8 Tips to Make Traveling with Your Pet Easier

Traveling with your pet can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you’re planning a road trip, hopping on a plane, or exploring a new destination, traveling with your pet requires careful preparation and consideration to ensure they are comfortable, safe, and happy on the road.

Research your destination’s pet-friendly transportation options, accommodations, and any specific requirements or restrictions. Some hotels, airlines, and modes of transportation have specific policies and regulations regarding pets, so it’s crucial to gather all the necessary information ahead of time.

Here’s what you need to know before you and your four-legged buddies hit the road.

Choose a Pet-Friendly Destination

When planning a trip with a pet, be sure to choose a pet-friendly destination. The last thing you want is to keep your pet in a crate in your hotel room all the time. There are many pet-friendly activities you can take part in during the holidays. Consider setting up pet-friendly beaches, national parks, restaurants, and even wineries in your travel destination.

Remember to always prioritize your pet’s safety and comfort when traveling, and plan ahead and prepare any necessary documents or vaccinations.

Book Pet-Friendly Transportation

If you’re not traveling by car, you’ll need to find a pet-friendly mode of transportation. Many public transportation systems, such as buses, trains, and subways, allow pets, but rules and restrictions vary by location and operator. Most require pets to be kept in cages, but some allow pets to be kept on a leash. Check with the carrier beforehand to make sure you have all the necessary documentation and vaccinations for your pet.

Service animals are allowed almost everywhere, but there may be special requirements during travel. Emotional support animals are generally not considered service animals, so the shipping company’s general pet policy will apply.

Research Pet-Friendly Accommodations

If you’re staying in a hotel or other accommodation, be sure to research the options for allowing pets in advance. Some properties may have restrictions on pet size or breed, and additional charges may apply for pets. Book your accommodation in advance and let them know that you will be traveling with your pet.

Visit the Veterinarian

Before traveling, take your pet to the veterinarian for a check-up and make sure they have all the necessary vaccinations and medications. International travel typically requires a special health certificate from a USDA-accredited veterinarian, but even some domestic travel requires special documentation. Ask your veterinarian for specific advice on your pet’s needs and bring a copy of their health record with you.

If your pet is feeling anxious while traveling, your veterinarian may recommend a sedation aid or supplement. If necessary, your veterinarian can prescribe real anti-anxiety medications. These medications are very similar to those taken by those who are nervous about flying and work in a similar way.

Before traveling with your pet, it is essential to discuss your pet’s health and stress levels with your veterinarian. Sometimes, if your pet’s health or anxiety can make travel stressful, the best thing to do is to leave your pet at home with a trusted friend or pet sitter.

Pack the Necessary Supplies

In addition to your own belongings, pack everything your pet needs for the trip:

  • A collar or harness with current identification
  • If your pet has a microchip, make sure your household information is up-to-date and registered with the microchip company.
  • Belt
  • Bowls/plates
  • Pet food and treats
  • Water
  • Medications and recent health history, including proof of vaccination
  • Pet toys (jigsaw puzzles can help them stay busy)
  • Garbage bags or travel bins
  • Pet beds or blankets
  • Carriers or crates
  • Car restraints
  • Pet first aid kit
  • List of veterinarians near your destination (including 24/7 emergency clinics)

If you are traveling by air, choose an airline approved carrier. If you are traveling by car, use restraints or carriers to keep your pet safe while driving. Depending on your accommodation, you may also need to bring a crate for your pet to use during your stay.

Practice Ahead

If your pet is not used to traveling, start practicing before your trip. It’s common for cats to be afraid of rides, but even some dogs don’t like rides. Take your pet on a short drive or public transport trip to get them used to the experience and reward the relaxing behavior with treats, toys or praise. Gradually increase the length of the trip to improve their comfort. Your veterinarian or certified trainer can help provide guidance, but if your pet’s travel anxiety is severe, you may wish to consult with a certified animal behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist.

If your pet gets motion sickness in the car, talk to your veterinarian about it. There may be some medications or tips before the trip that can help reduce this unfortunate reaction.

Pay Attention to Your Pet’s Comfort

Make sure your pet feels comfortable and calm throughout the journey. Provide them with water and snacks as needed, as well as exercise and toilet use. If you are traveling by car, never leave your pet in a parked car as it can be dangerous or even fatal. Heat stroke can affect dogs and cats.

Observe Pet Etiquette

When traveling with pets, be considerate of others. Keep your pet on a leash or in a cage, clean up their droppings, and respect the space and comfort of other travelers.

While traveling with your pet is certainly fun, there are times when you can consider leaving your pet at home and handing it over to friends, relatives, pet sitters, or quality boarding facilities.

If your pet is older and has difficulty seeing, hearing, or moving, it’s best to keep them in a familiar environment to avoid feeling stressed and anxious in a new place.
If your pet has any impaired immunity, sometimes the stress of travel and exposure to new pet groups and environments during travel can increase the chances of infection.
If your pet is highly anxious about new places, people, sounds, or objects, traveling may not be fun for them at all.
If you are concerned about how your pet will react during the trip, talk to your veterinarian about it. She may be able to provide you with helpful tips, supplements, or medications, or she can recommend reputable babysitters or boarding facilities. Our goal is for everyone to have fun during their trip, and sometimes, for our pets, that means staying at home.

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