat roaming around the car while you drive can be distracting and dangerous. There are a number of different carriers -- in a variety of sizes -- that you can find to help keep your pet safe and secure for the journey. If using a carrier, it is always beneficial to introduce your pet to the housing several days before the trip, to help them become comfortable with it. Put a favorite toy or blanket inside the carrier with the door open, so your pet can get used to going in and out, and won't feel so isolated when they are shut inside.

If you have a large breed dog, and don't have the space in the back seat for a large carrier, there are seat belt-type harnesses that are available. It will achieve the same purpose without taking up a lot of extra space. In addition, if you have an SUV or other vehicle with space in the back, you can create a roomy environment for your pet with a gate that will allow them some freedom while at the same time keeping them away from the driver. Another safety consideration is heat; do not leave an animal unattended in a vehicle. Temperatures can top 100 degrees F within a matter of minutes -- even with a window slightly open -- and can pose significant health risks to your pet.

Air Travel

Traveling by plane will pose a new set of considerations, and the size of your pet will be a factor in where the animal is housed for the flight. For smaller animals, use a small carrier you can place under the seat in front of you like a piece of carry-on luggage. Some airlines will allow this, but may charge an additional fee. Larger animals will have to go below the main passenger cabin. In either case, get a direct flight. If your pet is not seated with you, let the captain or a flight attendant know; he or she may take special precautions if they are aware an animal is on board.

Consider where you are going, and what you will need once you arrive. Your home is likely equipped with a number of conveniences and amenities for your companion animal, so you will need to consider how you can make their temporary environment equally as comfortable. A familiar food dish, toys or bedding will help your pet feel at home wherever it goes. Keeping them on the same diet is also important; traveling is not the time to change which foods they eat. But, depending on your destination, there will be other considerations to be made.

Staying in a Hotel

As travel with pets becomes more common, a number of hotels -- including national chains such as Loews Hotels, Motel 6, and Red Roof Inn -- allow pets in rooms. Even in chains, though, some individual hotels are more cooperative than others when it comes to pets. So, it is always best to call ahead to confirm that it won't be a problem. If you aren't sure where you will be staying on any given night as you travel, try to find the basic policies of a number of chains, so you will at least have some options of where to stop while on the road. Some hotels will require a security deposit for your pet, and they may deduct from that if the room smells like your pet. According to Petco, it doesn't hurt to carry a small can of room deodorizer.

Loews is a hotel that welcomes your pet and provides a gift bag, plus treats to let your furry friend know he or she is an honored guest.

Staying in a House

If you are going to someone's home, there are a few things to consider. Petco suggests: First, let the occupants know you are bringing your pet, to make sure there are not issues with allergies or other problems that could cause problems for you, your companion and your hosts. Along with the basic food and supplies listed above; you will also want to get a temporary nametag that lists the phone number where you are staying, in case your pet gets lost while you are there. Grooming and pest control are also important considerations, especially as the weather heats up and flea and tick season kicks in. Keeping your pet brushed will not only help you inspect them for signs of fleas and ticks, but it will also reduce excess hair which retains heat. A variety of flea collars and topical treatments are available.

Following this simple advice will ensure that both you and your pet have a healthy, happy and safe vacation.

According to, the following are essentials when traveling with pets:

  • Identification Tag: Include your cell phone number if possible, since you're away from home.
  • Extra Collar and Identification Tag: If your pet goes swimming, have an extra collar and tag set ready to put on him while the wet one dries out. If your pet loses his tag, you'll have an extra one for backup.
  • First-Aid Kit: Include any medication your pet takes on a regular basis. Consult your veterinarian for any medication your pet may need such as an antihistamine in case your pet is stung or exposed to something that may cause an allergic reaction. Be sure to consult a veterinarian for the proper type of antihistamine, usage and dosage.
  • Clean-Up Bags
  • Clean-Up Kit (including carpet cleaner & lint roller)
  • Toys and Treats - Bring plenty of your pet's favorite toys and treats. These can be used to keep your pet busy and happy if you have to leave him alone. They can also be used to encourage and accomplish good behavior when you need it.

Whether you're traveling across the street or across the globe, before you leave your pet anywhere, ask yourself this question: "Would I leave my wallet here?"

To a thief, your pet looks like a wallet full of money. There are people who steal pets for all kinds of reasons such as to resell the pet, or to wait for you to put up a sign offering a reward and then to pose as the finder.

For more information: PetPockets, $27 to $30; Super Pet Comfort Harness, $6 to $9; Super Pet Come Long Pet Carrier, $10 to $14; Small Animal Kingdom Small Animal and Bird Carriers, $8 to $14 seat belts, $31 to $39 Nonskid seat covers, $95 Pet Mat Pet Traveler, $99; Pet Barrier Doggon II, $70; Bird Carrier, $35; Pet Wheel Away, $80 Pet first aid kits, from $17 to $70 DogLock leash, $30 Airline Travel Kit, $3; Fold Away Pet Carrier, $30 to $65 The Pet Protector, $25 Water Rover Water Bottle, $10 to $13; Travel Food Storage Bag, $16 Pik Up Paks, Pet Canteen with Bowl Travel waste bags, $8

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