Traveling Tips for Pets

May 17, 2023

Traveling with dogs and cats adds an extra layer of comfort during your trip, but it also takes extra time and consideration as you plan and pack. How do you travel with your pet without stressing yourself — or them — out?

If you do decide to travel with pets instead of bringing them to a local dog boarding facility, it is important to take a few extra steps to make sure everyone has a good time during the trip.

Make Sure Their Crate is Up to Snuff

The right pet carrier can make all the difference when traveling with dogs or cats. Finding the right size for your pet will make sure they have plenty of room in the car or plane. Look for airline and travel-approved pet carriers, as these are designed for cats and dogs and will help ensure their comfort and safety.

Make sure not to overpack your pet’s carrier with toys. While it may be tempting to give them a comforting piece of home, they can quickly become claustrophobic if there are too many toys and items inside. It’s okay to give them a toy or blanket, but avoid any more than that.

Finally, while many dogs travel well outside of crates, cats should be left in their carriers when traveling. As cats are generally smaller and a bit more curious than dogs and other pets, they can easily get lost or harmed inside a moving vehicle. (Tip: for longer road trips, consider putting your cat in a large dog crate to give them more room and comfort.)

If Flying, Fly Direct (When Possible)

Booking a direct flight when possible makes flying with pets easier for everyone. Doing so will reduce the risk of your pet accidentally being left on the tarmac, or going to a different destination in the event of a mixup during transfer (even though it would make for a cute family movie, we’ll leave those storylines for the big screen, not our pets!).

Direct flights are also shorter than flying with layovers, meaning you and your pet can get to your destination faster. The less time in the air and the crate, the better. If it isn’t possible to book direct flights, talk to your veterinarian about medicines or other tips for flying with your furry friend.

Prepare Your Pet Ahead of Time

Planning your itinerary isn’t the only thing you need to do before going on vacation. Traveling with dogs and cats means preparing them, too. If possible, avoid giving your pet food on the first day of travel. If they become anxious or car sick, they might throw up or be distressed during the ride.

Local dog boarding is another option if your pet is unable to travel on the road with you.

Help your pet adjust to the car ahead of time. Taking them on short rides for a few days or weeks in advance will make them familiar with the car and your driving. Remember to give them treats and positive reinforcement to show them the car isn’t so bad after all!

Pack the Essentials

Sunscreen, swim goggles, dog toys, check — you’re ready to go! The road trip essentials list is a little bit longer when traveling with a pet. Your cat or dog needs their own little vacation bag to make their trip more comfortable.

Here is a list of things to pack for your pet while traveling:

  1. 2-3 favorite toys
  2. Food and water
  3. Doggie bags/Litter
  4. Treats
  5. Leash and collar
  6. Documents if staying in a hotel

You know your pet better than anyone, so consider what else they need for a good trip.

Keep an Eye On Your Pet

Throughout your trip, make sure to keep checking in on your pet. Just like with children — even adult humans — pets need breaks during long rides. When you get out of your car, do not leave your animal unattended. Make sure someone is always with your pet, and leave the windows slightly open so they can get fresh air if they aren’t getting out to stretch their legs.

When you’re traveling with dogs, it is okay to let them ride outside their carrier. However, everyone is safer when dogs sit in the back seats, not the passenger seat. Limit distractions and leave the front seat to a human. Also, if you decide to crack your windows for your pet, keep them up enough to prevent them from sticking their head out. While it is fun to see their tongues fly in the wind, it can be dangerous for you and others on the road.

Take plenty of breaks during your road trip and give everyone the necessary time to stretch and get fresh air along the way.

Consider Pet-Friendly Accommodations 

Many hotels and Airbnbs allow pets, but it is important to check before booking and traveling with dogs or cats. If you learn that the place you are staying does not allow animals, pet hotels and local dog boarding facilities can accommodate your furry friends while you are on vacation.

Pet hotels give your dogs and cats a vacation of their own, and offer many different services and accommodations so you can feel confident that they are comfortable and safe during your travels. If you decide to alter your vacation plans and do not want to travel with a pet, a local boarding facility can take care of your dog or cat and can give you peace of mind as you go on vacation.

Give your pet the vacation they deserve. American Boarding Kennels provides a comfortable stay for dogs and cats while you travel. With a local dog boarding facility in Burnsville, MN, we take care of pets across the Twin Cities, including Bloomington, Apple Valley, Richfield, Eagan and Eden Prairie. Whether you are considering traveling with dogs or cats, or you are looking for a trusted pet hotel near you, we can provide training, boarding and other pet-friendly services for you and your beloved furry friends.

Like the way that sounds? Contact us today.