Whether it's camping in the wilderness, road-tripping coast to coast or jetting off to some tropical destination, a summer vacation is a pretty standard tradition for most families. In the past, heading out on a week-long family vacation meant having to leave the four-legged members of your family at home. But now with more and more hotels and airlines becoming pet-friendly, it's possible to travel with your entire family- even the furry members of it!
WF spoke with Animal Planet host and Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner about what you should expect and what you should plan for when traveling with your pets.
First off, understand that traveling with your pets is a commitment. You'll need to make sure you pack their own suitcase full of toys, food and medication, as well as scope out local parks near your hotel for walks. If you're planning on a relaxing vacation, you may want to find a pet babysitter.
"It's going to be a more active vacation," says Schachner. "If you're there strictly to relax, it's like saying like i'm traveling with kids. Am I really there to relax? Like no, you're not going to strictly relax."
Once you've determined you're quite alright with spending a day outside hiking on a new trail versus being pampered inside of a spa, your next step is to research, research, research. If you're flying to your destination, make sure your airline can accommodate your pet.
"The key is to call up your airline," says Schachner. "Find out about the specific airplane that is assigned to you route. What is the size of the airplane? You're gonna want to know the dimensions of the seat in front of you, because that is where you dog or cat is going to have to be stowed...remember not every airline is going to be the same...so call ahead of time make sure that your pet will be comfortable . See what the process is going to be like at the airport, if you do that, the process will be a whole lot less stressful."
In between reading the Yelp reviews for restaurants around your hotel, and checking out travel blogs for the best activities to hit up, you should also make sure to scope out some local parks.
"Know the immediate area around you," says Schachner. "Find out if there's a close enough dog park, a public park, some good walking trails or even wide sidewalks. [These are] things that you may not be thinking of ahead of time...and that kind of stuff can go a long way with helping you out."
Knowing what to pack for your pet can also make your trip a lot more pleasant. Of course you'll need to bring food bowls, leashes and litter, but there's plenty of little things you may miss, especially if it's your first time traveling with a pet.
"Make sure that your pet is properly ID'ed," says Schachner. " Whatever collar they have on them, we want their name, your name, also a contact emergency number in case you do get separated...have up-to-date vaccinations and medical records...toys from home that they're comfortable with, their favorite toys their favorite treats...if they're on any medications make sure that you have an extra batch of it on the side, so you can not have to scramble to the vet in case you run out."
It may seem like it takes a lot to take your pet along on your next trip, but Schachner urges people to think about what they're gaining- and what they're saving.
"Pets are just members of our family now," says Schachner " If you think of the cost of taking your dog with you versus the cost of boarding them at home it's actually cheaper to travel with them. If you got the time, and you can do the research ahead of time, it's gonna be great, I highly recommend it."
If your pet had a theme song, it would be "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles... or maybe a little more accurately, I want you to hold my paw.
Snuggle buddy pets, as the name suggest, live and love to be cuddled. It doesn't matter what their owners are doing, these furry fiends will jump in any lap they see available and demand all the pets and snuggles. Of course, pet parents are more than willing to oblige - well, usually.
You'll need to have a backup plan for when your buddy wants to snuggle while your getting ready for work or have a cup of hot coffee in your hand.
Often the key to keeping these warm bundles of fur happy is finding them one of their own furry toys while you're away. The main goal of these pets it to be comfortable, which can often lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, so you'll need to keep an eye on their diet. No high-fat or high-salt grain loaded kibble for these furry friends!
To get started with making sure your snuggle buddy pet has a happy and healthy life, we have a guide of things that will make your snuggler feel very well-loved!
To make any snuggler truly happy, you'll need to find them toys that rival their level of snuggly-ness. Plush toys are the best choice for this. For cats, look for soft toys with bells (1) that will keep them interested AND entertained. When it comes to dogs, look for toys with squeakers (4).
High protein is in any carnivorous pet's diet, but snuggle buddies will need to be careful when it comes to calories and salt. These pets don't need overflowing bowls of food. So it might be a good idea to look at foods like Natural Balance's Fat Dogs or Fat Cats formulas (3). These formulas focus on being nutritionally balanced with special protein and fiber blends but fewer calories. So no more worries about your little cuddle putting on too much weight.
It's important that every snuggle buddy has a plush bed (2) to lounge around in. It could be a blanket that you both share on the couch or an old used t-shirt that you don't mind giving to your pet. Having a soft item that has your smell embedded in the fabric can be soothing to the snuggler. That way when you're not home and available for cuddles, they can still feel safe and comfy in their own little bed.
Be prepared to get well acquainted with mother nature when raising pets with this personality.
If your pet had a theme song, it would be "Miss Independent" by Kelly Clarkson! As long as they're outdoors, your pet is pretty good at keeping themselves happy and occupied. That leaves it up to you as a pet parent to make sure they're healthy too.
Protection is key for hunters. They may be more than happy to track a squirrel all around the yard first thing in the morning, but as a pet parent you'll need to make sure they've had a healthy breakfast and are dressed for the occasion.
When inclement weather strikes, make sure you know how to keep your pet entertained with stalking and hunting indoors activities too. Consider dropping them off at a pet daycare or play group while you're at work so they don't entertain themselves right into your closet to hunt shoes.
Here's a guide to keeping your hunter happy:
Most hunter pets will find plenty of nature's "toys" to play with outside by themselves, but if they're going to be cooped up inside for awhile it's good to have plenty of active toys for them to enjoy. Specifically look for toys that will allow them to simulate their natural hunting instincts. Cat owners should stock up on toys like the feather mouse (1), where dog owners might want to pick up a few toys they can put treats in and hide around the house to give that smeller a workout (remember to avoid the closet).
When it comes to the hunter, let's just say they may have actually had a taste of the real stuff. So when it comes to meal time or treat time Natural Balance’s Wild Pursuit™ dog and cat foods (4) may be the nicest thing you can do. The dry food has freeze-dried pieces of raw meat mixed in with the kibble and the dog treats have real pieces of organ meat in the recipes. The flavor profiles tap into all kinds of animals: chicken, guinea fowl, trout and salmon. The high-protein no grain blends are packed with the energy your scavenger needs to hunt the backyard or any part of nature.
You wouldn't go out into the wilderness without proper gear, and neither should your pet. If you're dog is accompanying you on your next hunting or hiking trip make sure they have everything they need.
For cold and rocky terrains, grab your pup a set of boots (3) to protect their paws from frostbite and other injuries. If you're taking your dog hunting, then make sure they're wearing a vest (5). Not only will it protect their belly from scratches and cuts, the bright color will help you keep an eye on them.
And if you don't already have one make sure to pick up a pet first aid kit (2). Pets who spend so much time outdoors need to have owners that are prepared to take care of the cuts and scratches that are bound to happen on any big adventure.
If your pet had a theme song, it would be "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor. Their daily routine includes multiple walks, runs and the occasional swim. With such an active pet, you'll want to make sure YOU can keep up! Even more so, you'll want to make sure that your playful pet has plenty of energy to play as long as he or she wants.
Like in humans, proper nutrition is one of the key aspects of taking care of The Olympian. Whether it is kitties who love to run and climb all over the house or dogs that can't get enough of your runs, high protein food is not just a suggestion - it's a necessity.
When it comes to toys, it is really important to kick it up a notch when looking for the right ones to buy. A simple ball or cat tree will only keep them entertained for so long. These animals have a personality for endurance and a challenge!
Here's our guide to keeping the athletic pet ready for physical activity any day of the week:
Go big or go home when it comes to buying toys for the Olympic pet. Instead of buying a simple frisbee for your pooch that loves to play fetch, get a flying wheel (4). The wheel will spin in the air for a bit before it lands on the ground and keeps rolling and rolling until your dog can catch it. It's important for these characters to feel challenged even in play. Runs and walks are good, but you might want to bring a ball or these fly wheels along to give them a workout even when you are trying to catch your second wind.
Protein is an Olympian's pet best friend. In order to run, pounce and play to their full capabilities, you'll want to make sure the dog and cat food (3) will give them the energy they need. Natural Balance’s Wild Pursuit™ is a perfect place to start. With 20 grams of protein and no grain in the kibble any animal is going to have just the kind of fuel they need to play as hard as they want.
Odds are that your pet is going to be spending a lot of time outside running around. So for the sake of connivence and keeping your pet well hydrated, pick up a collapsible water bowl (1) to throw in your bag. If your a dog owner who wants to jog along side their pup, make sure you have a handsfree dog leash (2) that belts around your waist. It's the easiest way to make sure your dog doesn't out run you and get into trouble.
Have you ever wondered what the world looks like from your dog's point of view? Thanks to Nikon, you can now get a glimpse of what it's like to roam the world on four legs.
As part of their Heartography campaign that asks the question "What if emotions could take photographs?" Nikon developed a camera harness for dogs that lets them take photographs using their heart rate.
To show that "anyone with a heartbeat can be a photographer" the camera company tested the harness with their "photographer" Grizzler. Anytime Grizzler got excited or happy and his heart rate increased the camera snapped a pic, which gave some interesting and adorable insight into the Border Collie's daily life.
Photo Credit: Nikon
Unfortunately the camera harness Nikon created is currently not for sale. However, for anyone who's looking to turn their own dog into a "phodographer," GoPro's Fetch dog harness is an option to look into.
To see more of Grizzler's day, you can check out the full video below.
Top Photo Credit: Nikon