By Berry Craig
Summer vacation is upon us – and for many that includes our pets.
More than half (52%) of pet owners consider their pets when planning vacations, and 16% stay with their pets at home, according to the 2021 MetLife Survey of Pet Policyholders.
Searches for pet-friendly accommodations are on the rise, according to a Forbes article. This may mean more dogs and cats are hitting the road this year than ever before.
And USA Today recently reported that people are more likely to travel for longer periods of time this year – perhaps working remotely while traveling.
“The past year has affected the way people view their pets – and the way they view travel,” said Katie Blakeley, vice president and head of pet insurance at MetLife. “Many people who used to travel the country to visit museums or amusement parks are now renting a cabin in the mountains or a house on the beach. This kind of trip is more pet friendly, which is part of the appeal! “
Some tips to maximize travel and minimize worries – with or without pets
For those who take their pets on the trip, almost all respondents indicated that car vacations were the easiest for pets and pet parents. Less risk of anxiety for everyone!
• Pet-friendly hotels and vacation homes can be a great option to help your pet feel at home while you are on vacation. Don’t forget the collar and consider having your pet chipped!
• Be sure to review the basic obedience commands before you leave town. According to PetMD, new and exciting sights and smells can distract a pet on vacation – even normally well-behaved dogs can run.
• Make sure you have a plan if your pet gets lost. Check the social media pages for lost animals and use the area’s network of shelters to help.
• Consider having your dog or cat microchipped and keep the information up to date. Almost 90 percent of those surveyed saw their pet chipped.
Of course, vacations with pets are not always an option. For those who don’t travel with pets, there are still things to consider:
• Just over 70% let a close friend or family member take care of their pet while traveling
• Of those who hire a pet sitter (35%) and those who keep their pets in a kennel (19%), the majority felt that feedback from friends and a trial helped them feel better. the idea of leaving their dog or cat for a longer vacation.
• Microchips can also be important in the home. PetFinder reports that although only 22% of lost dogs enter shelters[vii] reunited with their owners – the rate of dogs reunited with a microchip pet was over 52%. The biggest problem was having up-to-date information on the chip. Only 58 percent of pet microchips had been recorded in a database.
“Don’t be afraid to give it a try, whether your pet comes with you or stays home,” Blakeley said. “Try leaving your pet for a few hours or overnight with a friend, including their favorite toys and treats. Or, if you plan to take your pet with you, visit a family member overnight with your pet. Seeing how your pet will react with and without you can reduce holiday worries – and reduce the risk of having to come home early with an anxious pet or picking up a cat alone from the kennel.