Traveling with Pets
Dog Days of Summer: Tips for Traveling with
by Tammy Senter, Farnam Pet Products
As the busy summer travel season approaches, millions of Americans are planning to load up the car (and their pets) to head for vacation destinations across the country. Yet, the prospect of a road trip or hotel stay can spark fear and panic in even the most docile pooch or kitty, leading to destructive behaviors that may disturb other passengers or harm the pet. Much can be done, however, to smooth out the trip once owners are equipped with the right knowledge.
ADAPT YOUR PET TO THE CAR
Before embarking on the long car ride, get your pet comfortable with being in a vehicle. To do this, take your cat or dog for short rides around the neighborhood. This will help you determine if your pet has a problem with motion sickness or is excessively nervous while traveling, and will allow you time to talk to your vet before the trip. There are several products that help eliminate stress-related behavior associated travel with unfamiliar surroundings.
For instance, products such as Comfort Zone® with D.A.P. ® (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) or Comfort Zone® with Feliway ® for cats, mimics the natural pheromones produced by cats and dogs to promote feelings of calm and soothing. Available in a spray format that can be used in the car or hotel room, Comfort Zone can help alleviate the stress the pet is experiencing.
Also, consider the use of a carrier or harness for your pet when traveling. There are several varieties of crates, barriers or harnesses that will limit movement or escape of your pet from the vehicle. An excited or anxious dog could cause a dangerous distraction while an owner is driving. In fact, one of the most common and preventable causes for vehicular accidents is the driver's distraction because of moving objects, such as a pet in the vehicle.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Like people, pets like the predictability of keeping a schedule. Therefore, owners should keep a consistent schedule once they're on the road. Limit feeding to the normal feeding times, usually first thing in the morning at least one hour before leaving and in the evening when the day's drive is done. Also, keep fresh water in the car to ensure that they are hydrated throughout the journey. Be sure to bring any necessary medicines, veterinary records and emergency contacts, and maintain regular medication schedules.
Additionally, prepare to stop often, giving your pet a break every few hours. For cats, owners should pack a litter box and litter to also use during breaks or in the hotel at night. Pet owners should also be mindful of the dangers of leaving their pets unattended in the car. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise quickly, leading to heat stroke. If you have no choice and your pet must stay in the car, lock the vehicle with the motor and air conditioning running.
SELECT THE "PURR-FECT" HOTEL
Finding a hotel that not only allows your pet but welcomes it should not be difficult. Last year, $2.5 billion was spent on pet services including grooming and pet boarding. Many hotels have recognized this potential financial windfall and have opened their doors to four-legged creatures of all kinds.
This new breed of pet-friendly hotels range from those offering pet essentials, like a bed and treats, to high-end properties providing the ultimate in pet pampering. However, to guarantee a pleasant hotel stay for pets and to make sure they will be welcomed back; pet parents should remember to not only pack the essentials for themselves, but also for their four-legged traveling companion. Be sure to pack your pet's bedding whether it's a towel or old sweatshirt. It will retain your scent, and evoke feelings of home and comfort for your pet.
While it may be tempting, pet owners should steer clear of hotel food and treats. Bring your pet's food from home, and avoid any disruption in diet. Also, by bringing along your pet's favorite toys you maintain their expected "creature comforts" and minimize the disruption in their environment.
Ultimately, it is the new sights and sounds that make vacation so much fun, but for beloved pets, the road can present cause for undue stress when they're faced with chaotic routines and unfamiliar environments. The adoption of the aforementioned tips will do much to ensure not only that the trip is calm, but that fun is had by all.
|Tamara (Tammy) Senter is a seasoned marketing professional with more than 11 years of international and domestic consumer marketing experience. After working with industry-leading companies such as Texas Instruments, Tyson Foods and Kodak, Tammy has been able to meld her professional life with her true passion and love of dogs through her position as marketing manager for the pet products division of Farnam Companies. An avid lover of all pets, Tammy's heart rests with a two-year-old chocolate-and-white Pomeranian named Rylie.|