As I write this, the view from my office is pretty depressing. It is a cold, damp, dreary spring day and the little taste of nice weather we got last week is nothing but a fading memory. But somewhere in the United States, the sun is shining and it is actually warm. And that can only mean one thing. Summer is almost here, and it is time to start thinking about traveling with your pet. So here are a few things to keep in mind.
Flying in the lap of luxury
Not too long ago, I came across this really cool story about the new service for pets and their owners offered by the private jet charter company, VistaJet. It’s called VistaPet, and it sounds awesome — if you can afford it.
Because a lot of its members fly with their pets, the company says it created the program to facilitate the experience. Benefits include an inflight care package called a pochette. Basically this is a travel bag containing pet care items, such as bio-organic good, treats, toys, shampoos and wipes for use during and after the flight.
On certain flights, pets can feast on gourmet meals featuring “prime cuts of fresh meat and fish.” For instance, the company says a “typical meal” could include “an entrée of roast tenderloin, baked salmon or roast chicken served with steamed, roasted or raw vegetables and whole grain brown rice.”
The company also says its Cabin Hostesses will offer “natural flower essences” that can be mixed with your pet’s drinking water to help them relax during the flight.
But that’s not all. Through its partnership with The Dog House, VistaJet also offers help for dogs that are afraid of flying. The month-long course, which is only available for pets belonging to members, helps canine participants cope with common experiences while traveling such as the smell of jet fuel, the noise generated by jet engines, cabin air pressure and turbulence.
Speaking of turbulence, VistaJet cites regulations stipulating that pets — who can otherwise hangout on handmade “sleep mats” must be on their leashes or in carriers “during take-off, landing and any turbulence.” However, the rule does not apply to Guide Dogs.
If you recently hit a mega-lottery and you want to learn more about VistaJet and the VistaPet program, you can learn more here. If you’re already a VistaJet member but you’ve never flown with your pet before, the company recommends calling customer service. Here’s the information you should have on hand:
- Type of pet
- Microchip info
- (Your) passport details
- Information about your pet’s most recent rabies vaccine
- Information about your pet’s treatment (if any) for tapeworm and other parasites
- Flight history
Pet friendly accommodations (for the rest of us)
VistaJet says it can also arrange pet-friendly accommodations and excursions. But even if — like me — you’re still in the, “I wish I could afford to charter a private jet” stage, you can still take your pet on vacation. All it takes is a little planning and a willingness to go someplace fairly close (so you don’t have to subject your pet to a cross-country drive or a near-death experience on a commercial flight).
You can find plenty of information about pet-friendly hotels online. But here are a few things to keep in mind about this important aspect of your trip.
- Be sure to book a room on the first floor or near an exit if at all possible.
- Don’t leave your pet in the hotel room by itself unless absolutely necessary.
- If you do have to leave your pet in the room, take proper precautions
- If you are traveling with your dog, make sure it’s on a leash in common areas of the hotel
- Remember, courtesy goes a long way; make sure you cleanup any “accidents” in the room thoroughly and promptly.
- Be sure to take your pet to the vet and/or groomers before the trip to ensure they’re in good health and aren’t likely to shed all over the room.
- Follow applicable hotel rules about outdoor areas where your pets are allowed to relieve themselves.
- If you’re traveling with a cat, the bathroom (in your hotel room) is usually the best place to put the litter box.
- Don’t forget to let your pets get some exercise.
- Have fun!
And on that note, happy travels, everyone!