Checklist for Traveling With Your Pet

Traveling with your pet can be a big task. However, under the right conditions, it can be a better option for you and your pet than leaving them at home or at a pet daycare. Below is  a checklist designed to keep you and your pet comfortable, healthy, and happy.

Assess your pet’s health and personality
You first want to asses your pet’s personality. Knowing how your pet will react in certain situations will allow for you to plan ahead; avoiding any dangerous situations and ensuring your travels are smooth. Some things you may want to take note of are whether your pet does well in new situations, if your pet like to chew or claw furniture, or if  your pet dislikes children or other animals.

Visit your vet for a checkup to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel long distances and get any required vaccines. If your pet gets anxious, you may want to obtain some calming medication from your vet.  Consider microchipping your pet if they are not already.

Assess the suitability of the destination
Researching your destination will prepare you so there will be no surprises when you and your pet arrive. Check to see if your pet requires a microchip, an import permit, special vaccinations, a blood test or any other special requirements. It is also important to research if you need to bring and show proof of ownership of your pet. Staying at a pet friendly hotel is a must! Booking ahead could get you discounts on your room.

Think about your travel schedule each day
A few more important things to take note of is whether your pet will be alone most of the day, if the place of stay is too noisy, if you will be able to feed them at proper times, and if your pet has separation anxiety. If the cons outweigh the pros of traveling with your pet; it may be best for their wellbeing to be left at home with someone you trust.

Purchase a harness for your pet
Using a harness is much safer for your pet than using their collar only. It can reduce choking, give you more control, and make picking up your pet in an emergency much safer. Having a proper fit can greatly reduce the chances of your pet getting out of their harness when frightened. Many pet owners are scared of making their pet’s harness or too tight but when it is too loose, it could slip off or cause rubbing. You’ll need to fit two fingers between your pet’s fur and harness, and you are good to go!

Gather your pet’s supplies
Your pet may need to bring as much as you. It is a good idea to make a list of your pet’s specific needs. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you forget an item or two. Most destinations will have a pet store and most grocery stores have a pet section.  However, below is a general list of items that would be needed or just plain handy to have:

  • Leash and collar
  • Harness
  • Name tag with your current cell phone number
  • Food and water
  • Dishes/bowls
  • Bed
  • Brush
  • Shampoo
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Your pet’s medications
  • Poop bags or litter box
  • Towels
  • First aid kit
  • Pet carrier
  • A recent photo
  • Your pet’s medical and ownership records

Check weather and road conditions
Many pets get scared of thunderstorms, rain or loud road construction. Check the weather and road conditions before heading out. If conditions do not look ideal, you may want to wait a few hours until conditions clear. This will prevent you from a headache and your pet will be calmer.  If you are driving, map out possible areas to stop to let your pet stretch their legs.

If you follow this checklist, you and your pet will be on the road to a happy trip.