On the Road with the Family Pet
Vacation planning takes on new dimensions when pets go along. A lot of people do it though, according to a survey by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), which reports more than half of all pet owners travel with their pets.
"Spontaneity is fun for people, but pets don't thrive on stress and strange surroundings," says Dr. Dan Carey, a veterinarian with The Iams Company.
"Vacationing with pets requires forethought, planning and, sometimes, special care," he urges. "Don't make any assumptions."
He suggests the following:
"While some vacations may be perfect for pets, others may not," Dr. Carey says. "Evaluate your vacation plans and whether having your pet with you is good for your pet and something you truly want to do."
- Traveling by car is probably the easiest, but there are important things to remember. Pets can suffocate quickly if left in a car with the windows rolled up, especially on hot sunny days. Also, pets should not be allowed to hang their heads out the window. It's unsafe and they can get debris in their eyes or get eye infections.
- When traveling by air, pets must travel in a container that complies with the International Air Transport Association (I.A.T.A) and U.S.D.A. regulations. These carriers are available at most pet stores. And, in accordance with new federal security procedures, you'll need to be prepared to remove your pet from the carrier for a security search. Make reservations early, since some airlines allow only one on-board pet per flight, and allow for extra time at the airport.
- Pets need to be restrained in cars the same as people. Don't hold a pet on your lap in the front seat because it could be severely injured in an accident. Pet seat belts are available at pet specialty stores.
- Keep your pet's collar and ID tag on at all times. Be sure to include both home and vacation contacts on the tag, if possible, in addition to your pet's name and any medical problems.
- Find pet-friendly accommodations and call ahead to reserve a room. Don't make assumptions or try to sneak your pet into a hotel.
- When camping, check ahead. Many parks welcome pets, yet often require pets to be on a leash or crated at all times. Visit the National Park Service's home page at "www.nps.gov" to access national and state park regulations.
- Provide plenty of water for your pet and stop often for breaks. Carry a portable litter box for your cat.
- And, even though vacation may be your time to experiment with regional foods or rich desserts, your pet will be best served with a consistent, nutritious diet of premium pet food like Iams Dog and Cat Foods. If your pet seems prone to motion sickness, feed smaller amounts one-to-two hours before you travel. In order to keep the food fresh for days, store it in a large ziplock bag.
For more information on proper pet care and nutrition, call The Iams Company Pet Professionals at 1-800-863-4267, Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time, or visit www.iams.com. (NAPSI)
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