How to travel with pets? It’s easy when you apply a few hints, tips, and pieces of expert advice on how to make vacations with four-legged friends simpler. While planning such trips can take additional preparation, and there are a lot of added factors to consider, like whether you’ll be flying or driving and if your destination is pet-friendly, fear not. Once you’ve weighed your options, you’ll find that the extra work is always worth it in the end. Below, you’ll find a handy guide that offers insights into what you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes to knowing how to travel with pets.
While flying by air is more convenient, a road trip may be in your pet’s best interest. This especially applies to baby or senior pets, those in poor health, and certain breeds like pugs or Persian cats. (Some breeds aren’t even allowed to be placed on flights.) If you’re traveling overseas and insist on bringing your pet with you, make sure to consult your veterinarian first to make sure it’s a good idea and to ensure that your pet is all caught up when it comes to vaccinations and other aspects of health.
Even if you’ll be staying relatively close to home, packing for your pet is a whole different ballgame when it comes to how to travel with pets. Make sure you bring plenty of extra food and treats, toys, and a blanket as well as other personal items that will remind them of home, as well as a portable or collapsible water bowl. Make sure to check the weather ahead of time wherever you’re going, because if it’s chilly you may even have to bring a sweater or booties to keep your pet warm.
Plan for Breaks
Plan ahead and manage your time wisely so you won’t have any unexpected surprises during travel. Just like children, pets require time to unwind and take a break during a long journey, especially if it’s a hot day. Just make sure to never let your pet leave in car unattended. If you’re flying, make sure you’ve taken care of your pet’s needs before boarding on the plane as well. Properly feed them, make sure they’re in good health and spirits, and take them to go to the bathroom.
Acclimate Your Pet
There are numerous ways to prepare your pet for a trip. Get your pet used to being inside a car with a trip to a nearby park or playground and then steadily work your way up to longer car rides to see how your pet would react. If you plan to travel by air, register your pet with the airline you choose. This is an important step because there are usually limited spots available, and you don’t want to end up with no options at the last minute. After you register them, you can make sure of the details like dimensions of the crate they’ll be put in and up-to-date tags and collars.
Planning an Itinerary
Make sure your destination is pet-friendly. You need to book a pet-friendly hotel, too. Look up some information on the area to plan out your trip accordingly. Search for pet-friendly restaurants, nearby parks, lakes, beaches, or other outdoor activities that you can do with your pet. Having a clear-cut plan will make traveling as a whole a lot less stressful and guarantee fun when you actually reach your destination.
Apply Calming Techniques
No matter how you’re traveling, you’ll want to make ensure that your pet is relaxed. If your pet is prone to anxiety, consider a calming product like a pheromone collar or lavender oil to calm them down before your trip. You could even try a pet calming vest, which applies pressure to specific areas to reduce stress and anxiety. Avoid tranquilizers… sometimes they can be counteracted by high levels of altitude.
Employ the Latest Technology
Enlist the latest technology when it comes to traveling with your pet. Consider buying pet insurance from companies like Healthy Paws, Embrace or Nationwide, so you’re covered in case of an accident. Install a few pet travel apps like BringFido, VetFinder or Tagg, for some shortcuts on things to do with your pet, and even consider a pet tracker if you’re especially concerned about your pet getting lost. Options like the Nuzzle Collar will alert you whenever your pet leaves a pre-designated area that you set.
Have an Emergency Plan
Expect the best, but plan for the worst, especially when it comes to the health of your pet. Prepare an emergency plan just in case something goes awry. The plan should include who to call, i.e. your veterinarian, instructions about how to feed or care for your pet and if they have any medical restrictions, as well as note a nearby boarding facility and where to obtain medical records.
Don’t leave your best friend behind during vacation season. It’s easy to learn how to travel with pets with the following guides”
Assistant editor Christina Elia is currently pursuing her BA in Art History Communications at Fordham University, and writes about various topics ranging from arts and culture to practical tips and how-to advice. She has been published on online platforms such as The Odyssey. You can follow her on Twitter via @stinaelia