The Traveling Menagerie
Animal Welfare in Focus, Summer 2008 - By Alyson Reid
I am a pet travel expert. Well, not a diploma-onthe-wall type of expert, but if travelling to the cottage in an elderly VW without air-conditioning and with three small boys, a dog, three guinea pigs ad a rat for 10 hours confers anything other than authority, I’d like to know what that is. Sainthood, perhaps.
Of course, we went everywhere by car. Plane travel was for people who weren’t pet-crazy single moms with their own mobile menagerie. So, from the expert, here are some not-so-serious tips for roading it with Boots and Muffy.
Buckle up and stow all loads securely. There are reasonably-priced dog harnesses to clip into the car’s seat-belt system. Cats and small animals should go into properly-sized carriers with fresh water available at all times. I found that half of a smaller cardboard box fitted into the carrier kept the piggies from trying to occupy the same point in space simultaneously.
Never store anything on the rear parcel shelf. No matter how much Junior grumbles that little Muffy is carsick, make sure all small animals stay in their carriers while the car is moving. Hamsters make pretty effective projectiles and a 4-ounce fluff ball can have quite an impact when hurtling at high speeds.
Make frequent stops. Take a break every two hours or so, more frequently if travelling with a crowd or with small animals. Give everyone a chance to stretch and recover. You may be a few guppies short of a fish tank by the time you arrive, but you’ll arrive in one piece.
Hand wipes or moist towelettes. Take lots – they’re useful for cleaning up after the obligatory mid-Algonquin Park ice cream pig-out. But where you really feel their worth is after 280 kilometres of reassuring kisses to the back of the neck by a slightly carsick Boxer.
Some other suggestions for making sure the furry family members rack up the miles safely:
- Check in advance if the hotel you plan on staying at is pet friendly. If you try to sneak little Boots in, I guarantee that’s when you will discover that your well-behaved pet’s secret calling is trashing hotel rooms.
- Bring at least one extra leash if travelling with your dog or cat. Keep your pet’s vaccination and health information handy and know where the closest vet office is – you never know when Muffy may encounter something smelly, prickly or toothy.
- Pack a pet first-aid kit and double check that you have all your pet’s medications.
- Keep your dog’s head inside the car – dogs love to windmill their ears in the breeze but it’s all fun and games until someone gets a bug between the eyes. And never, ever leave the animals alone in the car, even if it’s for “just a few minutes”. Even with the windows rolled down and the car in the shade a vehicle will turn into a pet-desiccating oven very quickly.
While at the hotel
Don't leave your furry friends at home if you don't have to! Our hotels hotels offer pet friendly accommodations and service. We look forward to having you and your furry member of the family stay with us! (*per pet fees may apply)
When travelling with a pet please consider:
- Please do not leave pets in your guestroom unattended
- Please clean up after your pet
- Pets must be on a leash at all times
- Pets are not permitted in the pool or breakfast area
It is the responsibility of the pet owner to ensure that there is no damage caused by pets. We ask that you assume responsibility for any permanent damage (including furniture and carpet cleaning etc.), which may be caused by your pet.
Some helpful reminders of what to bring when travelling with your pet:
- lots of plastic bags, or litter box/scoop
- grooming tools
- water bowls
- extra towels
- vaccination records