6 Tips for Traveling with Your Pet and Reducing Stress

We love our pets and would like to bring them along on our trips and vacations. You’ll also need to think about other logistical issues when you travel with your pet.

It’s possible, even though it may seem overwhelming, to bring your dog or cat along on many of your travels. These suggestions can help you start.

1. Take into consideration if the trip is in your pet’s best interest

When planning a trip, it is important to consider your pet’s needs. Before you begin planning your trip, consider the safety of your pet.

  • Does your pet get easily stressed out?
  • Does your pet seem frail or old?
  • Is your pet distressed by being in a carrier or crate?

If you feel that the trip will be too stressful for your pet, it is best to leave him behind.

Ensure that you plan your trip to include pet-friendly accommodations. You should check in advance if the hotels, airlines and car rental agencies you intend to use will allow pets. Book any nonrefundable services or accommodations only after you’re sure that your pet will be welcome.

2. Understand the rules and regulations for your destination and the airport.

Most airports and government agencies have departments that are dedicated to pet travel regulations. Before traveling, you may need to see your veterinarian to obtain copies of your pet’s or your dog’s vaccine records. You may also want to perform blood tests and get additional vaccinations.

When planning a trip abroad, it is important to understand the rules and regulations in your destination country. When planning your trip, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a requirement for paperwork or permits to be obtained by your pet in the country?
  • What vaccinations does your pet need to receive before entering the country?
  • Your pet has been microchipped.
  • What quarantine arrangements, if any are required?
  • Your dog or pet breed is banned from entering the United States?

3. What will your pet travel with you?

You will need to transport your pet in either a carrier or crate if you are planning to travel via plane, or by boat (with some exceptions for dogs traveling on shorter distances). It can be a problem, especially if your dog isn’t used to being in a carrier.

Take the time in the weeks or months before your trip to acclimate the pet to its crate. Put your pet’s favorite treats or toys inside the carrier or crate to help them see it as a place they can relax or nap. If you plan to use the crate in a cargo area, it should have a waterproof base, ample ventilation, and a secure lock. For dogs, please see our comprehensive guide on crate-training.

You’ll need to ensure that your pet’s cage meets both the FAA and IATA standards if you are traveling outside of the U.S.

4. Take Bathroom Breaks or Rest Stops into Consideration

When you travel by car, you should plan out a route that allows your pet to go potty.

Allowing your dog to take three to five toilet breaks per day is a good idea. However, this number may be increased if the dog has become nervous after being in a car and/or drinking more water.

It’s best to take familiar food, litter, and bowls with you when traveling with your cat. You can keep a litter box with your cat in their crate or provide litter every few minutes. Remember that your cat might not want to drink water or go to the toilet during the car ride. They will wait until you arrive at your final destination.

Make sure your pet’s crate has enough space for them to eliminate away from their sleeping area. Make sure to secure a puppy or litter box in the corner of their crate so that it won’t fall on your pet.

5. Understanding the health risks of traveling with your pet

Visit your veterinarian to discuss the general health of your pet and whether it is suitable for travel. Ask them for any advice and tips they may have. In case of an emergency, you may want to look into nearby animal and pet hospitals.

You may find that your pet faces different parasites on your trip than at home. Ask your vet to recommend a product which will help prevent or combat common parasites like fleas and ticks.

6. Stock up on Pet Essentials

Then, make a list of all the items your pet needs for the trip and head to the nearest pet store. Consider the following items:

  • Name tag with mobile number
  • Travel water and food dishes
  • Brushes and grooming tools
  • Food and treats
  • Two favorite toys
  • Leash and harnesses for dogs
  • Litter and a litterbox suitable for traveling for cats
  • Your pet may need regular medication
  • Your pet’s medical records
  • Use an old towel or sheet as a cover for hotel furniture
  • Take a picture of your dog in case it gets lost

With the right preparation and documentation you can have a stress-free trip with your family , and with your pets.

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