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First and foremost, please make sure your pet is in the condition to travel....age and health should be considered.  Any concerns should be addressed with your veterinarian.
The following information has been obtained through various pet travel sources in our effort to help you and your pet have a comfortable, safe and fun time while traveling.  This information caters mainly to dogs and cats, but may also be very helpful for other pets in general.  There are many excellent sources of information for pet travel (that include traveling by air, bus and train) and we have made an effort to combine all those sources for those traveling with their pet by vehicle. 
If you have other tips you would like us to share, be sure to contact us.
  • Make sure your pet's vaccinations are up-to-date no later than 10 days prior to your departure
    • If traveling by air, please be aware of your airline's policies on traveling with pets as their requirements for the pet's crate and health certificate may be specific and different from airline to airline
    • Even if you are not traveling by air, having the health certificate may be important in the event that you need to board your pet (some boarding shelters will not board a pet without a health certificate)
    • Entry into some states may require you to have a health certificate for your pet and could be checked randomly by highway patrol officers.
    Make sure your pet's flea and tick medication is current as this may be prudent if traveling to an area where they may be more exposed to these hazards
  • Grooming your pet will make your pet more comfortable and presentable. 
    • If you are traveling by auto, this can be especially important as enclosed areas are more likely to take on any animal odors....shouldn't this be a pleasant odor for everyone?
  • Make sure your pets tag is up-to-date and contains the number that you may be reached at while traveling (ie cell number)
  • If you plan on staying in a hotel at any point, make sure your hotel accepts pets and that you are familiar with their pet policies and/or fee(s).
  • In case of emergency, have the name, phone number, directions and rates to pet emergency services/boarding locations available in the area you will be traveling to.
  • If your pet is not accustomed to traveling in a vehicle, start taking a series of shorter trips before taking "the long one"


Pet Supplies to Pack (we carry all these products in-store)


  • Leash and collar/harness
  • Picture of your pet in case you need to provide it if you become separated. 
  • Written description of your pet including microchip number, any special markings, name, height, weight, breed, sex and age.
  • Water from home (enough to last the trip).  Water given to your pet from other sources could potentially affect your pet's digestive system, so it's best to play it safe if this potential exists with your pet. 
    • If you start running low on water, begin to mix your home water with the new water source to get your pet accustomed to the new water
  • Supply of food, dish and spoon if taking canned food as well (don't forget the can opener!)
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Pet shampoo (even if you don't think you need this, you never know what you pet may get into, or if it will have an "accident" of some sort)
  • Toys and chew bones (this will help them pass the time and have something familiar to distract them with)
  • Medications (drops, vitamins, first aid)
  • Pet crate if pet will need to be left alone at any point in an unfamiliar place, or if required (ie if flying)
    • Please note that some hotels will not allow a pet to be left out of their crate unattended)
  • Pet restraint device if traveling by land
  • Pet throw for your vehicle or to cover furniture that your pet may lay on at it's travel destination
  • Extra clean-up towels
  • Waste bags for cleaning up after your pet
  • Wee-wee pads or cat litter box and scoop (if applicable)
  • Spot carpet cleaner
  • Lint and hair remover (think about that nice black outfit you packed for that special night out)
  • Moist towelettes to wipe paws if necessary
  • If you're traveling to a chilly area, you will want to take a sweater and booties for your pet
  • You "may" want to take a little portable vacuum if you pet tends to shed a lot. 


Feeding Before Leaving


  • Feed your pet several hours before leaving and take your puppy out for a nice long walk
  • Follow any instructions you may have been given on anxiety/motion sickness reducing medications you may have chosen to give your pet.  Always consult your veterinarian on whether or not this is safe for your pet as certain medications could be affected by change of altitude or other conditions.


Preparing Your Vehicle


  • Decide on a location in the back seat where your pet will be traveling (never place your pet in the back of a truck)
  • Set up the crate, throw and/or restraint device (traveling with your pet on your lap or in a manner that could cause them to go flying in a sudden stop/accident is not recommended- safety first!)
  • If traveling with your cat, don't forget to decide on a location for the litter box (use a plastic sheet/bag under the litter box to protect your vehicle)
  • Make sure your heat/air conditioning is in good working order and that your pet will have proper ventilation


On the Road


  • Make sure that you are able to keep an eye on your pet (safely) and that you watch for any signs of distress from your pet
  • This is good time for your pet to have access to their chew toy that will help keep them distracted and entertained
  • Stop every 2-3 hours (or more often if needed) to allow your pet to drink water, stretch its legs, go potty, and eat if it's time (try to stay as close to your pet's scheduled eating time as possible).  For safety and consideration to others, always keep your pet on a leash and in designated areas.
  • Never leave them unattended in the vehicle


At Your Hotel


  • Remember to crate your pet, if required, when leaving your pet unattended. 
  • If your hotel/motel does not allow any pet to be left unattended, plan on knowing a nearby restaurant to order delivery or take-out from. 
  • Be respectful of other hotel guests by keeping your pet on a leash, in designated areas and on their best behavior.


At Your Final Destination


  • Familiarize your pet with where you will be staying by showing them around their temporary "home". 
  • Decide on where you will place their food, water and crate/bedding and familiarize your pet with these locations
  • Walk you dog outside to 1) allow them to relieve themselves and 2) familiarize themselves with their new outside surroundings
  • Visit/drive-by the emergency pet clinic so that you don't have to worry about how to find it in the case of an emergency.  When practical, introduce yourself and your pet to the staff.


Click here for a handy printable version




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