Many pet owners think of their four-legged friends as family and include them in holiday plans. But you need to plan ahead when you hit the road with Rover. Here's a list of things to do before you take off.
• Get a clean bill of health from your veterinarian and make sure your pet's vaccinations are up-to-date. Travel with your pet's medical records and ask about potential health risks at your destination.
• Pack food, drinking water, bowls, a leash, collar with ID, grooming supplies, litter supplies for cats and other small animals, first-aid kit, sunscreen or zinc (for ears and nose, especially for pets with sparse or light-coloured coats), toys and treats, bedding or a travel kennel and a muzzle for a sick or injured pet that could bite.
• If your pet is flying, check airline regulations and services, and always book a direct flight.
• On a motor trip, plan to take frequent breaks for food, water, exercise and the bathroom.
• Never leave your pet alone in the car in hot weather, says Dr. Steve Noonan, a spokesperson for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. Interior temperatures can soar dangerously high within minutes causing heat stroke, even death.
Looking for pet-friendly lodgings? The Canadian and American Automobile Associations publish a guide listing more than 10, 000 properties across North America that roll out the welcome mat for pets. Click on http://www.petswelcome.com for hotels that accept animals.