Plan Ahead Before Traveling With Pet

I’m moving from my hometown to Lansing, Mich., next month, and I plan to drive the whole way. My mom is coming along too, to help out. The big worry though, is my dog “Sparks,” a toy terrier. He gets very agitated in the car. I also don’t know if he’ll be allowed to stay in hotels with us along the way. I have a few weeks before starting my new job, and I want to “meander” a bit and see the country, but will that be possible with Sparks along? — Jeannie from Tampa, Fla.

With a bit of planning, you should be able to have a fun road trip without stressing Sparks (or yourself) too much. The first person to call is Sparks’ veterinarian. You’ll need a copy of his medical and shot record for his new vet in Michigan. Talk to the vet about your planned trip and about Sparks’ anxiety in the car. Medication is available to help calm your dog while traveling. Alternatively, you could try taking him on a couple of car trips before your big move. For example, drive about 30-60 minutes to a nice park, hop out and take Sparks for a walk around, then drive back home. Sometimes a pet’s only car experience is a short ride to the vet, so doing something different may help ease that anxiety. Finding a pet-friendly hotel during the trip may not be as difficult as you think. Many national hotel chains have pet policies that allow smaller pets, and some have even more liberal rules. Motel 6, for example, has a one-pet-per-room policy and charges no additional fees. Plot out your driving route along with sights you want to see, and where you will likely stop for the night, then call ahead to hotels in that area (or look them up online) to ask about their pet policy.

Send your questions or comments to, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit © 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.

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