12 tips for traveling with pets

April 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

More pet owners than ever are forgoing kennels and sitters to take their four-legged family members along on their journeys. A PetRelocation survey found that 42 percent of pet owners travel annually with their cats or dogs, and 90 percent had considered changing travel plans to accommodate pets. As the summer travel season arrives, consider these suggestions before hitting the road with, or booking a flight for, your pets.


Go mobile.

Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag that has your mobile phone numbers, and not just your home address or home phone number. You want to make it easy to be reached on the road if your pet somehow gets separated from you. You may even want to purchase an inexpensive secondary ID tag with the address and phone number of where you plan to stay on your trip. If you’ve had a microchip put in your pet, make sure the contact information associated with it is current.

Create a checklist

Go through your daily routine with your pet and write down all the items you need, including the amount of food and any medications. Start a checklist that you update for several days so that you do not miss something important to your pet’s needs. Consider everything, including food, litter or waste bags and favorite toys. Save the checklist to a computer or mobile device and update it based on the location and duration of each trip.

Take a trial run

If you have not traveled much with your pets and plan to take a road trip, go on a long afternoon drive to see how they behave in the vehicle. You may even want to consider staying overnight at a hotel or friend’s home to test the anxiety level of your pets. In some cases, you may discover that your pets’ behaviors or personalities are not conducive to travel and that they would fare better at home.

Update records and meds

It is smart to take your own medical records with you when you are somewhere unfamiliar, and the same is true of pets. Find your latest set of shot records and other veterinary documentation to have on hand in an emergency. You should also plan ahead and anticipate any medications your pet may run out of while you are away from home and then refill prescriptions early.

Review travel restrictions

If you are flying, be sure to read up on your airline’s rules and fees and the requirements for travel. Most airlines allow you to bring pets small enough to fit under the seat in front of you for an additional fee. You may need to call ahead and to reserve their spot, as some airlines restrict the number of in-cabin pets on a flight.

If your pet is larger and isn’t a service animal, it likely will be traveling crated in a separate location from you. There are also some laws about interstate travel with animals — Hawaii, for instance, bans a number of species — so visit the Centers for Disease Control webpage about animal importation to understand those rules more thoroughly. Also be sure to bring updated medical records, as these sometimes are required.

Call ahead

Do not rely on a website or a travel guide to inform you of the pet policies of hotels, motels of campgrounds — call and find out what the policies are in advance to avoid being without a play to stay when you arrive.

“A hotel that says they do not accept pets may make an exception if you note that your dogs are well-trained, will be crated and will not be left alone in the room,” said LuAnn Stuver Rogers, owner of six cavalier King Charles spaniels and editor of “The Royal Dispatch,” the magazine for the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. She travels 10 to 12 times per year with at least some of them via airplanes, an RV or her personal vehicle.

“Also be aware that many pet ‘deposits’ are non-refundable,” she said.


Buckle up

You may think that letting your dog stick its head out the window to feel the breeze in its ears is a special treat, but it is actually dangerous. A dog or cat roaming in a car can be a distraction to the driver. AAA reports that more than 30,000 car accidents are caused each year by an unrestrained dog in the front seat, for instance. Make sure the humans and animals in your vehicle are all restrained with belts, seats or harnesses designed for their sizes.

Stick with routine, when possible

If you feed and walk your pets at a specific time each day, try to carry that over to your travel plans. Pets appreciate routine and feel content when their needs are met by you in a predictable manner. This is especially true when the scenery of your pets’ daily lives is different from usual. Keeping as close to your home routine as possible will help to calm anxiety about traveling.

Avoid leaving pets alone, or with strangers, for long periods.

A distressed pet away from home may try to come looking for you and wind up lost or injured. Even if your pet is in a secure, comfortable area, it can cause anxiety in the animal when its owner is not in sight. Taking a pet with you on a trip is a commitment, so consider how much time you will be able to devote to it before deciding to bring it along.

Set up reminders of home

You know that your travel itinerary has an end date, but your pets don’t. Bring along reminders of home to relieve anxiety and give them a feeling of security.

Robin Billings, a certified professional dog trainer who lives in Lake Park, Fla., has been showing dogs for 30 years and has traveled with them by car and airplane.

“We often go to dog shows that can be anywhere from one to 24 hours away. I always bring my own water from home and comfortable beds, as well as folding crates. Some other items we may bring along are toys, treats and bones,” said Billings, who has three dogs, two Rottweilers and a Boston Terrier.

“My Boston Terrier Louie got used to the travel crate from a very young age with some short trips too,” said Billings.

Mind the elements

Keep in mind that your pet will need to adjust to the climate and weather in the area where you are traveling. Plan to bring items like bug spray, and make sure flea and tick treatments are up to date. Keep bottled or filtered water with you at all times and never rely on a body of water to relieve your pets’ thirst or cool them off.


If you have the family dog along for the journey, make sure you allow enough time in your trip for it to stretch its legs.

The ASCPA reports that dogs that do not receive enough concentrated exercise may exhibit destructive behaviors, show unruliness and engage in attention-seeking behaviors like barking and whining. Finding opportunities for your pets to let out their natural energy and playfulness will make for a more pleasant vacation for everyone.

On the other hand, if your dog is not used to several hours of intense exercise in a day, then it is probably not wise to take it on a steep 8-hour hike.

Veteran travelers like Stuver Rogers and Billings encourage families traveling with pets to make the road a little friendlier for everyone else.

“Be a good pet ambassador. Obey signs, pick up after your pets, and don’t leave a barking dog in a hotel room,” said Stuver Rogers, a dog obedience instructor with the Cleveland All-Breed Training Club. “Remember that you are representing everyone who travels with their pets.”

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