It’s almost summer travel (and summer PCS’ing) season. So we’ve asked the expert, Cloud Star all natural pet products founder Jennifer Melton for her advice on safely hitting the roads with your precious pets.
Here’s what she told us:
1. Assess your pet, and be realistic about your pet: Many animals simply do not enjoy traveling. If that’s the case with your cat or dog, it may be better to leave them home with a pet sitter or board them in a kennel while you are gone, if that’s possible.
2. If traveling by air (OCONUS PCS’ers, we’re talking to you), make sure that you make arrangements in advance for your pets. Many airlines have restrictions for when and how pets are allowed to be transported. Make sure that you know the airlines specifics when booking your own reservations. (And don’t assume the military will handle all the details.)
3. Take a collar and leash on any and all trips, and keep them handy.
4. Make sure that your pet has proper identification on. It’s a good idea to have three tags on your pet. The first should have your home contact information (keep it updated!), the second should have your destination contact information and a third should include rabies certification.
5. The safest way to transport your pet is in a crate. Make sure that your pet is familiar with their crate prior to traveling so that they will be comfortable.
6. Keep a recent photo of your pet with you when you travel. If you accidentally get separated from your pet, this photo may assist local agencies in finding your dog or car.
7. Bring along your pet’s regular food. Many dogs and cats don’t tolerate diet changes. (Given all the unpredictable changes that come with a PCS move, keeping food the same can be incredibly useful. Bring extra, since you can’t always guarantee you’ll find your brand of choice at your new destination.)
8. There are many terrific lodging alternatives available for you and your pets once you arrive at your destination. (The July issue of Military Spouse will bring you great info about pet-friendly military recreation areas!) But do plan ahead. Visit your local bookstore or get online to find books and websites specifically devoted to traveling with your pets.
9. Enjoy your trip! Traveling with your pets can bring a whole new dimension to your trip. All your planning efforts will be rewarded as you and your pet are discovering a new place together.
10. Check out www.cloudstar.com for blog entries, advice and lots of all-natural pet products!