Traveling With Pets

Traveling with pets can be fun and is much cheaper than pet boarding. It is important to know how to take care of your pets when on the road. This guide is about traveling with pets.

March 12, 2010 Flag
6 found this helpful

Many of us travel with our pets, and when we do there are always worries with hotels, maids, leaving the pets in the car while we go in and eat, among other things. Here are my solutions. I have used these for many years and have never once had the least bit of a problem.

On The Road:

At home my pets don't wear their collars at all. But anytime we go on a trip the collars get put on them. You never know when the best behaved dog or cat may slip out of the car. I also keep their leashes tucked into a cubby hole in the area of the car that they ride. The cat "always" rides in a carrier. Made the mistake once of not putting one in a carrier and almost lost her! So since then my cats have always ridden in a carrier anytime they go in the car for any reason. I keep a small covered bin in the car with cat litter in it and whenever I stop, keeping all doors and windows shut, I let the cat out to use the make-shift litter box and offer her some water. In her carrier she has her own toys to play with plus a small bit of food too.

In the car I have a pad for them to lay on and a blanket for them to get under. They have a small bowl of food. Not much, just a little so they don't get too hungry and have a snack. I also keep pet snacks handy and offer them one every hour or two. They also have two small "non-squeaky" toys to play with, along with one rawhide bone for each dog.


Anytime I stop, I offer them some water, then take them for a walk. Even if I'm only stopping for a minute to run into a ladies' room. They probably have to go too! After I've gone in and done my business, I take them for another short walk to let them relieve themselves one last time before hitting the road again. I also give the cat one last chance at the litter box too.

When it comes to eating on the road, I stick with drive thrus. This way I don't have to leave the pets in the car where they may get over heated or too cold. I save restaurant eating for when I arrive at my destination. This also has 2 more good things to it: I save money over restaurants, and also save time too.

At The Hotel:

When I check in I tell the desk clerk that I have pets and that "I do not want maid service" during my stay at all. If I will be there more than 3-4 days, I tell them I will let them know what day they can come in. I keep a large laminated sign and some packaging tape in my suitcase. The sign tells the maid in large letters not to enter my room for any reason. When I check into my room I tape the sign to the outside of the door. Each morning, I track down the maids and exchange dirty towels for clean ones. I make up my own bed and take out my own trash.

If I will be there for more than 4 days, I set aside one day when I let the desk know, and bring all the pets outside with me for a good long walk while the maids do my room. The cat is brought out in her carrier. It's too easy for a panicked cat to get out of a collar, or get hurt trying, at the sight of a strange or aggressive dog. Should there be a problem with an aggressive dog that is not being handled by its owner, I report it to the front desk at my first opportunity. This has only happened to me twice and both times the desk people took care of the problem immediately.

I've used this system for many years and have never once had a problem. And by using this system, it makes the trip much more pleasant for me and for my beloved pets.

By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC

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March 12, 20100 found this helpful

Great tips. Thanks!

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March 13, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for your tips! We're planning on taking our dog with us next year on a trip, and I've already been worrying about hotel stays and what to do at restaurant stops, so your comments really made me feel better about it. I'd like to add a tip for others who may not have traveled with a pet in a while, and that's to make sure your current cell phone number is on your pet's tag, on it's crate, and also on a little sign you can leave visible in your car in case you have to leave a pet there briefly during a bathroom break or whatever, in case a passerby sees an emergency situation with your pet. I'd recently realized that only our home phone number was on our pet's tag, so I'll have to order a new one.

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March 14, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you for these very valuable tips. I have an adopted cat that is very timid around strangers so we are extremely protective of her sense of security. With a possible trip ahead, I had been concerned about how to make this precious family member as comfortable as possible. Thanks to these ideas - all of which will be used - she should be all set.

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June 25, 20161 found this helpful

I always get my pets micro-chipped, it's affordable and I can easily update my information. If I'm traveling to visit family, I will add their name and contact information on-line at the micro-chipped site.

I also keep an on-line copy of their medical information, to include my vet and updated pictures. Frightened pets can easily slip their collars if they feel threatened and without a micro-chip there is no way for them to find their way home. Having updated photos is a huge help if you need to make flyers in a hurry.

Besides the micro chips I always go to PetSmart and have an additional dog tag made with our phone number on one side and the phone number of where we're driving too.

Our dogs love to travel and many years ago one of my past dogs got really sick from drinking water from a gas station and there is nothing worse than traveling with an older dog with diarrhea.

It was a learning experience and I now pack my own water for them and when we run out I buy gallon water from a grocery store.

I like the idea of placing a sign on the outside of the door. I also have a puppy pen that folds up and is larger than a crate that we travel with. Sometimes we use it, sometimes we don't but when we do need it, it's really great to have. Especially if you have relatives and kids visiting your hotel room. It's very light, no where as heavy as a crate and can be constructed round square or even use it as a room divider.

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June 8, 2008 Flag
6 found this helpful

You can calm most cats or dogs before taking them to the vet or on a trip in a car, train or plane with a safe and simple homeopathic-type remedy called "Rescue Remedy". It's available in health food stores (for people, but pets can also use it). Many pet stores and vets sell an alcohol-free formula made just for pets. My mother's vet recommended she give it to her sick cat before giving him his daily IV. He also said it works great for pets that are going on trips or any stressful situation, like introducing another pet into the home, or if your pet hates being left alone. You simply give your pet several drops of this remedy. The directions are on the back. Rescue Remedy has no side effects and really works! I've seen the results myself.

June 22, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you ever so much for this wonderful "tip".

We take a 100 mile trip at least once a month (visit grandchildren) in our RV & one of our cats just cries & wimpers the entire time. We have to keep her in a carrier to keep her from climbing the curtains. This should help her to sleep on the bed with the other one.

Again thank you, Elizabeth Kent - Salinas, CA

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June 30, 20080 found this helpful

I keep Rescue Remedy in my purse for myself. I often forget about it, but it does work. Safe for pets and kids too. You only take a couple drops so the alcohol in the bottle is no worse than what you get in over the counter medicines. This would be good for pets/kids who are afraid of storms.

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July 21, 20080 found this helpful

You can also get it in spray form. It is much easier to give to some pets that way.

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March 10, 20090 found this helpful

I also really like Rescue Remedy. It's nice to have on hand all the time for stressful situations. And it does work well for pets too (just make sure to give a smaller dose if it's a small pet). I've also found it online at for a really good price. That's where I get all my supplements now.

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February 28, 20110 found this helpful

October 7, 2008 Flag
8 found this helpful

I travel quite a bit with my little Doxie and like to have her "stuff" handy. She needs several things through the day so we now have a "Penny bag" for Penny's stuff. This bag is just a cloth tote that can be washed in the washer.

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October 21, 2013 Flag
2 found this helpful

I have a rather large cat called Mr. Smith. He completely refuses to get into anything smaller to travel in, so we have a small dog cage. He has grandiose ideas!

Bath Mat Inside Pet Travel Cages

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April 10, 2006 Flag
Catherine Forman2 found this helpful

It just isn't safe for your dog or cat to be roaming all over the car while you are trying to drive. My German Shepherd/Husky mix used to always knock the car out of gear while he was switching from the front seat to the back seat - not good!

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

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November 30, 2011 Flag
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I have a 4 year old rescue Shitz Tzu, she was raised solely in a crate, pretty much 24/7. She was well groomed. But here's the problem, I've had her now for almost 3 years and can't travel with her. She can ride in the car to the park which is 2 blocks away, but she freaks out going to to the groomer's, only 1 mile away. We've been taking her there since we got her, so she knows the way there. I'm driving to California every 6 months and can't keep her here any more she becomes so stressed out and scared she get the runs. I want to take her with us when we go out of state. Please help. I don't want to do doggie downers. Thanks.

By Liz P

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December 1, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

When my dogs were pups and they would go traveling with us, I would hold them or keep them very close to me while my husband drove. We also stopped at literally every rest stop we came across and it gave us and them a break to walk around and go potty. They both outgrew their nervousness and now they enjoy riding in the car cause they both have their own car seats.

Do not let your dog look out the side windows on the car. This will make anybody sick cause they are trying to focus on objects that are moving and this is what causes motion sickness. Try to keep his eyes focused on the front window.

Try Benadryl to calm your dog.

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December 1, 20110 found this helpful

Maybe she just doesn't like going to the groomers. Maybe it just makes her nervous; maybe something happened at the groomers. Maybe being around other dogs at the grooming salon makes her nervous. My dog used to be nervous around other dogs until he became socialized. This is a lot of maybes but just because she's nervous while heading to be groomed may not mean she'd be nervous riding in the car on longer trips. I'd take more frequent trips around town before heading out to California and see if that makes a difference. I don't think it's hopeless.

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December 2, 20110 found this helpful

I use Synergy labs Richard's Organics brand. They make a bottle with a dropper of 'calming liquid' for dogs, that doesn't make my dog sleepy, but helps wonders!

He gets so nervous when he feels thunder coming our way.

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July 20, 2011 Flag
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We were traveling on a busy road in our RV, when we saw another RV ahead of us pull to the side of the road. We slowed, but as we approached the back of the other RV, the people opened the side door.

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May 28, 2014 Flag
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What can I give small Shih Tzu as a tranquilizer before a long car trip?

By Alma B

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May 31, 20140 found this helpful

The antihistamine Benadryl makes dogs sleepy, that might help. My vet gave me a sedative for my dog during stressful times like fireworks called alprazolam that really put him to sleep for several hours, but that's a last resort choice.

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August 16, 20150 found this helpful

Try giving the dog plenty of exercise to tire it out before travelling and doing the same when you stop for breaks. People are usually so busy getting the car loaded they don't think about exercising the dog.

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