Traveling with Pets Tips

When it comes to traveling, it can be tough to leave your furry friend behind. If you are thinking about bringing your pet along on a trip, first ask yourself what is safest and most comfortable for your pet. If you will be out for most of your trip, it is probably best to leave your pet at home.

If you are considering traveling with a cat, you are almost always better off leaving them at home. But if you do decide bringing your pet along is the best option, follow these tips for a safe and comfortable trip for all.

traveling with pets

Travel kit

If you plan to travel with your pet or pets, pack a travel kit full of the essentials and other items you may need. These include:

  • Supply of pet food and dish
  • Water and a portable dish
  • Leash and collar
  • Up-to-date name tag with contact information
  • Recent picture of your pet(s)
  • Treats
  • Brush
  • Shampoo
  • Toys
  • Medication
  • Medical records and vaccination certificates
  • Car pet harness
  • An old sheet
  • Poo bags or plastic bags
  • Crate (if you are staying in a hotel with your pet, many require the pet to be contained at night)

Before you travel

It is important to make sure your pet is healthy if you are thinking of traveling with it. If your pet is due to renew any shots, get that done before your trip. Also make sure your pet is up-to-date on all medications, including flea and tick medication, as your pet could be exposed to different things on your travels. It is also a good idea to go ahead and have your pet’s nails trimmed if almost due.

If you have not recently traveled with your pet, take a trial run before the official trip. If you are traveling by car, take some short drives to get your pet acclimated to traveling in the car and to observe its behavior. If your pet gets anxious, consider picking up a Thundershirt to help soothe your pet.  

If you are traveling by car, make sure your vehicle is prepared. Clean your car out to make sure there’s nothing lingering in the corners that your pet could get to. Depending on the climate, you may also want to ensure your AC and heat are in working order. Utilize a pet harness to make sure your pet is secured and within reach in case you need to comfort them during travel. More tips to keep your pet at ease is to make sure they are near a window and have access to water. If you are traveling with your cat, you want to set up a litter box. Make your pet feel more at home with a favorite blanket and/or toy.

Does your trip cut into meal time? If you are traveling with a dog, feed your dog a light meal about 3-4 hours prior to departure to allow for proper digestion and a pre-travel bathroom break. Don’t feed your dog while your vehicle is in motion.

Travel tips

Taking an extended road trip? Plan to stop every 2-3 hours to give your pet a bathroom break as well as some exercise. Before you hit the road, check out pet friendly locations where you and your pet can take a well needed break. Sites like can help you plan out your trip with pet-friendly stops.

Do not leave your pet alone in the car. You may think you’re taking a quick stop, but it will seem much longer to your pet. If traveling during the summer, your car can heat up alarmingly fast, putting your pet in danger. Traveling with a human buddy will not only give you another pair of hands to help out and keep an eye on your pet, but also take turns waiting in the car during stops.

If you are staying somewhere with strange sounds and your dog barks, play white noise. There are white noise apps available for most smartphones that can help drown out unfamiliar sounds and put your pet at ease and prevent disrupting others.

Depending on where you are traveling, it may be difficult to maintain your normal routine. Once you reach your destination, stick to your routines as much as possible (for example: feed and walk your dog at the same times you would at home). If possible, take your dog on an extended walk after you arrive to help get rid of any anxiety from traveling. Allow your pet extra time to get acquainted with its new surroundings before leaving it alone.

By following these tips, you and your pet may have a smooth trip and enjoy many adventures together.

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