Pet-friendly travel tips for holidaymakers

For pet parents, taking their pets along for a vacation can be exciting as well as challenging.

"As we head into the busy summer travel season, pet parents, like myself, are increasingly looking for ways to travel with their pets," said Dan Schachner, Animal Planet host and Puppy Bowl referee, in a press release initiated by pet specialty retailer Petco on May 6.

"Do your research ahead of time. Many hotels and even restaurants are catering to animals now, so knowing where to go and what to do before you leave can make your trip extra special for the whole family."

Here are several tips shared by Schachner to ensure holidaymakers enjoy their valuable time together with their pets wherever their destination may be.

Smart packing

Your packing checklist should include essentials like a leash and collar, a supply of sealed pet food and treats, your pet's favourite toys, disposable pet waste bags for picking up after your pet and food and water bowls.

Collapsible travel bowls are a popular option because they're easy to clean and store flat for packing.

Don't forget to pack pictures of your pets and their current vaccination records in case you become separated or have a medical emergency.

Ensure identification

Ensure proper identification is securely fastened to your pet's collar or harness and crate at all times while traveling. ID tags should list your pet's name, your name and your home address and mobile phone number.

Be sure to discuss your dog's health with your veterinarian before you make the trip and bring the required vaccination and health documentation. This is especially important for air travel.

Pet proof the car

If you're hitting the road, make sure you protect your car's interior. Seat covers protect car seats from scratches and pet hair.

Don't forget that "Buckle up!" applies to the entire family, dogs included. Choose a dog-specific travel harness or seatbelt adapter that clicks onto your pet's harness and connects to your car's seatbelt.

Keep pets comfortable and secure

Whether you're traveling by plane or car, keeping pets calm, comfortable and secure is key to a pleasant trip for the whole family.

Invest in a quality, well-constructed carrier or crate. Both of these items provide protection during travel, as well as a safe place of retreat for your pet while at your destination.

"If you plan to travel by air with your pet, know the airline's pet policies, including size requirements for the passenger and cargo areas," said Schachner.

"When I travel with my dog Cali, I love using the Sherpa To Go Pet Carrier, which is approved for in-cabin use by most major airlines."