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Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

The holidays are coming and many of us are planning visits with family and friends. If you can take your pet with you, so much the better! A change of scenery and spending time with loved ones is often good for us and for them!
If you are traveling by plane, some airlines will allow small pets in the people part of the plane if they are in a soft ventilated travel bag or small crate. Check with the airline to find out what their policy is. If your pet has to be in the cargo area, place a piece of your clothing in his or her crate to comfort them during the ride and try to ensure that they have "done their business" before takeoff.
Car travel with a cat can be interesting. Some cats are great travelers; I once knew a fellow whose cat traveled all over the country with him in his motor home. She had a special bed attached to the dashboard and apparently loved the on-the-move hobo life! Other cats may need a mild sedative in order to be safely transported by car. Always provide a litter box for your cat unless they are leash trained and will relieve themselves on a pit stop walk when you travel.
Many dogs love going for car rides around town and will easily and happily adapt to longer trips. If your dog is a barker in the car, you may need to consider a lightweight nylon muzzle or mild sedation. Make sure that you stop often enough for bathroom breaks and bring plenty of poop bags for your trip! Today however, many highway rest areas have designated doggie sections with conveniently placed plastic bags and trash cans available.
Bring enough food and water for your trip with your pet and if she is a nervous traveler, understand that it may not be until after you've arrived that she digs in and eats normally again. Make sure that the car is warm enough and comfortable. If your dog is in the backseat, you may want to consider placing some soft padding over the seatbelts and covering the seat to protect it, especially if you will be traveling through wet or snowy weather.
Bring your pet's medicines if applicable, and also remember to bring some first aid supplies in case something happens and you are far from home and can't get to a vet.
For longer car trips, you may need to stop for a night or two in a motel. Many motels are pet friendly for a small additional deposit. Do your best to make dinnertime as normal as possible by bringing your pet's regular food bowls and usual kibble and canned food. If you need to leave and your dog barks, consider taking him along so as not to disturb the other guests - all this new stuff may be a bit overwhelming, and loneliness or separation anxiety may set in. I would suggest that you bring a couple of favorite toys too - just having these familiar fun items can transform a hotel room into a temporary home for your pet.
Traveling with your pet can be a great experience. Plan ahead, plan for the unexpected and enjoy your travel time together!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer