MJ Wixsom: Exploring the world with furry friends

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 27, 2023

I’m packing to head to a conference.  I am lucky to have a safe place for the fur kids, but we have traveled with them in the past. As more and more people consider their pets as beloved family members, the trend of traveling with furry companions has soared to new heights. 

From weekend getaways to adventurous road trips, pet-friendly travel has become a sought-after experience for pet owners seeking to create lasting memories with their four-legged friends. If you’re planning a trip with your pet, we’ve gathered some valuable tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for both of you.

Before embarking on your adventure, make sure to find pet-friendly accommodations that will welcome your furry companion with open arms. 

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Many hotels, motels and vacation rentals now offer pet-friendly options, but it’s essential to check their policies and any additional fees or restrictions that may apply. Websites and apps dedicated to pet-friendly travel can be excellent resources for finding suitable accommodations that cater to your pet’s needs.

Exploring new destinations with your pet can be an exciting experience. Research pet-friendly attractions, parks, and outdoor spaces where your furry friend can stretch their legs and enjoy some quality playtime. 

Remember to respect any rules and regulations regarding leashes, waste disposal, and pet etiquette in public areas. Additionally, consider engaging in pet-centric activities such as hiking, swimming, or visiting pet-friendly cafes or stores.

Before hitting the road, it’s crucial to ensure your pet is well-prepared for the journey. Visit your veterinarian to ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date and discuss any specific health considerations related to travel. If your pet is not accustomed to car rides, gradually introduce them to short trips to help them acclimate and reduce anxiety. It’s also advisable to bring along your pet’s favorite toys, bedding, and familiar items to provide a sense of comfort and familiarity during the journey.

Don’t forget ID Tags and Microchipping: It’s crucial to have identification tags on your pet’s collar with your current contact information. Additionally, consider microchipping your pet as a permanent form of identification. Keep the microchip details updated with your contact information.

Dining Experiences: Look for restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating areas that welcome pets. It can be a delightful experience to enjoy a meal while your furry companion lounges nearby.

Pet-Friendly Events: Research local events or festivals that cater to pets and their owners. These gatherings often provide opportunities for socialization and entertainment for both humans and animals.

During travel, prioritize your pet’s safety and comfort. Secure them in a well-ventilated crate or carrier that is appropriate for their size. This will help prevent distractions while driving and protect your pet in case of an accident. Keep in mind that temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly, even with the windows cracked, so never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. Plan regular rest stops for bathroom breaks, exercise, and hydration, and always keep your pet on a leash when outside the vehicle.

Don’t forget to pack a travel bag for your pet. Include necessities such as food, treats, medications, water, bowls, waste bags, and a first-aid kit. Having these items readily available will ensure your pet’s well-being throughout the journey. Additionally, consider bringing along their medical records and identification tags, including your contact information, in case your pet gets lost.

If you’re traveling by air, familiarize yourself with the airline’s pet travel policies and guidelines. Some airlines allow small pets to travel in the cabin, while others require them to be transported in the cargo hold. Personally, cargo transport scares me. Ensure that your pet meets the airline’s requirements for carrier size, health certifications, and other necessary documentation. It’s advisable to book direct flights to minimize stress and avoid potential layovers or extended time in cargo areas.

Traveling with your pet can create cherished memories and strengthen the bond you share. 

By following these tips and planning ahead, you can embark on a remarkable adventure together, discovering pet-friendly destinations and enjoying the wonders of the world side-by-side.

Exploring pet-friendly destinations and engaging in activities that accommodate pets can be an exciting part of your travel experience. 

Here are a few suggestions:

Outdoor Adventures: Seek out nature trails, dog-friendly beaches, and parks where your pet can roam and enjoy the great outdoors. Remember to adhere to local leash laws and clean up after your pet.

Sightseeing: Many cities now offer pet-friendly attractions such as outdoor markets, historical sites, or pet-friendly museums. Check the policies and guidelines of each location before visiting.

While traveling with pets requires extra planning and consideration, the rewards of shared adventures and cherished memories can make it all worthwhile. By adhering to pet-friendly accommodations, prioritizing safety, and seeking out destinations and activities that cater to our furry friends, we can embark on unforgettable journeys together.

I will be solo this trip, but it is okay. I won’t have time for them anyway. The conference starts at 6:30 a.m. and goes until about 9 p.m. 

I will miss snuggling though.

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566