If you have to travel with your pet – we’re talking either dog or cat – and haven’t done so in the past, it’s imperative that you find out ahead of time what kind of travelers they are.  Trust me, not all dogs are created equal when it comes to travel and many suffer from great anxiety and can even get motion sickness.  This is true whether you are traveling by plane or car.

what should I do to make sure my pets travel well

We’ve done both and have learned the hard way.  So, here are some tips to make the trip a pleasure for both you and your 4 legged best friends:
Prior To The Trip

  • If your pet is not used to being in a crate, have them spend some time in their carrier before you go, so they get used to the confinement and you can make sure they can and, sit, lie down, and turn around.
  • Put a favorite toy or blanket inside the carrier for some familiarity.IMG_0193
  • Put together their needs bag filled with treats, water, bowl, poop bags, food, leash, grooming supplies, medication, and toys.  
  • Take your pets’ vaccination records with you, especially if you are traveling into another state.
  • If you’ll be driving, take them out on test drives, starting slow and lengthening the rides.
  • Also, if you’ll be driving, make sure you have purchased some sort of apparatus, such as a harness or pet seat to keep them secure in the car.  But, beware.  You need to do your research on this one.  A recent study by the Center for Pet Safety crashed tested a large number of products and the results were shocking.

    traveling with pets

    Crash testing pet car seats at Center for Pet Safety.

  • If you are going to give a medication, such as Benadryl to help them relax, ask your vet if you should test this out before you travel or if they feel it’s fine to give the medication on the day of travel.
  • Make sure they’re microchipped for identification and have an ID tag on their collar.  You never know if they will get away from you or if something happens on the flight.  They can easily get frightened and you don’t know how they’ll react.

Travel Day With Your Pets

  • It’s best for your pet not to travel on a full stomach, so try feeding them 3-4 hours before you leave and then wait to feed them again until you arrive – unless of course, you’re stopping overnight.
  • Take your dog on a long walk before departure to help them burn off excess energy and relieve themselves.
  • Leave a chew toy in the carrier to help them alleviate some stress.
  • Carry some treats and waters with you on the plane or have them readily available in the car.  Give only small treats and sips of water.
  • Speaking of water, try to give them bottled water or water taken from home.  They could get a stomach upset from unfamiliar drinking water just like you.

A lot of this is common sense, so use yours.  Then, be prepared ahead of time so traveling is much easier on everyone and you all have a smooth journey.  

Do you travel with your pets?  Any tips we missed?

Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub’s founders. She is also a contributor at TravelingMom & Challenge Family. She has been her triathlete husband’s biggest supporter and co-traveler for over 15 years. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include running, traveling, real food, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.