We’re in the midst of Pet Appreciation Week (June 3-9) and as pet parents we love and appreciate our pets every hour of the day, every day of the week, every week of the year! This week, though was set aside to give our pets a little more love, an additional treat and (this is how we appreciate our pets!) to assure their fun and comfort when you take them on vacation!
Creating this ultimate pet travel checklist was our way to help pet parents who may be new at taking a pet on vacation or for those pet parents who may want a refresher.
Here is our ultimate pet travel checklist
Keep in mind that you may be excited about your vacation, but your pet may pick up on your mood as anxiety. Take time to assure your dog or cat that everything is all right while you’re packing up the car and taking some of their favorite items for the trip.
Vaccination records. Don’t leave home without your pet’s current vaccination records and medical health records. A rabies vaccination tag alone is not proof of vaccination. If your pet has any underlying or ongoing medical issues, having her current medical records available will help alleviate stress and ensure your dog gets the best care if an emergency vet visit is required.
Favorite toys. Your dog and cat has favorite toys and packing them for the trip will comfort him. Play fetch with your dog or play with your cat’s favorite feather toy. Scents from home will alleviate pet stress.
If you’re traveling with cats, don’t forget a litter box! Depending on the length of the road trip you may need to make a stop alongside the road. Either put your cat in a harness and let him do his business out of doors (if he’s not accustomed to that, it probably won’t happen) or clear a space in your vehicle where you can set up a litter box while you’re on the road for when nature calls!
Safety matters. A car trip needs to be as safe as possible for your dogs and cats and the humans in the car. This means you need to restrain your pet in the vehicle -- no lap sitting while you’re driving down the roadways! Purchase a harness for your dogs, or if they’re accustomed to a crate, let them ride in the crate in the car (make certain the crate is secured with a seatbelt.
Make sure your dogs and cats are wearing collars and/or a harness with an identification tag and your contact information on it.
Depending on the type of vacation you’re taking and whether your dog is prone to dirtying up the backseat, you may want to invest in a car backseat cover to keep muddy paws and chewed up snacks off the seats. You also can’t predict the weather and a car seat cover will keep your seats dry if your dog gets wet.
Pay attention to the sun and whether your dog or cat is in sunlight while you’re driving down the road. Safely cover the windows to protect your pets from the sun and consider a cooling collar or cooling mat to keep them from overheating on the road trip.
Unique pet travel items. Chances are you have planned day trips and other events for the family, but what will you and the dogs and cats be enjoying where your vacation leads you. Will you be hiking? Biking? Spending time in the water? Remember, not all dogs know how to swim and a life vest will keep them safe and afloat.
Pack travel items that will help your pet enjoy whatever activities you and your family have planned. If you have a dog who simply can’t keep up, due to age or health issues don’t forget to look into doggie strollers or slings that allow your small/ill dog to enjoy outdoor activities with the family.
Food and drink. Don’t use your vacation as a time to introduce your dog or cat to new foods or treats. Stick with the tried-and-true to avoid any stomach upset. Some pet parents even bring along water from home or give their dogs and cats bottled water while they’re traveling.
Stick to the feeding routine to which your pets are accustomed as they appreciate a schedule, especially if they’re anxious about the family vacation road trip.
Misc. items. Pack some paper towels in case there are vomiting or indoor or in-car “accidents.” Grab additional towels to dry your pets off when they get out of the water after a family swim.
If your dog is accustomed to sleeping in his own bed, pack that.
Bring a first aid kit for the humans and the pets who are on the vacation. Also, don’t forget to pack any medication your pet takes.
Where will you and your dogs and cats travel this summer? Do you have a pet travel checklist? What would you add to ours?
Safe and happy travels!