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Petplan’s New Study Points to Pets as Preferred Travel Companions

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Don’t tell your dog, but there’s a good chance the pup next door gets to go on vacation this year – and not to the kennel or pet sitter’s house. According to Petplan pet insurance’s third annual Travel Survey, more pets are vacationing with their people than ever before. Read on for surprising stats and top travel tips from Petplan veterinarian Dr. Jules Benson.

Petplan spotted the trend after comparing their survey results from previous years. “At Petplan, we know that pets are often seen as full-fledged, four-legged members of the family, so we were curious to see if the number tagging along on trips would rise this year,” says Natasha Ashton, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Petplan.

Sure enough, in 2014, a whopping 80% of the 4,000+ survey respondents said they wouldn’t leave home without their pet. And the numbers just keep climbing, from 70% in 2012 and 78% in 2013.

But this hilarious finding really got pet people talking: More than half of respondents said they’d rather travel with their pet than their two-legged partner. That means that 53% preferred their dog or cat as a travelling companion over their spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. (Maybe it’s because Fido and Fluffy never question your music choices or tell you to stop for directions?)

With the summer travel season upon us, Petplan’s survey found road trips are the top transportation choice for pet people. As they pack up their station wagons and SUVs, pet parents make room for four-legged travelers, especially if they’re headed to Grandma’s house. Close to 30% of surveyed pet parents said they’d bring along their dog to visit a relative or friend. Even some cats make the trip – roughly 5% hit the road with their people each year.

So what does this mean for America’s pet parents? “If you’re thinking of taking a road trip with your pet, making sure you plan ahead is crucial,” says Petplan’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jules Benson. “By now pet parents know that it’s never safe to leave your dog in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. But there are many other important travel safety considerations, as well.”

Before hitting the road with your best friend, brush up on Dr. Benson’s top pet travel tips:

  •     Down, Boy: As tempting as it is to let your pet have free run of the car, it’s a major risk for everyone on the road. Pets dive under seats, climb on gas pedals, startle the driver or get hurt if the car stops suddenly. It’s safer for everyone when pets stay properly restrained inside the car. Fortunately, you’ll find a big selection of pet vehicle restraints at your pet supply store. And most clip right into your car’s safety belt system. (Make sure you take the time to acclimate your pet to their restraint before your journey – the start of your road trip should NOT be the first time you’ve used this!)

For small dogs, pet seats are a great choice. They’re comfortable, secure and prop up your pup high enough to look out the window. For large dogs, consider a harness or restraint that they can wear while sitting or lying down on the back seat. Kitties also travel well with a harness, but many feel cozier all curled up with a blanket in their own crate. Just make sure the crate attaches to the seat belt to keep it from moving around.

  •     Stay, Don’t Stray: Everybody knows that your pet can escape when the car doors open. But dogs jump out of windows, too. Petplan has paid claims before for pets who have leapt from moving vehicles, so wait until you’re at your destination to let your dog free to feel the wind in her fur. Attach the leash before opening the doors or windows, and keep all heads and paws inside while driving.
  •     Tag, You’re Mine: Ideally, your pet should never set paw outside your home without proper ID tags. But tags are never more important than when you’re traveling together. Make sure your dog’s IDs include your current cell phone number and contact information. It’s also an excellent idea to get your pet microchipped in case her collar comes off by accident.
  •     Medically Necessary: While we always hope that vacations will be accident and illness free, many of us know this isn’t always the case. Do a little research before you leave to find the closest vet and emergency clinic to your vacation destination. Also make sure you ask your regular vet for an up-to-date record of your pet’s medical history that you can take with you.
  •     Travel Bug: If you’re planning on traveling out of state, talk to your vet about whether your pet could be exposed to any different infectious diseases or parasites – it might be the paw-fect time to take precautions with vaccines or preventive medications.

For more tips to keep summer vacation fun “fur” the whole family, visit GoPetplan.com.

Petplan is the only pet insurance company to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. For the second consecutive year, Petplan was listed among the top 50 companies on Forbes annual ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies – a list of 100 privately held, high-growth companies with bright futures. Petplan’s fully customizable dog insurance and cat insurance policies provide coverage for all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet as standard, and meet the coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. Petplan pet insurance policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company in the U.S. and by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company in Canada. The Allianz Group is rated A+ by A.M. Best (2012). For information, about Petplan pet insurance, visit http://www.gopetplan.com, read the Petplan “Vets for Pets” Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Morgan Jones
Brian Communications
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