Monday, June 20, 2011

Pet-Friendly Travel Tips from Dr. Donna Spector

Cosmo Havanese packs his bags with all the essentials
According to a recent survey from, an international pet travel service provider, 58 percent of people surveyed indicated they planned to travel with their pets this summer. And of those, 71 percent say safety is the No. 1 priority.*

Cosmo and I will be right there with the pet travelers, and so we're pleased to bring you these travel tips from Dr. Donna Spector and VCA Animal Hospitals to keep you and your pets happy and safe during your travels anytime of year!

Being prepared will not only ease vacation stress, but also ensure your summer trip is a fabulous pet vacation, VCA veterinarian and pet health expert Dr. Donna Spector recommends keeping the following tips in mind:
  1. Make Proper Travel Arrangements – If you are flying, make sure to reserve a space with the airline. There is a fee and are a limited number of pets on each flight. Depending on your pet’s size, they may be unable to fly in the cabin and this will require further information from the airline. If the airline can’t accommodate you, it may be worthwhile to check out Pet Airways, the world’s first pet-only airline.
  2. Find Lodging – Have you asked about pet friendly hotels or facilities in your vacation area? Facilities run the gamut from being “no pets allowed” to “pet tolerant” to “pet friendly”. Pet tolerant facilities often require a deposit and usually do not provide special treatment for your dog or cat. Pet friendly hotels and facilities usually go out of their way—offering special treats at check-in, play programs, day care and sometimes even special spa treats for your pet. Call ahead to get details and to reserve a space for your pet.
  3. Find Pet-Centric Activities – Is there a local pet day care where you’re visiting? Or, a doggie day camp you can enroll your pet in? Finding these facilities provide fun not only for your pet, but also allow you to have dinner or get a massage without worrying.
  4. Preparing to Leave – Before leaving for vacation with your pet, be sure to visit your local vet for a check-up. Is he/she current on their vaccinations, as well as flea, tick, parasite and heartworm prevention? It’s also smart to have your pet micro-chipped, if they haven’t been already, which will enable identification if they ever get lost. Be sure to ask for a health certificate when you’re at the vet and all of your pet’s vaccination tags. If your pet has a medical condition, take a copy of pertinent medical records in the event of an emergency. If possible, identify a veterinarian in the area where you will be vacationing. VCA Animal Hospitals are located in 41 U.S. states:
  5. Know the Law – Before heading on your vacation, be sure to inquire about local leash and dog laws. Can your dog be on the beach? In the woods? On or off leash? What outdoor cafes and restaurants allow pets?
As you pack for your trip, having the proper pet travel gear with you will ensure a smoother vacation for the whole family. Dr. Spector recommends bringing along the following items on vacation:
  1. Food and water bowls
  2. Portable (collapsible) bowls for day excursions
  3. Food in airtight containers—it is important to keep your pet’s diet the same while on vacation to prevent stomach upset
  4. Poop scooper and bags—to properly clean up after your dog
  5. Extra collar and leash—in case the original gets wet, torn or lost
  6. Identification tags—make sure there is a cell phone number on the tags in the event your pet gets lost
  7. Medication—bring any prescription or non-prescription medication your pet is taking
  8. Pet First Aid Kit—ask your veterinarian what to include for your particular pet. Good things to include are benadryl (diphenhydramine), triple antibiotic ointment, general antiseptic (nolvasan or betadine), bandage material (sterile gauze and a wrapping material), tweezers (for tick removal from pets or people if needed), emergency veterinary contact information
  9. Pet bed or something comfy to sleep on as well as toys they are familiar with
  10. Dog life jacket (if you are taking any aquatic excursions)
Traveling with pets can be fun and enjoyable for all, especially if you come prepared!  

About Dr. Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Donna Spector is a board-certified veterinary internist who has written and lectured extensively on nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and other animal health issues. She has over a decade of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, helps over 60 general veterinarians across the country manage difficult medical cases every week, provides continuing education for over 2,000 veterinarians every month, is the chief veterinary advisor to Halo, Purely for Pets (a prominent holistic pet food company co-owned by Ellen DeGeneres), serves as a veterinary expert on several nation-wide radio talk shows, and has her advice widely quoted on popular pet blogs and in pet-oriented publications.

*PetRelocation's second annual Summer Pet Travel Survey of more than 10,000 pet owners worldwide


  1. We are all about traveling with dogs. I wanted you to know that I passed on the versatile blogger award to you today.
    See ya, Roxy the traveling dog

  2. Today is your lucky day! I see Roxy just gave you the Versatile Blogger Award. Because you inspire us with your travels and activities Kirby and I are dropping by to give you the Inspiration Award!

  3. The petairways sounds so awesome. What a great idea
    Benny & Lily

  4. As the economy continues contracting people are looking to stay close to home and therefore take their pets with them on holiday, home rental owners who market their property as pet friendly are certain to be the ones who gain from this. As owners realise this you will see more properties come on as pet friendly and more of a better quality too.

    A lover of Pet Friendly Cottages