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Norwich Bulletin - 8/31/2008

Traveling With Your Pet

Summertime is a great time to have fun with your pets. Going to parks, camping, and other vacation spots with your dog (or cat) makes for a bonding experience between human and companion animal, as well as you providing quality time and care for you pet. But there are dos and doníts for summer travel with your animals (or just at home summer care), and here are some of the top considerations during the hot months, which continue on until October.

Never ever leave your pet in a parked vehicle. Temperatures inside cars can rise to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes. If you cannot bring your pet inside with you because pets are not allowed, then leave your dog or cat at home in a comfortable temperature.

It is important to prevent dehydration while traveling in the summer, by keeping your pets refreshed with non-tip bowls of water. Bowls should be kept full of fresh water at home. And when you are traveling, keep some bottles of water and ice cubes in your cooler, specifically for your cat or dog.

If you can, keep your pets inside on hot days, especially if you have a breed of dog or cat that is known to have difficulty breathing. If you must leave your animals outside, make sure they have access to a shaded area as well as fresh water.

You need to protect your pets against parasites. Depending on where you are traveling to, consider what you will need to guard against whatever pests are prevalent in the area; fleas, ticks, venomous spiders, and even rattlesnakes. Check with your vet to decide what you need to bring for prevention or, if necessary, treatment.

Make sure you have packed important pet necessities like, toys, bedding, a leash, litter box, cleaning supplies, and medical records and medications. Keep a pet first aid kit and your vetís phone number close by for emergencies.

Do not ever drive with your pets in the back of a pick-up truck! Dogs and cats should ride up front with you, in either a secure crate of wearing a seat belt!

Microchip your pets along with collars and identification tags that have a current address and cell phone number in case your dog or cat gets loose. This gives you the best chances of finding your pet and getting him back.;

If you are traveling on a plane, I recommend only travel if you cat or dog is small enough to ride with you in the cabin. It is expensive; anywhere from $85 to $125 one way, so be sure you really want your pet with you during your weekís vacation. Sometimes the animalís plane ticket is more than the humanís! Remember that more than 5,000 animals are killed, injured or lost on commercial flights each year. Most of these injuries and deaths are due to extreme heat or cold, poorly ventilated cargo holds, or mishandling of the kennels by baggage personnel.

Try to get a direct flight, which is pretty hard nowadays if you must ship your pet through cargo so your dog or cat is not left in Chicago while you are off to Seattle. Each airline has its own requirements, so make sure you check before you bring your pet with you to the airport. Usually you must have a reservation for your pet and some airlines still require a health certificate.

The safest airlines to fly with your pet at this time is Continental. Continental has developed a PetSafe program for animals that are too big to travel in cabin. While you may pay a little more, the knowledge your pet is going to be safe, is well worth it.

The PetSafe program allows pets that previously traveled as checked baggage to experience certain safeguards when they travel as cargo (in a separate air controlled cargo area), keeping them safe. There is a 24 hour Live Animal Desk (1-800-575-3335), confirmed booking prior to departure, weather conditions monitored at all points and the ability to track and trace the animal from its origin to its destination.

The animals receive personal handling in climate controlled vehicles for connections if the animal would be exposed to temperatures above 85 degrees for more than forty-five minutes. Continental has gone the extra mile to assure passengers of the safety of their pets while traveling with their airline.

In order to travel with your pet, it will take some initiative in finding hotels and other means of travel that will accept a dog or cat. If you are not willing to take the time to research the different places you will be going to see how animal friendly it will be, you will have a very stressful vacation and perhaps might want to consider leaving your pet at home with a pet sitter or in a kennel setting.

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