A dog owner’s guide for traveling during the holidays
The holiday season is right around the corner. It’s that time to purchase a plane ticket to visit family, friends or maybe a resort. Traveling during these busy months can be really stressful. Tickets are expensive, airports are overcrowded and the weather can be unpredictable. For pet owners, there are a host of additional issues to consider when traveling. Can I bring my dog with me? Will my family/friends be ok with having a dog in their house? How the heck do I bring a dog on a plane? Is it cheaper to use a local dog boarder for the days that I am out of town? Who can I trust with my dog?! When tackling these questions, make sure you choose what’s best for you, your pet and your wallet.
Boarding your dog at a kennel
Most pet owners choose to leave their dog at a boarding kennel. These facilities are often top-of-the-line, and a dog’s experience can be customized at the owner’s discretion (think luxury suite and swimming lessons). If you pay for boarding, you do not get to see little Foufou or big Brutus for a couple of days and your checking account will take a hit. Pet Care Plus is a dog walking, daycare and boarding kennel just a few blocks away from doggyloot headquarters in downtown Chicago. Boarding your dog with them for five days would cost you $200, as their pricing indicates. However, that is the most basic boarding plan, and typically us loving dog owners are willing to throw down a couple extra bones to treat our pets. Don’t forget that animals have to be spayed and neutered and vaccination forms have to be readily available to your dog if they are to be accepted into such a facility. After all expenses are taken into account, you may think that it is easier to just bring your dog with you.
Dog, meet airport
Flying with a dog is often as difficult is it sounds. No one knows how the animal will react to the airport and airplane, there are hidden costs along the way and paperwork is a hassle. Some airlines allow you to bring your pet with you in the cabin area, while others only allow your dog in the cargo hold. You don’t want to have to worry about whether your dog is OK in its cage sitting among the oversized luggage. After debating, you may just opt to buy a ticket for your pup aboard Pet Airways – the first airline designated specifically for pets.
If you are an owner of any short-snouted breed and are looking to travel, you may not be allowed past the check-in counter. American and English Bulldogs, pugs and other brachycephalics are banned on most major airlines. These types of breeds have smaller openings in the noses, making breathing more difficult. Breathing problems can compound when stressful situations arise such as being in a plane. Numerous cases of brachycephalic dog deaths have occurred in the past, hence the airlines banning these breeds from traveling. The jury is still out on whether flying is safe in general for all breeds.
Using your dog-friendly friends
It’s starting to sound like that next vacation you plan may be a long road trip with your dog. My family has always left our dogs with caring neighbors or friends who own or have owned dogs. They are trustworthy people, they probably know your dog best after you and they are easy to contact in emergency situations. Vacation season is perfect for personal time where the worries of feeding and walking your dog can be put off. It is a nice change of pace, and the excitement of seeing your dogs for the first time after returning from a trip can’t be beat. Returning home to your dogs after a long day of work is a close second.