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.

What To Do When You Must Leave Your Pet Behind At The Last Minute

Today is travel day. You have loaded up the car, heading to the airport with your family and your pets with plenty of time to spare in the case of heavy traffic or other delays. You get to your airline’s check-in counter, and your pets are denied by the check-in agent. Your flight cannot be rescheduled and you must leave your pet behind.

Or, you have packed up the car with family and your pets, you turn the key in the ignition, and nothing happens. You must leave today, and the taxi you summon does not accept pets.  

These are the last things you need to happen when traveling, but they do happen, nonetheless. If you prepare in advance, you can cope with emergencies like this and know what to do when you must leave your pet behind at the last minute.

Leaving your pet behind suddenly when you have planned carefully for your vacation can be extremely stressful for both you and your pet. This is especially true if you are traveling internationally or will be gone for an extended period of time. In these cases, most pet owners have made preparations necessary to bring their pets with them.

Thankfully, the travel industry has made it easier to take our pets with us no matter how we travel. More hotels are allowing well-behaved pets to stay on the premises. And published pet import policies for foreign countries makes it easier for pet owners to understand what kind of documentation is needed to cross borders with their animals.

Dog in airline carrier

But no matter how carefully you may plan, unforeseen situations may occur that cause your pet to be left behind. Here are some scenarios to help illustrate this point.

Problems with Documentation

What if the requirements change for importing your pet into a country or you did not understand what vaccinations were needed? Or perhaps the documentation you provided was not properly endorsed by a government veterinarian? 

In these cases, your airline will not permit your pet to board. If they are negligent in checking the paperwork, and your pet arrives at a foreign destination, it will be refused entry, quarantined and returned to the origination at your expense if it does not comply with the rules.

Crate or Carrier Issues

Maybe your crate or carrier was deemed by agents as being inadequate to transport your pet safely. Your carrier was too big or too small, did not have adequate ventilation or was not secure enough. Or your pet’s crate was not IATA-compliant.

Maybe the aircraft that serves your route is not approved to fly animals because the temperature and pressure in the cargo hold of the aircraft is not regulated. 

Maybe you did not make a reservation for your pet far enough in advance, and there is no room on your flight for their crate or carrier. 

Maybe your airline has restrictions on the breeds that can travel on their flights, and your pet is a snub-nosed or aggressive dog breed.. 

Maybe your pet is not in visible good health.

Maybe the stress of the situation makes your dog display aggressive behavior.

Finally, maybe there may be problems with your connecting flight, and your pet may not have clearance through to its final destination. 

Pet Owner Emergencies

Sometimes pet owners may experience emergencies that cause them to have to travel at the drop of a hat. This may mean that the pet owner has been unable to make the proper travel arrangements before they are forced to leave the country. Preparing a dog or cat to travel takes time. Sometimes there is simply not enough time and your pet must stay behind.

Pet Health Emergencies

As with children, pets can get sick at the last minute. The worst thing you can do is expose them to the stress of traveling when they are sick.

Lost Pets

What if your pet becomes lost while you are traveling? If your pet is not microchipped, the chances of them being reunited with you are significantly reduced. In fact, one study shows that over 80% of pets that are not microchipped and registered are not returned to their owner.

Auto Failures

Despite the fact that you had your car serviced prior to travel day, it won’t start when you need it to and you need to take a taxi to the airport. The ride may or may not accept pets, especially larger ones.

So, what is a pet owner to do if their beloved pet must be left behind? Here are some steps to take if you find yourself in this situation.

Always have a backup on hand

Find someone to care for your pet in the short term. If you are lucky enough to have a family member, neighbor or friend in the vicinity, ask this person to care for your pet and help you arrange for their transportation home. Know that pets can fly without their owners through airline air cargo services.

If you don’t know anyone where you are, contact a veterinarian or a licensed boarding facility. Most people who work with animals will understand the stress of the situation and will do anything they can to help reunite you with your best friend.

Know the pet import regulations of your country

If your pet is flying (or driving) internationally, it will need a new health certificate. The health certificate you intended to use may no longer be valid as many certificates expire in 3-10 days.

Arrange for someone to take your pet to a licensed veterinarian for the certificate.

If your pet was restricted due to health reasons, make sure the person left in charge of your pet understands that care may be needed before your pet will be allowed to travel. 

This party may need to use your pet’s health insurance to get the proper vaccinations or care required before boarding the plane. If your pet is not currently covered by health insurance, you can get a free quote  here

Make sure your pet’s crate is airline compliant

Your pet’s crate should be large enough for your pet to move around, but small enough to fit in the cargo space. Check the International Air Transport Association website for specific information regarding the appropriate size. Be aware that you will pay a cargo fee based on the weight of the animal and the weight of the crate.

Pick your flight carefully

Your pet may undergo stress during the journey home. To make the trip as stress-free as possible, find flights that are nonstop. If your pet is traveling through high temperature regions, consider booking overnight flights. Be aware that most airlines won’t allow pets in the cargo hold if the temperature exceeds 85 degrees F (30 degrees C) or drops below 45 degrees F (7 degrees C). 

pet in crate offloaded from aircraft

Prepare for take-off

Ask your caregiver to make sure proper care is taken by the airline before leaving your pet in their care. Ask your overseas helper to take care before leaving your pet at the airport. Ask them to double-check that the cargo hold is pressure and temperature controlled. Ask them to make sure that the your pet and its crate are correctly identified. Ask your helper to make sure your pet has enough food and water to last the trip. 

Hire a transport agent

Consider hiring the services of a pet transport company.

If you are not able to find an individual you trust with the task of transporting your pet, hire professionals for the job. Ask for recommendations for a pet transport company in the area or search for a licensed agent at IPATA.org. These transporters know the international requirements for unaccompanied pet travel and will make sure your animal arrives home safely.

dog with owner at the airport

Even though being separated from your beloved pet may cause you to panic, know that millions of unaccompanied pets travel safely each year. Prepare for the unexpected emergency and, in case something happens, you what to do when you must leave your pet behind.

Kristina Marshall is a stay-at-home blogger. After having kids, she began sharing some of her diy tricks for around the house with people in the community. She then started answering some questions on Yahoo and Quora, and now she writes full articles on tips for around the house, lifestyle tips and more.

How to Transport a Reptile

Reptiles can be great pets. They don’t need a lot of effort to thrive in our homes. If they have the correct environment and adequate attention, they will be happy. Their lack of care requirements extends to moving them as well; however, there are precautions that must be taken to ensure their safety. Knowing how to transport a reptile safely is essential and preparations prior to the move must be made.

Reptiles are tetrapod (four-footed) animals in the class Reptilia, including turtles, crocodiles, alligators, snakes, amphibians, lizards, tuatara, and their extinct relatives. Because reptiles have a slow metabolism and cannot maintain a constant body temperature, they are particularly sensitive to changes in in their environment.

Because reptiles maintain their body temperature through their surroundings, it is important to provide materials that will help mimic the humidity and temperature of their natural environment. More on this later.

In this post, we will discuss the transport of smaller reptiles such as turtles, frogs, snakes and lizards. We will leave the transport of alligators and crocodiles to the experts!

If you plan on transporting your reptile yourself, here are a few of the most important tips to keep in mind.

How to transport a snake


Properly and safely packing as well as transporting your pet reptile doesn’t just begin on the day you move. There are a number of steps you should complete before that day arrives:

  • Purchase the proper container or have one made for your pet. Whether you choose a pre-made or custom-made container will be determined by the size and type of your reptile and the method of transport. Poisonous reptiles need to be wrapped in a cloth sack before being placed in a secured container. Tie off the sack and place it in a stiff-sided container with ventilation holes and a “live animal” sign on the outside. For more information on container requirements, read on.
  • Once you have your container, it is time to get your reptile acclimated to their carrier or crate. Don’t disrupt their entire daily schedule, as this could stress them before moving day even arrives. However, you will want to place your reptile in their carrying container for an hour or two every day for a week or more leading up to the move. This allows them time to get used to the new environment and may cut down on their stress when it is time to move them.
  • Before you move your reptile, it is also a good idea to ensure that your pet is in good health. Make sure to visit your veterinarian within 10 days of traveling. They can check out your reptile and provide a health certificate for your pet. For exotic animals, a health certificate is essential for travel.
  • Local and state laws in the United States may restrict what types of reptiles can be imported. Many countries have laws restricting reptiles as well. Make sure you are aware of any laws pertaining to your specific reptile.

How to pack your reptile

Now the big day has arrived. You’ve followed all the steps outlined above, and everything is ready for you to move your reptile. However, you still need to ensure that your pet is properly packed. Here’s how.

  • As mentioned above, the container you use to pack your reptile should neither be too big nor too small. If it is too small, your reptile won’t be able to move properly. If it is too large, your pet could get thrown around and injured during transport. More on this below.
  • You may want to consider adding either heating or cooling elements (and thermostats or hygrometers) to the container to keep your reptile’s body temperature stable. Whether you need the heating or cooling pads will depend on the season and type of reptile. This step is especially important if you will be moving your pet via air.
  • When flying with your reptile, the IATA Live Animal Regulations state that food and water will not be necessary unless it is a very long trip. In the case of flying long-haul with your reptile, water and food containers (troughs) are required to be attached to the inside of the container with feeding instructions taped to the top of the crate.
  • If your reptile needs a moist environment, make sure to purchase a water-proof container. You can then line the bottom of the container with moist towels to provide the wet environment they need it. If your pet does not need a moist environment, you should consider placing dry towels at the bottom of the container to cushion it during travel.
  • If you are flying or traveling internationally, you will need to visit your veterinarian within 10 days of transport. Attach your pet’s health certificate on the outside or top of the container in a plastic bag marked DO NOT REMOVE. It should be in plain view at all times. See more below about flying with a reptile.
  • Do not add rocks, sticks, or other items to the contents of your pet’s crate. While these items could make the container feel more like home, they can also move during transport and hurt your pet.

How to transport your reptile by car

When your reptile is securely and properly packed in their container, it is time to load up the car. Follow these steps to make moving day as stress-free as possible.

  • Again, make sure you have the right size pet carrier for your reptile. The carrier should be large enough so your reptile can move around, but not so big that they can slide around on the drive. Always plan to secure it in place, either with a seat belt or other items in the car that will discourage the carrier from shifting.
  • Make sure to keep your reptile out of the direct sunlight or invest in window visors to block out light.
  • Keep your stops to a minimum, and never leave your reptile unattended in the car. If you must leave them for a minute, make sure there is a window left slightly open.
  • Cars can get too hot or too cold quicker than you might guess, so make sure you control the temperature inside the carrier as we explained earlier. If you’re traveling from a hot climate to a cold one, a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel will keep your reptile cozy. Or if it’s the other way around, a cold pack in your reptile’s carrier will keep your pet cool. Either way, the surface of the container should not touch your pet’s skin.
  • Check on your pet every time you stop to ensure that they are comfortable and safe. Although they may be hiding in the folds of the towel, do not open their carrier as this will provide an avenue for escape.
How to transport a reptile
Photo by Liam Edwards on Unsplash

How to Transport your Reptile by Air

Sometimes driving is simply not possible and you need to fly your pet. Commercial airlines will require that your reptile fly as air cargo. In this case, you must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of travel.

You may need an export permit issued by a government agency responsible for the import and export of reptiles. In the United States, this is the US Fish and Wildlife Association.

You will also need to verify that your reptile is not covered by The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) regulations. Generally, permits are issued by the government agency in your country responsible for the protection of wildlife.

Many foreign countries require import permits for reptiles so be sure and verify those requirements.

There are also are specific requirements that must be met regarding their crates and these can be confirmed by contacting your airline’s cargo department.

  1. When sizing your pet’s crate, measure your pet from tip of snout to vent (end of body not including the tail) and also the body width and length of tail. Your pet’s crate should accommodate the snout to vent length + half of the tail length. 

    With snakes, measure the widest part of the body and the length of your snake. Always measure your pet while in an extended, resting position. Your crate should allow every inch of the bottom of your snake to touch the bottom of the crate.

    The height of the crate should not be more than 1-2 inches higher than the height of your reptile to avoid injury if jumping. Smaller tree frogs will need 3 inches in height clearance.
  2. Crates should have adequate ventilation. If you are transporting your reptile to and from areas with high temperatures, your crate will need more ventilation than if you are transporting to areas with low temperatures.
  3. All crates must be labeled and marked prior to transport. Labels should not interfere with ventilation.  A shipping declaration should be included reflecting your name and contact information. LIVE ANIMAL and THIS WAY UP labels must be adhered to all 4 sides of the crate.
  4. Your pet’s crate must be sturdy and well-constructed out of non-toxic materials while not offering any sharp edges or other protrusions that could injure your pet during transport. There must be no gaps that would allow any escape from the crate. The door must be constructed so that your pet cannot open it or squeeze through a grid. The crate must have a handle or spacers to allow baggage handlers to move the crate without danger of being harmed.

    Plastic crates are permitted for snakes less than 24 inches in length and turtles less than 4 inches in length.
  5. Absorbent bedding that is appropriate for your reptile should be placed in the bottom of the crate. Straw and moss are not advised as many countries will not allow it. The bottom of the crate should have spacers to avoid direct contact with the floor which would encourage temperature change.
  6. Inner containers made of polystyrene may be beneficial to maintain a constant temperature.
  7. Hot and cold packs can be used; however, check with your airline’s cargo department to see if they will accept hot and cold packs. These packs should not come in direct contact with your reptile and should be insulated.
  8. Reptiles that are cannibalistic should always be packed separately. Any dividers in the crate must be attached to the crate and sturdy so that they will not collapse during transport.
  9. Pet owners of aquatic amphibians should provide an inner enclosure of rigid plastic or double plastic bag with 1/3 water, 1/3 pure oxygen and 1/3 air.

Of course, if you are unable to transport and move your pet yourself, you can always hire Pet Travel Transport to do the job for you. They have plenty of experience safely and properly packing, transporting, and moving reptiles domestically and internationally.

How to transport your turtle

Once you get there

You did it. You have arrived and successfully and safely transported your reptile. Now what?

Now it is time to begin acclimating your pet to their new home. Make sure that their normal environment is set up before you take them out of their container. Also, remember that moving day was probably quite stressful for your pet. Handle them with more care than normal, as their behavior may be different. As soon as you can, return to your pet’s normal daily schedule. This will ease their transition to their new home.

Properly packing, transporting, and moving a reptile can seem like a challenge. The tips provided here will help you with how to transport a reptile. Of course, there will always be some stress. But, when you approach the move with the right attitude and follow the correct steps, you and your reptile can get to your destination safely.

Contributor: Anoop Nain is the proud father of four rescued dogs and two Flemish giant rabbits. Although his “puppers” are grown up, each day with them is a new learning experience for him. He has a degree in Animal Behavior and Welfare.

Pet Seat Belts – Where it’s the Law and Why it Matters

Using pet seat belts. It’s one of those reflex actions you don’t think about much.

You get in the car and reach for the seat belt – most times before even starting the engine. And if there’s a kid or two in tow? They’re buckled in snug and tight before you even leave the driveway. It is the law, after all.

But what about your pet? It seems like the most natural thing in the world, especially with dogs, to have your pup jump in and share the ride with you. And let’s be honest, doesn’t it make you smile when you see a car with its windows down and a dog’s face in the wind? What could possibly be wrong with not using pet seat belts?

Potentially, quite a bit from both a legal and safety perspective for both the passengers in the car and your pet.

Imagine this scenario. Your small fur ball is curled up on your lap. Cute, right? Nope! It only takes a second for something to go very wrong with this picture. An unrestrained 10 lb. dog involved in an accident at just 30 mph will exert roughly 300 lbs. force – more than enough to inflict serious harm on itself or a passenger.

Pug in back seat using pet seat belts

Click-it or Ticket – A State Issue

It’s easy to understand why most people think there are no guardrails governing pet restraint during road trips. The fact is that there is no federal law that specifically outlines what is legal and what isn’t when a companion animal shares a vehicle’s passenger compartment. While the federal Animal Welfare Act, which first passed in 1966 and has been amended eight times since then, does place restrictions around the transport of very specific animals used in special circumstances, it is not a broad animal protection law.

Instead, the responsibility of animal protection is assumed at the state level. The good news is that each and every state has legislation currently in force to protect animals. The bad news is that these laws can vary wildly from one state to another. Additionally, many state statutes allow individual cities or towns to enact their own animal protection ordinances.

What does all this mean?

Both pet owners and professional pet transporters alike need to do a little research regarding animal protection, most typically referenced as animal restraint, when traveling across town, across state or across country with a furry friend riding shotgun. Those who don’t do their homework could face steep fines, damages not covered by insurance, and in some cases, even criminal charges for not using pet seat belts.

States with Existing Pet Seat Belt Laws

Pets in Passenger Compartments

Acknowledging that many pet protection laws can be complex and multi-layered, let’s start with one that isn’t.

Dog in back seat of car

Currently, New Jersey has a law that flat-out stipulates pets must be restrained while in the passenger compartment of a moving vehicle. Specifically, in New Jersey, a pet must be in a carrier or wear a seat belt when a vehicle is moving. Period. The fine for not complying can reach $1,000.

Rhode Island’s laws come close to meeting the same standard, but with one caveat. Rhode Island mandates that an animal in a vehicle passenger compartment must be placed in a carrier, cage or secured with a seat belt, unless it is under the physical control of someone in the car other than the driver.

It’s not a straight up restraint law, but it might as well be since the police officer pulling you over is who determines if your animal was being controlled or not. The cost for not adhering to the law can reach $200.

Additionally, the following states require that your dog must have a canine specific restraint (such as a harness which buckles into a pet seat belt) when riding in an automobile: Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island

Pets in Open Truck Beds

How unsafe is it to put your dog in an open truck bed? The American Humane Society reports that an estimated 100,000 dogs die each year untethered in the bed of a truck. And that’s just an estimate.

Dog in truck bed
Photo by Tina Nord from Pexels

When it comes to animals in an open truck bed, primarily dogs, a number of states have laws stating they must be tethered or restrained in a cage or crate. Failure to do so will result in fines. These states include: California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oregon

At first glance, the fact that a limited number of states have such laws on the books might suggest that enforcing pet restraint isn’t a priority. The truth is similar legislation is gaining traction in an increasing number of states across the U.S.

A Push for More State Laws

What’s the big deal?

Simple physics explains why the trend toward pet restraint is gaining steam. An unrestrained pet that weighs 50 pounds, in a 35 mph collision, can be projected forward like a cannonball with 1,500 pounds of force The possibility of severe injury to your pet and other passengers when riding unrestrained in a vehicle is real. This reality and the awareness of it will surely fuel additional states to adopt specific pet restraint laws in the near future.

Also growing in popularity is legislation that limits pet transport to the back seat of the vehicle for the same reasons small children are placed there. Air bags. Restrained or not, an airbag deploying at 200 mph, can deliver devastating injuries to any animal that is impacted.

Factoring in Distracted Driver Violations

Now let’s talk about the states where an unrestrained pet can get you in hot water, even when there isn’t a specific law about it in force. This is the realm of states with distracted driver legislation.

In ten states, driving with a pet on your lap puts you at risk of being charged with distracted driving. Some states mention animals in laps specifically in their distracted legislation, such as Hawaii. Others reference anything that interferes with maintaining control of the vehicle or obstructing view – both of which are distinct possibilities from a lap-riding animal.

Distracted driving states include: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The consequences of violating distracted driver laws vary from state to state. In some states, a pet on a lap is reason enough to justify a traffic stop. Other states view distracted driving as a secondary offense, one that is attached to a primary offense, such as speeding. The bottom line is all can result in tickets and fines.

An Additional Consideration – Insurance

Certainly, a distracted driving ticket for an unrestrained pet is costly; and an injured pet as the result of distracted driver accident is awful beyond measure. But there’s one more thing to think about if you’re in an accident with an unrestrained animal in the car. Some insurance companies will not cover the cost of the incident if it was the result of distracted driving. Suffice it to say, the emotional and monetary cost may be substantial.

Anti-Cruelty Laws May Also Have Impact

We’re not done yet. Pet restraint regulations get even murkier. Sixteen states have animal anti-cruelty laws that can be applied to unsecured pets in moving vehicles. In general, laws in these states consider it illegal to transport animals in a cruel manner or in a way that puts an animal in danger.

The catch is that there are no hard and fast rules or a specific definitions of what constitutes “transporting in a cruel manner.” This means that it is up to the discretion of the legal authority pulling a driver over to determine what constitutes an offense and what does not.

The states where this ambiguous application exists include: Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Again, the consequences of violating anti-cruelty laws in these states vary. Fines are a given. More important, you need to understand that breaking animal anti-cruelty laws can carry misdemeanor, or in extreme cases, felony charges. 

Beyond the Law: The Case for Pet Seatbelts

Without question, widespread adoption of pet restraint laws has a long way to go. But as previously mentioned, the movement does have considerable momentum and new, more comprehensive legislation is definitely on the horizon. This makes it a good idea for pet owners and transporters to check the rules of the road periodically in the cities and states they travel through.

Dogs in back seat

Or maybe there’s an easier solution. Many pet owners and professional pet transporters already understand the benefits of pet seat belts and have taken the law into their own hands – choosing to use restraints, even when they are not required. This is especially the case as information linked to potential injuries from unsecured pets, airbag dangers and insurance denials become more widely known.

That’s because most people consider pets furry family members – precious cargo whether in an owner’s vehicle or a transporter’s care. And when all is said and done, it comes down to being a matter of love, not of law.

Julie Bina is a writer for CitizenShipper, an online community that brings pet owners together with pet transporters. She is part of a team of passionate pet owners committed to improving and enhancing the lives of furry family members.

Pet Friendly National Parks in the United States

As we begin to wake from our hibernation and start to thaw from the long cold winter, plans for spring or summer vacations start to come into focus. If camping or hiking in a national park is your thing, and you plan to take your furry friend with you (of course you do because, for sure, it is their thing), then consider enjoying the wonders and beauty of nature by visiting one of the great pet friendly national parks in the United States.

Pet Friendly Parks in the United States
Photo Credit: Spencer Hurley – Pixels

While there are many parks that allow your pooch to explore trails and other park attractions with you, ignoring rules and regulations imposed on both pets and their owners while planning your travel is not wise. Keeping everyone safe and happy is important.  Don’t try to avoid park rules as they are posted for very good reasons.

The first rule to know when visiting any national park is that your dog must be leashed at all times. Federal regulations require all pets to be restrained on a leash no longer than six feet (2 m). This is for your dog’s safety as well as the safety of others. Why? Because you never know what type of animal you will bump into when hiking in national parks. Also, straying off trails can be dog-gone dangerous!  Make sure your dog as well as other dogs, people, and wildlife stays safe by obeying all park regulations.

As with bringing your dog any public place, make sure you clean up after your pet. No one wants to step in a smelly mess when walking along the trails. Outdoor activities bring fleas and ticks, so make sure you take proper precautions to protect your dog.

Acadia National Park – Maine

Pet Friendly Acadia National Park

At 3.1 million visitors per year, Acadia National Park is, not surprisingly, one of the top 10 most visited national parks in the country, and there is a good reason why. Referred to as the Crown Jewel of the Atlantic Coast, its rich cultural heritage and natural habitats make for a beautiful place for both you and your dog to be in summer or winter.

When bringing your dog to this beautiful park, there are a few limitations as to where they can explore.

The park has 158 miles of hiking trails total, and there are 100 miles (161 km) of hiking trails and 45 miles (72 km) of carriage roads in the park where pets are permitted. Make sure to check with park rangers to find exactly which trails your pet is permitted to explore with you.

There are also some areas that are off-limits to all dogs except for seeing-eye dogs and service dogs. 

  • All lakes
  • Some trails
  • Sand Beach – from June 15 to Sept 8.
  • Echo Lake – from May 15 to Sept. 15
  • Duck Harbor Campground (dogs are permitted in Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods campgrounds)
  • Public buildings 
  • Ranger-led programs. 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Ohio

Pet Friendly Cuyahoga Valley National-Park

Located only a short distance from Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a great place to escape. Its namesake, the Cuyahoga River winds its way through all sorts of surroundings, from forests to hills to farmlands.

There are some rules for your pup at this Ohio park. There are many trails your pet can walk with you on a leash, including 30 miles of the Towpath Trail. This trail follows a historical canal and was once used for mules to pull boats through the canal.

Even though your furry friend is like family to you, they will not be allowed in any public building, or the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train, or the East Rim mountain bike trails. 

There are no restrictions as to when you can bring your pets to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona

Pet Friendly Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most famous pet friendly national parks in the United States. There is no need to describe the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Its immense size, picturesque geologic color and amazing erosional forms are jaw-dropping, but it is extremely important that you follow all park guidelines for your dog to avoid any issues.

Your pets are allowed on the trails above the South Rim, Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, Trailer Village, and throughout developed areas. 

The Grand Canyon only has one lodge with pet-friendly rooms. That is the Yavapai Lodge. If you are planning a day trip to hike down to the Colorado River or the North Rim, boarding them at the South Rim Kennel may be the best solution as this hike is not suitable for our furry friends.

You and your pet can visit at any time, however, proof of vaccinations is required before entering this pet friendly national park. The North Rim is closed during the winter; however, the South Rim is open year round.

Hot Springs National Park – Arkansas 

Pet Friendly Hot Springs National Park

Something out of paradise is best used to describe Hot Springs National Park. Located just north of the city of Hot Springs in Arkansas, this national park has 143 degree thermal waters to relax and soothe your every aching muscle. The park even provides pet waste stations for your convenience. Amply nick named “The American Spa,” you will leave this park in a better frame of mind.

The only places pets are not allowed are the visitor’s center and other public buildings, and of course, the hot springs. Rest assured, your dog will be ready for a rest after exploring all of the trails in this park and so will you!

This is another park that welcomes you and your pet, and there are no restrictions on when pets can enter.

Mammoth Cave National Park -, Kentucky

Pet Friendly Mammoth Cave National Park

With over 400 miles of underground caves, Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the world’s longest known cave system on earth! But that’s not all. There are over 70 miles of trails, 13 back country campsites, three campgrounds, and a river that is over 20 miles long for you and your pet to explore and enjoy.

If you are thinking of bringing your pet to this park, you should know that service animals are the only pets permitted in any of the caves; however, there is a kennel for your dog available. You can crash with your pet at the Woodland Cottages.

Check the park website for more information. It looks like this is another pet friendly national parks in the United States that would love your pooch anytime!

Natchez Trace National Parkway – Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee 

Pet Friendly Natchez Trace Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. This historic road follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a road used by American Indians, European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and even past presidents.

While you and your best friend cruise along this parkway, you can enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and horseback riding.  This is a great place for a vacation, and if you bring your dog, there are very few restrictions. You can enjoy the park trails and viewpoints with your dog; however, keep them out of public buildings. You must always keep your pet on a leash and remember to pick up after them.

Shenandoah National Park – Virginia

Pet Friendly Shenandoah National Park

Two hundred acres of protected lands are awaiting you and your pup at Shenandoah National Park. This is a pristine place with cascading waterfalls, vistas, and wooded hollows and well worth a visit. It is a beautiful park and very pet friendly.

There are over 500 miles for you and your four-legged hiker to enjoy and only a mere 20 miles are off limits to pets. Check the website for exact locations.

The other pet-friendly areas in the park are the campsite and pet friendly lodging locations. Remember to always keep your dog on a leash and to pick up their mess.

Unfortunately, the Ranger family programs such as The Wild About Bears program and Shenandoah Kid Explorers are off limits to pets.

Although there are no limits on what time of year your pet can accompany you, keep up to date on the weather conditions, and make sure you have enough water for you and your pet at all times.

White Sands National Park- New Mexico

Pet Friendly White Sands National Park

Known as one of the world’s great natural wonders, the 275 square miles of white gypsum sand in White Sands National Park is truly worth your time to visit.

If you are heading here and are bringing your pet, there are a few things you should know.

Although there are not a ton of restrictions for your dog, you may not bring them into any public building such as the visitors center. Keep in mind that the temperatures may be high; so remember to bring plenty of water for both you and your dog to avoid overheating and dehydration. Of course, never leave your pet in the car unattended, not even for a minute. 

There are only a few simple rules, but these rules can make a huge impact on the safety of your pet. White Sands National Park would love to have your pooch visit any time of the year. Keep in mind the hot, dry climate, especially in the summer. 

Yellowstone National Park- Wyoming 

Pet Friendly Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most iconic national parks in the United States. Hosting millions of visitors each year, both winter and summer seasons offer an abundance of hydrothermal and geologic wonders. After all, who hasn’t heard of the famous geyser, Old Faithful?

As this park is so popular and your dog will be around many other people, park pet policies are very important.

Pets are only allowed in developed areas. They must remain within 100 feet from roadways and campgrounds to lessen the chance of getting lost. For the safety of your dog and others, it is necessary to keep your dog either on a leash, in a crate, or secure in your car.

Because this park hosts so many “look but don’t touch” natural attractions, and, because the park is full of wild animals, your dog will not be allowed on trails, in thermal areas, the back country or on the boardwalk. These rules are made for the safety of all people and animals.

There are no kennels in Yellowstone National Park. Pet owners will need to find accommodations for their pets in nearby communities should they want to venture into the back country or wander along the boardwalk.

Lassen Volcanic National Park – California

Pet Friendly Lasssen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is full of geologic wonders like clear mountain lakes, jagged peaks and, of course, many volcanoes. There are also fumaroles which are holes in the ground where steam escapes. (Who knew?)

Generally, your pet can go anywhere in the park in an automobile. It can be in the campgrounds, picnic areas, and along the shoulders of roads. Because the wonders of this park can also be dangerous, your dog is not allowed on any hiking trail, in the back country, or anywhere that is snow-covered. Swimming is also out, so if your furry friend loves to swim, best to distract them with other attractions. 

You need to keep your pets physically restrained overnight at your campsite. They may be left unattended in your vehicle, providing the temperatures are safe to do so. Your pet is welcome anytime; however, in order to get the full experience, it is probably best to come during the summer. Fewer snow-covered areas equals more exploring!

These are just a few of the pet friendly national parks in the United States. You can enjoy the wonders of nature with your pet in 61 recognized parks in the national park system. Just make sure you are aware of the pet policies beforehand. Remember, clean up after your pet, and keep them on a leash. It is respectful and makes for a better trip experience for all.

Marina Yoveva is originally from Bulgaria but she considers herself a citizen of the world. Having traveled to over 20 countries and counting, she loves writing about her adventures, experiences, and advice on her blog Exploreist.

Pet Friendly Netherlands – a Great Place to Visit

Pet Friendly Netherlands

Getaways are great for resting the body, rejuvenating the mind, and soothing the soul. But if you have to leave your furry friends behind, it can somewhat spoil your fun. Not only do you miss them, but there is no doubt that they they miss you. Consider solving the problem by choosing to vacation in the laid back, pet friendly Netherlands. It is a great place to visit with a cat or dog.

The Netherlands has plenty of accommodations for both cats and dogs, and also green spots, holiday parks, even many restaurants, bars, and cafes that welcome dogs.

Pet friendly Accommodations in the Netherlands

I was amazed at the variety of dog-friendly accommodations in the Netherlands. Choices range from hotels, apartments, even houseboats. After much debate, my sweet dog Bella and I began our Netherlands getaway by checking into the very posh, yet dog-friendly Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, a 5-star Hyatt hotel. Upon entering our room, she was greeted with a jar of treats, a designer dog bed by Fatboy, designer bowls, and a bottle of mineral water. I was equally delighted by my queen bed canal view suite and loads of amenities. Bella cuddled up with me in the cozy reading chair by the window to enjoy the picturesque view and plan our itinerary together.

Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam
Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam

The Andaz was a splurge for me; however, one well worth it. If yore looking for a more budget-friendly stay with your pet in the Netherlands, check out the Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre a little over an hour away in Rotterdam. The pet-friendly 4-star hotel is right on the water at the foot of the Erasmus Bridge. You’ll have a choice of views from the Rotterdam skyline to a panoramic view of the bridge over the Maas. The rooms and suites are fully-equipped and comfy and start at €99 with a charge of €15 per night per pet. The hotel is within walking distance of the Witte de Withstraat where you’ll find great bars and restaurants with outdoor terraces that will welcome your four legged friend.

House Boat in Amsterdam
Houseboat in Amsterdam

Houseboat rentals in the Netherlands are also pet-friendly, and you’ll enjoy a peaceful stay floating on the water. One that caught my eye is the Pantheos Romantic Houseboat. It’s near the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and next to the Jordaan with its hip pubs, eateries, and boutiques. The price to rent a houseboat can fall between budget and luxury.

Getting Around With Your Pet

It wouldn’t be a proper trip to the pet friendly Netherlands without some sightseeing. If you don’t want to leave your dog behind, no worries. While dogs aren’t allowed in the museums; they are almost everywhere else. Any sized dogs are welcome on buses, trams, and all public transportation systems, and they can travel for free except on trains which charge €3 a day for an all-day ticket unless your dog is small enough to fit in a carrier or ride on your lap. This is another  reason why the Netherlands is a great place to visit with your pet.

Bella and I spent hours wandering along the laneways and historic canals in Amsterdam, which has always been on my European bucket list. I loved the gorgeous well-preserved old buildings, and this was one of the highlights of my trip. Although it’s common to see dogs roaming the streets, it’s best to keep them on a leash in unfamiliar territory. You’ll find plenty of room at parks and green spaces where your dog can get some exercise off-leash.

Dog-friendly Parks and Green Spaces in the Netherlands

Pet Friendly Netherlands Vondel Park in Amsterdam
Pet Friendly Vondel Park

On the second day of our journey, Bella and I took off for Vondelpark, the city’s largest park and the most famous one in the Netherlands. We felt right at home among the joggers and other dog walkers as we stopped to admire the statue of Vondel, one of my favorite poets, the cast iron music dome, and the historical pavilion. Bella was quite tired by the time we got back to the hotel, and it was time for a long nap for her. This gave me the chance to explore the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House.

The next morning, we headed for Oosterpark in East Amsterdam. It’s a beautiful open green space with ponds, streams, and a sculpture garden. We ran into a little trouble here, though, because of the large population of grey herons which brought out the hunting instinct in Bella; so, this time it was me who napped away the afternoon.

Beatrix park in the Zuider Amster neighborhood was my choice for the next day. It’s a good way out of town, and the Metro ride was relaxing. The park was less crowded and quite lovely with beautiful gardens. Best of all, Bella got to swim in the canals, even if we got some odd looks from some of the locals.

Holiday Parks

Park Westerkogge in Berkhout
Park Westerkogge in Berkhout

Between the lovely green spaces, sightseeing, and dog-friendly cafes and bars, Bella and I had a ball in Amsterdam; but once the weekend came, it was time to leave the sights and sounds of the city behind and join my cousin Joost and his wife Hannah and their two kids from Alkmaar at a rental cabin at Park Westerkogge in Berkhout.

Park Westerkogge is one of many dog-friendly holiday parks scattered throughout the Netherlands. Near the North Sea, Lake Markermeer, and Lake Ijssel, it’s the perfect holiday park for water lovers. Joost keeps a boat moored at the jetties, and we were up for lots of swimming and fishing.

Park Westerkogge has great facilities for kids and adults. Bella loved playing on the grassy grounds with the kids, and the onsite restaurant serves fresh hot coffee every morning and marvelous a la carte dishes for lunch and dinner. There’s a terrace on the water where we could enjoy drinks and the sunset on the terrace.

We rented bikes and Bella trotted alongside us at a lively pace. There was no traffic to worry about. We enjoyed the heated outdoor swimming pool on the chilly evenings

Our dreamy vacation was over too soon, but Bella and I are already planning a return trip to the pet friendly Netherlands.

How to import your dog or cat to Pet Friendly Netherlands?

EU Passport
Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

When entering the Netherlands with your pet from another EU Member State, your pet will need a microchip, rabies vaccination and an EU Pet Passport. If your pet is not currently chipped or vaccinated for rabies, it will need to wait for 21 days before traveling.

When entering the Netherlands from the United States, Canada or another rabies-controlled country, your pet will need an EU health certificate instead of an EU Pet Passport.

From a high-rabies countries, your pet will need a rabies titer test more than 3 months before entering the pet friendly Netherlands, so be sure and plan ahead. More details here.

Mike Jensen is addicted to both adventure and travel, so decided to combine the two to form TheAdventourist. There he shares his journey from one adrenaline rush to another, always exploring new places as he goes.

How to Travel with a Rabbit – What You Should Know

Are you ready to take your rabbit on a plane, bus or car ride but are concerned about how your pet will cope with the experience? Perhaps you are wondering what requirements have to be met for your pet to travel internationally. Maybe you’re looking for tips to ensure your fluffy friend is as calm and comfortable as possible while on the move. Here we’ll try to answer all those important questions in our guide on how to travel with a rabbit.

traveling with rabbit
Photo Courtesy of David Mark – Pixabay

How will your rabbit handle traveling?

Generally, rabbits do not like to travel, and you should think really careful about bringing your rabbit on a trip of more than a few hours, if possible. If you have to relocate or take an extended vacation, then travel is unavoidable. If you just want to bring your rabbit along on a European sightseeing trip or a visit across the United States to see your family, then you should consider other options.

It may be better for your rabbit to stay with a pet sitter or in a shelter than to do all of that traveling, since rabbits are easily stressed and frightened. Also, if your rabbit has any health issues, you should talk to your vet before any extended travel.

Rabbits have trouble handling changes in temperature, unfamiliar noises, changes in their feed schedule and strange environments. You have to consider how stressful the trip will be for your pet and consider all of your options first.

Pick an appropriate carrier

Firstly, it’s so important that you choose a pet carrier or pet crate that will work well for your rabbit. If you use one that previously carried a cat or dog, it’s very likely the carrier will still contain scents of the animal (your bunny’s predator), which naturally may scare or stress your rabbit. Unfortunately, it may not be as simple as cleaning the carrier; your rabbit will only really feel at ease in their own personal carrier.

Rabbit in Carrier

Another factor to consider with your pet carrier is size. To determine if the carrier is big enough for your rabbit, see if he or she can turn around inside the carrier without a problem. If your rabbit can, you’re good to go.

Acclimating your rabbit to its carrier

Most importantly, prior to traveling with a rabbit, acclimate it to the carrier. All time spent to this end will pay off on travel day. Keep the carrier available to your bunny and leave the door open. Put familiar bedding and some treats in the carrier and encourage your rabbit to spend time in the carrier every day.

The next step is to take your rabbit out of its normal environment in the carrier. Take short rides in the car to get your friend accustomed to riding in the carrier. Take it to a pet-friendly restaurant where it can be exposed to other people and activity. Always return home and provide treats for good behavior. The most time you can devote to acclimating your bunny to its carrier, the less stress it will have on travel day.

The most important thing you can do prior to traveling with a rabbit is to acclimate it to the carrier.  All time spent to this end will pay off on travel day. Keep the carrier available to your bunny and leave the door open. Put familiar bedding and some treats in the carrier and encourage your rabbit to spend time in the carrier every day.

The next step is to take your rabbit out of its normal environment in the carrier. Take short rides in the car to get your friend accustomed to riding in the carrier. Take it to a pet-friendly restaurant where it can be exposed to other people and activity. Always return home and provide treats for good behavior. The more time you can devote to acclimating your bunny to its carrier, the less stress it will have on travel day.

When flying, choose the right airline

You might have guessed that not all airlines will allow rabbits to travel in the cabin. However, there are still many that will accommodate rabbits, so make sure to do your research, and if you can, choose an airline that allows for cabin travel for your beloved pet. Riding with you will definitely put your rabbit at ease and make flying much more tolerable. The following airlines all allow for rabbits to travel in the cabin, but you’ll have to alert the airline ahead of time so that they can accommodate you:
Island Air
United Airlines
Frontier Airlines

Related: Airline Pet Policies

how to travel with a rabbit

Will flying internationally be a problem?

If you have to go overseas or to another country with your rabbit, you might be concerned about international regulations. Thankfully, Emma Williams, an expert on rabbit health and care at Flemish Giant Rabbit told us that rabbits are not considered to be heavily regulated because, for the most part, rabbits are not a mammal that is almost never found to have contracted rabies. You can take rabbit to and from the United States to many countries with a bit of careful planning. Whether you are travelling to India, Canada, Hong Kong or Japan, you should be able to take your rabbit with some preparation and considerations.

Importantly, there are other issues to consider when importing a rabbit to a foreign country. As an example, The United Kingdom will require 4 months of quarantine for rabbits entering from a non-EU Member State and South Africa does not permit the import of rabbits at all. That is why it is important to check import regulations before travel.

Which vaccinations do you need?

While flying internationally isn’t a problem, your rabbit will need to be vaccinated and have proof of these vaccinations before you can board the plane. You may be asked to provide documentation when you are booking the tickets so that there is no confusion at the gate. Your rabbit should definition be vaccinated for the following, if not others:
It’s a good idea to talk to your vet before travelling to ensure that your rabbit has the appropriate vaccinations close enough to travel time so that he or she doesn’t need to have them updated during the trip.


How to travel with your rabbit in a car

If you are taking a road trip with your rabbit, you will need to secure your furry friend properly and safely. You should strap in the pet carrier onto a seat if there is a spare seat. If not, then you can place the pet carrier on the floor or in the back of the car with the luggage. Just make sure that the carrier is secure enough that it won’t slide around or roll over, even if the car brakes suddenly or takes a sharp turn. As well, make sure there is plenty of air circulation for your rabbit.

You should also bring enough food and water for the trip. Luckily. rabbits do not get travel sick so you don’t need to worry about feeding them too close to your travel time. Feeding them as usual will help keep them calm and satisfied and less likely to stress out. You also have to consider how the changes in temperature may be affecting your rabbit. The car can become very hot when you travel, and anything over 85 degrees can be damaging to their health, so you may want to give your rabbit a personal fan, keep the AC at high in the car and ensure your rabbit gets plenty of water.

Final Thoughts

Although rabbits are generally not very good travelers due to how easily stressed they are, sometimes travel is unavoidable. You can make the trip far more pleasant for you and your pet by following these simple travel tips on how to travel with your rabbit.

Anoop Nain is the proud father of four rescued dogs and two Flemish giant rabbits. Although his “puppers” are grown up, each day with them is a new learning experience for him. He has a degree in Animal Behavior and Welfare.

How to Keep Your Pet Hydrated when Traveling

Dog drinking water for hydrawion

When asked about the most important thing to do when you are traveling, experts always recommend staying hydrated. Low humidity levels in airline cabins and cargo holds can quickly drain the fluids in any warm-blooded mammal including your pet. The heightened stress of travel simply adds to the problem. Lack of fluids in an animal is a serious condition, and that is why you always need to keep your pet hydrated when traveling.

Many pet owners are not aware of the importance of keeping their pet hydrated when traveling. Just bringing a water bowl may not be enough. Nonetheless, traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be stressful if you are prepared. But, without proper planning, there’s always the risk of your pet getting dehydrated.

What is pet dehydration?

Simply put, dehydration occurs when your pet is losing more fluids that it is taking in.

Pets normally release fluids in their body through panting or breathing, evaporation through their paws and urination. When at home, pets can replenish the fluids they lose through eating and drinking. Although pet owners should restrict food intake when traveling, they should always provide ample opportunities for their pet’s hydration.

What are the symptoms of pet dehydration?

There are many signs of dehydration to look out. A dehydrated pet may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • dry and/or sticky gums,
  • excessive panting,
  • disorientation
  • sunken eyes
  • lethargy,
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of skin elasticity
  • too much or reduced urination

If any of these conditions are noticeable, then you need to encourage your pet to drink water as soon as possible and get them to a veterinarian if they persist.

What are the dangers of pet dehydration?

Now you know why it’s crucial to keep your pet hydrated when traveling. When your pet is dehydrated, it loses precious body fluids and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride. All these electrolytes for dogs help in stabilizing the body’s PH, transporting nutrients to body cells, promoting and regulating muscle and nerve function. Therefore, when your dog is dehydrated, it can easily suffer organ failure and even death.

How can you keep your pet hydrated while traveling?

Keeping pets hydrated when traveling, especially in the summer heat, helps to avoid many problems. There are many ways to keep your pet hydrated. Here are some suggestions:

1. Travel in the Spring or the Fall

Summertime is the most popular time for families to travel; however, excessive temperatures can pose a significant risk of dehydration for your pet.

When traveling in the car, always keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on. This will lessen the amount of fluids that are lost through your pet’s mouth.

Dog in Car

If flying, many airlines will not allow your pet to fly in the cargo hold if temperatures exceed 85 degrees F (30 degrees C) as exposure to high temperatures in the holding area, during loading and taxiing can be deadly for a pet.

It is far safer to travel when the temperatures are mild, and your pet does not need to breathe as much to release heat.

2. Carry enough clean water

You don’t move in hot weather without packing your favorite snacks or drinks, and your cat or dog also needs the same when traveling. Water is essential to dogs and cats, just like it is to humans.

Pets can survive with water for days, but without it, they will die very fast. For this reason alone, it is important to keep your pet hydrated when traveling. If your pet refuses to drink, wet your finger with some warm water and gently message the upper gums to stimulate your pet to drink.

Be keen on the type of water that you give to your pet. Some pets have no problem with faucet water, while others hate the smell of chemicals in it. Strange water can cause tummy upset so bringing water from home will prevent that.

To ensure that your pet drinks more and doesn’t suffer from dehydration as you travel, check out this Reverse Osmosis Guide it will help you to consider the best water filter for your pet.

A water filter alters the taste of the water and eliminates pollutants, bacteria, viruses, cysts, and toxic chemicals, ensuring high-quality water for your pet. This way, your pet won’t be put off by the smell, hence it will drink more. You can also acquire a doggy water dish that comes with a reservoir appended to a pool or tap for a continuous supply.

3. Offer wet food before traveling

If your dog is accustomed to dining on kibble, add some water to it. This is an excellent way to keep your pet hydrated when traveling.

Wet dog food is a bit more costly and smellier than dried food, but most dogs love it. This kind of food not only ensures that your pet stays hydrated but also provides the essential nutrients your dog or cat requires to remain healthy during your trip. More so, wet food is canned and can last for a long time, making it ideal when traveling with your pet. If you are traveling internationally, then confirm that the import of pet food will be permitted in your destination country.

Also, consider giving your pet some fruit. Apples, watermelon, cantelope, honeydew, peaches, oranges and pineapples are examples of fruits that contain a lot of water and taste great. All skins and seeds should be removed. Do NOT feed your dog grapes as this fruit can cause kidney failure in dogs.

4. Offer some ice cube treats before traveling

Traveling cats love treats, and ice cube treats are great for hot weather. Add some ice cubes into your pet’s water to keep your pet hydrated when traveling. You can also freeze some peas and blueberries and offer them to your pet to calm them. Add fruits and vegetables to your pet’s diet as they contain large amounts of water.

Ice Cube Treats for Hydration

5. Place a large water bowl in the crate

Unlimited access to clean water is essential for all pets. If your pet doesn’t drink enough, they risk suffering from dehydration, and we are all aware of the dangers associated with that.

Large crate water bowl to keep your pet hydrated when traveling

As such, when traveling with your pet, a pet travel water bowl or water bottle comes in handy. Place it in your pet’s crate, and this will encourage your pet to drink more. Freeze the water in the bowl prior to travel to minimize spillage. Although your pet may sip little by little, you will be surprised how much they end up drinking.

6. Use cooling pads or vests

Traveling with a puppy can be risky, especially in hot weather. So, consider a cooling mat from online or pet retail stores near you and ensure that your pet fits perfectly into their keep cool jacket. It should also be made from the right self-cooling fabrics. Note that the airlines will object to mats made with gel substances if your dog or cat is flying in the cargo hold.

7. Book a pet-friendly jet charter

Traveling by air with pets is quite a challenge, and keeping your pet hydrated while in the cargo hold on long flights is a challenge. For this reason, consider booking a pet-friendly jet charter, since, keeping pets hydrated when traveling in the cabin with you will be easier. Moreover, the chances of overheating are very minimal. The temperature is regulated, and you’re allowed to travel with your desired number of pets in the cabin regardless of their size.

Pet friendly private jet charter
S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

8. Opt for a pet-friendly hotel

Keeping your pet hydrated in a pet-friendly hotel is easier. Many hotels understand how vital our dogs and cats are to us. They offer different exceptional services to ensure that your pet stays hydrated and healthy such as water bowls, spas, doggie treats, grooming, local dog walking services, training, and pet sitters. When you stay in a pet friendly hotel, it becomes easier for both of you to enjoy your vacation.

Dog in pet friendly hotel

These are just some of the ways to keep your pet hydrated when traveling. Planning in advance is key. Taking some simple steps ahead of time and being aware of the signs of dehydration are most important to keep your pet safe and your trip happy for you both.

Heman Thuranira is a competent SEO content writer who specializes in offering blog writing, ghostwriting, and copywriting services.

Prepare for Illness when Traveling with Your Dog and Your Family

This year, almost 100 million Americans are planning annual family vacations, with many hoping to bring their dogs along, too. Traveling with the family is fun and a great way to explore and create memories together, especially when your four-legged family member is involved, but sometimes exposure to germs can wreak havoc on your vacation.

Prepare for illness when traveling with your dog and your family and include preparations and research on how to deal with common as well as uncommon illnesses associated with travel that your dog and family could face, particularly when traveling and exploring new places. A few simple steps can get everyone back on their feet and paws in no time if they do become unwell, helping the whole family to enjoy the trip.

Dog and girl at the beach
Courtesy of Alvin Balemesa – Unsplash

Get vaccinations and preventative treatments before your trip

It’s a good idea for the whole family to get any vaccinations that are recommended for the country that you’re visiting to help keep everyone healthy and safe. For your dog, this means a visit to the vet for their vaccinations too.

A current rabies vaccination is a must before traveling with a dog. Other vaccinations may also be required. Have your veterinarian issue you a rabies certificate and a health certificate as well as any other documentation required if traveling internationally. More information on international pet travel.

A trip to the vet should also include a vaccination against Leishmaniasis, which is common in South and Central America, southern Mexico, and the Mediterranean, as well as Canine Distemper, common in countries where there are a lot of strays and unvaccinated animals.

Canine influenza has been reported in most American States, Canada, China, South Korea, and Thailand, so a vaccination should be given if you’re traveling to any of these countries, especially if you will be kenneling your dog or it will be exposed to other dogs in parks.

Dogs may also need a vaccination against Canine Brucellosis (endemic to the Americas, Asia and Africa) and Trypanosoma evansi (endemic to North and Northeast Africa, Latin America (except Chile), the Middle East, and Asia). There is no cure for Brucellosis once infected and Trypanosoma (surra) can be fatal if left untreated so these vaccinations should be given serious consideration when discussing them with your veterinarian.

Finally, prepare for illness when traveling with your dog to any country and give it preventative treatments against tapeworms and ticks. Your veterinarian can make recommendations on available products.

Preparing for Illness when traveling with your dog means a visit to your vet.
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New places can mean new allergens

Just like people, some dogs are more prone to allergic reactions than others, often due to their breed, but the reality is that anyone can have allergies at any time and for any reason. Traveling to new places will increase the chances of an allergic reaction as everyone will be exposed to new things, such as different pollen caused by plants, dust and various chemicals used in the new environment.

On your daily walk, the following plants may cause allergic reactions in your dog and can even be fatal if ingested – junipers (male), Acacia, Mulberry and oak trees, primrose, daylilies, daffodils, narcissus, tulips, and agapanthus, Oleander bushes, bottlebrush trees, spurge, milk bush, chenille plant, pencil tree, yews (male), Podocarpus (male),  and even Bermuda grass which can be found on rights of way in many cities.

Watch out for itching or biting, welts or sore spots, rashes, swollen faces or unusual behavior as these can be signs of an allergic reaction in your dog. If you suspect an allergy, then Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin are commonly used antihistamines that relieve allergy symptoms or counteract allergic reactions. See a veterinarian to discuss the appropriate dosage for your dog.

As a family, it’s likely you’ll end up eating different foods, which can also increase the risk of food allergies, especially in children trying foods for the first time.

Try to stick to foods that you know don’t contain allergens and don’t be tempted to let your dog try new foods either for the same reason. It’s easier to avoid food allergies in dogs than it is in children as you may be able to pack enough of their usual food based on how long your vacation will be.

Adjusting to foreign food and water

When you prepare for illness when traveling with your dog, foreign food and water are important considerations. Depending on how long you’re traveling for and where you’re going, it’s not always possible or feasible to take a dog’s food with you. For example, some countries won’t allow you to import certain pet foods and you need to be aware of the ingredients, how much liquid they contain and the weight of food as well. Every country will require that your dog’s food be in a bag or can that is manufacturer-sealed. Many countries will not permit the import of food where beef or lamb are ingredients.

What to do?

See if your pet’s usual food is sold in your destination country. Many large stores have locations in foreign countries. If this is not an option, be prepared by writing a list of the main ingredients in your dog’s food so you can find something similar.

If your dog is on a prescription diet, ask customs officials in your destination airport whether you can justify the import if you have a letter from your veterinarian stating the necessity for the food.

It is not always feasible to bring bottled water for your dog and your family when you go on vacation, especially if you are flying. Water quality can vary by country, and it is worth the time to research information from other pet owners.

Speak to your doctor and veterinarian for advice on the best anti-nausea and diarrhea medication to pack and the doses that should be administered.

Start introducing local water gradually by washing food with it, brushing your teeth with it, making ice cubes with it and watch for signs of an upset stomach.

Dog in car on family travels
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Preparing for motion sickness

Both humans and dogs are susceptible to motion sickness, whether you’re in a car or on a boat. Specifically, children and young dogs seem to be the most prone to this condition. If you’ve never traveled a great distance before, it can be difficult to know if motion sickness will be a problem for your family, which is why it’s so important to prepare for it. Luckily, children can tell you how they’re feeling, but look out for common signs of motion sickness in dogs, which include inactivity, whining, yawning, drooling, shaking, licking their lips, and vomiting. Preventing motion sickness in people is similar to preventing motion sickness in dogs. Open the windows for some fresh air, have them sit at the front of the car and face forward if possible, limit food consumption before travel, and stop regularly for breaks. If none of that helps, motion sickness medication from a pharmacist and a veterinarian can be given to relieve symptoms.

Research dangers lurking in the local environment

It’s really important to be aware of and prepared for environmental dangers to your dog and your family in your destination country. Blue-green algae has started to become more prevalent in many countries across the globe, including many US states, the UK, and Mexico. The algae releases toxins as it breaks down, which is dangerous to the health of both animals and humans.

No one should swim in water where algae is present, and you need to take precautions to ensure your dog doesn’t drink it. Make sure they have fresh water available to them to deter them from doing so. Symptoms will include twitching, weakness, seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea and even death in extreme cases.

Lungworm is another potential problem for dogs and is particularly prevalent in the UK currently. Lungworm infestation occurs when dogs eat larvae that are found in snails, slugs, or frogs, so be extra vigilant of what they’re eating when outside. Worst-case scenario, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms so that dogs can be promptly treated. This includes breathing problems, coughing, and a reluctance to exercise.

If you and your dog are traveling to the southwestern United States or northwest Mexico, know that people and animals can develop Valley Fever after inhaling spores growing in loose, sandy soils prevalent in these areas. Be on the lookout for symptoms of coughing, fever, weight loss, lack of appetite, and lack of energy.

Make sure you pack enough medications

If anyone in your family, including your dog, is on medication, you should make sure to pack enough for the duration of your trip. Ideally, bring along a few days extra supply, just in case of travel delays. Keep all pills and lotions in their original packing with the prescription details on the outside of the packaging.

Have a copy of any prescriptions in case you need a refill during your travels. This is also helpful to show proof to any officials that your medicines are prescribed, if required. 

It’s also a good idea to research the location of local doctors, pharmacies, and vets in relation to where you’re staying and have their contact details on hand.

Traveling as a family can feel incomplete if you don’t bring your dog along, plus it’s great fun for your pooch to be involved too; however, don’t forget to prepare for illness when traveling with your dog and your family as it just makes sense. Medical emergencies are not what anybody wants to deal with while on vacation. The object is to keep everyone safe, healthy and happy and make memories together.

Jane Sandwood is a freelance writer and editor who spent over a decade in the tourism industry.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe on a Motorcycle

Dog with Motorcycle
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Most dogs love to travel. They enjoy sniffing out new places and the excitement of taking a ride in the car. Just notice the glee on dogs’ faces when hanging out windows of passing cars. Have you ever passed a motorcycle with a dog riding on it and wish your dog could be that cool? Do you know how to keep your dog safe on a motorcycle?

Before you hop on your bike with your canine sidekick and ride on down the road, there are steps you must take to prepare both yourself and the dog for the rush of adrenaline. Certainly, dogs love to be with their owners at all times, but it is your responsibility is to ensure your pup’s safety on your two-wheeled adventures. And, depending on your dog’s personality, it could become a pro at riding shotgun.

Ease Your Dog into Motorcycle Riding

Not all dogs are fit to ride motorcycles. A dog’s personality and size are two factors that must strongly be considered when thinking about adding your dog as a passenger on your bike. For some dogs, the stress and anxiety are too much for them to handle. Large dogs may be more difficult to safely secure for the speeds that motorcycles can reach.

Generally, the more confident or laid back your dog is, the better passenger it will make regardless of its size. If you think your dog’s temperament is up for the experience, you still need to ease them into riding the motorcycle. Simply tethering your dog to the motorcycle and hoping for the best is not how to keep your dog safe on a motorcycle.

Sidecars, Tail Bag and Dog-Friendly Other Options

How to keep your dog safe on a motorcycle
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Finding a secure place for your dog to sit is fundamental to keep your dog safe on a motorcycle . The size and type of transporter will depend on whether your pet is large or small. If your pet is a small dog, you may at first consider simply holding your dog as you drive, but that’s exceedingly dangerous, both to yourself, your dog and other drivers on the road.

Larger dogs may be able to just “hold on” to the seat, but again, that is a huge safety issue, especially for longer rides. The best choice is to make sure your pet is secured for their protection. There are several different choices of items to use to contain your pet in one location while you’re driving the motorcycle.

  • Backpacks and Slings – Smaller dogs can be placed in backpacks or chest slings similar to the ones parents use to carry babies. The pet should be comfortable being carried in the tote before you attempt to take them for a spin on the motor vehicle.
  • Custom Dog Seat – If you’re a regular traveler who wants a companion on your many road trips, you might consider having a custom dog seat installed on your bike. The special setting allows a pet of any size the ability to ride as a two-up passenger.
  • Tail or Tank Carrier – Dogs of the smaller breed variation can easily fit into a carrier that can be installed on the tail or tank of the bike. Some bikers even have a special carrier built that has windows and ventilation for a pet’s comfort.
  • Sidecar – The ultimate dream of combining pet ownership and motorcycles. Sidecars are the most expensive option that also comes with a lot of spectator attention. It is an option to consider if it fits into your budget and you have a larger dog who has an adventurous spirit.
Dog in Motorcycle Carrier

Take Your Time

Think of it as a parent teaching their child to ride a bicycle. It takes encouragement and patience. You can begin by setting your dog on the motorcycle when the engine is running so they can get used to the noise and vibration. It may take more than one training session before your pup is accustomed to the bike.

Once your dog seems relaxed with the rumble of the bike, you can slowly begin to roll the bike at a low speed that won’t injure your dog if they get spooked and jump off. Any strides your dog makes in accepting the motorcycle should be rewarded with praise and treats.

You can also try calming treats at the beginning of training to help keep your dog relaxed. However, the calming treats should be used with training instead of just drugging the dog into compliance. Your dog’s safety is the most important thing when traveling, whether in a car, motorcycle or airplane.

Know the Law

Read more to find out what you’ll need to ride safely and legally. Typically, dogs can legally ride on motorcycles if they are safely secured; however, it’s best to check your local municipal motor vehicle laws to see if there are additional rules you need to follow to keep your dog safe on a motorcycle.

Doggie Essentials for Road Trips

If you’re merely taking your bike (and pet) for a spin around the block, you don’t need to bring a lot of extra items. However, if you’re taking a trip that will last a few hours or longer, then there are a few things you will need to keep your dog comfortable and happy. What should you bring with you on the road?

Food and Water

Even short trips of a few hours will leave your pet parched and possibly hungry. Always bring water on excursions. Nylon travel bowls are perfect for your pooch’s needs. The loop on the side of the bowl can easily be attached to a belt or zipper to save room on the bike.

You don’t have to schedule your bike ride around your pet’s feeding schedule if you bring their food with you. Be sure to prepare some canned dog food for your canine friend. Don’t forget to pack the calming treats in case your dog gets nervous during the road trip.


dog with doggles for safety
Credit: Photo by Arie Wubben on Unsplash

As cute as it is to see dogs sticking their heads out of car windows or their fur blowing in the open wind, it’s actually very dangerous for their health. Rocks, dirt and other particles can cause irritation in their eyes or even become lodged in the eye. The best way to avoid the potential health problems of exposing your dog to the high winds is a pair of Doggles. That’s dog goggles. They look as funny as they sound, but they work great in protecting your pet’s eyes.


You will need a travel leash for the potty breaks at rest areas along the way. Many rest stops don’t have enclosed areas where pets can roam free. Leashes are often required and keep dogs from running into traffic.

Your pup should also have a collar to attach the leash. A collar is also necessary for identity information about your pet should they get loose and run off.

Microchip or Nametag

Nametags and microchips are the most popular methods pet owners use to let strangers know if the dog is a stray and how to contact the owners in the event of a lost pet. Nametags often communicate the pet’s name, along with the owner’s address and cell phone number.

A growing number of dog owners are choosing to include humorous notes on the nametag, such as Call my mom. I’m lost and she is at home crying. Just don’t forget that the most important thing about a nametag is your pet’s name and your contact information.

Microchips are passive devices that will return a unique and identifying number when scanned. This number can be searched on a number of databases to find the owner’s address and phone number. Unlike name tags that are immediately visible and accessible, microchips require a microchip scanner and database search for identification purposes. However, if you find yourself frequently coming upon lost dogs, you may want to consider purchasing your own personal microchip scanner.

Ready to Hit the Road, Jack

Pet owners often say they would bring their dogs with them everywhere if they could. If you’re a biker, now you can safely bring your beloved pet with you on motorcycle outings. Some dogs will never be comfortable riding motorcycles;, but it can be a fun and exciting experience for both the owner and their willing dog as long as you know how to keep your dog safe on a motorcycle.

Leo Wilson graduated from a university with a major in animal health and behavior. He had over a decade of experience working in the pet industry and has contributed many dogs and pet-related articles to several websites before he decided to start sharing his knowledge on his own blog. And when he is not busy working, he and his wonderful wife love spending time at home with their 3 dogs and 2 cats.