Traveling with Your Pet

Are you bringing your pet on vacation? Here’s Some Do’s and Don’ts When Traveling with Your Pet

The New Trend

More people own dogs now than ever before. They are part of the family. As such, they deserve to go on vacation too, right? A 2017 survey of National Pet Owners by the American Pet Products Association found that 37 percent of pet owners travel with their pets every year, a 19 percent increase from a decade ago.

Airlines and hotels are jumping on board. Many hotels now offer special dog-friendly menus and services (massage with your pet? Yes please). More airlines are pet-friendly. Wisconsin advertises itself as “pet-friendly†to draw tourists.

“We were seeing it as a nationwide trend,” says Lisa Marshall, communications director for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. “Personally, I think the pet-friendly travel trend reflects a bigger trend in pet ownership and how dogs are treated like family members

TripAdvisor’s Traveling with Pets Survey of more than 1,100 travelers and more than 700 pet owners concluded that 37 percent of respondents with pets would pay more to stay at accommodations that are pet-friendly with 50 percent of dog owners willing to fork over more for pet-friendly lodgings.

Rules Rules Rules

Each airline and hotel is different. First, keep in mind that although you may see more pets in the air now, there are differences between emotional support animals, therapy animals, and services animals, and the travel policies for them are different too. Before traveling, get familiar with your preferred airlines’ policies.

1. Plan Ahead

If you are a fly-by-the-seat type of person and are willing to jump on the next plane to Dubai, good for you. But don’t plan on bringing your pet. Some airlines have breed:  restrictions in place, such as American Airlines. They also have restrictions on where your pets can travel to.

2. Health Certificate

No matter the airline’s policy, your dog needs to be current on shots and vaccinations before traveling. Have you ever flown for work or vacation and gotten sick shortly after? Not fun for us, and not fun for your pup either. Some airlines, like American Airlines, require a health certificate issued within specific dates.

3. Fork it Over

Traveling isn’t cheap and it isn’t any cheaper with your pet. Know that most airlines and hotels charge fees for pets and be willing to pay a few extra hundred dollars.

4. I’ve Got To Go

What could be worse than the guy next to you getting up to go to the bathroom the whole flight? If his dog does too. Make sure your pet goes before boarding. Some airports, like Denver International, have doggy relief areas. But don’t rely on this. It’s best if your pet travels on an empty or light stomach.

5. ID

You thought you got through TSA? Well, your pet needs some identification too. No matter your method of travel, make sure your pet is microchipped and the contact information is current. Your pet will need an ID tag and a picture to fly. Again, make sure you are very familiar with your airline’s policies.

6. In Case of Emergency

Make sure you have look at veterinarians at your destination. Just like sometimes we have to go to the emergency room, you want to make sure there is a place to take your pet if the need arises.

Although airlines collect $27 million annually from animal travelers and it’s becoming more common to travel with your pet, keep in mind it might not be the right option for your pet. Just like traveling can be stressful for us, it can be even more so for your pet. It may be a better idea, and more cost-effective, to keep your pet with a trusted friend or boarding facility while you’re stuck in line at TSA.