Family vacations aren’t only for two-legged members anymore. More and more pet owners are toting their four-legged family members along on trips and, with the growing demand for pet-friendly hotels, airlines, and rental services, traveling with pets is easier than ever. Whether you’re looking to hit the road, or fly the skies with your furry pal, check out the following five tips, to ensure your vacation goes smoothly. 

#1: Make a trial run with your pet

Before heading out on an adventure with your four-legged friend, go for a trial run. You don’t want to plan a cross-country vacation with your pet, be packed and ready to go, only to discover they have severe travel anxiety paired with motion sickness. Try a brief trip around the neighborhood before planning your pet-friendly vacation, to ensure your fluffy companion can handle long car rides. 

#2: Securely buckle your pet into your vehicle

Not only are unrestrained pets a distraction while you’re driving, they’re much more likely to be injured in an accident. We know that your pup creates a picture-perfect moment with those floppy ears sticking out of the window, but refrain from petting, taking a picture, giving treats, or watching your pet while driving. While your pooch makes the perfect shotgun rider, like small children, they can be injured by airbag deployment. Keep your furry pal safe, by securely restraining them in the back seat with a pet barrier, pet car seat, travel crate, or a harness and pet seat belt. 

#3: Prepare your pet for travel

Traveling with your pet requires as much forethought and planning as traveling with your two-legged family members. Before renting a car, or booking a flight, ensure pets are allowed. Some car-rental agencies only allow pets up to a certain size, while airlines may not fly your pet during extreme temperatures, since pets are usually transported in the cargo hold. If you plan on flying across the country or around the world with your pet, search for a pets-only airline. A company like Pet Airways, where pets fly in the main cabin of the specially equipped aircraft, ensures your beloved companion’s comfort and safety. 

Before traveling with your pet, obtain a health certificate, vaccinations, and medical records, if needed. If your pet is flying, check the airline’s regulations to ensure they will be allowed to board and travel with you. When heading out of the state, or the country, check your destination’s regulations as well, since different countries may require that your pet be quarantined on arrival. 

On departure day, wake up early, to squeeze in extra playtime to help tire out your four-legged friend, making for a smoother trip with a sleepy pet. Give them food and water, and then allow ample time for a bathroom break before hitting the road, to avoid any accidents. Once you’re in your vehicle, stop every two to three hours to stretch, drink, and eliminate. 

#4: Pack your pet’s bags to ensure comfort and security

Thankfully, you don’t need multiple vacation outfits for your furry pal, but you must pack a backup leash, collar, or harness. Other pet-travel necessities include:

  • Food 
  • Treats
  • Bowls
  • Toys
  • Bedding
  • Travel crate
  • Litter and litter box
  • Waste bags
  • Current ID tag
  • Vaccination records
  • Prescription medications
  • Heartworm, flea, and tick preventives

Also, pack your pet’s favorite toy, treat, or blanket. Traveling to a new location can be unsettling for some pets, and providing familiar, well-loved belongings will help your four-legged friend relax, and feel secure. 

#5: Talk to our veterinarians about pet calming supplements or motion-sickness medications

On your trial run with your pet, did you notice excessive salivation, panting, or other anxiety or motion sickness signs? If so, discuss with our veterinarians whether you need calming supplements or motion-sickness medications, to ensure your furry pal’s travel comfort. Also, depending on your pet’s anxiety or nausea level, let’s discuss their options, and we can develop their optimal treatment plan. 

Before heading out of town with your furry pal, ensure you have updated their essential vaccines, stocked up on medications, and obtained a health certificate, if necessary. Your Cranberry Holistic Pet Care team can help cross these tasks off your travel-prep checklist—give us a call