by MARNÉ AMOGUIS
Being a pet parent means having additional responsibilities, including taking care of your companion no matter what. Many people may choose to board their dogs and cats at the vet or doggy daycare when they have to travel, while others prefer to travel with their pets. Traveling with your pets means continuing to spend every day together and strengthening your bond while providing mental health benefits to both of you. However, planning a trip with your pet can be stressful if you don’t plan.
Luckily, there’s no reason to leave your best friend behind when you travel. Here’s how to travel with your pets hassle-free.
1. Bring a Travel Crate
If your dog or cat is crate-trained, they will view their crate as a safe place. Dogs with anxiety often find comfort in having their own confined space. Putting your pet in a travel crate can also help keep them safe as it’s durable and can stop them from sliding around in your vehicle. If your pet isn’t crate-trained, you should have them tethered up in the car to prevent them from moving around too much or jumping in the front seat. You can buy a pet seat belt that will attach to your dog’s harness or collar to keep them safe while you focus on driving.
2. Bring Their Paperwork
If you’re taking a long trip with your pet, bring their vet paperwork, ensuring they are up to date on vaccinations and hygiene. Your vet should also give you a health certificate for when you travel. If you’re flying with your pet, consider calling the airline to see if your pet requires any other special paperwork.
3. Chip Your Pet
If your pet isn’t microchipped, it is time to chip them to ensure you can find them if they get lost while traveling. A microchip makes the dog trackable if a shelter or vet recovers them. If you don’t want to chip your pet, make sure they always wear their collar with a tag that states their name and your phone number so someone can call you if they find your pet.
4. Bring Water
Drinking water is accessible for you while you drive, but it might not be easy to ensure your dog is adequately hydrated without the right tools. Bring a travel pet bowl and an extra bottle of water on your travels to ensure they can get a sip of water whenever they’re thirsty. You can place the travel bowl on the seat in the car and fill it halfway to avoid spills, allowing your pet to drink throughout the entire ride.
5. Keep a Schedule
Over time, pets become accustomed to a specific schedule. For example, you likely feed and walk your dog at the same time every day, no matter what. Dogs are creatures of habit, and breaking their schedules can give them anxiety and make them worry unnecessarily. Even though you might not be able to keep the exact same routine while traveling, you can still do the main activities. For example, if you’re taking a road trip with your dog, you can still feed them at the same time every day.
6. Stay Active
If your travels require you to sit for long periods, make time for exercise. When you visit a rest stop, take the time to do more than simply rest. For example, instead of letting your pet go potty outside, take them for a walk to help them reduce anxiety. You’ll help them eliminate excess energy by exercising your pet to keep them calm in the car.
7. Bring Toys
Your pet needs something to keep them occupied while traveling. Instead of leaving them with nothing to do, bring a toy to give them something to do. Bringing your pet’s favorite toy can also put their mind at ease during stressful car rides.
8. Never Leave Your Pet Alone
You should never leave your pet in a locked car, especially in the summer with no air conditioning. Even if you’re just getting gas, you should never leave your dog alone in a car, even with a cracked window. Instead, take your pet outside of the vehicle with you to allow them to get some fresh air. You can also put a bowl of water down for them to get water while you fill your tank.
Additionally, you should never leave your dog alone in a car for their safety. You never know who might come up and open your car door to steal from you or try to take your dog. So instead, keep an eye on your dog at all times.
9. Find Pet-Friendly Hotels
Before leaving for your trip, make sure that you and your pet have somewhere to stay. Many hotels don’t allow pets, but others do. Depending on where your vacation takes you, you might only have a few options available for accommodations. If you’re taking a road trip, learn about all of the pet-friendly hotels you’ll be to plan and ensure you and your pet always have a safe, comfortable place to sleep. When finding a hotel, you should find one that has no pest complaints or has a superb pest control system to protect your pet.
10. Bring Home With You
Your home is your pet’s safe space. Because long travels can cause anxiety for your pet, it’s best to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Bringing a few things from home with you can make their trip more comfortable and enjoyable. Always pack familiar things for your pet, including their favorite napping blanket, any stuffed animals, and their favorite toys. You can also bring their bed and bowls.
11. Know When Not to Travel With Your Pet
Depending on your pet’s temperament, it might be better to leave them with a responsible family or friend for a few days. For example, if your pet has anxiety or doesn’t like people or other pets, you won’t be able to take them with you everywhere you go.
Also, dogs might not be allowed if you plan to spend a lot of time in public places. If you can’t spend every second with your pet, it might be better for both of you to leave your animal companion at home.
Traveling with Pets on an Airplane
If you’re traveling with your pet on an airplane, the logistics can be a little bit more complicated. If your pet is small enough, you may be able to bring them with you and keep them in a crate under your seat. However, if you have a large pet, they might have to travel in the cargo hold. While many flights are safe for pets, it can be stressful knowing your pet isn’t with you on a plane. If your pet has anxiety, it’s best not to take them on a plane; instead, choose to drive to your destination if possible so they can be just as happy and excited as you are.