7 Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling with a Pet

If you’re a pet lover, then chances are you’ll take your dog or cat with you on a trip. But before you see yourself romping on the beach with your dog or cat or hiking in the mountains, taking selfies and posting them on social media, consider how much preparation you’ll need for your kind of trip. To ensure that the trip with your pet goes well, here are seven mistakes to avoid when traveling with a pet.

Not Booking Your Travel in Advance

Making a pet friendly booking is one of the mistakes to avoid when traveling with a pet

Booking your transportation and hotel in advance is essential for any travel; however, you’ll have to go the extra mile if you decide to take your pet with you. Make sure that any transportation you need to use on your trip (an airplane, a car, etc.) will accommodate your pet. Also, make sure that you book a hotel that allows pets inside their facilities, and, most importantly, make a reservation for your pet. Having the right accommodations reserved will help to avoid stress from last-minute prep.

Not Checking Pet Policies

Just like any other type of travel, traveling with your pet comes with rules. Whether you’re taking a plane, a bus, a train, etc., all modes of transportations will have pet policies. Before you travel, read up on policies, procedures and charges that you must adhere to. If you have any other questions and concerns that aren’t addressed in the published policies, feel free to give them a call or shoot them an email. Voicing any concerns ahead of time will save you from the embarrassment of being turned away at the hotel, airport or train station, because of a violation that you weren’t aware of beforehand.

Not Properly Restraining Your Pet in a Car

An unrestrained dog in car is a serious mistake when traveling with a pet

One of the most dangerous mistakes to avoid when traveling with a pet in your car is letting your pet have free roam or hang their head out the window, especially if your dog or cat isn’t too comfortable with the riding in a car. Not to mention, your pet can become a distraction, while you’re driving – the danger posed by that distraction the equivalent to texting while driving.

Organizations like AAA have cautioned the public to use carriers or restraining harnesses on your pet, when they’re inside the car. Securing your pet in the car can prevent distractions and keep your pet from stumbling or making any wrong moves that can result in injury. But whatever you do, don’t let pets sit in the front seat; they’ll get badly hurt if an airbag is activated. Also, never leave your pet alone in a car, especially during hot weather. Like babies and little children, pets will die from extremely hot temperatures.

Not Ensuring Your Destination is Pet-Friendly

Is your travel destination pet-friendly? Do shops and establishments allow pets inside? Are there any dog parks where you’re going? These are the questions that you should consider and research when picking a destination for you, your family and your pet.

While some cities, towns and businesses allow dogs to join in on sightseeing,  touring, and even being allowed inside; vacations like camping, glamping and staying in a bed and breakfast or inn tend to be a lot more pet-friendly since they are less confined and your pet is exposed to less hustle and bustle.

Also, take note of the time of year that you plan to travel. Summer tends to be the most popular time to travel with your pet, especially if you’re a dog person. Be aware that airlines will not fly live animals in the cargo hold during periods of high temperatures. If you must fly in the summer, book flights that depart and land early in the morning or late at night when temperatures are not extreme.

Additionally, consider finding a travel destination that has patios or parks that welcome pets. In other words, do your research on places and activities first, before considering your “vacay” spot for you and your pet.

Not Having the Right Documentation

Haveing proper documentation at airport check-in with pet is essential

Like humans need passports, pets need to have their own pet passports (i.e. documentation), when you travel abroad. In fact, many countries require the following for international pet travel:

  • Pet health certificate
  • Pet health insurance (not mandatory, but recommended)
  • Prove of vaccinations including rabies
  • Rabies titer test (some countries)
  • Import permit (some countries)
  • Parasite treatment (some countries)
  • Passport for your pet – collection of all documentation
  • Endorsement of documentation by government veterinarian

In addition, your pet must be microchipped, before you travel internationally, since many countries require this. So, don’t get caught unprepared – have documentation available.

Not Providing Proper Care During Travel

Not thinking about the care your pet will need during travel is one of the common mistakes to avoid when traveling with a pet.

Pets need food and water; and they need frequent care as well. Traveling is no exception. Granted, if your pet is flying, it cannot be attended to during flight; however, you can take some steps prior to travel that will help them adjust.

It is a good idea to taper down the amount of food you give your pet slowly prior to travel unless it has medical needs. Pets should not be fed within 4-6 hours of travel. However, make sure that your pet gets plenty of water, and that they get necessary potty breaks every so often prior to boarding.

You’ll have to pack for your pet as well. Pack all the necessary items, such as a sturdy leash, toiletries, pet hygiene products, treats, toys, towels, and any medications that your pet takes. Though, you may want to check the rules and regulations that your mode of transportation may have (an airline, for example, if you’re flying). Just like booking your travel and hotel stays, not planning ahead is a mistake to avoid when traveling with a pet.

Not Considering that a Change in Routine and Environment can be Upsetting to your Pet

One way that pets learn is through routines as well as past experiences. If your pet has not traveled before, the changes in environment and stimulation can be very unsettling to them.

Home is where your pet is comfortable with their surroundings. But when you and your pet are traveling, not only can they exhibit shyness when going to a new place and learning a new routine, but they might be frightened at the prospect of traveling.

So, before you take that big leap with your pet, consider smaller, shorter trips, so that they can get acclimated to traveling. As you build that trust with your pet, they’ll eventually be more than willing to tag along on your next adventure.

Acclimating your pet to its crate or carrier is one of the best things you can do to lessen stress on your pet. More on carrier and crate acclimation here.

Prepping for pet travel may take a lot of work and effort; but in the end, it’s totally worth it for you and your furry friend. Learn from these common mistakes to avoid when traveling with a pet, and your trip will be easy and enjoyable for everyone.

Catherine Meisner is writes for Luckyassignments.com. Not only does she show great interest in social media marketing, but she also loves writing about topics related to health, food, and beauty. In her free time, she loves gym-going and visiting new places.


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