MPH Blog

Posts for category: Pet Travel

By Heather Beeson-Mazzone of Morena Pet Hospital
December 10, 2013
Category: Pet Travel


The holidays are often a magical time of year for sharing good cheer with family and friends, but it can also be stressful if traveling with pets.  No matter if you are boarding your pet ‘away in a manger’ or taking your pet with you while you ‘traverse afar’, here are some tips that will help you and your pets make the most of this holiday season.

  • Always plan ahead with your travels (whether you are traveling with your pet, leaving them at a boarding facility, or having a pet-sitter check in on them).  Each airline has its own pet policy, so it’s a good idea to check with the specific airline you plan on using in advance.

Tip: Non-stop flights are highly recommended when traveling with pets.

Tip: Always try to fly your pets in-cabin whenever possible (this will often depend on the size of your pet and the airline you use).

  • Do you hear what I hear?  We understand that traveling for the holidays is not always an option for our furry loved ones.  If you are looking for safe pet boarding, we here at Morena Pet Hospital offer the perfect place to board your special friend. With comfortable accommodations, we provide loving care when your pet needs a "home away from home".
  • Many airlines now require pets to have a health certificate to ensure they are fit for travel. Check with your veterinarian ahead of time to ensure proper procedure is met, especially when traveling abroad.
  • Often times an airline approved carrier is required.  A good choice is the Sherpa carrier, which was the first soft-sided pet carrier to be endorsed by major airlines for pets on the go.  If your pets are flying cargo, do splurge on a good-quality carrier that has secure construction, metal doors, effective locking mechanism, and is well-ventilated.  The carrier should also be large enough for your pet to comfortably stand up and turn around in.

Tip: Remember to get your pet accustomed to his/her carrier before your expected travel day.  Put a familiar blanket or article of clothing to help calm your pup or kitty while in route.  For more tips on getting your pet comfortable with the carrier, visit our previous article, Tips on Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian.

Tip: Have your pet’s carrier clearly labeled with your name and contact information.

  • If you are traveling by car, it is a good idea to take your pet on some “test drives”.  If he/she gets car sick, consult your veterinarian for some suggestions on how to make the trip more comfortable. 
  • Consult your veterinarian if you plan on using calming treats, supplements, or sedatives for your pet’s travel; also it is best to know how your pet will respond to these medications at home, before traveling.
  • If making stops on the way, plan ahead and know which hotels, motels, or campgrounds are pet-friendly and book accordingly.
  • Whether you are traveling with your pet, leaving them at a boarding facility, or having a pet-sitter check in on them, it is recommended that you have all of your pets micro-chipped (and registered!) and that they are wearing proper identification with updated contact information.  Consider purchasing and setting up the TAGG Pet Tracker, a recent product on the market that uses GPS technology to locate your pets.

Remember, spending a short amount of time preparing for your travels now will greatly benefit you and your pets and ease your worries during the real hustle and bustle of the holidays.

For more tips on how to protect your pet from holiday dangers, visit our blog article, Holiday Pet Safety Tips.


Boswell, Laura. Holiday Pet Travel Guide. TravelChannel.

AVMA. Traveling With Your Pet FAQ, 2012.

Quaker Pet Group. Sherpa

SnapTrac's Inc. TAGG, the Pet Tracker

By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
February 07, 2013
Category: Pet Travel


Here Kitty, Kitty...

Has your cat caught one glimpse of the “dreaded” pet carrier and bolted for the door or to a far away hiding place just out of your reach.  We cannot tell you the amount of times an owner has had to call us to reschedule an appointment because they can't get little "Fluffy" out from under the bed! 

For your cat, a trip to the veterinarian involves dealing with one stressor after another.  We at Morena Pet Hospital understand!  After all, imagine how you may feel if after having full reign of the house, someone crammed you into a small cage, and then proceeded to load you into a car and drive you away from the warm, comfort of your own home!  As pet owners, we empathize with our pets.  When they are stressed and anxious, we become stressed and anxious.  Many of our feline pet-owners have openly admitted to being frustrated when taking their cats in for their veterinary visits.  

To help make this experience more enjoyable for both you and your cat, we have provided some tips and tools that have been known to help:

Cat Carrier

Tip # 1: Understand Why Your Cat Behaves this Way

  • Cats are most comfortable with the familiar.  So a visit to the veterinarian that involves new people, places, and situations are difficult for them.  Understand that your cat will need time to adjust.
  • Cats have the tendency to pick up on our anxiety and sense when we are frustrated, which may cause them to act in a similar manner.  It is best to remain calm.
  • Cats are not ones to learn from negative reinforcements.  Thus, punishing or forcing your cat into the carrier will be a wasted effort and may actually deter your cat from wanting to enter the carrier for future visits.  Instead, encourage your cat by offering rewards (e.g. treats, play-time, and/or affection) for positive behaviors .

Tip # 2: Get Your Cat to Associate the Carrier with Positive Experiences

  • The goal is to familiiarize your cat with the carrier so he/she will enter freely.  While at home, leave the carrier out in a room that your cat spends a lot of time and try placing treats, catnip, and/or toys inside the carrier
  • To make the carrier even more inviting,  try putting a familiar blanket or towel inside.
  • If you are still having trouble, perhaps try a different style of carrier

Tip # 3: How to Get Your Unwilling Cat Into the Carrier

In the case that your cat needs to visit the veterinarian right away and is not yet fully accustomed to the carrier, consider the following:

  • Place your cat and the carrier in a small room with very few hiding places.
  • Calmly try to encourage your cat with treats or toys.
  • If your cat is still apprehensive to enter the carrier, gently cradle your cat and lower it into the carrier opening (Many carriers now come with a top opening for just this reason!).  Another option depending on the style of carrier you have is to unscrew the bolts attaching the top portion of the carrier and gently placing your cat in the bottom portion.  Once your have your cat inside, carefully replace the top and secure the carrier by tightening the bolts. 
  • Consider using a synthetic feline facial pheromone analog spray (e.g. Feliway) in the carrier at least 30 minutes prior to transporting to help calm your cat

Tip # 4: After It's All Said and Done…Or Is It?  How to Keep the Peace in Multi-Cat Households.

  • Cats are very sensitive to smells and unfamiliar smells can result in one cat no longer recognizing his feline roommate.  Aggressive behavior can likely occur when one cat views another as a stranger.
  • Keep the cat in the carrier for a few minutes following a veterinary visit.  If both cats appear content, let the returning cat out of the carrier.  However, if you sense some tension or have had previous conflicts after visits, it is best to keep kitty in the carrier for a bit longer.  Take him/her to a calm, quiet room in order to avoid any potential injury from an upset cat.  Provide food, water, and a litter box for a minimum of 24 hours while your cat regains the more familiar smell of the home.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Morena Pet Hospital at (619) 275-0888.

For a full guideline document, visit and

By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
May 18, 2012
Category: Pet Travel
Tags: Untagged


San Diego's Finest Pet-Friendly & Tail-Wagging Fun Attractions

Nowadays, humans are not the only ones enjoying parks and beaches; our furry companions are taking pleasure in visiting them as well!  San Diego has become famous for its dog beaches and trails, as well as its world class, pet-friendly shopping centers and restaurants.  Listed below are some of San Diego's most popular doggie attractions for you and your pet to enjoy.

San Diego Dog Beaches

  • San Diego Dog Beach, Ocean Beach

This is perhaps one of the most popular canine hotspots in San Diego, located at the northern end of Ocean Beach.  Here, dogs are allowed to roam off-leash at all times.   Owners should take care to pick up after their pets.

  • Fiesta Island Dog Park, Mission Bay

Much of this large, sandy island is designated leash-free for dogs.  Lots of sandy dunes to romp around in, and for those more adventurous canines, the calm bay waters provide a tempting oasis to take a quick dip to cool off!

  • North Beach Dog Run, Coronado

This fun-filled dog beach is located at the most northern point of the beach, next to the Naval Air Station.  Foot showers and free dog litter bags are at the entrance.  It is always a good idea to bring along drinking water for both you and your dog.  Free-Parking.

  • Del Mar Dog Beach, Del Mar

Ask any pet-owning Del Mar native where Dog Beach is and they will almost certainly know the location!  Located at the border of the south end of Solano Beach and the north end of Del Mar this beach is sure to provide you and your pet with a fun-filled day!

San Diego Parks and Hiking Trails

  • Cabrillo Tide Pools Trail

Cabrillo Tide Pools Trail is an easy, 0.5 mile hike into Cabrillo National Monument that will usually take about an hour to complete with your pet.  Although sometimes mistaken as not allowing pets, this trail is in fact the only area in the National Monument where dogs are allowed.  Your pup will have to remain on a leash as you take the trail to the tide pools.

  • Cowles Mountain

Pets on leashes are welcome to join you as you hike this popular San Diego mountain.  Remember to bring along water if you wish to make it to the very top.  Once you are there, be sure to enjoy the gorgeous views!

  • Balboa Park

Pets are welcome on leashes at this rather quiet and beautiful San Diego park, full of museums, outdoor events, and gorgeous gardens.  A great place to relax or throw a frisbee or two with your pet.

  • Capeheart Park

Located at the corner of Felspar and Soledad Mountain Road, this one acre park offers two fenced pens on turf areas (one for small dogs and the other for large dogs).  Both areas provide water for pets, a drinking fountain, picnic tables and benches, and a parking area.

  • Tecolote Canyon Natural Park

This canyon offers you and your pet an ideal location for some on-leash exercise as you make your way through the 6.5 miles of scenic nature trails.

  • Presidio Park, Old Town

This lovely, 50 acre park is set on a hill overlooking the city and bay, which provide some beautiful landscape views.  This is a perfect place for a walk or a picnic with your on-leash pet.

  • Grape Street Dog Park

There is tons of room for your pet to play in this designated off-leash area of this city park.  Use caution, as the area is not fenced.

  • Kearny Mesa Dog Park

Your pet will love to play off-leash at this fenced, 1-acre dog park.  Includes shade trees, chairs, and running water.

Dog-friendly Restaurants & Cafes

  • Rocky's Doggie Cafe at the San Diego Humane Society & SPCA

Doggie Cafe is an outdoor cafe open to dogs (on-leashes) and people every day of the week from 8am-3:30pm.  Reservations are required as space is limited.  This is a great place to have fun socializing with other dog lovers and their dogs while you practice teaching your dog how to be calm around exciting distractions like people, other dogs, and food!

  • Sally's on the Water Restaurant & Bar

Opt to dine outdoors and your dog can join you.  Or you may prefer to joinfor their pet friendly "yappy" hour on the lower patio, usually held on Thursdays from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM offering drink and appetizer specials.

  • Trattoria La Strada

This is a good spot for an Italian meal. Dine at an outdoor table and your dog can join you.

  • McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant-Omni Hotel

If you are looking for a reliable seafood chain for a nice meal before/after a ball game, McCormick & Schmick's is your place. Dine at an outdoor table and your dog can join you.

  • Solare

Enjoy fine Italian cusisine on the lovely patio and bring your pup.  They'll even bring him/her food and water to graze on while you dine! 

  • The Wine Pub

The Wine Pub is a 21+ wine bar, restaurant, and lounge in Point Loma, San Diego near Shelter Island.  Stop by on Woofer Wednesday; if you dine with your dog, they will donate 10% of your bill to Barking Lot.

Dog-friendly Hotels

  • Travelodge Mission Valley at Hotel Circle

Travelodge San Diego Mission Valley is pet friendly! One dog (15 lbs or less) is welcome for no additional fee.  Please note there are a limited number of pet friendly rooms available.

  • La Quinta Inn San Diego Mission Valley

La Quinta Inn has two pet-friendly locations:  Mission Valley and Old Town.  Up to two pets under 25 lbs. are allowed in each room for no additional fee or deposit.

  • Residence Inn by Marriott San Diego Mission Valley

Residence Inn in Mission Valley offers pet friendly accomodations.  Pets are welcome for an additional $125 one-time fee. There is no size restriction or limit on the number of pets per room.

  • Extended Stay America San Diego at Mission Valley

For those looking for a more extended stay here in San Diego, the Mission Valley location is pet friendly! One 25 lb. pet is welcome for an additional $25/ night fee (Maximum $75 per stay.) More than one pet may be permitted upon a manager's approval.

Campgrounds & RV Resorts

  • San Diego RV Resort

Dogs are allowed at San Diego RV Resort, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. Pet waste bags are supplied and there are several nice walking areas for your pet's enjoyment. There is a 2 pet limit per site and aggressive breeds are not allowed. Other restrictions may apply.

  • Campland on the Bay

Dogs are allowed at Campland On the Bay, but must stay within the designated dog walk areas.  Dogs are restricted on the beach, in the cafe, game room, restrooms, laundry, market or any grassy area. Dogs must be on leash at all times and may not be left unattended outside of an RV or tent.  Aggressive breeds are prohibited.

Pet-Friendly Getaways

  • Pine Haven Cabin Rental

Ask about their VIP (very important pet) Treatment consisting of 1.25 acres of fenced-in playground with a basket of toys to play with, a welcome treat, and their very own dining table and water table.

  • Cienaga Creek Ranch

Cienaga Creek Ranch is the perfect pet friendly Big Bear vacation getaway.  Hike leash-free with your pet from the door of your private luxury cabin on the unlimited trails on and around our ranch.

For a more-detailed list of pet-friendly locations, please visit

Have a favorite San Diego hotspot you and your dog like to visit?  Please comment below!