Traveling With Pets: What To Know Before You Go

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These days when we take a vacation, it’s the entire family enjoying the getaway, including furry members. Traveling with pets is common for many families over the summer, but there are a few things to consider before taking your pet on your next journey.

Hotel Accommodations

While some inns are totally pet friendly, others may have restrictions regarding pet stay. Many pet policies depend on the individual management. When making a reservation, it’s best to get it in writing that your pet is welcome.

Some inns have weight restrictions. Others may charge an extra fee or deposit, which are sometimes refundable if the room isn’t ‘eaten up,’ and there are no complaints about the pet.

Vehicle Safety

The majority of pet owners travel by car. Pets should never sit in the front seats. When stopping abruptly, an unrestrained pet may become projectile unless restrained by seat belts or a doggy car seat. Cats should simply always be kept in a carrier.

Pets who get sick in the car may actually suffer from motion sickness. Mild cases can be handled with ginger cookies for dogs. More severe cases require veterinary medication. What often occurs is that the pet anticipates not feeling well and becomes very anxious about car rides – so now you deal with fear of car rides, as well as motion sickness.


About a month before you head out of town, speak to your veterinarian, as you may need to adjust your pet’s medications. A new flea and tick protection or heartworm preventive may be necessary. Depending on your destination, your pet may need a specific vaccination.

Anti-anxiety medication can help pets who are totally terrified of car rides and traveling, but begin the course about a month before departure. An animal behavior consultant from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, veterinary behaviorist from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists or veterinarian with a special interest in behavior from American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior can also provide a detailed program to help adjust the pet to car rides, often not requiring any drugs.

When at home and during travel, of course you want your pet to comply. I always recommend positive reinforcement, so be sure to take along your pup’s favorite tasty treats, like Vita Bone® Biscuits.

Some pets just don’t like car rides or new surroundings, and it’s believed that in old age, there’s no place like home.


Steve Dale, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant 



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