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Copyright 2001 by Fodor's
?Happy Traveling with Your Pet
Animals have been an important part of our family life for ages, so it's no surprise more and more people are making their pets a part of family travel. Pets can add to your travel adventures in many ways. Aside from the comfort they offer, pets also open the door to meeting new people. Animals are great conversation starters, and animal lovers are everywhere!
In return for companionship and fun, your pet will require much of your time, just as he does at home. In fact, if you elect to include him, your pet will probably be a major focus of your trip. Days must be planned keeping the pet's needs in mind. Often, this means you aren't as free to spend leisurely hours shopping or dining. Instead, you might consider hiring a pet-sitter or finding a good kennel. Sending your dog to a doggie camp or bringing a dog sitter along on your trip are other options. If you are planning a "get-away-from-it-all" sort of trip, bringing along your pet may not be a good idea.
While the number of travelers accompanied by animals is growing, some hotels are still cautious to put out the welcome mat. In some areas of the country, finding decent accommodations that accept you and your pet can be a daunting task. Be prepared to spend extra time making travel plans.
Take Your Pet or Leave Him?
When deciding whether or not to travel with your pet, try not to let your emotions take precedence over practical concerns, such as your pet's age, temperament, and health. Consider your aspirations for the trip and how you will handle the responsibility of taking care of your pet on the road. If you think it will greatlyhamper your enjoyment, then it may be unfair to you both to take her along.
The best candidates for travel are pets that are even-tempered, well-behaved, sociable, and in good health. If your pet is anxious, aggressive, or is likely to be highly stressed, it is probably in his best interest to make alternative plans, such as finding him boarding or having a pet-sitter stay in your home.
While it is legal to transport an eight-week-old kitten or puppy by plane, it is advisable to wait until he or she is at least 12 weeks old. At eight weeks animals are susceptible to many more diseases because their immune systems are not fully developed. It's also important to control the environment of very young puppies and kittens so they don't have experiences that may frighten them. This is difficult to do while traveling.
Some trips are inappropriate for pets because of the environment, time of year, and nature of the journey. A friend of mine chose to take her six-year-old lab on a cross-country drive from New York to Arizona. She left at the end of June. By the time she reached the Grand Canyon it was mid-July. The heat was tough on her but almost unbearable for her dog. As a result she spent a lot of time worrying about her dog rather than sightseeing. If she had made the trip at a different time of year, it might have been a more pet-friendly adventure.
Who Should Stay
Noisy, boisterous, or un-house-trained pets
If your travel plans are not pet-friendly
If weather will be uncomfortable for your pet
and Who Should Go? Calm pets
Pets who enjoy new experiences
If your travel plans are pet-friendly
If weather permits