Planning a family getaway is fun, but the mere thought of leaving behind our furry friends can be painful. Fortunately, pet-friendly lodging and restaurants are plentiful. You'll also find a slew of gear and other pet products making it easier than ever to take your cat or dog along. Here are tips:
1. Plan ahead. You may need to take a few extra steps to include your pets in the fun. Don't let that dissuade you from taking your pet. Let your children help make a list of the extra gear and supplies you will need as well as advance reservations you may require. Airlines can refuse your reservation if there are already too many pets scheduled for a flight, so let them know as soon as you decide to take a pet.
If you travel by car, pack your animal's food, litter, waste disposal bags, leashes, toys, beds, medications and pet carrier. To be on the safe side, include notes regarding your pet's medical history as well as your veterinarian's contact information.
2. Practice round. If your dog or cat isn't accustomed to car or plane travel, introduce him to the pet carrier well before your departure date. Toss a favorite toy or familiar object into the carrier and take a spin within familiar territory. Be sure the carrier is airline-compliant and sturdy enough to make the trip.
3. Keep moving. Just like humans, your pets need as much exercise away from home as they do in their own environment. On the road, make plenty of stops to allow every member of your family to stretch their legs and breathe fresh air. At your destination, include your pet in hikes, walks on pet-friendly beaches or visits to local parks.
4. Drink up. Make sure your pet has access to clean, fresh water throughout your travels. Just like our body, a pet's consists of 80 percent water. Proper hydration is key to good health at home and on the road.
5. Have fun. Enjoy this extra-special time with your family and pet. Take photos and include your cat or dog in your vacation photo album. Visit a local dog park. It's likely that your pet will introduce you to new friends on the way.
(Resources: www.petswelcome.com; www.dogfriendly.com; www.petfriendlytravel.com)