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With more hotels and resorts nationwide allowing furry guests—plus the increasing popularity of pet-friendly rental homes—it’s more convenient than ever to bring your pets along on your getaway. But before you book your vacation, take some steps to make sure the journey is as safe and fun for them as it is for you.

Start with Test Runs Get your dog or cat accustomed to a long car ride by taking them on shorter trips around your neighborhood, gradually lengthening the time with each excursion.

Did You Know?

56% of Americans travel with their pets.

Buckle Up An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a car going 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure in a crash—putting everyone in the car in serious danger. Keep pets safe in crates just roomy enough for them to sit and lie down in, and make sure the crate is tethered to the car’s LATCH system and facing forward (yes, pets can get carsick). Or invest in a sturdy vehicle harness that attaches to your car’s seatbelt or LATCH system, and keep pups in the backseat, away from airbags that can harm them if deployed.

Crack the Window It might look fun, but when a dog sticks its nose out the wide-open window of a moving vehicle, debris can get into their ears, eyes and nose, causing pain or even infection. Keep windows cracked instead.

Pack the Creature Comforts Literally. Keep “friends” of furry friends in the crate for the trip. If your pooch sleeps soundly in her plush puppy nest, pack it for the hotel. While their routine and environment will be different, having a few familiar objects with them can put pets at ease.

Tip
Hungry? Grab a bite on the road at one of these spots!

Settle In Just as your pet gets used to being in the car, give him time to explore the accommodations once you arrive. Keep him on a leash while you both explore your lodging: He can sniff out the place while you look for potentially hazardous objects such as electrical cords, food or decorative accents that should be relocated out of his reach.

Preserve Routines Be as consistent as you possibly can: Mealtime, food and walking schedules. Don’t be surprised if your pet doesn’t eat or eliminate the first day or so—it’s a common reaction to change. Just make sure they get plenty of exercise and quality time with you, and soon they’ll relax.