What to Know When Hitting the Road With Fifi or Fido: High Living Has Gone to the Dogs

National Survey Finds Men Tend to Travel With Pets More Frequently Than Women

DULUTH, Ga., April 26 /PRNewswire/ — Open any newspaper or entertainment magazine and consumers will see stars like Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan toting around their purse-size pooches. However, a new survey conducted by Merial, maker of HEARTGARD(R) Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel), revealed that men are in fact the ones loading the Labrador into the pick-up.

The survey revealed that nearly half of all pet owners pack their pets along with their luggage when they travel. But surprisingly, 31% of male pet owners surveyed stated they are likely to hit the road with Fido, making them eight percent more likely than women to travel with their pet. The survey also found that 15% of the surveyed pet owners traveled with their pet more in 2004 than in previous years.

According to the Travel Industry Association, an estimated 14% or 29 million Americans travel with their pets. “It’s not surprising that the number of people who travel with their pets continues to increase as more and more resources and pet-friendly accommodations become available,” says author and pet trainer, Andrea Arden. “Pets are important members of the family so it’s only natural that people want to include them on family vacations.”

In an attempt to accommodate this trend, an increasing number of hotel chains are becoming “pet friendly.” Wyndham Hotels and Resorts now offers doggie dining experiences and even doggie spa services, where beloved four-legged pals can be pampered with a “paw-dicure.” Some airlines, including Midwest Airlines and United Airlines, are also taking advantage of the large number of those who travel with pets by offering owners frequent flyer miles that can translate to free trips.

While pet travel can be a fun and rewarding experience, it’s important to plan ahead and follow safety precautions that will protect one’s pet and family from hidden dangers. Pet owners are apparently taking note, as 88% of respondents said they visit the veterinarian to ensure their pets are up-to-date on all shots prior to traveling.

Tips for Avoiding Common Road Blocks While Traveling with Pets

Following are a few helpful steps pet owners can take to lessen risks before hitting the road with Fifi or Fido:

* Twenty percent of those who travel with their pet are most likely to
take a trip to the beach or a lake. Protect your pet and your family by
making yourself aware of potential safety or health risks at your
destination and along the way and plan accordingly, especially if you’re
planning an active, outdoor vacation like camping or hiking.

* Determine the best mode of transportation. Ask your veterinarian if
Fido is fit to fly, sail or take on a road trip. If traveling by car,
plan to stop every two hours to let your pet stretch and have a drink of
water. If traveling by air, inquire about the airline’s pet welfare
policies ahead of time and always try to fly on the same flight as your
pet.

* Make sure that your pet is up-to-date on all of his shots. Also, ask
your veterinarian about a monthly heartworm preventive like HEARTGARD(R)
Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel). Sixty one percent of those surveyed said
they make certain their pet is on a heartworm preventive to ensure their
dog is safe when visiting areas with high mosquito populations. Some
monthly heartworm preventives also treat hookworms and roundworms that
may be passed from pets to people, especially young children.

* Keep your pet on a leash. Also, make sure your pet has a collar with a
license and ID tag(s) listing his name and yours, along with your
address and cell phone number. It is always a good idea to carry a
current photograph of your dog as well.

About Merial

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 6,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2004 sales were in excess of $1.8 billion. Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. and sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see http://www.merial.com/.

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