(Family Features) For pet parents, traveling can be tricky, from finding a reliable pet sitter to worrying about your pet’s separation anxiety while you’re gone. To help alleviate some stress, consider a popular alternative: bringing your pet along for the journey.
As Americans are hitting the roads, many will do so with their pets. The majority (54 percent) of cat and dog owners plan to travel with their pets in the next year, according to a survey by Motel 6, an economy lodging option where pets always stay free.
“Traveling with your pet is great for socialization and training, especially for younger animals,” said Dr. Rhonda Phillips, veterinarian and Patriot PAWS board member. “Just a few simple steps like thinking twice while packing, making pit stops along the way and doing some research before your trip can help take away some of the stress pet owners may have about traveling with their furry friends.”
Phillips recommends these tips for pet owners planning a trip with a cat or dog:
Check with your vet: If you are traveling between states, be aware some states require a health certificate if you’re visiting for more than 10 days, which your veterinarian can provide. It’s also a good idea to get some advice before traveling if your pet is prone to anxiety or nausea during travel.
Don’t forget pit stops: More than one-third (39 percent) of those planning to travel with a pet within the next year said the next trip they plan to take is a road trip. While road tripping, it is crucial for pets to have regular bathroom breaks and stretch their legs, just like humans. Phillips recommends stopping every two to four hours, depending on age and size of the animal.
Beat the heat: When traveling in the warmer months, never leave your pet in the car, even with the windows cracked. The temperature in your vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in 10 minutes and increase the longer you are away. Heat strokes can be fatal to animals within minutes. Also be aware sunburns can occur in dogs, primarily those with light or white-colored fur. Just like human sunburns, they can potentially lead to cancer, so ensure your pet doesn’t spend too much time in the sun.
Scope out pet-friendly lodging: Finding pet-friendly lodging accommodations is the biggest hurdle when traveling with a furry friend, according to 44 percent of pet parents surveyed. Before booking, ensure any hotels you’re considering are pet-friendly to avoid any surprises like extra fees. One option is Motel 6, which is one of the few hotels where pets stay free. You can have up to two pets per room with a combined weight of 150 pounds or less. Other local restrictions may apply, so it’s a good idea to contact the specific property before you plan to travel.
Don’t pack light: Bring your pet’s food and water bowls as well as toys when traveling, as the familiarity can help ease anxiety. Travel with an assortment of entertainment options, such as catnip toys for cats, tug and chew toys or even ice cubes, to keep your pet’s mind busy and avoid boredom. Also pack a pet emergency kit filled with your furry friend’s medications, light bandage material, roll gauze, medical tape, topical triple antibiotic ointment and eye wash.
Keep pets contained: When traveling by car, dogs should be harnessed or leashed, and cats should be in a carrier to provide accident protection and prevent them from jumping out. When staying in a pet-friendly hotel, bring a collapsible kennel or carrier to keep pets from running out the door and protect housekeepers who may enter the room.
Find more information at motel6.com/en/home/promo/pet-friendly.html.