May 21, 2012

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Fido Hits the Road: Pet Travel Safety Tips

Summer is peak travel season, and more often people are bringing four-legged friends on the road. According to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association, 23 percent of pet owners are willing to travel with their dog for more than two nights – up from 21 percent in 2008, and 19 percent in 2006. 
In preparation for summer, pet travel safety expert Harrison Forbes shares the following tips on how to make travel with your best friend safe, efficient and fun.
Local digits: If you plan to travel far from home, consider having an extra set of ID tags made with a local phone number – such as your local family, friends or even hotel. That way if your pet happens to get loose, his or her rescuer will know that someone is searching for them nearby.
Tagg you’re it: For extra added security while on the road, a pet GPS collar is a great option. There are several on the market, including Tagg – The Pet Tracker, a lightweight and durable device that uses advanced GPS technology to help you locate your pet if he gets lost. If Fido or Fluffy gets loose in a strange city, you’ll want the ability to track him or her down quickly.
Practice makes purrrfect: If you’re planning a road trip, know that the trick to a successful car ride for your pet is positive association. With your pet safely buckled up, take many short, treat-filled trips around the block. If a car ride equals fun and treats, your pet will always be up for a good road trip.
Buckle up: Like humans, pets are safest when restrained in the car – many states have laws about keeping pets in carriers or buckled up while on the road. There are many car-specific products for pets such as seat belt harnesses, car seats and boosters, or seat covers.  And even though Fido loves feeling the breeze in his fur, keep his head in the car; eye injuries, ear and lung infections are just some of the dangers of a face in the wind.
Stow and go: If you’re lucky enough to have a pet that meets the requirements to travel in-cabin, be sure that their carrier does, too! Most airlines require a well-ventilated, soft-sided carrier that is no larger than 16” long, 11” wide and 8” tall, but always check with yours for specific rules and regulations.
Doggy docs: If your pet plans to fly the friendly skies, you may need to present the airline with current medical papers. Although these papers must be dated recently, don’t wait until the last minute – as soon as you book a flight, book an appointment with your vet. And just like people, pets often require passports or immigration forms to enter specific countries, so be sure to check the local customs rules.


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