Here’s What You Said: Tips for traveling with your pets

In June we asked you how you meet the challenges of traveling with your pets. Here are some of the responses we received.

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Finding pet-friendly accommodations
Several of you mentioned that you find pet-friendly accommodations, including campgrounds, thanks to websites like petswelcome.com and dogfriendly.com. A web search on “pet-friendly motels (or hotels)” will turn up other options.

Others of you were specific, recommending Motel 6, La Quinta and Kimpton hotels (in larger cities). “Kimpton is totally pet friendly,” says Michelle, “even welcoming my Yorkie with treats and a toy!” Marriott Residence Inns, she says, are pet friendly but there’s an extra charge.

Some of you also travel in motorhomes, which simplifies stopping for the night with a pet.

Keeping your pet safe in the car
What about the hours on the road? Many of you harness or otherwise secure your pets in the car, for instance, in tied-down crates, to protect them in the same way you protect the rest of your family. (New Jersey’s Click It or Ticket law now includes pets. If you are pulled over and have an unrestrained animal in your vehicle, you can face a fine of $250 to $1,000.)

We at Petfinder recommend restraints, but know, too, that not everyone follows what is definitely the “best” practice. Many of you praised your vans and motor homes for giving your pets room to roam during trips.

Beth uses a pet hammock that bridges the gap between the front and back seats to keep her pets from falling if there’s a sudden stop. There are also “bridges” that do the same thing. Both hammocks and bridges can be used in conjunction with physical restraints like harnesses.


Preparing your pet for the trip
Some pets aren’t too into
traveling. Practice runs before the trip may help, Nicole says. In this
way pets get accustomed to the car. She also uses Bach’s Rescue Remedy
for Pets.

Like Nicole, Annabel uses a calming aid for her
Pomeranian, who has anxiety issues. He likes a soft blanket on the floor
of the car. She thinks the vibrations are soothing.
Jen finds that a Thundershirt helps her pet cope.

Many of you, like Brian, suggest bringing your pets’ favorite
things on trips — blankets and toys — to make your pet feel
comfortable. Brian also plays easy listening music, keeping things low
key, he says.

Others suggested that you make sure your pets have visible
identification tags on their collars and are microchipped, just in case
you and they get separated. It’s a good idea to carry their immunization
records along as well. You can make copies of these and keep one in
each of your cars.

Taking people and pet breaks

Plenty of exercise breaks will make traveling easier. Billie travels
long distances with three dogs and stops at trucks stops and “Welcome
Centers” because both usually have large grassy areas for exercising her
pets. Because she can’t walk all three at once, she has two sets of car
keys so on hot days she can keep the car air conditioned while walking
the pets individually. To avoid upsetting her pets’ stomachs, she
carries water from home in a gallon jug so that her pets don’t have to
drink water from different areas.

Finding pet-friendly places to eat
Eating out may be
the biggest challenge when traveling because it’s not safe to leave your
pet in a closed up car in hot or cold weather. In the winter, Judy and
her husband usually eat fast food in the car at noon or bring carry-out
food to a motel after a day of driving. In the summer, they buy deli
foods, find a park and have a picnic or search out restaurants with
outdoor seating where pets are welcome. Once again, the motorhome
vagabonds have it easy.

Dragging a big bag of food out of the car when you stop for the
night can be a pain, so Linda portions out meals in plastic bags for the
entire trip.

It’s getting more convenient to travel with pets as new products
are developed and businesses are becoming more aware that pets are part
of our families. We want the welcome mat to be out.

Tell us: Do you dread taking your cat to the vet? 
Tell us why and we might highlight your response next month.

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