Traveling with Pets: How to Eliminate Stress

Home & Family, Pets
on March 15, 2014
Traveling With Pets

When Cheryl Sturtevant of Sarasota, Fla., hits the road for her annual trip north for the summer, she doesn’t consider leaving Teddy—her long-haired Chihuahua—behind. “He’s a wonderful traveler,” Sturtevant says. “And he’s much happier traveling with me than he would be staying behind in a boarding kennel.” Many of today’s pet owners cherish similar sentiments, opting to travel with their canine and feline companions on journeys short and long. “We strongly recommend taking your dog with you on trips,” says Len Kain, co-author of’s United States and Canada Dog Travel Guide. Eliminate any potential stress by following these simple tips for traveling with pets: Prepare your pet. You can’t expect your pet to enjoy a long road trip if he’s unprepared for the situation. “If your dog is not yet an experienced traveler then you should take [him] in the car on shorter, fun trips to prepare for a long road trip,” Kain says. Pets should be comfortable in the car—with other people, dogs, and kids. Remember to bring their normal foods and medicines for the trip. If you’re traveling by air or crossing international borders, a health certificate from your vet may be required. Investigate and secure necessary paperwork before your trip. Buckle up. Don’t overlook the importance of providing proper restraint for your pet when he rides in your vehicle. Cats should always travel in appropriately sized carriers, while dogs can travel in crates or be restrained with specially designed dog seat belts. “We strongly recommend some sort of restraint for a dog in the car,” Kain says. “It protects the dog and the people in case of an accident.” Don’t use human seat belts for the dog; buy a dog seat belt that plugs into the regular seat belt latches. Find pet-friendly lodging. Not all establishments welcome furry guests, so when preparing to travel with a pet, explore lodging options ahead of time. “When you consider what hotel to use, look for easy access to the outside doors to take your pet out, watch for the pet fees and weight limits on dogs, and ask what pet-friendly attractions are nearby,” Kain says.

Found in: Home & Family, Pets
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