It's family vacation time and everyone's excited about getting away – even the pooch! For anyone who has a pet (I just got a puppy three months ago) we know that we treat our animals like they're a part of the family, so why shouldn't they get a little R&R as well? It seems like more and more hotels (such as the Sofitel in Montreal) are offering pet-friendly rooms and amenities, making dog travel that much easier – they have really sound-proof rooms and quite often they come with a little pet bed, water and food bowls, and even a few "welcome treats."
If you're traveling with your pet this summer, here are a few things you should remember:
– Bring their papers, including proof of all vaccines. You never know when you'll need this. You may also want to bring their medical records and their vet's name and phone number. If something happens where you have to seek emergency help for your pet, they'll need to see your dog's medical past and you'll want them to take note of anything that they do so you can update your own veterinarian when you get home.
– Strap em in. A lot of people let their pooches roam freely in the car but, God forbid you get into an accident, your pet won't be very safe. At pet stores they sell various harnesses that attach to existing seatbelts so that your dog is safely held in place. Also, don't hold them in your lap, even if you're a passenger – in the event of a collision your airbags could deploy with the pup in your lap, and the impact of just the airbag could be fatal. And besides, if you're traveling alone you really don't want to be distracted by your dog jumping from seat to seat.
– Bring plenty of their food. Sure you can buy pet food almost anywhere, but you don't want to have to use a brand new type of food while you're away from home – Fido's belly may not be too receptive to something new and he/she could get sick. Also bring the actual bag of food – if you do run out and need to replace it with something else, at least you can bring your pet's current food to the store and have them find something with similar ingredients so the transition is easier.
– Ask for an emergency number upon arrival. If a hotel allows dogs then they also probably know of local vets, pet stores and more. Make sure you have an emergency number just in case… you never know when you'll need it.