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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Guest Blogger: Travel with Pets!

I am honored to have my first guest post from @KendraThornton, a travel tweeter and TV personality with a Chicago following.  We are collaborating on a few articles, as we both have travelled often and would love share our experiences with you.

How to Keep Your Pets Comfortable When Traveling
Bringing pets on vacation is both fun and challenging. I wouldn't even consider not bringing our beloved family dog with us when we travel, but it does take some special preparations. I'm having family visiting me here in Chicago next month, and they'll be bringing along their own dog. I've shared some tips with them that I've been applying for years and I'll share some of them with you as well.
If you're traveling with a dog, flying should be avoided if at all possible. Airlines have different policies regarding pets, but the main point to keep in mind is that dogs hate to fly. A flight of any length is likely to be traumatic for your pet, especially if it has to fly in cargo. Smaller dogs may be allowed to sit with you in a carrying case, but this isn't exactly fun for them either. It's better to take a little extra time and drive. At least then the dog can get occasional breaks along the way.
If you're going to be driving a long distance, crating the dog is sometimes the best option. I don't like to do this, as it feels like we're locking our dog up in a little prison. However, many pet experts say that this is the best way to keep the dog feeling secure. It's also safer than having a dog jumping all over the car. Remember, it's only for a limited period of time. When I do crate our dog, I make sure to give her plenty of exercise beforehand.
On some vacations, we go out on boats and like to take our dog along. When we do this, we always put a flotation vest on our dog. This is an essential safety tip to keep in mind if you ever bring your dog near water. Even dogs that can swim can get into trouble if they fall into the water. They could get tired or pulled into a strong current. Make sure you bring a flotation vest for your dog if you're vacationing near water.
Before we take our dog on vacation, I make certain preparations. I always take her to the vet for a checkup. It's good to get a certified statement from the vet to confirm that the dog is healthy and has all the mandatory vaccinations. Before you travel, make sure you research any laws or restrictions involving animals. We've also micro chipped our dog, which is a procedure I recommend to all pet owners. This can be a lifesaver if your pet ever gets lost.
When we go on vacation, I try to maintain the same routine for our dog as I follow at home. In the heart of Chicago there are some great hotels for both families and dogs that will help you stay in that routine. While some things are going to be different, I can at least feed and walk her at the same time as usual. I also bring along some of her favorite foods and treats to make her feel at home.

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