Traveling with a Pet: Preparation and Safety Tips

Traveling with a Pet: Preparation and Safety Tips

by Scritch

Whether it’s for leisure or out of necessity, traveling can often add the stress of finding trusted care for your pet. However, being able to bring your pet along for a trip gives you peace of mind that you don’t have to leave your furry friend behind. If you’re gearing up for a trip with your pet, here’s how you can prepare your pet and how to keep him as safe as possible.


Preparing your pet for travel

Practice runs: Regardless of your mode of travel, it’s a good idea to take a few “practice runs” with your pet before the big day. If you’ll be using a crate, start crate training your pet a few months in advance until you’re confident they will feel safe and comfortable in their crate. Learn more about crate training your dog and getting your cat comfortable with the carrier. Take your pet on several short car rides in the crate to help him acclimate to being crated while on the move. This is also a good way to see if your pet gets motion sickness, so you can seek veterinary advice before your trip.

Anxious pets: Traveling with an anxious pet? It’s always a good idea to consult your vet. It is dangerous to sedate your pet before travel because it can render him unable to regulate his body temperature and increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems. However, there are a number of natural products your veterinarian can recommend to ease a pet’s anxiety. 

Vet care at your destination: Locate the closest emergency veterinary hospital at your destination and keep the contact information handy, just in case. You may also consider getting pet insurance for your dog or cat as it helps cover unexpected costs and can be used at any vet. 

Traveling by car

Be weather aware: You might need to make a few stops along the way, but some situations may require leaving your pet in the car. Even in the shade with the windows cracked, a car can quickly become an oven on a hot day. Cold temperatures are just as dangerous. Your safest bet is to keep stops to a minimum until you reach your destination, or take turns at the rest stop so your pet always has someone who can monitor and adjust the car’s temperature.

Buckle up: Your pet should be restrained in the car for the same reason you wear a seatbelt. There are several options to keep your pet safe, including a seatbelt harness, placing them in a crate, or installing a barrier in the car.

Always wear ID: Even if they don’t wear one at home, be sure your pet always has a collar or harness with an ID tag that contains at least two forms of contact. If your pet is a flight risk, consider attaching a GPS tracker to them for extra peace of mind.

Traveling by plane

Research airlines: Before booking your travel, be sure to research your options to find one that will take good care of your pet. Read up on the airline’s pet policy so you can plan accordingly.

Weather watch: When checking a pet into cargo, extreme heat or cold weather can be very dangerous, even deadly, to your pet. Plan your travel around the weather, and consider adjusting your travel dates or even leaving your pet at home with a sitter.

Label your pet’s crate: Mark the outside of your pet’s crate with his name as well as your name and contact information.


When packing for a trip, it can be easy to accidentally forget certain items for yourself. Adding a pet into the mix means twice the packing and double the chances of leaving something important behind. Here are the supplies you should gather.

The basics:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Bowls
  • Bedding
  • Collar with ID tag
  • Leash
  • Poo bags/litter
  • Favorite toy(s)

Don’t forget to bring:

  • Medications
  • Monthly parasite preventives
  • Coat or sweater for cold weather
  • Health certificate issued within 10 days of travel* (*for air travel; check with your specific airline for details)

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