Tips for Travel with Pets


Have you ever tried road-tripping with your pet, only to realize that you forgot something essential at home? Or perhaps you attempted to fly with your pet, but they absolutely despised their carrier and were never able to calm down? If any of this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone! It can be difficult to condition your pet for travel if it only happens occasionally. Nonetheless, you can still ease some of their nerves by creating the most comfortable voyage possible for them. Whether you have battled the pet-travel blues before, or you are preparing your first outing and hoping for a smooth ride, this article will teach you how to plan a safe, stress-free road trip or flight for you and your companion.



Travel by Plane

  • Get a checkup at the vet
Before your trip, you should take your pet to their veterinarian for a check-up. Let the vet know that you are planning to fly with your pet so they can make sure that your pet is completely up to date on their vaccinations. Obtain a copy of their health records as well. The ASPCA recommends doing this within 10 days prior to departure.
  • Book a direct flight

Avoid mishandling from baggage personnel by booking direct flights when possible. Direct flights will also result in less confusion for your pet.

  • Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate

You will need to purchase an airline-approved shipping crate for pet cargo travel. The crate should have enough space for your pet to stand up, lie down, and turn around. Line the crate with shredded paper or towels to soak up any accidents. You can also lie a mat down for additional comfort. The crate should also come with durable grips and handles for easy transport. There must be ventilation on opposing sides and rims to prevent an airflow blockage.

Furthermore, you must ensure that the crate has the proper identification. According to the AKC, you should include a “’Live Animal’ label, arrows showing upright position, with owner’s name, address, and phone number.” Check with your airline to be sure that you meet the required standards, but these are safety precautions that you can rely on for most travel carriers.

  • Let employees know about your pet

Tell all airport staff that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold or in the passenger cabin (if your pet has been approved to fit beneath the seat in front of you). They will help you to follow the correct procedure and assist you if needed.


Travel by Car

  • Prepare your pet for a long ride

Start taking your pet on longer excursions before your trip. You should begin with a short duration and gradually work your way up to lengthier rides. It is important to note that some states require vaccination records, so be sure to bring those along if you plan to travel across state lines.

  • Create a pet travel kit

Build a safety kit for your pet. Pack items such as medication/first aid, a waste scoop with bags and grooming supplies. This is in addition to your pet’s basics, such as food and water, bowls for feeding, leash and harness/collar, and health records. Another suggestion is to bring your pet’s favorite toy or blanket for comfort and familiarity. The ASPCA recommends to always “avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet’s travel feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure, and always opt for bottled water.” This is because unfamiliar water can be dangerous to pets and drinking from a foreign water source can lead to stomach problems or even a parasitic infection.

  • Keep your pet safe and secure in the car

Your pet should always remain fastened to a secure, stable source in the car. If you choose to use a crate, make sure it has enough room for your pet to sit, stand up, and lie down and is well-ventilated. You can also use a dog seatbelt harness if you prefer. Whatever you decide, make sure your pet is stable (position the crate/tighten the seatbelt buckle to resist slide in case of an abrupt stop).

  • Never leave your pet alone in the car

Do not leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Depending on the conditions, your pet can easily freeze or overheat. Avoid a potential tragedy by holding this rule to the highest regard. No matter the circumstances, it is never worth risking your pet’s life!

  • Stop for frequent potty breaks

This is also the perfect opportunity for your pet to exercise, giving them a much-needed physical and mental break. Prevent accidents and keep your pet’s travel space clean while also allowing them to burn energy along your drive. Just remember to clean up anything that your pet leaves behind.

I hope you have learned a handful of new tricks to throw up your sleeve for your next vacation with your best friend. There is no way to guarantee that your pet will have an ‘easy’ trip; however, this list includes ways that you can reduce their stress while keeping them safe. Whether you are traveling by car or on a plane, save this article so you can refer to these guidelines before your future endeavors. Bone voyage!



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