Traveling with a pet can be a wonderful experience. Many pets are content lounging in a crate for hours and adapt well to new surroundings. There’s nothing like hitting the open road with your best friend or moving abroad with your favorite companion by your side.
Traveling with a pet can be quite daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. There’s a lot of planning and preparation involved, even if you’re just taking a road trip.
Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to make sure you have everything ready for traveling with a cat or dog.
These seven pet travel tips cover everything you need to know about how to travel with a pet before you hit the gas or jet set with your little furry friends.
Check You Have the Correct Documentation
Even if you’re just traveling with a pet across state lines, make sure you have the correct documentation and prioritize your pet’s safety. Some areas require out-of-state pets to have a veterinary inspection certificate or proof of vaccines.
On a basic level, make sure your pet’s collar has a tag with your phone number (which will be connected while you are traveling) and home address. If you are staying in a new place for a long time, consider getting a temporary tag with that address too.
Make sure your pet insurance covers your cat or dog wherever you are traveling to. Have digital copies of your pet’s medical history on your phone in case the worst happens and there is an emergency.
If you’re traveling across country borders or via airplane, you will need further documentation. The European Union, for example, has its own rules and you may require a Pet Passport to travel to come countries.
Make a Kit Bag for Traveling With a Pet
Traveling with a cat or dog requires preparation and a lot of supplies. You can’t avoid it. If you travel with your pet often (or full time), you should prepare a kit bag that you can leave in your vehicle so you’re always ready to go.
Pet supplies you might consider packing in your pet’s travel bag:
- Portable pet water bottle
- Lots of food that won’t spoil
- Toys without squeakers
- Poop bags or cat litter
- Blanket or towel
Plan Lots of Breaks for Your Cat or Dog
Breaks while traveling with a dog or cat are important for two reasons. Firstly, if your pet isn’t used to being in a crate or traveling for long periods of time then they might find it distressing. Just as we like to stretch our legs after sitting for long periods, pets need the same.
The second reason you should plan lots of breaks is more obvious: so they can go to the bathroom!
Even if you just pull into gas stations more frequently than you normally would or go for a short walk around the airport instead of sitting, it all helps your pet feel comfortable.
Use a Suitable Carrier for Your Pet
It’s very important to keep your pet as safe and relaxed as possible while traveling. Crates or carriers should be large enough for your animal to be able to sit, stand, and lie down and they should also be well-ventilated.
You never want your pets to get overheated. And of course, never leave them alone!
For road trips, always keep pets in the backseat and cats in carriers. If you travel with your dogs frequently, consider investing in a trunk protector like this one from Kleinmetall. You’ll keep your car free from mud, hair, and scratches while giving your dog space to stretch out.
You could also invest in a seatbelt leash or car seat if you have an active pet who doesn’t like lying down in the car.
Consider Vaccinations and Microchipping
All animals are vaccinated with a standard round of vaccinations when they are puppies or kittens and then get boosters every three years. Are you up to date with your pet’s vaccinations? If not, make sure you are before you travel.
If you’re traveling with a pet, especially overseas, definitely book an appointment with your vet before you leave. They will be able to best advise you on what your dog or cat needs depending on the country you are traveling to.
If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, that’s something to consider. If your furry friend is in an unfamiliar place they’re much more likely to get lost. Microchipping is a simple procedure and it could save a lot of distress in the future.
Choose Pet-Friendly Hotels, Airlines, and Vans
You’re probably already aware that some hotels and motels don’t allow pets, but some airlines have better reputations for transporting pets than others. And all of them have different rules and restrictions.
The airline fees for traveling with pets both in the hold and by your side vary wildly. They also have different rules for your pet’s weight, where you’re traveling to, and also require different approved travel containers.
So before you book a flight, do your research on which airline has the best policies.
And if you’ve bought a camper or RV and plan on hitting the road with your pet on a long-term basis, make sure it’s a pet-friendly one with lots of space.
Keep Your Pet’s Routine Consistent
Traveling with a pet can already cause them anxiety (though many animals love adventure) so try to disrupt their routine as little as possible.
If you’re on vacation, it’s natural that you’d want to sleep in and stay up late. If your dog is used to being walked first thing in the morning, sticking to that routine will help them feel relaxed.
If your pets have a favorite bowl or toy they’re particularly attached to, try and bring it so they feel more at home. The more your pet likes traveling, the easier it will be for you to keep exploring new places.
Don’t Let Your Pets Miss Out on the Fun
If you follow these seven tips for traveling with a pet, you’ll know exactly how to travel with a cat or dog. Your trip should be much less stressful and you’ll be well prepared.
Check out our posts on pet insurance and pet health to keep your pet safe and well at home or away.