If you have ever been away from home for more than a couple days, you know how tough it is to leave your fur baby behind. What’s even worse? The bill for sending them to doggy daycare.

Taking your pet on a long trip might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are gearing up for a long trip, whether by car or plane, you can bring your pet with you. You just need to prepare.

Here are four tips to the ultimate, stress-free pet travel guide:

1. Booking pet-friendly accommodations (and doing it early)

Before you do anything, make sure to book pet-friendly accommodations. To do this, be sure to call and get verbal confirmation that your pup will have a place to sleep for the night. No one wants to arrive at their vacation destination only to deal with an issue that was easily avoidable. For a seamless trip, do your research.

Also, be sure to book early. As you know, people love their pets (hence why you are reading this blog). That means pet-friendly rooms go fast!

2. Exposing them to new places before the trip

Cat Carrier

Be sure to get your pet accustomed to new places before hitting the road. This is especially important if your pet has never traveled with you before.

According to Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. certified applied animal behaviorist, some animals are terrified of strangers and noisy places.

If you plan for your pet to accompany you on your journey, start exposing them to new environments sooner rather than later. You can take them anywhere from the local home improvement store to new parks in your neighborhood. The goal is to expose them to new environments so they are used to the feeling of being in an unfamiliar place prior to entering an airport.

3. Pack light, but don’t forget the essentials

Regardless if you are packing for a human or an animal, it’s never a good idea to pack last minute. About a week before your trip, start making a list of what to bring and gathering the essentials.

Here are a few items you’ll want to have on hand:

  • Collapsible water bowl—this is especially important if you are traveling in the car. You never know when you could run into road trouble and hot summer temps can be life-threatening to your pet. Make sure you have a way to keep them hydrated.
  • Wet wipes for dirty paws (especially if your furry friend will be on your lap)
  • Their favorite toy—not all of them
  • A bed sheet to cover the back of your car if your pet sheds

To keep your load light, you might even consider shipping a small portion of your pet’s food to your destination via Amazon Prime instead of bringing it with you, especially if you are flying and have limited space.

4. Get their energy out and calm their nerves

Dog Running on a Beach

To ensure a smooth trip, try getting your pet’s energy out the day before your trip. Take them for a very long walk the night before. You don’t want them too wound up in transit.

Regardless, your pet still might be anxious before hitting the road. If that’s the case, here are a few remedies to help calm your pet’s anxieties:

Chamomile essential oil

Chamomile essential oil is a good option if you prefer a natural alternative to drugs. One pet owner’s vet recommended a few drops on the tongue to help their puppy feel sleepy.

Sleeping with your pet the night before

This is definitely not for everyone, but sleeping with your pet has been proven to reduce anxiety in pets and their owners. Just make sure to have the proper sleeping position and arrangements to experience the benefits of snuggling up with your fur baby. Make sure have enough space to stay comfortable and undisturbed all night long.

CBD oil

Another natural alternative to drugs is CBD oil, which has been proven to reduce anxiety in pets. Just be sure to consult your vet on dosage guidance.

Anxiety vest

Anxiety vests work by applying pressure to your pet’s torso. This causes a calming effect similar to swaddling a crying infant or hugging a distressed person. If your pet experiences anxiety regularly, you may consider investing in an anxiety vest.

Now, you are ready to hit the road with your four-legged companion in stow!

Three bonus tips for air travelers:

  1. Feed your pet a small breakfast or no breakfast at all (if they are used to eating in the afternoons only) the morning of your trip. This will help avoid any accidents on the plane.
  2. Locate the pet relief areas are in the airport you’re traveling to prior to arriving. This will keep you from stressing out and your pet having an accident.
  3. Have your paperwork ready. No one likes being held up at the airport.

Last, but not least, have a smooth ride and enjoy being with your pet on vacation!


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