How to Care for Your Pet When Traveling

How to Care for Your Pet When Traveling

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Summer is an ideal season for traveling and seeing new sights. But before you leave home, you’ll need to make some important decisions regarding the care of your pets. Consider these ways for keeping your feline, canine, or other pets safe and happy during your trip.

Leave your pet at home

One choice is to travel without your pet and leave them in another’s care while you are away. If you decide not to bring your pet with you, consider these tips.

Enlist help


If you have family and friends nearby who can care for your pet, you’re in luck. You can have someone visit your pet a few times a day or stay in your home, or you can let your pet go to  their home. Even if you don’t know anyone locally who can pet sit for you, an out-of-town friend or relative might be interested in staying in your home while you are away. It’s best to choose someone who is familiar with your pet and is comfortable with animals.

Hire a sitter


A pet sitter can stop by for feedings, playtimes, walks, and other care needs. Some sitters will prefer to stay in your home while others may want to watch your pet in their home. You can ask your veterinarian, dog trainer, or friends and family to recommend local pet sitters for you, or you can look for certified pet sitters in your area on the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International websites. The sitters you’ll find on these sites have demonstrated pet-care knowledge. Before you hire a sitter, see if you can talk to pet owners who’ve used their service, read reviews on sites like Yelp or Rover, and have them meet with you and your pet so you can evaluate whether they are a good fit. Any sitter you hire should be bonded and insured, which means that your sitter has coverage should your animal get sick or injured and ensures you are covered in the event of theft or property damage.

Board your pet


Another option is to board your canine or feline at a dog kennel or pet hotel. If you can, choose a facility that’s recommended by your vet or another individual you trust. It’s best to visit the boarding facility before selecting it in order to evaluate its cleanliness and to see how it treats the animals in its care. Visit with your pet before your trip to assess how its caretakers interact with your dog or cat. Look for a site that has staff on-site around the clock, has a vet on call, and requires its boarders to be immunized, so your pet is protected. You can also check the kennel’s ratings on social media or with the Better Business Bureau. If your state requires certain boarding-facility licenses or certifications, be sure the pet hotel has them.

Bring your pet with you

Your pet, especially your dog, may enjoy joining you on your travels. Before you bring your pet along, though, consider these important considerations.

How you are traveling


It’s easier to bring your pet with you if you’re driving. If you are flying, check with the airline first. You may need a health certificate for your pet from your vet, and your airline could prohibit your pet from flying because of its age or breed, or it might only allow your pet to stay in cargo. If your pet can travel in the passenger section of the plane, you might have to bring it in a ventilated carrier and keep it underneath your seat.

Where you go


Whether you stay at a hotel, campground, or rental, there may be some pet restrictions, so check those first. You can often find this information on hotel websites and travel apps, such as Airbnb. If you are traveling outside the US, research the country’s pet regulations before you travel.

Before you go

Whether your companion is traveling with you or staying home, check these details before you embark.

Your pet’s health


Schedule a wellness check with a vet to make sure your pet’s vaccinations and medications are up to date.

Pet supplies


Ensure your pet’s needs will be met while you are on vacation. Take an inventory of their food and any other supplies they might need, such as leashes, identification tags, toys, and cages.

Products for your pet

Whether your pet will be traveling with you or waiting patiently for your return, these products might make the experience easier for them.

Pet camera


A pet camera, such as the Furbo Dog Camera, can be used to watch and listen to your pet from afar. The device also allows you to speak to your pet via your cell phone, whether they’re at home or in your hotel room while you’re out to dinner. The camera will also allow you to toss a treat to your canine or feline, get alerts when your pet is making noise or moving, and even take photos.

Sofa pet slipcover

A sofa slipcover can come in handy during your vacation—whether you are protecting your couch or furniture in your hotel or rental. You can get covers in different colors and sizes, as well as ones that are waterproof or machine washable.

Pet travel bowls


It can be helpful to keep storage containers for your pet’s food or water on hand. These stainless steel bowls are durable, can hold kibble or water, are available in a variety of colors, and are stackable.

Pet ID tags


You may want to get your pet a new identification tag before your trip so they can easily be identified. These silent silicone ID tags can be customized and engraved with your pet’s information.

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