TRAVELING WITH YOUR FURRY FRIENDS

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If Fluffy and Fido refuse to be left behind on your vacation, have no fear – Warren Eckstein has some advice to help make sure you all have a happy and safe time.

Pets are a very important part of most families, and more than ever before, people are including their pets when traveling or on family vacations. Pets can add many new dimensions. It’s always easier to meet new people when your pet is with you. But, you have to keep in mind that travel is not right for all pets. Age, physical conditions and temperament should always be taken into consideration. The key is to prepare in advance.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE YOU GO:

PEOPLE PREPARATION

Call in advance: Whether you’re renting a house or staying at a hotel or motel, be sure to contact the property. Tell them you want to make special arrangements to bring your pet. Often properties have restrictions on the number, type, size or weight of the pets they allow. Also, pets may be restricted to smoking rooms or certain areas of the property. So ask a lot of questions.

Fees: Be sure to ask about any non-refundable fees or refundable deposits that are required.

Home alone: Ask if your pet is allowed to be left unattended while in the room and, if so, if the pet must be crated.

Ground floor: You may want to request a ground-floor room to make late night walks a little easier.

Hotels: There are some chains at every level that are pet friendly. They include:

La Quinta inns:

They have 350 pet-friendly locations from coast to coast. Cats and dogs up to 50 pounds are accepted in all guest rooms nationwide.

Loews hotels:

All pets are VIPs. You get information on local dog walking routes and area pet services and pet friendly restaurants. Amenities include food and water bowls with placemats, toys and treats. Pet room service menus are available, including vegetarian entrees. Pet walking and sitting services are available. Loews will even supply leashes, collars, litter boxes and pooper scoopers.

Orient Express hotels:

They have four luxury hotels: Windsor Court in New Orleans, The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, Maryland; Keswick Hall, Charlottesville, VA; Charleston Place, Charleston, S.C. The staff is very welcoming and guests with pets say it’s worth every penny.

If you are in Los Angeles, the Beverly Hills Hotel makes pets welcome with a ‘Canine Connoisseur Program.’ Everything from doggie dishes to dog beds, personalized homemade cookies, room service menu and a 24-hour dog walking service.

There are also bed & breakfasts that cater to or welcome pets. Always call in advance to check it out.

PET PREPARATION

Vet visit: Before you go on a trip with your pet, you should always take them to the vet. As you’ll see below, get a health certificate listing latest shots, copies of prescriptions, your vet’s name and phone number.

Medication: Check your supply and fill up if need be.

Sedatives: Don’t give sedatives without checking with you vet. It could interfere with your pet’s ability to maintain his balance and equilibrium which could prevent your pet from being able to brace himself and prevent injury. Air travel while under the influence of these medications is especially dangerous as exposure to increased altitude can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

Food: If you’re not sure if your pet’s regular brand of food is available during your travels, bring enough of it with you.

Kitty litter: You should pack your cat’s regular litter box and kitty litter. It can be disturbing to use other kinds of litter.

CAR TRAVEL

Desensitize: This is especially true if the only time your pet goes in the car is to go to the vet. They might not be so thrilled to pile in with the family for an eight-hour drive to the beach.

Use a carrier or doggie seat belt: It’s much safer in case of an accident and it will prevent Fido or Fluffy from distracting the driver.

Noses inside: Never permit your pet to hang his head out the window. Each year pets escape into traffic or suffer eye injuries from blowing debris. It can also give them respiratory problems.

Stops: Make sure to build in ample stops for walks and water.

Never alone: Never leave your pet unattended in the car. The temperature increases and dehydration and heatstroke can set in rapidly.

MAKE SURE TO BRING:

* Extra leash and collar
* I.D. tag with two numbers – one at home, one where you are staying
* Food and water dishes
* Bottle water/treats from home. You don’t know what’s in the water on the road, it might upset their stomachs.
* Cooler with ice: Pets are very susceptible to heatstroke.
* Health certificate/vet’s name and number
* A dirty blanket from home
* Favorite toys
* A recent photo and written description including name, breed, gender, height, weight, coloring and distinctive markings
* Grooming supplies
* Flea and tick repellents
* First aid kit
* Pre-moistened wipes with no alcohol