Aug 042016

Boarding your dog

Should you board your dog, or take her?

So you are headed to the beach. Or Paris. Or the mountains. We are so jealous, but congratulations!

However, your pet might not be so jealous. Although you might find it difficult to be apart from your pet for some time, your animal might find it more stressful to come along for the ride. Before deciding to take them with you, consider their emotional and health needs first.

What Options Are Available To You?

Bringing your pet along with you is always very tempting. However, there are some animals that are not well-suited for travel due to physical impairment, illness or temperament.

According to Mike and Amy of pet friendly vacation rentals, you should put the needs of your pet first: Consider where they will be happiest. “You might think your dog will not be able to stand being separate from you,” Mike says. “But if you are going to be on vacation, will you be leaving him in a strange kennel or hotel room? All that will do is make your pet even more anxious, so it most likely will be a better choice for you to find a pet sitter and leave him in the comforts of his own home.”

Cats don’t like change and it is not usually a good idea to take them on trips. Unless you will gone for a long period of time or are moving, find a pet sitter for your cat so he she won’t need to experience the stress of having to ride around in a crate for days or hours on end and adjust to a temporary and new living situation. Change can cause major stress for cats and can result in behavior issues.

Speak With Your Veterinarian

If you’re unsure of whether or not taking your pet with you when you travel is appropriate or not, discuss it with your veterinarian and also ensure that your animal is in good health and current on all of its vaccinations before you leave home. It will be necessary for your pet to get veterinary exams ahead of time for some types of destinations and travel.

If your veterinarian does believe your pet is well-suited for traveling, he can also prescribe a tranquilizer or sedative on a trial basis so that you can observe what effects the prescribed dosage has on your animal. Never give your pet any drugs that haven’t been to or prescribed by your vet.

If Your Pet Is Traveling With You

If you do decide to take your pet with you, be sure you have all the supplies you need for keeping comfortable. Also make sure you are familiar with any requirements or restrictions related to pets from hotels, destination states or countries and airlines.

Anytime you do travel with your pet, make sure to keep medical records and health certificate handy. It is especially important to have your pet’s rabies vaccination record with you.

We strongly discourage that you travel with your pet by air inside a plane’s cargo hold. It can be very stressful and dangerous.

If Your Pet Stays Home

If your pet is going to stay home and not travel, you should make arrangements to have a responsible relative or friend to watch your pet, hire a pet sitter or have them boarded at a kennel.

If you are going to have your pet boarded at a kennel, make sure you inspect the kennel personally and get references. A shelter in your area or your vet can help you find a reputable facility. If you have decided to hire a pet sitter, make sure that you check their references and also interview several prospects. Before leaving your cat or dog anywhere unfamiliar to you and your animal, make sure your pet has a microchip first. If your pet needs to be in familiar surroundings, is afraid of strangers or is elderly or timid, then it might be better to hire a pet sitter.

What Should Be Left With The Pet Sitter

If you have made arrangements for somebody to take care of your pet when you are gone, make sure to give your contact information to the sitter, the telephone number and name of your veterinarian, and the dietary and medical needs of your pet. Also ensure that your pet is comfortable with the individual you have selected by having the person visit your home a few times before you go on vacation.

More about dog boarding at the video below…

Jul 182016

Dogs that travelIf you are moving – or just traveling – around the world, it isn’t necessary for you to leave your dog at home. However, before you set off globe-trotting, it is important to learn about the regulations and laws for every country that is a part of your trip.

We asked the editors at Asian Tours and Holidays to share some of their best advice about taking Fido overseas. Here’s what they said…

The best initial step you can make is to contact each country’s consulate where you will be visiting and learn more about what its specific pet importation requirements are. The pet travel site is a great place to site, where all of the requirements and forms are available be each country.

Will you be traveling across Europe? First you need to find out if dogs are even allowed in. There are some countries that won’t allow any foreign dogs; then there are other places that will only allow dogs coming from certain countries (and this list might not include the United States).

Is quarantine required? Your destination won’t have any quarantine laws if you are lucky. However, it is common for there to be long quarantines as long as several months, so be you need to be prepared to be separated from your pet for quite some time.

Will my airline transport my dog overseas? Some U.S. airlines will not fly your dog to certain destinations, even when the host country does allow canines in.

What are the specific rules at the foreign airport? There are some countries that may allow your dog to enter, but maybe not at a certain airport you are considering flying into. There are other airports that might require advanced notice of several weeks prior to your dog arriving.

What tags or entrance forms will my dog need to have? They can range from basic health certificates provided by your veterinarian to special identification tags or documents that are only issued by the specific country that you are entering into. Some forms also must be dated with a certain number of days prior to your arrival, so you need to ensure that yours are current.

Will I need to pay a special entry fee for bringing my dog into the country? There might be fees as part of the registration form process. There might also be an inspection fee that needs to be paid after reaching the foreign airport.

Will I be allowed to bring a puppy in?
In certain countries only adult dogs are welcome; in other countries puppies much be a certain minimum age, like five months, before being allowed in.

Is there a certain limit on how many dogs I am allowed to bring in?
There are some countries that limit owners to bring in two pets?

Am I allowed to travel only during specific months? There are some airlines that will not accept animals as cargo during the summer months due to the hot weather.

Bottom line:
Like with any kind of travel – for canines or humans – planning in advance is key to having a minimum amount of hassles when bringing your dog with your overseas.

May 232016

Video with some cats and dogs on their first car ride… FUNNY STUFF!

As a general rule, I don’t like writing about cats, because I’m not much of a cat person. My dog Misty doesn’t care much for them, either. But, so many of you have asked me about cats and car travel, I thought an article about the topic would be in order. So, here goes…

With the proper safety equipment and plenty of careful planning, taking your cat with you out on the road can be a very rewarding and positive experience.

If this is the first time that you have owned a cat, you might have heard some terrible horror stories regarding trying to travel with a cat. If you have owned a cat for a long, some of those terrible horrible stories may be ones you have experienced yourself.

It is definitely true that cats have a tendency to not be very enthusiastic travelers. However, all can go well if you plan your trip with your cat in mind, have the right equipment with you and are prepared.

Start Your Preparations Early

Cat on the RoadThe following is a hypothetical scenario: Say you have a 5 year old cat and you want to plan a road trip to take your cat with you. When is a good time to start preparing for your trip?

Around 5 years ago!

That is due to the fact that the most important thing that can be done to prepare your cat for traveling in a car is to sensitize her to this experience. A kitten for a brief point in time is open to new experiences and becoming accustomed to them. This prime time takes place when the kitten is around 2 to 7 weeks old.

If you take your kitten on short car rides during this period of time, she will get used to traveling in a car. She will at least tolerate it, even if she doesn’t especially like it.

However, if you take your 5-year-old cat in a car when she hasn’t ever traveled in car, the experience might end up being quite traumatic for everyone!

Car Travel Checklist

Have you ever tried traveling with a baby? If so, then you know that having one infant on your trip means you have to pack a lot of extra stuff: binkies, blankets, bottles, diaper bags and so forth.

It will be a similar situation if you decide to travel with your cat. You are going to need a lot of stuff in order to keep your cat happy (or at least content) and healthy. The following is a checklist of items you must have with you:

Cat carrier. Having a cat loose in the car is a disaster waiting to happen – a very real disaster. A cat on the loose could end up underneath your brake pedal, or have her claws on your neck in a death grip. Make sure you select a carrier that is secure inside your car so that it is unable to move, is well-ventilated, roomy and designed specifically for cats. Also make sure it isn’t located in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

Bowls, water and food. Make sure to take your cat’s regular food as well as water your cat is used to drinking. Bottle some tap water and take it with you.

Bedding and toys. Bring comforts from home with you. Select some familiar bedding and favorite toys that your cat uses already.

Accessories and litter

Most likely you won’t be bringing along the regular litter box that your cat uses. However, do bring the same litter brand you use at home, that your cat is familiar with already Also bring disposable bags, a scooper and small non-disposable litter tray or disposable litter trays.

Stop – Rest – Survive

If you are the kind that likes to hit the road and then drive for 5 to 7 hours without stopping, you will need to change in order to accommodate your cat. You should plan on stopping every few hours so that your cat can have a well deserved break.

When you are in a safe location, your cat can be let out of her carrier for a couple of minutes. However, be very careful. If your cat is stressed out, she may try to bolt the first chance she gets. Always make sure that your cat has an ID tag on.

Whenever you do happen to stop, make sure you don’t leave your car with all of the windows rolled up parked in the sun – not even for just a few minutes. Don’t ever leave your cat either outside or inside your car on a warm day in direct sunlight.

Speak With Your Vet

Before going with your cat on your first road trip, discuss it with your vet. Medications are available that may help your trip be more pleasant for both your cat and you. For example, there are medications for anxiety and motion sickness.

Your cat might not need them, however it’s nice knowing what is available to you. You may decide to have some medications with your just in case.

Your cat should at least tolerate you. Plan ahead, take lots of rest stops, and bring some cat’s comforts from home, and things will most likely go well.

Let somebody else be the one with horror stories to tell.

May 202016

Should Your Dog Vacation With You Or Not?

dog walking

Leave your pet with a sitter, or not?

Preparing for a summer vacation involving travel is a lengthy and tedious process. If you ever use a checklist to get ready, just look at it. Making hotel reservations. Getting a friend to check your mail. Paying a neighborhood kid to water your plants. It all adds up.

Pet owners face a longer list with even more details to take care of. Do they find a dog sitter, or do they take their four-legged friends along in their journeys? Owners must balance the potential guilt of leaving dogs and cats behind and out of the memories alongside the stress and turmoil of hauling animals along through airports and flights. The decision is truly a tough one.

Cat owners sometimes face this by trying out car trips before making the decision to fly with their feline friend. Taking a cat along in a car might not seem the same as flying, but seeing how a pet reacts to being inside a moving vehicle is very indicative of future behavior. When a cat proves an ability to look at windows to get bearings and then lay calmly in a multi-state trip, an owner can probably trust their cat on a plane.

Pet authorities support this approach. It’s a chance to get to know an animal’s temperament prior to making a big vacation plan. Quiet animals, both cats and dogs, are more likely to be easy to deal with in unknown situations. However, cats are more likely to be sensitive to environment changes than dogs who take your lead as assumed pack master.

Regardless of how well an animal does in travel, car or air, it’s not a good idea to take flights of more than six hours. Some airlines won’t even allow this actually, so call ahead. Southwest is a good carrier to take, because passengers can often pick their seats as they board, so pet owners can find good seats for their pets. An aisle seat in an uncrowded part of the plane gives animals some breathing room. Just keep in mind that most airlines require a pet to be at least two months old and able to stay comfortably in a carrier that fits under the passenger seat.

A number of airlines, Southwest included, don’t put puts in cargo holds. The airlines that do typically require a certification from the pet owner vet that the pet in question is healthy enough to travel like this. Other carriers forbid pets in cargo holds depending on the outside temperatures.

Sedatives are used by some pet owners to make trips comfortable for their animals, but experts warn against this because it can dull the reaction times and ability of pets. A plane might hit turbulence midflight, and a sedate cat might be too lethargic to brace within the carrier, risking injury. It’s best to train your animal to spend time in a travel carrier in advance to understand your pet’s level of anxiety within the carrier.

Sometimes, it’s just better to leave a pet at a kennel, with a friend, or a pet sitter. Just make sure that feeding, watering, and exercise schedules are adhered to, and someone you trust is left with a note of consent in case of emergency medical decisions.

As much as you should do your homework about airlines, also look at boarding facilities and see if there are specific areas for dogs and cats to relax and de-stress. Likewise, if you are thinking about a kennel, ask for a tour. Kennels that don’t give tours to potential clients are offering huge red flags against doing business there.

May 182016

Pet Air TravelTraveling with a pet can be nerve wracking. You will wonder if your pet is safe and how it is handling the travel. Continue reading to learn the best tips on how to keep you pet safe when they are traveling in the cargo hold area of the plane.

Direct Flights

Direct flights will ensure that there are no mistakes or delays during a transfer. If possible travel on the same flight that your pet is on.

When you board the plane, let your flight attendant and captain know that your pet is traveling with you. Oftentimes if the captain of the plane knows there are pets on board, the captain will take special precautions.

Never allow brachycephalic animals like Persian cats, Pekingese dogs or bulldogs travel in a cargo hold.

If you are traveling during the coldest months of winter or the warmest months of summer, choose a flight that accommodates temperature extremes. The best flights in the summer are either early morning or night flights when the air temperature is cooler. In the winter, the best flights to choose are mid-afternoon when ambient temperatures are warmer.

Ensure your pet’s collar cannot get caught in the carrier’s door. The collar should have a permanent tag listing your home address, name and telephone number. Additionally, use a temporary travel tag with where you or an emergency contact can be reached.

Place a travel label on your pet’s carrier and write your name, address and telephone number on it along with your final destination and hotel information.

Take your pet to the groomers a day or two before it is time to travel and have their nails clipped. This will prevent the animal’s nails from getting caught in the carrier’s door or other crevices.

If you do not use a pet carrier often, bring it out and allow your pet time to familiarize itself with the carrier to minimize stress.

Unless your veterinarian prescribes a tranquilizer specifically for air travel, never give your pet a pet tranquilizer before the flight.

Stop feeding your pet approximately 6 hours before it is time to board the plane. You can give your pet small amounts of water prior to the boarding. Additionally, you can ensure you pet has water for the trip by placing ice cubes in the carrier’s water tray. This set up will prevent the water from being spilled during loading.

Avoid busy travel times like holidays. Your furry friend may be handled rougher during these periods when travel is hectic.

Carry a photograph of your pet. If you pet is lost, the photograph will help employees locate your pet more quickly.

As soon as your pet is unloaded from the cargo area, open the carrier and closely examine your pet. If it seems like something is wrong, visit a veterinarian immediately. If the vet finds anything wrong during the exam, have the vet to write out the exam results and include the date and time.

The information and tips listed above will help ensure that your pet remains safe during air travel. Follow the information above to help protect your pet and help him enjoy his trip. here are some more tips in video format:

May 162016

Skyhounds Champs

Skyhounds Champs

Over 300,000 people and their dogs turn out each year for an event called Woofstock. Held during the month of June in Toronto, this celebration is full of peace, love and biscuits. This popular outdoor festival includes doggy speed dating, a “stupid trick” contest, and the Running of the Pugs.

This event is proof that owning a dog gives people much more pleasure than they could have on their own. Of course, dogs slobber, they shed, they dig and they roll around in dirt. But, dogs are the purest expression of joy on Earth. Everything, or almost everything, is fun from a dog’s perspective. This is true whether they are chasing their own tails or running after a ball.

What can you teach your dog about fun if he already knows so much? And, where would a dog love to have fun on a vacation? Well, to help you and your dog decide, we have come up with the best vacation destinations for dog lovers.

Geographically speaking, there is no place that limits a dog’s travel. You can race huskies around Alaska, hang with decked out canines at elegant shows in Europe or enjoy a Halloween parade in the Big Apple. Or, you can tackle an obstacle course together at a small town. Some events do focus on specific breeds but any dog that gets how a Frisbee works can make an appearance at a Skyhoundz meet.

Hotels have noticed that millions of dog-loving American tourists want a place to stay together. They have become more welcoming and offer special perks like surfing lessons for dogs or pet massages. is an online resource dedicated to helping people find dog-friendly accommodations whether heading to Toronto for Woofstock or attending the World’s Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, CA.

According to Groucho Marx, “Outside of a dog,” a book is a man’s best friends. But, “inside of a dog,” he went on to say, “it is way too dark to read. Keeping a dog as a best friend means living a healthy lifestyle full of exercise, fresh air, and walks. Having fun is pretty simple. So, take a look at the vacations available for you and your four-legged pal and get ready for a trip that will keep you both smiling.

Here’s a neat video of the Skyhoundz Championships…

May 142016


Here’s a shot of Misty with my wife.

My wife and I have taken our dogs on vacations for many years, and we have a ton of experience at different kinds of accommodations, including hotels, hostels, resorts, vacation rentals, mountain cabins, beach villas, and even yurts! This blog is the culmination of our travel diaries, brought together in one place. we BOTH kept diaries, even though we never really compared notes until now.

Our current dog, named Misty, goes with us whenever possible, because we hate leaving her in kennels or trusting her in the hands of people we aren’t sure about. She’s pretty picky about who she spends time with anyway. She’s part border collie (I think!) so obviously very smart, and her favorite type of destination involves a lot of outdoor activities, either the ocean or the mountains.

We’ll start publishing our records and reflections in a few days. Talk soon…