Pet Travel: Driving Route 66 with a Larger Dog

Discover Route 66 with your dog

Americans spent over $72 billion on their pets in 2018. With figures like that, it’s no wonder more and more hotels, restaurants, and other services are opening their doors to furry guests. While air pet travel may be difficult due to restrictions for larger dogs, road trips with your bigger fur babies can be quite enjoyable. If you are looking to experience some of America’s most nostalgic locations with your dog, look no further than Route 66, where the journey truly is the destination.

Route 66 is over 2,400 miles, stretching from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, established in 1926 as one of the first roads in the U.S. Highway System. There are hundreds of historic buildings and sites along the route, many of which can be enjoyed with four-legged travel companions with a bit of forward planning, even the largest ones. Once you’ve decided where to begin and how far to go, a little research and the right gear will go a long way in creating an unforgettable vacation for you and your large-breed dogs (for all the right reasons).

Map Your Route

Before starting any road trip, you will have to map your route. Knowing your dog’s temperament is important when deciding how far you will be able to drive, in total and each day. You will also need to take into account yours and your dog’s physical abilities when planning your adventures, and in your decision as to what time of year you will take your trip. If you and your dog are up for hiking, all are welcome to hike the trails at Tuzigoot National Monument, an ancient pueblo built by the Sinagua people prior to 1400 CE. If a trail hike isn’t your speed, the incredible architecture along Route 66 can be enjoyed on a stroll through the towns connecting the road.

Research and Call Ahead for a Pet Friendly Hotel

Once you’ve planned where you will go, you can start researching pet-friendly hotels and restaurants along the way. Many accommodations will have websites that advertise being pet-friendly, but calling ahead to ensure your dog will be welcome, or inquiring if you don’t see a specific call out for pet-friendly service may result in surprising outcomes, making your trip all the better. This goes for monuments and parks, as well, and will ensure that you aren’t missing any great dog-friendly attractions, and that you have all the gear you need to enjoy everything.

Like many other tourist attractions, there will be some places along the historic route that are off limits to your pooch. Much of what there is to see, however, are historic buildings, included, but most definitely not limited to, gas stations from the 1930’s, office buildings, and Art Deco structures that can be viewed from the car or the street. If architecture and engineering interest you, there are no less than ten bridges along Route 66, each a structural feat in their own right, and each of these can be enjoyed from the car with the whole family, and some even on foot if your dog is leashed.

Be Prepared

Before you leave, make a checklist of what you’ll need for your trip. If you will be crossing state lines, you’ll want to be sure you have your dog’s veterinary records with vaccination dates. You will need to pack whatever your dog needs to be comfortable in the car, as well as in strange hotels along the way, whether that includes a bed or a special blanket, toys, etc. Regardless of which directions you’re headed, be sure to book a night at Wigwam Village #7 in San Bernardino, CA. Originally a hotel chain with seven locations between Chicago and Santa Monica, two locations have survived along the route, and #7 is pet friendly.

Many people shy away from traveling with larger dogs, but if you’re able to drive wherever you’re going, taking your dog may be easier than you think. Sure, it takes more planning and more gear, but getting to experience an adventure with your dog makes it all worthwhile. Before you go, review a list of Route 66 attractions and check websites or make some calls to find out whether your dog can join in on the fun. Much of the excitement of Route 66 is reliving the era in which the road was built, and luckily architecture can be enjoyed from the car or at a distance on a leash. If you are a planner, figuring out where you and your pup will be welcome is a cinch that will pay dividends in the end for both of you.

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

Brexit – How will it affect pet travel between the United Kingdom and the European Union

English Bulldog and Brexit
Courtesy of Alian Audet, Pixabay

There is no arguing that Brexit will have a substantial effect on many aspects of British trade and relations with the European Union (EU). Since the inception of the EU in 1993, the United Kingdom (UK) has enjoyed a congenial relationship with the EU in terms of trade and commerce. This includes regulations for pet import and export which are currently set by EU legislation. This relationship will come to an end unless another extension is agreed to by the EU Commission and UK Parliament or the UK votes a change in Article 50 Brexit process to remain in the EU.

Currently, the UK has been granted an extension to exercise Article 50 until October 31, 2019. Until that time, as long Article 50 is not exercised sooner, current regulations regarding the import of live animals between the UK and the EU will preside. UK Pet Passports issued to UK-resident pets will be honored in the EU (and visa versa). Proof of a current rabies vaccination administered after a microchip is implanted and more than 21 days before travel is basically all that is required to enter the EU from the UK.

Things are going to change soon. As the largest animal welfare charity in the UK, the RSPCA, warns, a no-deal scenario (see option 3 below) will cause significant issues when it comes to pet travel.

Basically, one of three things can happen that will affect pet transport regulations between the UK and EU differently:

  1. The UK will reach a ratified deal with the EU which classifies them as a “Part 1 listed country.” If this is the case, the regulations will remain basically the same to import your pet to the EU from the UK. The UK Pet Passport will remain recognized as an authorized document in the EU. The bad news is that indications are not favorable for this option at the moment.
  2. The UK will reach a ratified deal with the EU which classifies them as a “Part 2 listed country” or “Third country” similar to other rabies-controlled countries outside of the EU like the United States or Canada. If this is the case, pets entering the EU from the UK will require, in addition to a microchip and rabies vaccination, an EU health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in the UK and endorsed by a government veterinarian within 10 days of import. The form will be valid to enter any EU Member State for 4 months or until your pet’s rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first*. This option is likely if a ratified deal is met.

    *Note that several EU Member States have additional tapeworm requirements. (UK, Ireland, Norway, Finland and Malta)
  3. The UK withdraws from the EU with no ratified deal. In this case, the UK becomes a “non-listed country.” This is definitely a worst-case scenario for pet owners because it will require that all dogs, cats and ferrets entering the EU from the UK will require a rabies titer test (FAVN) done no sooner than 30 days after microchip and rabies vaccination and no less than 3 months prior to entering the EU. If your pet is not currently chipped or vaccinated for rabies, it will take 4 months to prepare!

    One bright bit of good news for EU-resident pets wanting to visit the UK and return to the EU. If you get the FAVN test done before leaving the EU and have the results recorded in your pet’s EU Pet Passport, then the 3 month wait will not apply.

    Another bit if good news: the FAVN test is valid for the life of your pet as long as done according to EU regulations, the sample is processed in an EU-approved laboratory and rabies vaccinations do not expire before booster vaccinations are administered.

Regardless of which option occurs, the UK has indicated few changes to their import regulations. EU Pet Passports will still be honored in the UK. For pets entering the UK from outside of the EU, a UK health certificate will be required which, to date, has not yet been published.

It appears that most ferry and train travel between the UK and the EU will continue to be an approved method of entering the UK.

How Brexit will evolve is anyone’s guess. The only thing that is we know is that changes are coming and, as a responsible pet owner, you should be prepared for these changes, especially if your travel is after October, 2019.

Pet import regulations to enter the UK and over 200 countries worldwide can be found at

Traveling with an Anxious Pet in the Car: How to Make Things Easier for Both of You

Pet dog in car

Dogs, cats, and all sorts of our furry friends can make great traveling companions, and, to be honest, it is always hard to leave them behind when you head off on a road trip. However, it’s not always smooth sailing (or driving) when traveling with a pet. Even the most laid back and well adjusted animals can find long-distance travel disturbing or uncomfortable, and if your pet is already prone to nerves or anxiety, their stress will only be exacerbated.

The last thing you want to do is make things worse for your pets, and the physical side effects of having an anxious animal in the car with you can make for a fairly unpleasant traveling atmosphere! Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do when planning a holiday to make life better for your pets, both short-term alleviation of things like motion sickness or travel anxiety, and for your animal’s long term mental health as well.

Read on for a few of the best ways to make traveling with your pet in the car easier for both of you!

Know what symptoms to look out for

Knowing the signs of distress in your pet can give you a huge head start in helping them get through it. Obvious things like crying or shaking are easy to spot, but there are a number of other symptoms and warning signs that can indicate anxiety or motion sickness.

If your pup or cat has a glazed-over look to their eyes, if they are licking themselves excessively, pacing, or constantly shaking themselves as if they were wet, then it’s likely that they are distressed in some way. Comforting them, speaking calmly and soothingly, and keeping them from looking out of the window can go a long way towards helping, particularly if you catch the signs early.

Keep the air conditioning on and the windows closed. A stable environment will make the changes around them less intimidating for your pet.

Get them traveling early

In the long run, getting your pets used to traveling from an early age, as part of their early training, is the best way to help you and them. Long-term conditioning will help ward off anxiety, and make traveling just another comfortable part of their lives! So travel early, and travel often.

Initially you’ll want to go slow, as the longer you can give young animals to adapt the better. Get them used to sitting in a parked car, then with the engine running, then on short trips and finally on a genuine night away from home. Bringing familiar objects, smells or toys with you to make a holiday feel more comfortable and normal is a great way to desensitize and condition your pet.

Choose the right holiday

If you know your pet is prone to anxiety, there are still ways you can make traveling more comfortable for them. It goes without saying that picking the right sort of vacation, and the right sort of transportation, is key. If you know they are happy in your car, but can’t handle the stress of air travel, go for a road trip!

You might need to research things like doggy daycare in a new city when you travel. If you’re cruising from Fort Lauderdale, for example, be sure to look up places your pet can stay while you’re off on your cruise adventure. You’ll rest assured knowing your pet is in safe hands while you set off on the high seas, and catch a bit of sun without exposing your furry friend to stressful airports, constant changes, or bumpy roads.

Pick the right accommodation

Finding somewhere to stay that doesn’t disturb your pets is another consideration. Picking pet-friendly hotels, or finding an Airbnb that can accommodate them without fuss or bother is well worth a little extra effort. If they are used to outside space, make sure your accommodation has a garden, or a park nearby. If they aren’t used to tower blocks or elevators, ensure you stay on the ground floor. A little research—and a little foresight—goes a long way.

Try aromatherapy

Aromatherapy and calming scents can have a huge impact on your pet, and it’s kind of a lovely thing for you too! If you accustom your pet to something like heavily diluted lavender oil, with its relaxing and soporific qualities, in the weeks leading up to your trip, things may go a lot smoother. Make sure your pet doesn’t digest lavender oil, however. Try rubbing the oil on your hands before feeding or playing with your cat or dog. They’ll associate the scent with good things, and when you pet them during your trip with lavender-scented fingers, that should do the trick!

Traveling with an anxious pet is always going to be tricky business, but there are a load of things that you can do to make it go more smoothly. Most of all, make sure you are always calm and relaxed – if you aren’t having a good time, what hope does your pet have? Enjoy yourself, and pamper your little buddy a little, and they’ll be an intrepid traveler in no time!

Andrea Barnhill is the Founder and Editor of Weekend Wander Club, a travel blog for young professionals. She loves sharing her tips on how to make the most out of only a few days out of office to explore the world.


Why are Rabies Vaccinations Important for Pet Travel?

Rabies vaccinations are important for pet travel. Protect your cat or dog from this disease.

Why are rabies vaccinations important for pet travel? Rabies kills approximately 60,000 people every year, and that’s why it is considered a major health concern worldwide. Of all the neglected tropical diseases, especially in under-developed countries, rabies ranks as one of the highest and it is a killer disease. 

While most rabies cases happen to mammals in the wild, bites from rabies-infected dogs are still the cause of most rabies death cases in humans. Other animals commonly held as pets that can contract rabies are cats and ferrets.

There is no cure for rabies once transmitted from an animal to a human, and, unless post-bite treatment is quickly administered, the death is slow and painful.

The good news is that rabies is 100% preventable through vaccination. Prevention is the keyword. Rabies vaccinations will not cure rabies; they will only protect your pets from getting rabies.

As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to vaccinate your pets to ensure that they remain healthy and don’t pose a risk to others, humans and animals alike. When traveling with a pet to foreign countries, your pet can be exposed to new environments where rabies may or may not be controlled.

Here are 3 important things you need to know about rabies vaccinations for your pet when even if they are not traveling.

  1. Not all countries have rabies vaccination programs; however, in some places, it is the law.

There are still countries that do not have a sufficiently developed animal control and rabies vaccination program. However, those that do have experienced a lesser number of human cases of rabies. In the United States, rabies vaccination for pets is required by law in most but not all states. It is then important for you to find out what the laws are for your State. You can ask your veterinarian for this information.

When traveling abroad, especially to a country that is considered a high-rabies country, then a rabies vaccination is essential. Many of these countries have a high stray dog or cat population living on the streets and rabies vaccinations are important.

There are several types of vaccines with corresponding schedules that are recommended for pets. The rabies vaccine is a core dog vaccine and also a core cat vaccine. For dogs, there are 1-year and 3-year vaccines available. Both of them can be administered as a single dose as early as 3 months of age; however, your veterinarian may prefer to administer a series of vaccinations to puppies and kittens. The 1-year vaccine requires annual boosters while the 3-year vaccine requires a second dose after one year plus boosters every 3 years. Note that not all countries will accept the 3 year rabies vaccine unless it was administered within 12 months of entry.

Cats, on the other hand, can receive 2 doses at 12 months apart, and as early as 8 weeks of age depending on the vaccine. Boosters may be required annually or every 3 years depending on regulations. If your cat is traveling; however, most countries will not recognize vaccinations that were administered before 3 months of age.

It is also important to know that it takes approximately 21-30 days for rabies antibodies to build up in your pet’s blood after receiving a rabies vaccination. After this time, they are protected from contracting the disease from a rabid animal. That is why every country (except Canada) will require a wait time after vaccination before traveling.

  • Rabies vaccination may be required for traveling pets.

Airlines and countries vary in terms of rules and requirements for traveling pets. Usually, they are required to have proper identification, such as a permanent ID affixed to their leather collars or a pet microchip. Depending on where your destination, your pets might also need traveling documents as well as a health certificate that details vaccinations taken, including rabies.

When your veterinarian administers a rabies vaccination, they will give you a signed rabies certificate. When your pet travels from the United States, the rabies certificate should be valid for the entire duration of your trip. They also require that you wait 28 days before traveling if your dog just had his first rabies vaccination. This is to allow for the vaccine to take effect. However, if you have an adult dog or cat with a current rabies vaccination, there is no 28-day waiting period after a booster is administered. 

Although rabies vaccinations are important for pet travel, a vaccination doesn’t guarantee your pet will never get the disease because an animal’s immune responses to vaccines are influenced by different factors. For some, the vaccine may only minimize the side effects of the disease. There are also non-responders, who no matter how many vaccines they receive, never respond at all. Still, this doesn’t render vaccination any less important. In fact, it actually helps protect not just your pet from this dreadful disease, but others as well.

Originally from the U.S., Rana Tarakji is the founder of One SEO, author of Off-site SEO guide: A Hands-On SEO Tutorial For Beginners & Dummies, and a web content specialist who now lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Rana’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including Life Hacker, Upwork, Christian Today, Newswire, and many other outlets.

She’s also a popular speaker in universities and startup events, such as Startup Turkey, and the American University of Beirut.

10 Dog Friendly Places in Athens Georgia

pet friendly places
Enjoy good times with your pet in Athens

Athens, Georgia is located about 70 mi (113 km) northeast of downtown Atlanta and is the home of the University of Georgia. It is known for its beautiful antebellum architecture, but the coolest thing about this bustling town is its dog-friendly cafes, restaurants and trails. Offering a variety of animal-adapted amenities, these places will make your trip with your dog quite a memorable experience.

So, let’s take some of pet-friendly places for exploring in Athens.

Dog-friendly Parks and Trails

  1. Sandy Creek Park: Sandy Creek Park is a beautiful Park where you can enjoy outdoor recreation with your dog. The 782-acre park, which surrounds 260-acre Lake Chapman is a perfect place to spend fun-filled weekend with your furry friend. There are four fenced off-leash areas in Sandy Creek Park, where your dog can play to its heart’s content without any worries. In one standard park, the entry for dogs is free but in other three, the entry is by reservation only.
  2. North Oconee River Greenway: The North Oconee River Greenway is a linear park system, which is 3.5 miles long and 10 feet wide.  This paved multi-use path is open to all types of non-motorized uses. It runs from Sandy Creek Nature Center, following the North Oconee River south to Dudley Park. Canine buddies are allowed on the trails but they have to be kept on-leash. If you like to watch your pooch have fun off-leash, there is a designated dog park that allows friendships to form and legs to run off-leash.
  3. Dudley Park: Dudley Park is a 24-acre park, which is a tract of tranquil woods. It is nestled in the confluence of Trail Creek and the North Oconee River. All the trails are free to use for both humans and their pets; but dogs must be on-leash at all times.
  4. Southeast Clarke Park: There is a very nice dog park at Southeast Clarke Park where you can watch your dog happily run around. The dog parks can be accessed from the Whit Davis Parking Area or through an entry from the sidewalk adjacent to Whit Davis. The park provides engaging and sustainable environment to dogs, which they absolutely love.

Important Trail safety rules & etiquettes

Carry lots of water: Georgia has a warm climate so dehydration can easily occur. So, make sure to pack plenty of water for both you and your dog.

Put your dog on leash: Keeping your dog on a leash not just keeps your dog safe but also provides safety and assurance to other hikers and their dogs.

Plan ahead and start small: If your dog is new to the trail, start with shorter hikes so that he or she gets used to it. Gradually increase the trail length and difficulty as your dog becomes more trail savvy. Different breeds have different fitness levels, therefore choose the trail distances and conditions based on your dog’s breed.

Dog-friendly cafes and restaurants

  1. Mama’s Boy Restaurant: If you are looking for a restaurant in Athens where you can enjoy sweet and savory Southern breakfast and lunch pet foods with your dogs then Mama’s Boy Restaurant is the place to be. The restaurant offers dog-friendly outdoor seating and the staff is very nice to the dogs.
  2. Cali-n-Tito’s: Cali-n-Tito’s located at La Puerta Del Sol is one of the best pet-friendly places to visit in Athens, Georgia. It has four pet-friendly outdoor tables where you can enjoy great Cuban food with your canine companion. This is an eclectic, counter-service shack style place which is sure to make both you and your furry happy.
  3. De Palma: De Palma is an Italian café in Athens, GA that welcomes people with their pets. It has an outdoor seating area where you can savor some of the finest Italian dishes with your furry friend. The café requires you to contact them in advance if you wish to visit with your canine buddy so that there is ample space for you and your buddy.
  4. Big City Bread Café: It is a family run business in Athens, GA that serves locally served food and home baked items. It has a fabulous outdoor seating area where you can have great time with your furry friend. The dog friendly café also has dog bowls scattered around the courtyard for your pooch to have a drink while you eat. 
  5. Last Resort Grill: This is a critically acclaimed restaurant situated in downtown Athens. If you enjoy dining out with your canine friend, this quaint and elegant setting along with the sumptuous food is sure to win your heart. You can bring your canine friend and enjoy the outdoor seating at this place. Make sure to inform the restaurant in advance to avoid inconvenience.
  6. Terrapin Brewery Tours: Most of Athens’ local breweries allow you to visit them with your furies. You can let your pup run around at Terrapin Beer Co. while enjoying deliciously crafted brews. So, visit this amazingly beautiful place for freshly brewed beer, or just to spend some quiet and relaxing time with your furry friend.

Rules for dogs at cafes and restaurants

To have the best time with your pets at cafes and restaurants, here are some etiquette and rules you and your pet should follow:

  • Call ahead first
  • Keep your canine companion leashed at all times.
  • Don’t allow your dog to bark
  • Don’t allow them to beg
  • Make sure they doesn’t jump at others and disturb them
  • No sitting on chairs, tables or benches
  • No eating off the table
  • Do not allow your pet to enter the inside of the restaurant.
  • Make sure your pet is vaccinated and has an identification tag
  • Make sure to bring your own food dish and water bowl to feed your pet.
  • Get your pet to sit as close to the table base as possible to reduce the chances of anyone tripping over him.

There is no better feeling than to look at your dog’s face when they experience something exciting and new. So get outside, find pet friendly places to enjoy with your canine buddy and appreciate the many fields, trails, lakes and greats hotels and cafes that Athens has to offer!

You can find pet friendly hotels in Athens by clicking here.

Harsh Arora is a proud father of four rescued dogs and a leopard gecko. Besides being a full-time dog father, he is a freelance content writer/blogger and an educationist, with more than 6 years experience in the field of content writing.

RV Travel Tips for Pet Lovers

Being a “dog mom” or “cat dad” has many benefits, but it also comes with great responsibility – one of which is knowing how to safely and lovingly care for your pet when it’s time to travel.

While full of excitement and possibility, traveling can bring trepidation to pet owners. For starters, leaving your furry friends behind takes away from the joy of the getaway. And, your options for not bringing Fido along are bad and, well, bad. Either give a stranger access to your home on the hope that they will care for your pets in the same fashion that you do or find a “pet resort” (kennel) and essentially put your pets in jail for a week or two! You may have even considered flying with your pet, but it’s just too scary if they need to fly in the cargo hold.

Does that mean responsible pet lovers are supposed to refrain from traveling or simply leave our best friend at home? Absolutely not! Instead, imagine going on an adventure in an RV with your furry friends right by your side — happy without confinement or sedatives — just tails wagging enjoying what the open road holds.

Dog in RV drivers seat

Traveling by RV offers many benefits for not only you, but also your pet. Some hotels strictly prohibit pets or have non-refundable pet fees; however, depending on the size of the RV, you’ll have a bed for at least two plus plenty of space for your dog or cat to sleep comfortably. There are also plenty of windows for your furry friend to enjoy the views while you’re driving along the open road. Does your pet require a special diet or need refrigerated medicines? RVs have both a cook top and refrigerator to ensure you can travel peacefully knowing you’ll be able to easily accommodate your pet’s needs. You’ll even have the option to give your cherished companion a quick cleaning if a nature walk or bathroom break gets too dirty as most RVs are equipped with a shower, and sometimes a bathtub in the master suite.

You get the idea – an RV comes equipped as your home-away-from-home with all of the comforts you’re used to plus the added bonus of taking the amenities with you. If you’re considering a full commitment to the travel-warrior lifestyle through purchasing an RV, renting one first is a great way to test if RVing is the right form of travel for both you and your pet. Many companies, including Allstar Coaches, offer pet-friendly RVs you can rent for your next getaway.

Here are some RV travel tips for pet lovers:

Take a Test Drive

Give your pet the time to get accustomed to its new home prior to setting out on your journey. Spend some time with them in your RV, feed them and play with them. Even spending the night with them in the RV before hitting the road is a good idea. Dogs like structure in their lives and you need to create this new structure for them. The more time you can devote to this training, the easier it will be for them to adjust.

Do Some Research

Find some pet friendly parks, hiking trails and rest stops along the way. Especially on your first trip, it is a good idea to plan to stop frequently to allow your pet to stretch their legs and get some exercise.

Find animal hospitals and veterinary clinics along your route as well, just in case of emergencies. A small first aid kit with basic tools and bandages is a must when traveling with dogs.

Location. Location. Location: First, consider your location. There are three main points to examine before traveling to your destination with your pet:

  1. Make sure the location is pet-friendly and accepts your dog’s breed (pit bulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers can be restricted).
  2. Be aware of the area’s natural predators and poisonous plants that could harm your pet.
  3. Know the area’s climate. You can’t leave your pet unattended for extended periods of time inside or out, however, you do have the ability to control the indoor temperature in an RV.

Food & Water: Before you depart, you need to understand how your pet handles fast-moving vehicles. Just like humans, pets can get motion sickness. While traveling, make sure to keep pets on the same diet to avoid upset stomachs. Also feed them at the same time every day to maintain consistency. This should go without saying; but be sure to always give your pet plenty of water.


Collars & Leashes: No matter where you are going, keep your pet’s collar on them at all times and bring multiple leashes. Some state and national parks, as well as campgrounds, have specific leash guidelines that might require your pet to be leashed at all times. You also never know how your pet will respond in an unfamiliar environment, and by always having a collar and leash on your pet, you can relax knowing they will remain under your safe supervision.

Special Cat Consideration: If you’re traveling with a cat, make sure it is wearing a collar at all times and buy a special cat leash and harness. However, be extra cautious when taking Fluffy outdoors as she might get overwhelmed and run in an unfamiliar setting. If you’re not sure how your cat will react, it might be best to leave her inside the RV. Alternatively, you can purchase a cat hammock to stick to a window so your cat can lounge and enjoy the view of the birds without ever taking her outside.

Additionally, ensure your pet has identification tags on their harness or collar listing your cell phone number. (Home phone is no good when you are on the road, right?) You may also consider getting your pet microchipped so you can be quickly reunited if your pet goes missing. Don’t forget to register your information in your manufacturer’s database.

Find a private place for kitty litter. The bathroom or shower is a good place and easy to clean excess litter.

Documentation: Before starting your trip, visit your veterinarian for a check up. Verify that health and rabies vaccinations are current and discuss treatments for internal and external parasites like fleas and ticks. Be sure to bring current records on your pet’s vaccinations, medical history, and registration as well as any medication they may be taking. Some campgrounds and parks may require this information before your stay.

In-Motion Safety: If you aren’t sure how your pet handles fast-moving vehicles, talk with your veterinarian about prescribing nausea or anxiety medication. You can also opt for an all-natural pet calmer. Use a crate or pet seat belt for active pets while the RV is moving. Even calm pets should be put in a safe place with blankets and padding. If at first your pet is showing signs of anxiety (pacing, drooling, panting), do not fret; it may take a few miles before they get comfortable in their new environment.

Buckle Up

As tempting as it is to keep your best friend in the seat next to you, it is not a good idea unless they are restrained. Keeping your pet safe while driving cannot be more important. Whether you choose a harness, crate or carrier for your pet to travel in, injury from sudden stops or turns can minimized when your pet is confined.

Related: Pet Seat Belts: Where It’s the Law and Why it Matters

Noise: Abide by the park’s quiet hours to avoid noise violations and fines. For the most part, inappropriate noise stems from bored or nervous animals. Treats and toys add a sense of comfort and familiarity, creating a happy environment for your pet. If you do leave your pet unattended, play music while you are gone or tire them out with plenty of exercise beforehand.

Cleanliness & Sanitation: While you may have access to a bathroom 24/7 (another advantage of RV travel) that’s not the case for your pets. Let dogs go to the bathroom at least three to five times a day – consider it a nice stretch break. Always clean up and dispose of your pet’s waste properly. Parks and campgrounds require it and can potentially fine you for failing to comply, so bring waste disposal bags. For other pets, bring all the proper cleaning and sanitation supplies – you both have to live in there after all.

And lastly, remember half the fun of RV travel is the journey. And you’ll never have to leave your pet home alone during vacation, ever again.

Dog on RV trip looking at lake

The founder and CEO of Allstar Coaches, the largest luxury RV rental company in the U.S., Rob Tischler is committed to helping Americans experience the perfect road trip adventure

Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite RV Parks that welcome pets!

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Foley, AL

Riverside Campground and Cabin, Big Sur, CA

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, CA

Springs at Borrego RV resort, Borrego Springs, CA

Garden of the Gods RV Resort, Colorado Springs, CO

Disney Camp Wilderness, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Bluewater Key, Key West, FL

Aztec RV Resort, Margate, FL

Beaver Dam Campground, Berwick, ME

Normandy Farms family Camping Resort, Foxboro, MA

Oak Grove Campground/Resort, Holland, MI

Polson Motorcoach and RV resort, Polson, MT

Solstice Motorcoach Resort, Mesqute, NV

Lake George RV Park, Lake George, NY

Four Paws Kingdom, Rutherforton, NC

Evergreen Park RV Resort, Dundee, OH

Gettysburg Campground, Gettysburg, PA

Twin Grove RV Resort & Cottages, Pine Grove, PA

Mill Creek Ranch resort, Mill Creek, TX

Why is Leash Training and Socialization Important When Traveling with a Dog?

Doberman with Leash Training

You have just landed in a crowded airport. Your dog is super excited to get out of its crate or carrier. You have your hands full with baggage, laptops, children and trying to figure out where to go and walk your pet, gather your baggage and get everyone and everything in a taxi. There are people everywhere, and the last thing you need is an out-of-control furry friend to deal with.

Or imagine that you are traveling with your dog and your family on a car trip. You decide to give everyone time to stretch their legs at a rest stop. Your child opens the passenger door before you can get your dog on a leash and off they run to explore a new place with great new smells while you chase them in pursuit hollering for them to stop. Not a great scenario either.

For this and many other reasons, leash training your dog is truly worth the time and effort you put in.

Family walking dog

You may think that dogs are born with the ability to know how to walk politely beside their pet parents on a leash while obeying their every command. That is not the case with most dogs. Dogs require training in this skill for them to learn and master it and some learn it faster than others.

Good news, though, because leash-training is among the most beneficial skills that you can teach your dog.

Another thing that you need to do for your dog to make them a good traveler is to teach them how to socialize. Your dog may be very proper, polite and well-mannered with you and your family, but they also need to learn how to interact with fellow dogs, other animals as well as human beings.

Start by analyzing their personality

Before you start either of these endeavors, think for a minute about your pet’s personality. Is your pet naturally shy and clingy, outgoing or protective, stubborn and maybe a bit aggressive?

Also important to know what gets their attention. Will they perform for treats, verbal commands or do they need physical attention?

Taking the time to evaluate your pet’s personality will go a long way in coming up with the most effective way to achieve success in both leash training and socializing your pet for traveling.

Most of all, be patient. These things can take some time, but the pay-off is worth the effort!

Woman walking dog on leash

Leash-training your dog

The first step of training your dog on how to walk on a leash is to introduce them to the harness or dog collar, and, most importantly, the pet leash.

You should start by letting your dog get accustomed to wearing a leash. Find a place where there are minimal distractions. Walk with them from room to room in your home keeping them close to you. Let your puppy wear their leash and collar for short periods around the home while giving the dog treats to reward good behavior. When you do this, your pup will love this time, because the time also represents a time for eating and having fun with you.

Your dog will look forward to training time, and eventually get accustomed to wearing a dog collar and a leash.

Most importantly, teach your dog how to come to you when you call them, and practice this inside and outside your home. When these skills are mastered, you can go on and trouble-shoot leash training with your dog outside.

Trouble-shoot your leash-training

As perfect and adorable as your dog may be, you are bound to come across some issues when you are teaching them how to walk on a leash.  Loose-leash training entails teaching your dog how to walk without having to be pulled or jerked using the leash. Teaching your dog loose-leash walking is one of the qualifications of the Canine Good Conduct (CGC) test.

This 10-step test is a non-competitive test for all dogs, including purebreds and mixed breeds. It is required by an increasing number of apartments and condos and many insurance companies encourage it. Passing the test comes with benefits like your dog being allowed into dog-friendly hotels and an access to advanced training. Introducing the tasks required to pass this test will go a long way to make it easier when traveling with your dog.

How leash training works

If, while walking your dog, it starts moving in a different direction, you should stop and remain stationary until your dog turns its attention to you. Abstain from jerking your dog’s leash when they do this, or even dragging your dog along in the direction you wish them to go. Once you get their attention and they return to your side, then start up again. If they do not follow your lead, stop again. Continue this process until your dog willfully follows your lead.

Another tip: if you see something ahead that you know will distract your dog (like a cat or squirrel, for example), redirect their attention to you before they get the opportunity to lunge forward. Change direction to move away from the distraction. You should be prepared to take this action before this target gets very close to your dog. In short, don’t give your dog the opportunity to misbehave.

If your dog displays bad behavior, immediately grab its attention through verbal communications, have it sit down and take a “time out” by your side. You should discourage any efforts to continue the walk until everyone is perfectly calm (including yourself).

Lastly, exercise your dog enough for mental and physical stimulation, before you go on a walk to avoid your dog from barking at other furry friends while you are on your walk. Also, changing the walking routine and making your dog work for their food are a good ways to mentally and physically stimulating them.

Socializing your dog

Socializing your dog

Why is socialization important before traveling with your dog?

Many dog breeds as well as mixes of these breeds are naturally protective; it’s in their DNA. When removed from their environment, their stress level increases and their guardian instincts kick in. This can have unpleasant consequences in the cabin of an airplane, for example. The last thing you need is to break up a skirmish or have your dog bite someone who gets too close.

Other dogs are simply stressed out from being removed from their daily routine and surroundings. This can cause them to react quickly in situations where they feel they are not in control.

Here are some things you need to do ahead of travel to make your dog more at ease when in closed environments or new surroundings.

Take your dog on walks every day

Taking your dog on daily walks to public places, and around your neighborhood goes a long way in making your dog more accustomed to, and comfortable with the universe and the people in it. When your dog sees the kids coming from school, the school buses and cars being driven up and down the street, and even other animals like cats, the world becomes less scary than before, even after a few walks around your block. You can also change the routes frequently so that your dog can see more, and even get the chance to meet new friends, and a variety of beautiful sights and smells for them to experience. You get benefit from these walks as well!

Make it interesting

Mix it up a little, and let your dog meet a wide range of people: seniors, men, children and women; this will help your dog get used to the idea of people who seem and look different. If your dog only gets used to spending time with you, he may become suspicious of anyone else who is not you.

Make your dog’s calendar diverse, so they can meet many more people and have more experiences.

Remain calm if your dogs act scared when they meet new people and dogs, and don’t push them. Finally, make sure that when people approach your dog to pet it, assure your dog that this person is a good person. Dogs don’t speak English, but they do understand inflections in your voice and body language. Keep tones upbeat. If you have any reservations about your pet’s behavior, ask the other pet owner not to approach.

Take your dog to dog parks and dog-friendly businesses

Dog at restaurant
Courtesy of

Let your furry best friend take laps around the dog park and meet and make new friends. Also, you could set up play dates with your friends who have dogs, and your dog may end up striking a great friendship with these newly found furry friends.

A trip to the pet store is great fun for your pet. Bring your pet when you go and get pet supplies. Employees have been trained to deal with dogs and usually have treats to hand out.

Try a pet friendly restaurant. Most any restaurant with outdoor dining is pet friendly these days. Have your pet sit at your feet and enjoy looking around at a new environment. Best to try this in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon the first couple of times when the restaurant will not be as crowded.

After all your efforts, if you do not see a change in attitude in your dog around other dogs or people, you may consider a professional trainer.

It is important to note that more practice brings about more improvement, therefore ensure that you leash train your dog, and increase their interaction with others, and traveling with your dog will be much easier; that is, if everyone else behaves!

Find more information on traveling with a pet.

Duncan Kingori has been in the writing profession for a decade now. He has great experience writing informative articles and his work has been appreciated and published in many popular publications.

Airline Pet Travel – Five Tips to Help Select the Best Route When Transporting Your Pet


Traveling with a pet can be challenging, especially flying with one. There are so many things to think about before finding the right route to transport your pet, then selecting an airline then booking a reservation. Here are a few things you should be thinking about:

Does your airline’s pet policy allow animals? Does the airline fly your route directly? How long should your layover be? Can you change airlines in the layover city? Does your destination country require that your pet enter as air cargo? Can your dog fly in the cargo hold during summer and winter months? Is your dog a larger breed of dog or other animal? Is your dog a breed known to be “dangerous”? Is your dog or cat a snub-nosed breed?

How can your pet fly on a commercial airline?
Before addressing all these questions, you should know that there are three ways that animals can fly on an airplane: in-cabin, as checked baggage or as air cargo.

Flying your pet in the cabin
When flying in the cabin, unless your pet is an emotional support or service animal, your pet will need to fit in an airline-compliant pet carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. Your pet should fit entirely in the carrier, be able to stand up and turn around and be comfortable in the carrier.


Generally, if an airline’s pet policy allows pets in the cabin, it will allow small dogs and cats. Other animals such as rabbits and birds may or may not be accepted in the cabin. Service animals, those trained to assist with a physical disability or seizures, are always allowed; however, they may be restricted to dogs or dogs, cats and miniature horses as they are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Policies regarding emotional support and comfort animals vary by airline.

Flying in the cargo hold
When flying either as checked baggage or air cargo, your pet will fly in the cargo hold which will be temperature and pressure controlled. It must fly in an IATA-compliant pet crate, which, hopefully, you have acclimated it to before being transported.

With checked baggage, your pet must be accompanied by a passenger and will be checked in at the terminal ticket counter. Generally, this class of service is for pets too large to fly in the cabin but under 70-80 pounds including its crate (maximum weight varies by airline).


When flying as air cargo, unaccompanied pets, larger pets, and pets other than those allowed to fly in-cabin or checked baggage will be checked in and claimed at your airline’s cargo facility. Air cargo is a more expensive class of service as your pet is tracked at every airport on the itinerary. The airline will also assume more responsibility for caring for your pet during the layover when flying as air cargo and many airlines will require that an agent in the originating airport book international pet travel.

How to select the best route when transporting your pet by air.
Here are 5 tips to finding the best route for your pet’s transport.

1.Know the import regulations of your destination country if flying internationally.
If your pet is flying internationally, you need to know what class of service your pet must fly to enter your destination country. Many countries require that your pet enter as air cargo such as Australia, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. Most countries will allow your pet to enter in-cabin or as checked baggage as well.

All countries will require that pets clear customs at inspection points in that country, so you will need to make sure your pet’s first stop in a country is approved to clear live animals. Additionally, if your pet is flying to the United Kingdom, it must arrive on approved airlines.

You can find information on requirements to enter over 200 countries at

international pet transport clearing customs
Courtesy of

2. Keep your pet on the same airline
No matter whether your pet is flying domestically or internationally, you need to route your pet’s transport with the same airline company for the entire trip. Once you find an airline that serves your pet’s route, research their airline pet policies and any restrictions they may have regarding flying your pet.

The reason to keep your pet on the same airline is that the airlines do not interline pets, meaning they do not move pets from a plane owned by one airline company to a plane owned by another airline company during a layover.

So, if your pet must change airline companies on a layover, someone must claim it, clear customs (if traveling internationally) and recheck it on the next airline. When traveling internationally, this will mean that your pet must conform to regulations of the layover country. This can really complicate things depending on animal import requirements of the layover country.

If your pet stays on the same airline during the layover, then, if you are flying with your pet in the cabin, you will stay in the secure area of the airport until you board your next flight. If flying in the hold, your pet will transit the layover country and will not need to clear customs. If your layover is over 3 hours, contact your airline to make sure they will hold your pet during the layover. A transit permit may be required.

3. Minimize layovers and keep them short
The third thing to know when routing your pet’s transport is to find an airline that flies your route directly (non-stop). More handling means more stress for your pet. If this is not possible, then layovers should be short, under 3 hours if possible, especially if your pet is flying as checked baggage. Many airlines have facilities in their hub airports to care for your pet (walking, feeding, crate cleaning, etc.) and will do so for layovers exceeding 3 hours if your pet is flying as air cargo.

Pet owners should also be aware of welfare regulations if your trip is very long. Pets, especially puppies or kittens, should not be confined in a crate for very long flights, and your airline may require a rest stop. You should discuss this with them before booking their transport.

planes at airport terminals

4. Leave from larger airport
When flying a pet on a commercial airline, the goal is to get your pet to its destination as directly as possible. The less handling, the better. If your pet is flying from a smaller or regional airport, a direct flight will likely not be possible as airlines generally route through major airports to consolidate their long-haul flights. You may want to consider renting a car and driving to a large, international airport if there is one relatively nearby to catch a direct flight to your pet’s destination, to cut down on the layovers, and to have a larger selection of airlines to choose from.

5. Watch the weather
It is always best to transport a pet in the cargo hold during Spring and Fall when temperatures are not extreme. For the safety of your pet, it should not be exposed to ground temperatures over 85 degrees F* (30 degrees C) or under 45 degrees F (7 degrees C) in any airport on your pet’s itinerary. (origination, layover or destination airports). Holding areas of cargo facilities are generally exposed to the cold and heat. Also, live animals are brought out to the aircraft with other baggage and loaded last, so they can spend time on the tarmac before loading. This is the time they are most at risk; not when airborne, but when on the ground. *75 degrees if your pet is brachycephalic (snub-nosed).

pet transport in winter

If it is not possible to travel during times of mild temperatures, try to find flights late in the evening or early in the morning (summer) or at mid-day (winter) when temperatures are not at their extreme. You will also need to be flexible as as the airline’s decision as to whether to accept live animals on the flight will come on the day and time of departure.

Flying with a larger pet
Large pets must always fly in the cargo hold in larger crates. Before booking, you will need to check with your airline to see whether the cargo door on the aircraft serving your route is large enough to accommodate your pet’s crate. When flying from smaller airports, this may be an issue, and you may need to drive to a larger airports that are able to serve larger aircraft.

Breed Restrictions and Snub-Nosed Pets
Owners of dog breeds generally classified as dangerous and also those transporting snub-nosed dogs and cats must be extremely careful in routing transport for their pets. All airlines have restrictions on these pets and most, including all US-based airlines, will not fly them in the cargo hold. Also, some airlines will require IATA CR82-compliant pet crates for dogs whose breeds are classified as dangerous.

CR82 pet crate
Example of IATA CR82 Pet Crate available at

Contact your airline
Regardless of the airline you select to transport your pet, always contact your airline to confirm that they allow pets on your specific route. Contact their cargo department if your pet is flying as air cargo. Make a reservation for your pet as soon as you can as there are a limited number of pets permitted per flight, no matter what class of service they are transported under.

Keeping these tips in mind when routing your pet’s transport can prevent errors in routing which could result in major consequences for both you and your pet as well as cancellation fees and the possibility of customs clearance in a foreign country. Find more information on flying with a pet.

If you need assistance with booking transport for your pet, email, and we would be happy to help you.

Keeping Your Pets Safe at Christmas

Cat looking at Christmas Lights - Keep Your Pets Safe at Christmas
Courtesy of Adorable Animal Photography

Christmas is a beautiful time of year filled with lights, decorations, parties and meals spent with friends and family. It is a time of distraction with lots to do and not as much time to relax and keep an eye on what everyone is up to. All of the trimmings of the season can also be dangerous to your pets. Here are some important tips on keeping your pets safe at Christmas.

The season is a time of wonderment for your dog or cat. There are new things to explore that they do not normally see in their day-to-day lives. Glittery things, things that light up and blink, new smells from holiday candles, Christmas trees and, of course, all of the goodies in the kitchen that go along with the holiday can appeal to their senses and encourage them to investigate. They need to know how these things fit in their world and, of course, whether they are good to eat!

Keeping pets safe from Christmas decorations

Many of our typical holiday decorations can cause havoc on our dogs or cats’ digestive system. If ingested, and many of them can cause serious illness to your pet. Consider these tips when decorating for the holidays.

You should secure your Christmas tree with a stable stand. Avoid glass ornaments as they can be a hazard (and a mess) if they fall off the tree. Decorate the bottom of the tree carefully. Use decorations that cannot be eaten or will not entice your cat or dog to play with them. If you have a real tree, keep the water in the stand out of sight. That way, your furry friends will not be tempted to squeeze under the tree for a drink. Secure and hide all cords for lights on your tree.

Tinsel – can you imaging what this will do to a cat’s stomach and intestine if eaten? Eating or even licking tinsel can lead to a very unpleasant stomach.

Salt and Dough Ornaments – although ornaments made from salt dough don’t smell particularly appealing to us, your dog or cat may think differently. Salt toxicosis causes vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination and coordination issues. This can result from eating these ornaments, so hang them high on the tree.

Wrapping Paper – clean up bits and pieces of ribbon and wrapping paper that hit the deck when you wrap gifts. If it looks pretty, it must taste good, right? Keep wrapped packages hidden or out of reach until Christmas morning.

Snow globes – many imported snow globes contain antifreeze which can cause kidney failure and even death. If you have them, put them where they cannot wind up broken on the floor.

Lights and Batteries – those beautiful fairy lights you use for decorating can be harmful to a cat or dog. After all, to understand how something works, doesn’t it need to be chewed? Keep these out of reach of inquisitive minds.

Poinsettias, Mistletoe and Ivy – the leaves from poinsettias can cause your dog stomach upset and/or diarrhea if eaten in large quantity. Berries from mistletoe contain polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins. When eaten, mistletoe can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Eating ivy, amaryllis or Christmas cactus will cause the same symptoms. Certainly, this will go a long way in ruining Christmas for everyone.

Candles – you should light these only when you are in the room. Your pet can knock a candle over and cause a fire hazard. Keep candles out of reach from larger dogs who tend to eat everything they come in contact with. Some Labs and Golden Retrievers are famous for this. Opt instead for LED candles.

Christmas foods that can be dangerous for your pets


Making cookies and other Christmas goodies is part of a traditional holiday for many pet owners. The smells that you create in the kitchen are simply irresistible to our furry friends. You can bet they will be waiting to taste your creations.

Here are some foods to watch out for keep your pet safe at Christmas.

Artificial Sweeteners – many bakers cutting back on sugar make recipes for Christmas cakes and cookies that use artificial sweeteners. These contain Xylitol which, even small amounts, can cause low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. There are many recipes on the Internet for cookies that are safe for dogs at Christmas.

Chocolate – contains theo bromide which can cause muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack.

Grapes and Raisins – keep both of these far away from your dog and cat. Eating these can cause acute kidney failure and even death.

Garlic, Chives and Onions – all of these are no-nos. They come from the allium family and are poisonous to dogs and cats. Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is also toxic to cats and dogs. It can cause red blood cells in your dog or cat to burst. That certainly gets our attention, right?

Macadamia Nuts – these little jewels are so good and many pet owners splurge on them for the holidays. No slipping one to your dog or cat. Eating macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hypothermia in dogs.

Blue Cheese – Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton all contain a mycotoxin called roque fortine that is naturally produced by various fungi. Why would we want to add mold to our pet’s diet? Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton are also high in fat and sale, both of which are a danger to your pet.

Other tips for keeping your pets safe at Christmas

Set Rules – make the rules clear to your guests. There will be no feeding your pets anything except treats that you have made available for them. Bag up special treats for them before everyone arrives. Your guests will love to give your pet a special treat. It is great way to introduce them to your cat or dog. Some great yummies are a small piece of plain cheese, lowfat dog or cat treat or a carrot or biscuit that you have broken up. It is better than your guests slipping them what they think will make your pet happy.

Christmas Cheer – libations for your pets are out. Gather up any glasses left unattended, and watch out for those punch bowls. Alcohol can be deadly for a dog or cat.

Seasonal Grub – Salty, spicy and fatty foods should stay on your plate including turkey, stuffing, onions, casseroles and nuts. They are too rich for your dog or cat’s digestive system. Who wants to clean that up in front of your guests while dressed in holiday garb?

Watch the Trash – keep garbage cans closed securely. Scavengers can work fast and it is no fun to clean up garbage spilled all over your kitchen floor.

Safe Spaces – Make sure that your pet has a safe place to retreat to if things get overwhelming.Pets who are untrained, hyper, aggressive, territorial or just plain shy should be confined during holiday parties.

Get Moving – exercise your pet before the gathering arrives, if possible. A tired dog will be more likely to be less active during the merriment.

Traveling – find some great tips on how to keep your pets safe when traveling during the holidays here.

Some simple adjustments can go a long way when keeping your pets safe at Christmas. Who wants to rush their best friend to an emergency hospital during the holidays? Have a wonderful and fun season with your family and your pets.

What You Must Do Before Traveling With a Pet

Traveling with Dog and CatTraveling with a pet can be daunting, especially the first time you both leave home. Whether you are driving or flying, travel can be either stressful or it can be fun and exciting. Wouldn’t it be nice if your pet understood what was going on and did not shadow you looking unsure and anxious as soon as you pull out your suitcase?

Preparing your cat or dog for traveling is one of the most important things you can do to help them get through it. As for you, your worries about their welfare should subside a bit knowing that you have properly prepared them for the experience.

Getting good equipment like pet carriers for smaller pets and pet crates for larger pets to keep them safe is so important. Safety comes first and a carrier or crate that falls apart means your pet can escape which is never good.

The focus here will be how to mentally prepare your pet for traveling, whether by car or air. This preparation is crucial to lessen the stress that your pet may feel on travel day.

There are two major reasons why your dog or cat may be anxious when traveling. First, you are removing them from their known environment in which they have explored and feel comfortable. Second, and especially when flying, they will be separated from you during this time and cannot draw support from your presence. There are ways that you can address both of these fears before hitting the road, but it will take some time.

How do pets learn?

How do dogs and cats learn

Courtesy of

Let’s take a brief moment to look at how dogs and cats learn. The first way is through social cues such as smells, body language and verbal commands. This form of learning is useful to help your pet make day-to-day decisions about things they encounter; however, this information comes to them primarily from their surroundings and not so much learned from humans. And, in most animals, scents and smells will trump verbal commands. This is because scent is an extremely important part of learning to your dog or cat. More on that later.

The second form of learning is referred to as conditioning. This type of learning is imposed on your pet from humans and is used a lot in behavioral training. Conditioning is a crucial tool that can be used to lessen stress for your pet when traveling, and it will result in  building experiences well ahead of travel.

How can you use this technique of conditioning to prepare your pet for traveling? Simply put, when you take the steps to introduce your pet to its crate or carrier and to being removed from its environment (and maybe you), you create experiences for your dog or cat to remember. That is why dogs and cats who have traveled previously are better travelers; because they have the prior experience to draw upon. And they know that, in the end, they will be happily reunited with you because you will practice doing that over and over again.

The time and steps it takes to complete the process depends on your pet, its personality and its willingness or interest to learn. If you are lucky enough to skip a step, that is awesome. If you are not lucky, you may have to back up a step and try again. Either way, set aside time each day to work on conditioning your dog or cat to travel.  Patience is paramount here. Stay strong, positive and consistent. The payoff will be worth the effort.

Get good equipment

cat traveling in crateStart by getting your equipment early. If you have a small dog or cat, it may be able to travel in a pet carrier. If your pet is larger or your airline requires it, your pet will travel in a pet crate. Either way, it is important to introduce this new home to them as early as possible. Making a last-minute decision to travel with a pet is not a good idea unless your dog or cat is a seasoned traveler.

First Experience: introducing the new home

Once you have received your carrier or crate, put it in a place where it is easily accessible and as close to where you and your pet spend your day as possible. Take time to introduce the crate or carrier. Keep all access available; zippers open and flaps up and only use the bottom half of the crate.

Put a pet pad, favorite toys and a treat or two inside the crate. Also, include a “used” t-shirt or towel of yours so that your pet will smell your scent when in the carrier or crate. (hence the reference in the paragraph about social cues above). Personalize the crate or carrier to them and make it their second home – their safe place.

Spend time each day encouraging your pet to venture inside the carrier or crate. Feed them there if room permits. Encourage them to sleep in their carrier or crate by putting their bedding in it if room allows. Remember that conditioning your dog or cat for traveling involves rewarding them for good behavior, so treats and attention at every step of the way are crucial for success.

Don’t get discouraged if your pet is slow to take to its new home. Remember that your pet  learns also from your body language. Stay upbeat and try various methods to encourage them to stay inside the crate. (new toys, catnip, etc.)

When some level of comfort is achieved, then put the top half of the crate and the door on, but leave the door open. Note if their willingness changes. More time and attention may be needed at this point.

Second Experience: closing doors

Once your dog or cat is comfortable in the carrier or crate, close it while your pet is in it; however, stay with them and offer verbal encouragement. This step should be performed multiple times for longer periods. Should your pet object when the door is closed, keep it open for a while before closing it.

Third Experience: home alone

Next, move them to a place where they cannot see you. Again, do this for short periods at first, then longer periods and always, when returning, reward them for their good behavior with treats and attention.

Fourth Experience: introducing the car

dogs in car

Courtesy of

Now it’s time to introduce the car. Whether you are flying or driving, you will likely start your travels in a car. It is better to have your pet in the carrier before leaving the house, but may not be possible for larger dogs.

If you hear objections to this step the first time, don’t start the car. Just put them in, wait for 5 or 10 minutes with them, take them back in the house and let them out. If you do not sense signs of stress, start the car and either just let it idle or drive around the block. Short trips, then longer trips. Each time, remember to reward good behavior and never punish bad behavior.

If one of the few times your pet has been in the car is to go to the veterinarian, you will need to undo this experience as it certainly was not a happy experience for them. Creating happy experiences will go a long way in conditioning your pet for traveling.

Fifth Experience: go somewhere fun

Next step is to take your dog or cat to somewhere fun: the dog park, a pet store or the home of a pet-friendly friend or relative. Again, lots of “good boys” or “good girls” when you get home and don’t forget the treats.

This step may be a bit difficult with cats, so you may want to take them to a pet friendly restaurant or anywhere where your cat can stay with you while in its carrier. The more your pet is removed from their environment, the better. After all,the goal is to build experiences for them, right?.

Sixth Experience: the cargo hold

Dog in Crate at AirportIf your pet is flying in the cargo hold of an airplane, it is hard to create the environment they will be in. One thing you can do is to put them in a dimly-lit location in your home while in their crate for a time.

Also, try accompanying them through an old-fashioned car wash while in their crate. All the while, reassure them that you are there and closely observe their reaction. When you feel they are ready, send them through on their own. You will have the cleanest car in town and your pet will have another experience to draw on.

Seventh Experience: travel day

If you have done a good job with the first 5 or 6 steps, then travel day will be like another outing and the experiences you have created for your pets will be what they draw upon for assurance. Certainly, they should know that you will rejoin them as soon as they finish their new experience because you have done that every step of the way.

Traveling with a pet does not need to be as stressful as it seems if you take the time to condition your dog to travel. The payoff for both of you will be significant.