Pet Travel: Summer Vacation Tips for Your Dog, Cat

Get Your Pets Used to the Car: Comfort is the key here. Often, the only time pets ride in the car is when they're visiting the vet or groomer, so they may not always associate a car ride with positive feelings and may even be afraid to ride in the car. Teach them instead that car rides can be fun by taking them for short road trips to a dog park, a friend's house for a play date or to a new place to take a long walk.

Proper Identification: Just in case he or she gets lost while traveling, you want to be sure your pet is wearing up-to-date ID tags. The most important thing that needs to be listed on the tag is an emergency contact phone number, but it's also a good idea to mention if you'll offer a reward if someone returns your pet to you or if your pet needs any medication.

Car Sickness: Some pets tend to get car sick. Try not to feed them for a few of hours before the trip.

Restrain Your Pets: Free to paw their way around the car, unrestrained pets can be a distraction to drivers and can get injured if the car makes a sudden stop or is involved in an accident, even if it's just a fender bender.

While most dogs love to hang their heads out of the car window and feel the wind in their fur, it's best not to indulge them. They can easily be injured by debris flying into their eyes. Secure your pet in a crate or with a harness to keep it safe. If you plan to keep your pet in a travel crate while riding in the car, it's important that you familiarize your pet with its crate by having it rest inside the crate around the house. The more familiar pets are with their surroundings, the more comfortable and secure they'll be once inside the car.

Don't Leave Your Pet Alone in the Car: As with people, dogs and cats are susceptible to heat stroke, even if it isn't that hot outside or the car windows are left open, and can even be stolen. Make sure you know where your pet is at all times.

Flying With Pets

Bringing your dog or cat on the plane isn't as easy as just walking up to the gate and boarding.

Airlines have lengthy lists of rules and regulations meant to ensure your pet's safety. But they can be somewhat daunting.

The size of your pet, the number of other animals on the plane and the kind of aircraft are all limitations that can be imposed.

American Airlines, for instance, says animals brought inside the airplane must fit in carriers that are 19 inches long, by 13 inches wide and 9 inches high. Animals must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in the kennel.

Passengers can only bring on kennel with them, although two dogs or two cats of the same species can be in the same kennel as long they with no more than a combined 20 pounds.

Sounds easy enough? Well, American and other airlines limit the number of pets allowed in the cabin. You wouldn't want 110 dogs on your flight, would you?

So pets must have their own reservation. (It's also a chance for the airline to collect it's $100, one-way fee for bringing a pet into the cabin.) American only allows up to seven pets per flight (a maximum of five in coach) on most flights but limits them to two pets on regional jet flights run by American Eagle.

Then there is the question of your destination. Carry-on pets are not allowed to or from Hawaii or on trips across the oceans.

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