Doggy Choice

Animal Adventures! Travelling Safely with Your Pet

Posted by Michael Medina on



This is it! It’s time to plan your next big vacation...but this time, you’re thinking bringing your pet with you too. Whether you’re on the road trip of a lifetime or jetting off to Europe, there’s no better friend to have by your side than a four-legged family member, and many pets are just as excited about hitting the open road as we are! Before you head out the door on your next travel adventure with Fluffy or Fido, though, you’re going to have to go through some extra preparation to keep your dog or cat safe, healthy and happy during your trip. Here’s a handy travel guide for pet parents – Bon Voyage!

Select the Right Destination

For many of us, our pets feel like part of the family, but some travel destinations may not share that sentiment, leaving you stranded at the end of the leash (literally). To make your trip as tail-waggingly fun as possible, plan to stay in accommodations that welcome dogs and cats, research pet-friendly modes of transportation, and choose activities that are ideal for your furry friend to participate in; camping, pet-friendly beaches, walking trails or nature parks, and even outdoor cafes or festivals are often wonderful experiences with your pet by your side. Travel agents can be a good resource for pet parents planning dog and cat-friendly adventures.


Check in for a Check-Up

A pre-travel vet visit should be one of the first travel appointments you make. By letting your veterinarian know where your journey will take you, they can make sure that your pet is healthy enough to travel, and up to date on the appropriate parasite control and vaccinations. If you’re planning on an international vacation, then more paperwork awaits you, unfortunately – there may be extra vaccination requirements, health certificate examinations, mandatory parasite treatment, or even a period of quarantine that your pet will need to undergo before entering another country. If your dog or cat isn’t micro chipped already, this is also the perfect time to do it, just in case your pet decides to make impromptu travel plans of their own!


Have a Perfect Packing Plan

Along with your favorite pair of sandals, your packing list will need to include some essential items for your furry travel companion too. Every travelling pet’s list should include:

 Collapsible food and water bowls
 Supply of food for entire duration of travel in a sealed bin or container
 Treats and toys
 Favorite bed or blanket
 Leash, harness (especially for cats), and collar with id tags
 Litter box (for cats)
 Secure carrier (for air travel)
 Pet safety seatbelt or anchored crate (for car travel)
 First aid kit
 Veterinary medical records and proof of vaccinations
 Prescription medication


Be Prepared for ‘What if?’

Although any of us would prefer travelling to be a purely idyllic experience, there’s always the possibility of the unknown happening when pets are involved. What happens if your dog is attacked by a wild animal, for example? Or your cat eats a poisonous plant? Being in a strange place away from home can make handling an emergency with your dog or cat extremely stressful! Pre-planning for worst-case scenarios can help things to go more smoothly, though; carry contact information and business hours for emergency veterinarians in the area you’re travelling to, as well as the number for Poison Control. It’s a good idea to ask your hotel for the name of a reputable pet boarding kennel or daycare in the area as well (and call them for information in advance), in the instance that your furry friend needs to stay elsewhere during your travels.

Keep Your Pet Safe and Stress-Free

Finally, don’t forget that your cat or dog should be enjoying themselves right along with you! Prepare Kitty or Rover for long car rides by taking short drives ahead of time, and if your pet isn’t already used to a crate, leave it out in your house for several weeks before you leave to let them investigate and get used to it. You can gradually teach your pet to tolerate the crate by feeding meals inside and leaving them kenneled with a treat or chew toy for increasingly longer periods of time over several weeks.

For our car-travelling companions, safety is a top priority! Keep your best friend safe by using a pet seatbelt that attaches to the car anchor or belts, or, alternatively, let them travel in a secured kennel while the car is moving. Don’t forget to take a break every 1-2 hours to let your cat or dog do their business and stretch their legs, and never leave them unattended in the car, particularly on sunny days.

By choosing your destinations carefully and keeping your pet’s health, safety and comfort in mind while you’re away, you’re all sure to have a paw-fectly great time. Have a good trip, and Bon Voyage!

For more information about travelling with your cat or dog, check out

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