Written by: Neal Manning
Having your dog or cat with you during travel makes your trip that much more enjoyable— as long as you plan ahead. Leaving an essential item behind could cause unwanted stress at the least and actually derail your plans in the worst case. Make a checklist of items to bring along for your pet so you don’t inadvertently leave an important item behind.
We all need “papers” when we travel— driver’s license, passport, boarding pass. Your pets are no different. Airlines require a health certificate from your veterinarian, verifying the animal is fit to fly, as well as proof of current vaccinations. It’s a good idea to have these with you even if you are driving with your cat or dog. Emergencies happen and you may need to board your pet or fly him home unexpectedly.
Leash, Collar and Constraints
Have your dog or cat’s collar with you at all times with his identification tag attached. Even if your dog is trained to be off-leash, bring his one along as many public places require all dogs to be on a leash. If he’s working with a training collar, such as a harness or PetSafe remote dog training collar, bring that too. Working your dog in an unfamiliar location is an important part of training and your trip will certainly offer opportunities for that.
Your pet must be in a carrier if you’re traveling by air, but a crate is also helpful when staying in hotels. Road trips are much safer for your pet if he’s crated in the rear seat or strapped in with a seat buckle harness.
Food and Medication
Don’t forget your dog or cat’s medicine when traveling. It may be harder to get a refill for him on the road than for your own pharmaceuticals, so bring enough to last a few days longer than your scheduled trip. A pet-focused first aid kit is also a good idea.
Although part of the fun for humans when they travel is trying different food, your pet doesn’t have the same palate. Bring along his normal food and treats, again with enough to last a little longer than the planned duration. Along with travel bowls, pack some water from home. You don’t want a reaction to strange water ruining your trip.
Your pet is going to have to go to the bathroom during the trip. Pack some disposal bags and a scooper to clean up after your dog. For your feline companion, portable litter boxes fold up and the contents are easily thrown away. Acclimate your cat to the litter box before the trip so he’s used to it when you travel.
Pieces of Home
A pillow or blanket from home will give your pet a sense of familiarity while on the road. Keep it in the crate or back seat during travel and leave it out for him once you’ve settled into your accommodations. A dog or cat stuck in a car for hours may drive you crazy, so have a favorite chew toy or stuffed mouse handy for everyone’s sanity.