Dear fellow pets,

As a jet-setting pet myself, I want to wish you bone-voyage on your upcoming travel plans. However, I must warn you—trusting a human with your summer travel itinerary almost ensures lots of turbulence, speed bumps, and wrong turns. Fortunately, the always supportive Tamberly Animal Hospital team helped me put together a survival guide for traveling responsibly with your owner.

Stay, ST-AAAAY—pet travel arrangements

If your owner proclaims “Not all who wander are lost,” you can almost guarantee you are completely and entirely lost.

Likewise, “I’m sure they accept pets” is always cause for concern. Avoid embarrassment—and homelessness—by ensuring your owner calls every destination and transportation company in advance to confirm that they allow pets and that you meet the necessary health requirements (e.g., vaccines, parasite preventives, or screening tests). 

If you’re traveling internationally, your owner will need to find out your destination’s pet requirements. They should start with the United States Department of Agriculture’s pet travel resource, and then consult your Tamberly Animal Hospital veterinarian for guidance.

Strap yourself in, the ride could get bumpy—pet restraint

I know some of you retriever-types get overly excited about car travel, but protect that happy grinning face and wagging tail by riding in a secure crate or strapped in with a seat belt. Unrestrained pets can become projectiles during a sudden stop or a crash—meaning you could collide with your family, the highway, or be launched over the rainbow bridge … yeah, that one.

I know you think that whole head-out-the-window, ear-flapping, drool-flying thing is cool, but if you want to live to ride again, buckle up, or load up—don’t ride loose in the car.

Just scoop it—pet clean up

Don’t be a litterbug with your litter, or a little poop with your number twos. Leaving presents behind in the grass, in the hotel, or on the sidewalk is not polite—and can ruin a good pair of shoes that were otherwise chew-able.

Of course, to ensure proper pick-up, your owner has to pack the right suppliesI recommend they include:

  • Pick-up bags — Nothing says “World’s Best Dog Owner” like a poop bag in every pocket, or an entire roll hanging from your leash handle.
  • Paper towels — Owners can use these too, so they are a win-win.
  • Enzymatic cleaner — If you leave a message on a carpet or piece of furniture, an enzymatic pet cleaner is the only way to permanently delete the mess and prevent other pets from “commenting” on the same post—if you catch my drift.
  • Litter box and litter — If a plastic box is too much, low-sided cardboard boxes are a great disposable option. Bring extra litter—your cat’s regular style, unless you want a real mess on your hands.
  • Plastic bags — These can be used for litter and any other odiferous material, or trash. 
  • Honesty and gratitude — If you or your owner leave a mess or damage some property, be honest and report what happened during check-out. And, have your owner leave a tip for the housekeeping team—no matter how tidy you think you are, you’re still animals.

Leave it—control your owner around strange people and pets

Traveling humans can get excited by new places—and you may need to protect them from themselves. No matter how well-behaved and caring they may be at home, remember that you are in a new and stimulating environment, and they may not pay you much attention. Keep them on a fixed (i.e., non-retractable) leash whenever possible and don’t listen when they tell you to “Say hello,” unless they’re invited and the other party looks friendly. 

Likewise, if an unfamiliar or unleashed person or pet approaches, you and your human are entirely within your rights to turn and walk the other way. Not everyone is a golden retriever, and that’s OK.  

Roadside attraction—No pets left in the car

Parked cars and pets don’t mix. If your humans leave the vehicle, ensure they take you along. On a 70-degree day, a parked car can reach an interior temperature of 90 degrees in only 10 minutes. Heatstroke is a deadly condition that affects pets every year—many of whom are trapped in parked cars while their owner runs a simple errand.

Don’t get left behind—show your owner this American Veterinary Medical Association article on pets in vehicles, and don’t be afraid to bark or meow when they shift the car into park. 

The usual, please—pets—and owners—should avoid exotic foods

I know those new foods and flavors smell enticing, but take my word for it, and avoid unusual treats during travel. Unfamiliar foods and travel stress can create an unforgettable and entirely regrettable gastrointestinal adventure. For this same reason, steer your owner away from any “local specialties.” Stick with your regular diet throughout the trip and drink only bottled water—nothing from the toilet.

Traveling with your human is always an adventure, but setting a few rules before you leave home can ensure they remain well-behaved, attentive, and calm. With every successful pet travel endeavor, the whole world becomes a little more pet-friendly—so leash up and get going!

To ensure your pet is travel-ready, schedule an appointment at Tamberly Animal Hospital. Let our team know your destination so we can prepare any necessary documents in advance, and make your visit as efficient as possible. Happy travels!