They're furry, they're friendly - they're absolutely lovable. Family
pets are often a big part of the family, and sometimes it's hard to
leave those adorable rascals behind when you leave town. With these
simple tips, your pet won't have to miss out on one fun moment of the
family's big vacation!


If you are a disabled person traveling with a seeing-eye dog, notify your destination hosts and airline ahead of time.

Before you take your
beloved pet anywhere, take him to the vet for an overall checkup, and
ask for the number of an associate in the area where you will be
staying. A few weeks before you depart, get your pet a physical,
complete with vaccinations necessary for the area to which you are
traveling. A direct, uncrowded flight is best (an evening flight if the
weather is warm), but the vet can also give you tranquilizers to calm
your pet for the long journey. If you're unsure whether your pet is up
for the trip - ask. Although a cross-country flight may be no problem
for you, a pet may suffer greatly while left in a hot baggage area.
Don't wait to find out that Fido couldn't handle the hike up the
mountain - or even the plane journey there.

Most airline and state officials mandate a clean bill
of health in the form of a health certificate dated within 10 days
prior to travel before your pet can fly with you. And even if he is in
tip-top shape, traveling abroad sometimes assumes an automatic
quarantine upon arrival for your pet whether or not there is an
outbreak of a disease (Hawaii does, so contact your travel agent for
assistance in this matter).

For U.S. territories
and foreign countries, contact the appropriate embassy, governmental
agency or consulate at least one month in advance before making
arrangements for your pet. Moreover, some states require certain pets
to have entry permits issued by the destination state's regulatory
agency, and may request to view the interstate health certificate in
advance of issuing the permit. Some even limit the time during which
the entry permit is valid.


1. Florida

2. California

3. France

4. Colorado

5. Disney World (tie)

National Parks

Source: ASTA-member travel agents survey


Always keep an ID collar with your name and phone number on your pet,
and always travel with favorite toys, proof of vaccination and proper
licenses. Bring color photos of your pet, as well, in the unfortunate
event he gets lost.

Because airlines limit the
number of pets that can be on board at once, have your travel agent
notify the airline of your pet when your reservation is made. Also ask
for the allowable dimensions of your pet carrier. Regulations state
that dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and fully-weaned
before flying. If your pet is pregnant or in heat, do not subject it to
air travel. Written instructions for food and water must accompany any
shipped pet regardless of the amount of time they are scheduled to
spend in transit. Unless your vet signs a certificate otherwise, your
pet may not be exposed to temperatures less than 45 degrees.

If your pet is less than 15 pounds and you are on a domestic flight,
you may be able to fit a small, airline-approved kennel (check with
your travel agent) under the seat in front of you. Out of respect for
the person sitting next to you, inform passengers that you've brought
your pet along so they may switch seats with someone else if they
suffer from pet allergies. Have paper towels and a scooper on hand for
any inevitable accidents that may occur. On international flights,
larger animals can be shipped (for a fee) in the forward cargo bins,
which are climate-controlled. Contact your travel agent or the airline
for specific information on fees and requirements.

One thing you should
not underestimate is the importance of a quality travel kennel, no
matter if you're traveling by bus, car, plane or train. Let your pet
eat and sleep there before you leave, and throw an old sock - worn by
you - in as well so he may accustom himself to the kennel in time for
travel. Exercise, feed and give water to your pet before you leave, and
place a dish for food and one for water inside the kennel. If you're
shipping your pet, write the words LIVE ANIMAL all over the crate
with arrows pointing in the upright direction, and put your name, phone
number and address on a well-fastened label. Secure but don't lock the
crate so airline personnel can access it if necessary. Make certain
enough air is getting in. Check with your travel agent or call your
airline and find out if there is an additional cost for your pet to
travel with you.

Be careful if you're
driving to your destination. Countless pets die each year from
heatstroke after being left alone in hot cars for even a few moments.
As a general rule, if you leave your car, your pet should leave, as
well. If you park, make sure it's in a shaded area to keep the car
cool. For safety's sake, check that your car's air conditioning is
functioning before taking a long trip on a hot day. Never let your
animal jump around or hang out the window - it's dangerous for both you
and him.

is not recommended for smaller animals and birds because of the stress
it causes them. Reptiles are especially discouraged because of their
specialized requirements.

A strong, mesh crate (the bottom lined by towels) with plenty of food
and water is advised, with enough room so your pet can stand, turn and
lie down. But exercise is necessary - stop frequently at rest stops for
water and exercise, keeping a leash on your pet at all times. If your
pet is unaccustomed to car trips, increase his time in the car before
you take him on vacation. One piece of sugar candy - not chocolate -
before hitting the road may quell motion sickness. Although you do want
to feed your pet at least four hours before air travel, leave a window
of six hours before a car trip during which your pet is not eating. If
he's overly fussy, it may be best to rethink bringing him along.

Ask you travel agent to
call ahead to make sure your hotel or motel allows pets. Or, for a list
of pet-friendly lodgings, call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at
your destination. Once there, clean up after your pet - don't abuse the
privilege. Likewise, pack a supply of plastic bags to make this chore
easier. Request a room at the end of the hall so other guests aren't
bothered by the possible noise.

So plan ahead, bring the right supplies and rely on these Tips on
Traveling With Pets to ensure that you and your pet have a safe and
enjoyable trip. With the helpful hints we have listed here, your pet
can be the perfect addition to a perfect vacation.

For additional information, visit these Web sites:

Northwest Airlines' pet guidelines

Traveling with Pets (Univ. of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine)