What You Should Know Before Bringing Your Pet on Vacation

What You Should Know Before Bringing Your Pet on Vacation

Family vacations can be the highlight of the year – but also a point of stress. For many families, their four-legged furry roommates are members of the family. Most pet owners will make arrangements for their pets, either taking them to a boarding facility or leaving them with a pet sitter or friend.

In an ideal world, you’ll always bring your pet on vacation with you. There are pros and cons to taking your pet on vacation, and several things you should consider before doing so.

Consider This

Even if your furry friend is an integral part of your family, that doesn’t necessarily mean vacation is right for them. Always consider the safety and happiness of your pet! Do they even like traveling? Do planes, trains, and automobiles tend to stress them out?

Furthermore, what is your pet’s attitude when it comes to other people? Your pet could potentially affect other vacationers in the same location. If you have a dog who growls or is stressed in new locations, they might not be a good fit for a vacation. If your cat is a creature of habit and needs their space and litter pan, they may cause more stress for you on vacation. Not to mention, they could scratch up hotel rooms and yowl well into the night, causing problems for everyone.

If your pet does travel well, likes strangers, and tends to keep their friendly demeanor, they could be a wonderful companion on a vacation.

Benefits of Vacations with Pets

Once you get past the potential red flags, there are some great pros to bringing your pet with you. After all, pets are family and leaving them out of the fun and memories can be hard. Some of those benefits include:
  • Ensuring they get the best care (from you!)
  • Less stress since the pet knows you and doesn’t have a stranger taking care of them
  • Extra attention for your pet in a more relaxed setting
  • New adventures, experiences, smells, and sights
  • A chance to pamper them even more!

Drawbacks to Vacationing with Pets

Before going on vacation, consider some of these potential drawbacks:
  • Obtaining accommodation can be more difficult as some motels, hotels, hostels, Air BNBs, and bed and breakfast places do not allow them
  • Potential car sickness if traveling for an extended period
  • Making room for packing extra items for your pet
  • Making extra stops for dog walks along a road trip
  • Difficulty finding restaurants that will allow animals
  • Stress during flights from being in a confined space
  • Extra fees to accommodate your pet

Finding Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Perhaps the most important and obvious step is to find accommodations that are pet-friendly. Do this well in advance to save a headache later. Ask for pet policies and try to get them in writing.

Go off the beaten track. Major hotel chains might not be welcoming to pets, but smaller bed and breakfast or local inns might be more open-minded. There are plenty of places open to pets in Europe – you should consider going on holiday with your dog in Scotland, where there are plenty of dog-friendly spots.

Also, check for fees and deposits for pets and if you don’t like them, keep looking.

Additional Tips

Here are some extra tips for travel etiquette before going on holiday with your animals:
  • Have your pet’s health checked to make sure they are healthy enough for travel. Use prevention methods like flea treatment prior to the frequent stops you’ll be making.
  • Before trying to enter any restaurant, venue, or park, check the pet policy.
  • Bring blankets to cover furniture if your pet sheds.
  • Bring plenty of toys and entertainment so they don’t start chewing and clawing on furniture out of boredom.
  • Make sure you walk them in areas designated for dogs and pick up after them responsibly.
  • If you have a cat, make room for litter and a litter box. Clean it frequently so it doesn’t trickle into the hall and other rooms.
  • Take them out first thing in the morning and before bedtime to minimize the risk of accidents in the room. You could face an extra cleaning charge if an accident does happen.
  • If you are flying, check the airline’s pet policy and notify them of your companion well in advance.
  • Talk to your vet before travel and see what you can do to minimize their stress during travel.
  • Carry proper identification for your pet and proof of vaccination, in case it needs to be provided at some point.

Taking your pet on holiday with you is not an easy or quick decision. There are many factors to consider and a lot of policies and practices to check on before taking the plunge. But if you make knowledgeable decisions, you can have a wonderful family vacation with your animals.

This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.


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