Make sure your pets are ready to travel this summer

By Irisha Jones - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Summer travel season is here and if you're planning your vacation make sure you're making plans for every member of the family, including your pets.

The Better Business Bureau serving Western Virginia is offering tips to keep them safe.

Identification. Before leaving, make sure your pet has an ID tag on its collar that lists your home address and cellphone number. If possible, have a temporary tag as well with the location and number of the place you'll be staying on your vacation. 
 
Traveling by plane. There are many things to consider when traveling by plane with your pet. Be sure to check with your carrier both before making the reservation and 48 hours prior to your flight regarding specific rules, any limitations, and documentation that may be required. Some airlines have restrictions on what airports pets can connect through, as well as additional restrictions or rules depending on your final destination and the type of pet. Some may even ban pets entirely. Know that airlines have the option of refusing transport of pets due to extreme temperatures, so if possible, fly in the morning or evening during the summer. If you do fly with your pet, whether it will have to ride in the cargo hold or go on the plane with you will depend on the size, type of pet, and carrier rules. No matter what, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup to make sure they're fit to fly the friendly skies. 
 
Road trips. Before bringing Fluffy or Fido on a long car trip, make sure your pet responds well to car rides. Keep them safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier with plenty of food or water. Also, make sure that you introduce your pet to the new carrier at home before using it on a trip, and remember that leaving your pet in the vehicle could be dangerous. If you opt to keep the pet out of a crate, make sure you have a harness that will connect to a seat belt so that your pet stays safe. If you're renting a car, make sure that the company allows animals and ask if you'll be charged extra.
 
Make sure accommodations and destinations are pet-friendly. Wherever you're staying, whether it be a hotel, vacation rental, or with friends or family, ensure that pets are welcome. Ask if there are extra costs or regulations. Research pet-friendly activities ahead of time - do the local beaches or natural areas allow pets? 
 
If necessary, leave them behind. Traveling with pets can be stressful for both you and the animal, and sometimes it's just not feasible. Thankfully, you have options. You can hire a pet sitter to visit your animals in your own home, letting them stay in their natural environment where they're most comfortable. You can also opt for a traditional boarding facility, like a kennel or pet hotel, but if you do, make sure to check the business' profile at bbb.org

 "Thirty-seven percent of people that go on trips this year will travel with their pets. And that's just amazing to me. We've really had a huge shift in that over the past several years because they are family to us and we don't want to leave them," said Julie Wheeler. 
 

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