Many of us are planning summer vacations, and some of our family members may include dogs or cats. Wondering what to do with them while you’re off getting some rest and relaxation?

Actually, there are several options – take them with you, board them, find someone to feed and care for them, or have a “vacation” at home so you don’t have to do any of the above.

Many people don’t want pets because they don’t want to be tied down. But there are many hotels across the country that accept pets, so you can still travel while taking your best friend with you.

First things first. Sick or ailing animals should not be forced to endure the rigors of travel. Nervous, frightened or extremely shy or unmanageable pets do not make good traveling companions, and puppies from birth to 10 weeks should only travel to the vet’s office.

Dogs must be capable of obeying commands when on the road and must be controllable. Make sure that their identification tags are current.

Before taking your vacation, schedule a trip to the vet. Bring vaccinations up-to-date, and get a current health certificate to take on the trip. Cats should be checked for feline leukemia, in addition to their vaccinations.

Next, take a test run with your pet in the car. Use a cat carrier or dog crate in the back seat and allow the animal to get used to it. Bring a favorite toy or blanket for comfort and security, and make the ride fun with lots of praise during and immediately following the ride.

It is essential for the safety of everyone that four-legged riders be restrained while the car is moving. The use of a dog or cat crate is highly recommended when on the road – even if your buddy is used to sitting in the front seat when you run errands locally.

There are several publications that are geared to traveling with your pet: Quaker Oats, maker of Cycle brand dog food, has an 80-page guide listing 5,000 locations (hotels, motels, restaurants, etc.) that allow pets. It also has coupons, a page to tear out after filling in your pet’s description, and helpful do’s and don’ts when traveling. You may obtain “Touring with Towser” by sending $3 to: Quaker Professional Services, Touring with Towser, Department PGP, 585 Hawthorne Court, Galesburg, Ill. 61401.

“DOGGONE” is a newsletter published bimonthly with an annual subscription of $30. To subscribe, send to: DOGGONE, P.O. Box 65115, Vero Beach, FL 32965-1155. It focuses on trips for specific seasons, such as ski resorts and beach accommodations.

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