by Emma Williams
You’ve booked a stay at a pet-friendly hotel, B&B, or campground, and you’re getting ready to take Fiona or Fido on the trip of a lifetime. Before your adventure begins though, it’s a great idea to consider how you’ll deal with everything from mealtime to air travel. Here are 16 pet travel hacks to make your trip safer, simpler, and even more fun.
1. Ensure that your pet’s medical records are ready to go.
Look into vaccination requirements for your destination well in advance of your trip and have your vet administer any vaccines that need to be updated. Ensure that your pet has flea and heartworm protection, and ask for a copy of everything. Make a portable file that includes your vet’s contact information. You might never need these items but if you do, you’ll be glad you had them ready to go.
2. Dress them for the occasion.
We’re not talking sweaters, although they’re always cute! Be sure that your pet’s collar includes a current rabies tag, ID tags, and a tag notifying everyone that they’re microchipped. Consider getting a personalized collar and/or harness with your contact information on it just in case.
3. Attach your leash to their harness, not their collar.
Frightened pets are notorious for slipping out of collars. In case of emergency, you’ll want to be able to keep your pet safe. Have them wear a comfortable harness and keep your leash handy at all times. If your pet is a “runner” you might want to keep the leash attached so it’s easier to get control if they attempt to take off. Doing some clicker training with your cat before the big trip is also a good idea!
4. Double-check your pet’s microchip.
Many people forget to update their pet’s microchip company when contact information changes. If you’re not 100 percent certain that your pet’s chip contains the right contact info, stop by your vet’s office for a quick scan. They’ll be able to help you with any updates that might be necessary.
5. Know where to go in case of emergency.
Traveling with pets can be uneventful, or things can go wrong. Be prepared by locating emergency veterinary hospitals all along your route so you don’t have to spend time searching if something goes wrong.
6. Be sure that your pet rides in comfort and safety.
Maybe your pet is already accustomed to wearing a car restraint or sleeping in a crate. If not, be sure to get them comfortable with the idea well before your travel date by taking very short trips that involve lots of fun and rewards. Gradually lengthen the amount of time spent in the crate or restraint so that there’s no drama when travel time arrives.
7. Consider a sedative.
Some pets simply can’t stand to travel. If yours tends to be nervous, ask your vet for a sedative to help ease anxiety.
8. Double-check with airlines.
If you’re traveling by air, be sure that you’ve planned every detail. You’ll need to have an airline approved pet carrier, and you’ll want to ensure that your pet is familiar with it. If your pet can’t travel in the cabin with you, set up their carrier with their favorite blanket, one of your old t-shirts, and perhaps a treasured toy or two – but nothing that can be destroyed and accidentally swallowed.
9. Double-double check with airlines.
Call the airline right before your trip to make sure that everything is in order. Things can change at the last minute and you’ll want to be prepared with a contingency plan.
10. Plan breaks into your itinerary.
You know your pet’s schedule best. Be sure to make plenty of time for stretching, food, water, and potty breaks. Your pet will appreciate it! Slow and easy wins the race when traveling with pets.
11. Pack everything you might possibly need.
Here’s a quick pet travel packing list:
- Calming supplements just in case
- Collapsible bowls
- Extra leash, collar, ID tags, and harness
- Poo collection bags/disposable litter pans
- Lots of toys
- Spare towels and bedding
- Pet first aid kit
Bring a little extra of everything just in case your trip lasts longer than originally intended.
12. Pre-portion food for your pet.
Measure out each of your pet’s meals so all you need to do is grab and pour.
13. Tired pets travel easier.
Treat your pet to extra play and exercise sessions during the days leading up to your trip. They’ll be more inclined to spend travel time sleeping.
14. Bring pet hair removal tools.
Keeping car upholstery clean is easier with the help of a tape roller, a squeegee, or even some rubber gloves that will attract pet hair when slightly moistened. Clean up pet hair as you go and your car won’t need quite so much post-vacation cleanup. Plan to clean up after your pet at your hotel or B&B, too. Your hosts will thank you.
15. Bring some baking soda.
If your pet has a smelly accident in the car, baking soda can help. It pulls double duty by absorbing excess moisture after you’ve blotted up what you can, plus it deodorizes.
16. Hot summertime? Treat your pet to ice cubes.
Ice cubes are perfect for keeping your pet hydrated without encouraging them to drink so much that you have to stop for unscheduled potty breaks. Pack some in a cooler and pick up extra along the way. Give your pet a few cubes hourly; more for big pets, less for little ones.
That’s it! A little preparation goes a long way. With a few practice runs, all the necessities, and some helpful extras, you’ll be completely prepared for anything that happens while traveling with your pet. ‘Bone’ voyage!
About the Author:
Emma is a professional writer and blogger, with two furry friends and a lot of pet behavioural and pet health knowledge to share. She has written for numerous big animal magazines and health sites, and is a regular contributor to The Catington Post.