Traveling With Your Pet
If you can't imagine fully enjoying your next vacation without your four-footed friend, then you'll simply have to bring her along.
But how will you travel with your pet: by plane or by car?
If you must fly, plan ahead. You will need to notify your airline in advance. If your dog is small and can be carried on board, and there are no other dogs booked on that flight, you'll be able to keep her in the cabin with you.
A larger dog must go in your airline-approved carrier, and she will travel in the cargo hold. Obviously this is somewhat stressful for an animal; a dose of vet-prescribed Valium can help. Be aware that if the weather is especially warm, the airline may refuse to transport your dog, for her own safety.
Couples traveling overseas will need to research quarantine regulations. If it turns out that the quarantine period is longer than your vacation, alas, it's off to the kennel the dog must go.
On the other hand, if you are going to take a car trip, bringing your dog along can be an extraordinary joy. (Maybe you have a dog like my friend Sadie. She sits in the backseat quietly snoozing, and wakes up periodically to give me a kiss.)
*The Ultimate Dog-Lover's Hotel*
Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
No bones about it: If you love your dog, DC, and luxury in equal parts, there is no place better in the world to stay at than the Four Seasons Hotel at the edge of Georgetown.
The last time I checked in with Jesse, a bon vivant cocker spaniel, the following goodies greeted us in our suite on a silver platter:
- Six home-baked, heart-shaped crunchy dog biscuits sitting on a doily on yet a smaller silver platter
- a crystal bud vase holding a single dendrobium orchid
- a bottle of Evian
- a dog bowl with paws for feet
- a squeaky toy in the shape of a newspaper
- and a personal, hand-written letter from the assistant manager, welcoming Jesse to The Four Seasons Washington, DC.
Jesse was a well-traveled dog, but this, I could tell, impressed him mightily.
Driving Miss Doggie
Numerous campgrounds, B&Bs, inns, hotel chains, and resorts throughout the U.S. and Canada welcome guests with well-behaved dogs. Some charge a minimal one-time extra cleaning fee in advance; others do not.
When making a reservation, be sure to ask if pets are allowed. If the answer is no, and you still want to stay there, ask the reservationist to recommend a local boarding kennel, or call an area animal shelter for a recommendation.
Having worked at the ASPCA and seen tragedies that can befall animals on the road, I urge you to follow these guidelines to insure your dog's comfort and safety:
1. Before leaving home, especially if you haven't had your dog for long, take her on a test drive. Not all dogs are good travelers. Some get extremely anxious; others suffer from car sickness. Dogs like that are better left behind with someone responsible caring for them.
2. If your dog, like most, loves to ride in the car, great. Invest in a safety seat, restraint, or carrier to keep her extra secure.
3. Never leave her alone in a locked car in heat or severe cold. The hotter it is, and the longer you are gone, the more likely she will suffer terribly and perish in this situation.
4. Pack water and a plastic drinking bowl and allow her frequent stops to drink and relieve herself.
5. Bring dog food and treats from home.
6. Keep her on the leash at all times.
7. Don't allow her to stick her head out the window. She could fall out, be hit by debris, or get something in her eye. Trust me: You don't want to spend any of your vacation time and loot in a strange veterinarian's office.
After taking reasonable precautions and reaching your dog-friendly destination, you'll be ready to do out and have a great time with your dog. Whether your travels take you to the beach, a park, or elsewhere in the great outdoors, there's nothing like having your canine companion there to enjoy it with you.
Image appears courtesy of Dog-Graphics.