By MEGAN CARDONA | Reading Eagle

As summer vacations kick back into gear this year, millions of new pet parents will have to navigate traveling with furry friends.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported last year that 23 million American households — one in five nationwide — obtained a dog or cat during the pandemic, with no intentions of rehoming.

Despite high gas prices and airline fares, more people are expected to travel this year. In May, the American Automobile Association estimated a Memorial Day travel increase of 8.3% from last year, with about 39.2 million people traveling 50 miles or more from home. According to Paula Twidale, AAA Travel senior vice president, Memorial Day travel volumes are a good predictor for what summer travel will look like.

“Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire,” Twidale said. “People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed (rest and relaxation) in the coming months.”

Whether you’re traveling with a your pet companion  again or for the first time, here are some travel tips to keep in mind before going on vacation.

What to bring

The ASPCA suggests preparing a pet-friendly travel kit before taking a vacation. Here are some essentials to pack:

• Pet food and plenty of water

• A bowl

• Leash

• Favorite toy, pillow or blanket for a familiar scent

• A waste scoop and plastic bags

• Grooming supplies

• Medication and first aid

• Travel documents including rabies vaccination records when crossing state lines

What to know when hitting the road

If you’re taking your pet on a longer road trip than its used to, the ASPCA advises taking a series of short drives before the official ride.

Have a well-ventilated crate or carrier large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in, and secure it in the car to prevent shifting. If you decide against a crate, ASPCA discourages allowing your pet to ride with its head out the window, instead keeping them in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.

Never leave your pet alone in a hot vehicle, even with the windows open.

What to know when flying

If you’re flying to your vacation destination this summer, the ASPCA suggests booking a direct flight if possible.

Prior to traveling, take your pet to the vet to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of your departure. Check with international offices to see what health care requirements or documentation is needed for pets if you’re traveling outside the continental United States.

Make sure your pet’s crate is a USDA-approved shipping crate large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably, and lined with some type of bedding, such as towels or shredded paper, to absorb accidents. The shipping crate should have proper identification with the words live animal, as well as your name, cellphone, destination phone number and a photo of your pet attached.

This article originally appeared on Reading Eagle:

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