If you love to travel and have adorable pets that you can't bear to leave at home or in a pet hotel, then, perhaps pet travel may be for you. With the rise in consumer demand for pet-friendly hotels, a lot of the top hotel chains in the U.S. offer pet-friendly rooms and some even offer treats for your pet upon check in.
Decide whether or not you will be traveling by car or by plane. Traveling by car may be a better option for larger pets or ones who are very nervous. Especially if you have a large enough car to transport them. If you have a smaller-sized pet of an even temperament, you can consider plane travel.
Many airlines offer pet travel including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, U.S. Airlines and Virgin America, just to name a few. Their fees vary from $75 per pet to $150 per pet to fly them in the cabin. There are also less expensive options to have them travel in the cargo section, however, I would advise against this, even at the savings of a few dollars. There have been many horror stories of pets dying in cargo travel due to extreme cold or heat. It is better to pay a little more to have them up in the cabin with you where you can keep an eye on them.
Visit the vet prior to travel, this is a must. Most airlines require your pet be up-to-date on their shots and have a vet see them to assure they are okay to travel. Additionally, if you have a flight that is over five hours, it is best to pick one with many stops. The pet must usually be kept enclosed in their kennel and under the seat at all times. It would help them to have breaks so they can use the restroom.
Prior to flying, check the airline website for the exact cost of in-cabin pet travel, this can usually be found on their "FAQs" section. Also, this section should tell you what size kennel is acceptable. Usually a soft kennel that allows the pet to move around is acceptable, but you have to get the exact size. Many pet stores sell airline approved kennels. Also, some airlines only allow up to five or seven pets per plane. You need to make a reservation for your pet, by calling the airline, to ensure they are accepted on the flight. If you wing it, your pet may get denied.
Let your pet eat and use the bathroom several hours before flying. Train them to stay in their kennel for an hour or more a few weeks before their flight. Also, let them get some exercise at home before flying because they may need to be still for a few hours or more.
Your vet may be able to prescribe you some calming medications or you can buy all natural herbal remedies to help your pet with the travel.
Pay your pet fee at the ticket counter before boarding. When going through security, you need to take your pet out of its kennel and place the kennel in the scanner, while you and your pet walk through the body scanner. If you have a cat, ensure your cat is calm before doing so. Some cats have been so afraid, they jumped out of their owner's arms.
Bring a small plastic bag with food and treats. Also, a small, portable tray to put some water for them, as needed. You can buy water on the plane. For your trip, bring your pet's harness, some food, toys and a portable litter box for a cat. Pack the portable litter box or have an idea of a nearby store at your destination so that you can buy one. Once on the plane, keep your pet in their kennel, under the seat in front of you at all times. You can unzip the kennel a little to pet them or give them food or water.
Your pet can enjoy the trip as much as you do with some preparation and it is certainly enjoyable to see new sights with your furry best friend.
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