Traveling with Pets
Updated: Sep 7
Are you considering taking your beloved pet on your next vacation? After all, they are a part of the family, and we don’t want to leave them behind. However, taking your pet with you on a trip isn’t just a simple as loading up and going. It requires careful preparation. So do your homework well in advance to ensure a safe and fun trip for your pet.
Here are some things to consider in the planning process.
Pet’s Personality Each animal is very unique. Your pet may already be very skittish around people or when outside its normal environment. If that’s the case, consider not taking your pet with you if you absolutely don’t have to. Remember, even the friendliest of pets can act different when outside their normal environment.
Pet’s Health Have your veterinarian check out your pet in advance of your travel to ensure he/she has a clean bill of health and is fit for travel. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and that you travel with documentation stating so. Airlines, customs, and others may require proof of updated vaccinations.
Pet’s Schedule Try to keep to your pet’s usual schedule as much as possible while traveling. Feeding schedules, especially, should be kept as close as possible to your home routine. Other activities, such as a daily walk or play time, shouldn’t be ignored either. Maintaining your pet’s schedule as much as possible will help ensure a better trip for your pet.
Pet’s Gear Don’t forget the gear your pet will need when you travel, which can include pet carrier, leash, harness, food and toys. Bring collapsible bowls for when you are out with your pet and they need food or water. If you are traveling to a foreign country or a place where you know the water is quite different than at home, consider taking bottled water.
Accommodations Is the hotel or rental property where you will be staying pet-friendly? You should always ask your travel advisor to verify if it is. While many hotel chains may be pet-friendly, they may only have a certain amount of rooms with that designation. Have your travel advisor request a pet-friendly room when making reservations.
My dog, Chloe, who is not very fond of riding in cars.
Those places that are pet-friendly may require a non-refundable pet deposit to cover any damage, accidents or general pet cleaning after your stay.
Road Trips Keep your pet safe when traveling in a car. Pets should be buckled in harnesses designed for vehicles. Plan rest stops for your pet. After all, he/she will need to go to the bathroom, grab a drink of water or simply stretch its legs at some point.
NEVER leave your pet in the vehicle during extremely hot or cold temperatures without air conditioning or heat, respectively.
Flying If you are considering flying, you need to check, or ask your travel advisor to check, what the airline’s policy is regarding pets. Most airlines require an International Air Transport Association (IATA)-approved pet carrier. There are restrictions regarding certain breeds, and in most cases there are special fees for flying with your pet. Don’t assume your pet will be allowed to fly in the cabin with you. Also, if possible, book a non-stop flight to avoid your pet from being transferred from one plane to another. Oftentimes, layovers and connections are are times that issues arise when traveling with pets.
Pet Identification & Trackers Your pet should wear proper identification at all times. This ID needs to include vaccination and owner’s information. There are pet trackers that you can purchase so you can locate your pet in the event it gets lost. Remember, your pet will be in an unfamiliar place and may not know how to return to you as it would at home.
If, after considering these factors, you decide that traveling with your pet is not feasible, then please leave your pet with a sitter or board it with your vet or another trusted provider. Don’t risk your pet’s safety/health due to lack of planning for your trip. Hopefully, including your pet in your travel plans–whether that means how to take Fido or Fifi with you or to ensure his/her care while you’re gone–will ease your mind while on vacation. After all, if you are stressing on your vacation, then what is the point of taking one?