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Traveling With Pets

Category Travel
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.


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By 6 found this helpful
March 12, 2010

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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By 6 found this helpful
June 8, 2008

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.


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By 8 found this helpful
October 7, 2008

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.

I have a bowl for water and one for food, baby wipes in a little case, her leash and collar, a small hand towel, and a blanket. In the winter, I tuck in her heavy coat in case of break downs. Right before we leave, I slip in a bottle of water and a baggie of food. If it's going to be a long trip or she'll have to stay in the car awhile, I put in a couple of her cookie/treats.

This bag stays in the hall closet with our coats. When she sees me walk to this closet, she watches closely and if I get her bag down, she absolutely goes bananas! She reminds me of the Snoopy dog in the cartoons when he jumps up and his feet twitter in the air. She knows her bag means she's going too. Having the bag packed and ready means she gets to go more often. I'm making one for my mother for Christmas for her Teddy Bear. An unused diaper bag would work well.

By Judi from Elgin, OR

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Catherine Forman2 found this helpful
April 10, 2006

Traveling By Car:

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!

  • Prepare an area for your pet, if they will not be riding in a carrier or crate. You can buy a metal barricade that will prevent your pet from switching seats unexpectedly.

  • Crack the windows for your pet to sniff, if you so desire, but don't open the window enough so that they could fall out! Window surfing can be damaging to eyes and ears at high speeds.

  • Stop every few hours for bathroom breaks, and to give your pets a chance to stretch their legs.

  • Always have water available. Animals can quickly suffer from heat-related problems in a closed car.

  • If your pet seems to have balance issues in the car, you may want to think about getting him a harness seat belt to help him stabilize.

  • If your pet gets carsick, ask your vet about a mild sedative for long car rides so he will peacefully sleep the ordeal away.

Traveling By Plane:

Different airlines have different regulations, but there are some basics to keep in mind:

  • Always travel with your pet's vet history and vaccination history. Your precious Poodle may have never bitten anyone before, but you don't want to be caught unprepared if she changes her mind and starts nipping at strangers.

  • Your pet will need to go through security screenings, just like you do. Her carrier and leash and toys will have to go through the x-ray belt, and you will be asked to carry the pet through the metal detector.

  • Pets under a certain weight limit may be allowed to travel in the cabin, if they are in an approved travel carrier that will fit below the seat in front of you.

  • If your pet is traveling in the cabin, you may want to ask the vet about some sort of sedative so they will be peaceful and quiet during the trip.

  • If your pet is traveling in a crate apart from you, make sure she has proper ventilation and room to stand up and turn around.

No matter where you are traveling, make sure your pet wears a collar and identification tags at all times! You may want to put your cell phone number on the tags, so if your pet gets lost while you are away from home, you still have a good chance of being reunited.

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By 5 found this helpful
July 20, 2011

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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By 2 found this helpful
October 21, 2013

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 - cat in large cage with mat on the floor

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 30, 20110 found this helpful

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


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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By 0 found this helpful
May 28, 2014

What can I give small Shih Tzu as a tranquilizer before a long car trip?

By Alma B


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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February 27, 20140 found this helpful

Is it OK to take your cat with you in the car on vacation?

By Kim S.

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