Many couples couldn’t imagine their joyous wedding celebrations without their beloved fur babies sharing the spotlight. Coupled with the continuing increase in destination weddings, especially to glorious Los Cabos, the industry here is generally well prepared for pets.
Travelling with pets has become an increasingly common activity in the past few years. Over 2 million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States, more than 4 million worldwide, according to the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. United Airlines alone carried 138,000 animals in 2017.
So, it should be easy to bring my pet along to be part of my Cabo destination wedding, right?
Yes, it should be, but before making your plans, check out the following considerations, focused primarily on canine companions:
1. Pet Personality
Consider what you want your dog’s role to be in the celebration. Hound of Honor? Ring Bearer? No matter what his position will be, your dog’s personality must be congruent with adapting to new environments, social settings and strangers. Sociable dogs usually enjoy the added attention group situations bring, while shy and uncomfortable dogs may not.
2. Pet-Friendly PLUS
Be sure the wedding venues you shortlist and ultimately choose will allow dogs, not only in guest rooms but in public areas. Even if the property is pet-friendly, you will need to clarify the fine print of your hotel’s pet policy. For instance, guests with pets might have to stay in certain room blocks, which could impact your options of where to stay on property. That means the beautiful honeymoon suite you’ve been dreaming of may not be an option. Confirm which areas of the property are pet-friendly (this will likely exclude pools, restaurants, and bars) and also if pets can be left unattended in guest rooms. Your Los Cabos wedding planner will be well versed in the policies of local venues.
3. Air Travel
Be sure to check your airline’s specific pet and crate specifications, as they can vary. Also note that certain breeds of dogs including those with snub-noses, (such as pugs) are prone to severe respiratory problems in an airplane’s cargo hold, and should only travel in the passenger cabin with their owner. Again, check this out with your specific airline.
Mexico has updated their pet entry requirements in the past few years. You will require proof of vaccination against rabies and distemper, administered at least 15 days before your arrival, as well as proof of immunization against internal parasites and external parasites (fleas and ticks), administered within the last six months.
You will also need to have an accredited Veterinarian fill out a specific health certificate that can be found at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel. Follow the instructions carefully and get the vet to sign 2 copies, so each is an original. Regulations involving your re-entry into the US can be found at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel and into Canada at: https://travel.gc.ca/returning/customs/bringing-your-pet-to-canada.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Since you and your spouse to be will be (obviously) busy during the ceremony, you don’t need the pressure of monitoring your dog’s behaviour. Designate a handler that will be with your dog at all times throughout the ceremony. Also, be sure to spend a generous amount of time with your dog rehearsing his role before the big day and be sure to practice during the actual on-site rehearsal. That way, your dog and handler will know precisely what to do and when.
5. Manners Matter
So, your dog and his designated handler will be well-prepped for the wedding formalities, but be sure Fido will be well controlled around guests and hotel staff. If your dog has a habit of jumping on people, be sure to provide some remedial training in advance. If he has a tendency to become excitable without sufficient exercise, find out where he could be taken for exercise at strategic times during your trip.
6. Allergy Alert
Be sure to tell your bridal party and family about your dog’s involvement well before the trip, just in case any of them are allergic to dogs. This will allow them to be prepared with any needed medications. Some couples include this information on the wedding invitation.
7. Beauty for the Beast
You will have your spa and beauty treatments for the celebrations, and so should Fido! Make an appointment with your groomer at home close to your departure date so he looks and smells the way a four-legged superstar should.
8. Safety First
Naturally, you will want to dress your dog in an adorable bow tie, tux, or wedding veil. Just make sure the accessory you choose is comfortable, fits properly and can’t become a choking hazard. Also, consult with your florist to ensure none of the flowers you use are poisonous to dogs. The likelihood of needing emergency care for your pet is small, but it’s still a good idea to determine the nearest animal hospital and veterinarian. Your caring Cabo wedding planner can assist with this.
9. Only the Lonely
Although you will be very busy, try not to leave your pet alone too much. When you have to, crate him comfortably in your room where he will feel safe and secure amongst the scent of your belongings. Some dogs are happier in a boarding kennel, and there are great ones in Los Cabos your wedding planner can help you find if needed. Be courteous and leave no trace of your pet in the room before you check out.
10. Max Out the Photo Ops!
You will want to feature your adorable fuzzy one in as many photos and videos as possible, so notify your photographer and videographer about your pet and his role in advance. Apart from the distinct photo ops, photographers can prepare fun photo ideas and watch for unpredictable and amusing behaviour.
So, armed with these tips, you shouldn’t have to wave goodbye to Rufus (with his enormously sad puppy eyes) when you leave for your Cabo Destination Wedding. You can bring him along for the adventure and priceless memories you will create together.