Traveling is more fun when you’re doing it with your pets. It exposes your fur babies to new experiences, and you’ll get the most out of your trips as you don’t have to worry about leaving them at home. Most importantly, traveling together allows the two of you to bond.
Avoid these common mistakes to ensure that your pet remains safe and comfortable on their next or first trip:
Using Any Pet Carrier
Bigger pet carriers aren’t always better when traveling. Using a carrier that’s too big for your pet might cause them to be thrown around while riding a vehicle. This can lead to motion sickness and severe injuries.
Aside from the size, never put your pet in a carrier that has these features:
- DIY pet carriers: Using an ordinary bag as a pet carrier might seem cheap but can actually take a toll on your pet’s health and safety. Make sure you don’t use one when traveling with a pet, as DIY pet carriers will only make your pet feel uncomfortable.
- Non-breathable fabric: Avoid putting your pet inside a carrier made with non-breathable fabric. This material causes the insides of the carrier to get too warm, resulting in your pet overheating. As the temperature continues to rise, your pet can also experience seizures, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Non-weatherproof fabric: Carriers that use non-weatherproof fabric can cause your pet to be uncomfortable. This material easily gets wet, which means that your pet will end up soaking if you transport them inside the carrier during heavy rains. This can make your pet sick.
- Poorly made or unstable: Pay attention to the details and construction of the pet carrier. It’s important to avoid using a carrier that gets easily damaged. This is especially true if your pet loves to chew, dig, or scratch during long trips.
- Low or zero airflow: The materials used in the cat or dog carrier should allow maximum airflow. Pet carriers with low or zero airflow will only make your pet feel too hot throughout the entire trip.
You need to pay more careful about choosing an airline approved pet carrier when traveling by plane, as airlines have specific rules. For example, local and international airlines will require soft-sided carriers and carriers that fit under the seat in front of you.
Forgetting Your Pet’s Harness and ID Tag at Home
Your itinerary will likely include letting your pet run around an open field, but keep in mind that you’ll have plenty of rest stops along the way. Not bringing your pet’s harness and ID tag will make your trip stressful as you’ll have to catch your pet every time they want to poop or pee.
When traveling with a pet, aim to achieve these goals: prevent your pet from wandering too far or getting lost and be able to find them fast. Take note of the tips below to ensure that your pet gets returned to you if ever they get lost:
- Let them wear their ID tag at all times. Make sure that it contains your phone number, complete address, and name.
- Talk to your vet about microchipping your pet before the trip. Microchips don’t break and will last for the life of your pet.
- Always carry a recent and clear photo of your pet, so you can have something to show around if they get lost.
Not Having Any Plans for Your Pet’s Food and Water
Your pet will feel more comfortable during your trip if you meet their needs. As much as possible, follow their regular feeding schedule. If you feed your feet at 9 AM every morning, make sure to do the same, even if you’re traveling on a car, plane, or train.
Pack more of your pet’s food and store it somewhere you can easily access. Avoid burying it under your clothes or inside your luggage; it’s best if you place it in your carry-on bag.
For your pet’s water, use a small container with a lid. In this way, you can easily take it out and let your pet drink water every time they need it. Just make sure to seal the lid tightly after your pet drinks to avoid spills and other accidents.
Not Making Any Stops Every 2-3 Hours
When traveling by land, take the time to look for pet-friendly rest stops. Take your pet to the designated area, let them exercise for a bit, and encourage them to do their business — while being on a leash. For cats, take out their litter box and see if they’re ready to go.
Summer trips with pets require more preparation. When stopping to eat, think about what you’ll do with your pet as you eat. Temperatures can be extremely hot during summer — reaching up to 20 degrees in 10 minutes or less — which is why locking your pet inside the car can be fatal.
As much as possible, get food from drive-thru restaurants. Another option is to get the food to go. Have another person accompany your pet inside the car while others go inside the restaurant to order food. Park the car somewhere near and have a picnic.
Choosing Activities That Make Your Pet Uncomfortable
You’ll have to make changes to your trip if you plan to bring your pet, including your itinerary. Besides choosing pet-friendly destinations, you also have to consider if certain activities make your pet feel uncomfortable. Pets who aren’t used to strangers will end up stressed if you choose to spend time in a crowded location.
You know your pet best, so choose the right activities for them. If they’re not socialized yet, visit locations free from crowds. The lesser people present in those locations, the better it is for your pet. You’ll have more options if your pet is already used to being around strangers.
Skipping a Vet Visit Before the Trip
Your pet’s health should be a priority once you decide to travel with them. Schedule an appointment with your vet weeks before the trip, as they can identify your pet’s special needs that might appear once you travel together. Additionally, your vet can provide the necessary health certificate and other documents to allow your pet to leave or enter different states.
If your pet is taking medication for an existing health condition, get the prescription from your vet early. You don’t want your pet to run out of medication in the middle of the trip, right?
Prioritize Your Pet
Traveling with your pet is fun — but only if you exert time and effort in meeting their needs. Pets who are comfortable and safe throughout the trip are sure to love traveling with you!