From the perspective of Happy, Lady & Lucy
We love adventures! Heavens, we are canine travel writers, so we really dig getting away, seeing new sights, smelling new stuff. A getaway with our humans? Just say the word and we’ll be right by your side! But, even we have to admit that having separate vacations is sometimes better for us – and for you.
How do you know when to take us along? The truth of the matter is the logistics of pet travel can often be daunting, depending on the circumstances. Here are our rules of paw, so to speak, to help you decide what to do:
Does your pet travel well?
Some of us get car and airsick. Some of us are just plain nervous, while some of us are so exhilarated, our excitement can barely be contained to the point of nuisance. So, if we aren’t great travelers – and if you aren’t willing to put in the training time to teach us how to be good travelers – don’t bring us along. We’ll all be happier if you keep us home.
Will it be hot where you’re going?
Traveling in the heat by car and vacationing in a hot climate can be challenging. Why, finding us a shady spot to rest or a green patch to relieve ourselves can be a job all in itself! And what if you can’t find a restaurant that accepts dogs? We can’t stay in the car and wait for you as we could quickly and perilously be overcome by the heat. What’s your plan to avoid this?
Travelling by air?
Airlines today are becoming more accommodating when it comes to flying with us in the cabin. There are even private jet companies that cater to pet owners. But, traveling with us can be expensive, and if you have more than one pet, it gets more complicated and even more expensive.
Flying us by cargo is also an option, but understandably, many owners don’t want to risk the health of their pets in this way as we’re treated like luggage, not as passengers. A pets and flying interview was recently conducted by ABC News that led to disturbing admissions about pets in cargo. In the article, Kirsten Theisen, director of pet care issues for the Humane Society of the United States, stated that “flying with your pet… should be a last resort when there is no other option.” She went on to note that “they’re far better off with a pet sitter or in a kennel than on a plane. Pets can and do die in cargo.”
Have you thought of all the accommodation logistics?
Hotels and motels
If you aren’t going the RV route or staying with friends (if the later, don’t forget to politely clear it with them, first!), you need to thoroughly check ahead of time the pet policy of your accommodations and how much each pet costs. Most places, no matter how pet friendly, do not permit you to leave us in the room without a sitter. So, if you want to go out but can’t take us with you, you’ll need to make plans for us, as well.
Does your pet make the occasional mistake? It happens, even to the best of us (not us, of course!). Make sure you take us out regularly for potty breaks and bring poo bags, as well as the necessary cleaning paraphernalia for any mistakes in the room. Otherwise, you could lose your pet deposit or have a big cleaning bill.
Will we be able to participate in most of your activities? If you are scuba diving all day, then frying on a boat may not be much fun or healthy for us, unless there is ample cool cover and lots of fresh water for us to drink. Are you mountain skiing? Well, what are we going to do all day while you are on the slopes? If you are cross-country skiing or hiking, does the park permit us to go along with you? Are we in good enough shape to keep up? Will we be wearing a pack to carry our own things such as emergency kit, coat, water and food or are you hauling it all for us?
If it’s better for us to not participate in your vacation activities, make sure you know ahead of time how you will take care of us while you are off having fun without us!
This is the reality of travelling with pets. It takes a lot of careful planning. So, after considering everything, is it worth it for us to come along? To help you decide, Psychology Today wrote a great piece on the safety of pets traveling by air and gives an overview of incidents based on airline over the years. However, only you can truly judge per your circumstances. But, please think of what’s best for our welfare. It may very well be that staying comfortably home with a dog sitter or staying at a familiar kennel will be the best and happiest option for all of us.
Happy, Lady and Lucy are the Cavalier King Charles mascots and bloggers of Happy Lady Productions, a philanthropic book publisher that supports animal welfare and pet therapy organizations. Happy Lady Productions is run by the husband-and-wife creative team of photo illustrator Dan Merchant and writer Emily Randolph.