Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

August 01, 2012 10:00 ET

Enjoyable Escapes With Your Pet This Summer: CAA Tips for Safe and Comfortable Air and Car Travel With Cats and Dogs.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 1, 2012) - Do your upcoming vacation plans include your four-pawed family members? A lot of travel can be designed to include fun activities with your pet whether you're travelling by car or by air. Following some easy steps during the preparation stage will ensure all family members, including the furry ones, have a safer and more enjoyable trip.

"Whether you choose to leave Fido and Fluffy behind or bring them along on your vacation, planning ahead always equals less stress for you and them," said Brenda Kyllo, CAA National Vice President, Travel. "CAA is pleased to offer resources which help our Members make informed decisions regarding all travel arrangements, including trips involving pets."

General Travel Tips:

  • Before your trip, make sure your pet is in good health and is prepared for any specific health risks at your destination (ensure that they do not need any special vaccinations).
  • If your pet can't participate with you in the daily activities planned, it is best for them to stay at home as most accommodations, including campsites, won't allow you to leave your pet alone in the room.
  • When making accommodation reservations, confirm the pet policy and remember "pet-friendly" can mean different things to different people and policies can change from one year to the next. You will need to ensure your type of pet fits within their requirements and that there are no surprises (including extra charges) when you arrive.

Travelling by Car:

  • Before taking a road trip, get your pet accustomed to travelling by going on regular car outings.
  • Always keep your dog inside the car - as cute as it looks with your dog's head hanging out the window with their ears flapping, flying debris and sudden stops can be dangerous.
  • Never leave your pet in the car alone, especially in the summer heat. Even with the windows rolled down, a few minutes in a hot vehicle can be very dangerous and deadly for your pet.
  • On car rides, plan to make regular stops for them to stretch their legs, get a drink and do their business.
  • When travelling to the U.S. with pets, you must have proof of rabies vaccinations received no less than 30 days before arrival.

Travelling by Air:

  • If you are flying, research which airline is best for you and your pet and be familiar with the charges, restrictions and policies associated with having them travel in cabin, as checked baggage or as cargo before booking your trip.
  • Most airlines restrict the number of pets allowed onboard and in the baggage compartment. To avoid disappointment and possible cancellation or change fees, make sure you reserve space for your pet within 24 hours of confirming your own air tickets.
  • It is always advisable to book direct flights and be aware that during the summer many airlines will not allow pets to travel in the baggage compartment to certain southern destinations.
  • You will need to have a proper crate that meets the guidelines of the airline you are travelling with and is well labeled (but not locked) with food and water bowls attached inside.
  • To prepare them for the flying experience, familiarize them with their crate prior to the flight.
  • For air travel outside of Canada and the U.S., research any quarantine periods necessary and beware of the differences in animal welfare laws abroad. Airlines provide some guidelines but you must check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are travelling to for up to date information about required documentation.

If you do plan to leave your four-legged friend behind, here are some important things to ask when you visit a boarding facility:

  1. What exactly is included in the daily boarding fee and what optional services are offered for an extra charge?
  2. Will your pet be kept in a cage or run area? Is there a supervised play area for different sized animals?
  3. How many other pets do they board at one time (10 to 1 pet to staff ratio is a benchmark)?
  4. Will your pet receive daily exercise and interaction from humans?
  5. What do they require you to send with your pet?
  6. What are their procedures in case of a medical emergency and is the facility staffed 24/7?
  7. Do they provide references from other clients using their facilities?

For pet owners, the new edition of Travelling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook is available in print and digital version. The annual guidebook is packed with additional resources and details for planning pet-friendly vacations in North America including a comprehensive listings of pet friendly accommodation choices. For more information on the book visit: www.AAA.com/PetBook or your local CAA Travel Centre (for listings check CAA.ca).

Is your pet not the least bit camera shy? ….Enter the AAA PetBook Photo Contest

Capture your pet's vacation memories on camera and submit them before November 30th, 2012. Two winning pet photos will be selected for the cover and spine of next year's PetBook. Download the entry form at: http://www.aaa.com/PetBook/photo_contest.html. The contest is open to Canadian residents.

CAA is a federation of nine clubs providing more than 5.6 million Members with exceptional emergency roadside service, complete automotive and travel services, member savings and comprehensive insurance services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection.

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