Traveling with Pets: 5 Essential Tips for a Safe Journey

Traveling with Pets, Couple with Dog on Galata Bridge // Healthier Pets Today

Traveling with pets can be as stressful as traveling with kids, except that pets can’t communicate as easily. So, we are left with using their body language to guess how they’re feeling and faring. I’m a seasoned vet tech who has owned 19 pets to date, and naturally, I’ve had to take some of them on the move. I’ve experienced everything from car sickness to jet lag, causing me to learn some valuable tips the hard way. Using my professional and personal experience, I’ve curated seven pet safety tips for traveling with pets without hassle.

Five Tips to Make Traveling With Pets an Absolute Breeze

Man With Blue and Maroon Camping Bag // Healthier Pets Today

1. Check-in With the Vet

Aside from you, the vet knows the most about your pet. So, it is essential to book a consultation before your trip. 

Your vet can also provide you with necessary health certificates, vaccinations, and medications to make your journey hassle-free. If traveling internationally or across the country, you should also acquaint yourself with breed restrictions before embarking. 

2. Prepare Them for The Journey

Animals, like humans, need to prepare for a journey. For instance, you’d want your pet to be socialized and crate-trained for comfort before you travel. 

If you’re traveling by air, I’d recommend fasting your pet 7-8 hours before takeoff due to the stress of vomiting or potty breaks. It would help to keep them active before a flight to prevent hyperactivity and anxiety. Contrary to what many believe, you can’t sedate or tranquilize your pet because they react badly in high altitudes.

If your pet is on any medications, pack enough to last the entire trip.

3. Keep Your Pet Restrained

A suitable carrier is vital to your pet’s comfort, so choose the right size. The perfect crate will allow your pet to stand, sit upright, lie down, and turn around. Anything smaller is against IATA carrier requirements

Before your trip, familiarize your pet with his carrier by putting him in for short periods, followed by a reward. He’ll associate his career with good things and generally be more comfortable with adequate positive reinforcement.

You should also test out the carrier several times before setting off. The door of my cat’s carrier once fell out on the day of our flight. So, you should ensure that the carrier is free from defaults.

4. Pack a Travel Kit

Your pet’s travel kit should contain essentials to prepare you for various scenarios. Here’s a hand checklist to help you pack:

  • Take food and treats in secure packaging that won’t spill. These will help you distract your buddy on the ride and keep him stress-free packaging.
  • Carry reusable pee pads, cat litter for the road, and diapers for young animals and seniors.
  • Pack bedding and a worn T-shirt to comfort your pet throughout the journey.
  • Carry anti-tick shampoo or powder if traveling to a humid area or one with an infestation.
  • Take leashes, harnesses, bowls, water bowls, and toys.

5. Breaks

If you’re traveling by road, short breaks help to make your trip much more accessible. They allow your pet to go on a potty break, stretch out, relax, and even throw up (hopefully not). 

I take advantage of road trips to give 30-minute breaks to my dogs for every four hours of driving. The breaks were more common when they were puppies, so I’d give them a 15-minute break every 2 hours.

You can even use the opportunity to stretch out, relieve yourself, and buy a snack. But whatever you do, never leave a dog unattended in the car. Doing so leaves them vulnerable to anxiety attacks, heatstroke, and even frostbite.

Make Them Easily Identifiable

Easy identification is vital when you and your pet travel separately, such as air travel. I advise pet owners to microchip their pets and fit them with identifiable collars. 

I attach an AirTag to each traveling pet because it sends a signal to my phone, allowing me to find them easily. However, collars will still work if you attach personal details such as your name, phone number, and sometimes social media. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Scenic View of Sea Against Sky during Sunset // Healthier Pets Today

What Should I Pack for Travel With My Pet?

Pack food, treats, bowls, bedding, and pee pads or cat litter. You should also take anti-tick shampoo, flea powder, and other medications for your pet. The key is to pack everything your pet needs throughout the trip until you are both settled.

Is Flying Stressful for Pets?

Flying is usually stressful for pets because of oddly sized crates and inadequate pre-trip planning. You can reduce their stress by packing trip-friendly essentials, restricting feeding before the trip, and choosing a well-sized carrier. However, there isn’t much you can do if your pet is senior or sick.

How Do You Manage Pets When Traveling?

Managing your pet when traveling is often specific to your mode of travel. For instance, road travel requires you to take short breaks to allow your pet to stretch and go potty. However, air travel requires you to fast your pet eight hours before takeoff and pack bedding to keep them comfortable in their carrier.

Is it Better to Fly a Pet in Cargo or Baggage?

It is better to fly a pet in cargo because it isn’t attached to your ticket and is much easier to track and monitor. Cargo is also cooler and quieter, which makes the trip far less stressful for your pet.

Wagging Through the World

White Cat on Grass Field // Healthier Pets Today

Our beloved pets would travel everywhere with us if it weren’t so stressful, but that’s not the case. Fortunately, you can still safeguard them during travel by preparing and restraining them and making them easy to identify.

Remember to research pet-friendly airlines and trains since they provide helpful accommodations for your pet. However, these trains often have a weight limit, which makes it impossible to travel with a large dog breed.

Traveling with pets doesn’t have to be terrible, so pet your buddy for me since I can’t do it myself. Safe journeys!