Ten Easy Pet Travel Tips

Taking the family on a trip quite often includes pets. Here are a ten easy things you can do to make your travel experience and visit pleasant for everyone including your pet.

  1. Get a carrier just big enough for them to sleep and turn around. Our pets are denying animals - they like a secure place they can guard the door and feel secure.
  2. Bring a bed, rug or a blanket they sleep on at home. Place it in an out-of-the-way spot in the same area you are in, like the living room, and show them. They will know where to go to safely take a nap when they need one. Dogs sleep 14 hours a day and puppies sleep at least 16.
  3. If you travel with your pet out of the carrier, train them to stay on a rug covered back seat or use a seat cover or PetDek. If they jump in with muddy feet after a rest stop, the mess stays on the rug or covering. No stress for anyone including the dog. Place the bed on top for comfort on long trips.
  4. Leash your dog or cat before opening car door when traveling. Be sure the leash is one you cannot slip and preferable a one-piece like Mendota leashes. These leads relax when calm but tighten when they pull or get excited without warning. If you don't know Mendota leashes, get one. These are hand made by a dog owner in Minnesota, it's the last lead you will buy!
  5. If your dog is nervous or a first time traveler, start a calming agent like Doc Roy’s® DOCILE DOG. Be sure to start one to two weeks before trip. It’s not a tranquilizer but it does take the edge off for the vacation.
  6. Feed them lightly before you leave. You can put a little shredded cheese in their food to get them to eat 1 hour before leaving. If your pet is prone to car sickness, feed them ginger snaps two hours before leaving and repeat one hour into the trip. Ginger prevents car sickness and works well for kids as well!
  7. Bring your food/water bowls and a mat to put them on. Ask permission for a good place, such as a kitchen or back porch; give them water and show it to them. The place mat keeps area easy to clean and catches water drips as well as prevents humans from stepping on the bowls and spilling.
  8. On arrival, bring the dog in on leash and allow to greet people. Keep the dog on leash when putting down water and beds. Let them drink and take them on a short walk outside to be sure they empty their bladder after the excitement of being in a new environment. When they have calmed you can take them inside and remove the leash. When company arrives, leash the dog before they come in. This allows some control until the initial excitement passes. Not everyone appreciates an excited dog but your dog feels they came just to see them. Leash the dog before they overwhelm company!
  9. Place the pet carrier in your bedroom and open the door for access. Place the bed in the family room and be sure the pet knows where it is. For cats, place the bed on the furniture you have previously ask permission to use and put the cat in it. Cats like being up high.
  10. Always place pet in their carrier when leaving the house. They know the carrier and won’t get into trouble there. They will soon settle and sleep as they usually are behind on naps. Never lock them in a room or a bath! Think of it like being trapped in an elevator, the pet does not understand it is temporary! You risk coming back to a torn up carpet or door; not worth the risk. It helps to put a treat or toy in carrier with them. It will keep them busy for several hours and then you'll be home!


If you need help call us at 1-800-786-4751

- Dr. B





The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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