Nance Eber | Fifty Plus Advocate

REGION – In today’s day and age, it is not uncommon to check into your hotel and see a dog on a leash in the lobby or board your flight near someone holding a pet carrier. Traveling with a beloved furry friend seems to have increased over the past few years. 

For older people especially, the companionship a pet holds is powerful in so many ways. Because this four-legged friend is also considered to be a family member, hotels, cruise ships, airlines and more are taking note and setting guidelines to enable people to have their pet join them on a vacation. 

Many choices

There are thousands of hotels, Airbnb rentals, motels, inns and other lodgings that offer pet-friendly accommodations. The website www.tripswithpets is a great resource to help make your stay enjoyable. Some of the accommodations require an additional pet fee, stipulations on the pet’s weight and other rules. 

According to the Marriott Hotels website, “While we do offer pet-friendly accommodations, pets are only allowed in the following areas: your suite, hallways, lobby and outdoors, including the courtyard. Pets are not allowed in public areas where food and beverages are served or consumed. For your convenience, a Pet Walk and waste receptacle are located at the rear of the hotel.” 

When flying, different airlines that allow pets to travel adhere to different rules so it is important to check with the airline prior to heading to the airport. Some airlines allow smaller dogs and cats that remain in a carrier that fits under the seat. Other airlines may not allow them within the cabin but will transport them as cargo in a heated and well-ventilated area.

Be prepared

While traveling with a pet can be stressful, it is important to consider their comfort. Some things that might alleviate any problems are to walk your pet before you leave your home for the airport and again before checking in. Consult with your veterinarian to see if they have any suggestions as they know your pet. Many discourage the use of tranquilizers.

Have your pet use the carrier before traveling. This will make them more comfortable being enclosed in it. If at all possible, try to fly directly to your final destination. Having to change flights can definitely induce stress for a pet (and owners, too).

International travel with a pet is a bit more complicated as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has many strict rules and regulations travelers must adhere to. There are many documents needed to show that your pet is healthy to travel. Some of these might include blood tests, microchips, health certificates, permits, vaccinations and more. Taking a pet on a cruise would likely fall into this category. For pets traveling outside of the United States, official health certificates issued from a USDA-accredited veterinarian are needed. 

Other considerations

If a pet is traveling on a separate flight as an air cargo, you, as the owner, need to ensure a pick-up at your final destination. According to the CDC, “Some US carriers do not allow pets to be shipped May through September, the hottest months for animals to travel in the Northern Hemisphere.” In addition, “the CDC has temporarily suspended the importation of dogs arriving from countries that the CDC considers high risk for dog rabies, implemented in July 2021 and will be extended through July 31, 2023, and all current requirements will remain in place.” 

When considering traveling with your pet, the first thing to think about is your destination. Will you will be traveling with a pet within the United States, traveling with a pet to another country or perhaps bringing a pet into the United States from another country? Research the required protocols and documentation necessary to make this as seamless as possible. 

It is imperative that you find out from the airline companies if your pet qualifies to fly, if that is your mode of transportation to your destination. Not all animals or birds qualify.

“Planning a road trip with a dog is no different than traveling with a small child and requires advance planning,” said Janet Lavine of Westborough. “I pack baggies of daily food, extra leashes, dog bowls, bottled water, doggy diapers and a stroller for long walks. Also an emergency care kit that includes a tick remover, dog shampoo, hydrogen peroxide and other items.” She added, “A favorite blanket and teddy are also included for our dog Buzzy. Traveling with a dog requires as much ‘stuff’ as a child but having him with us is worth it.” 

This article originally appeared on Fifty Plus Advocate: Traveling with cats and dogs is a growing trend

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