Ah, summer. The time of the year when you leave work behind and head out on vacation. And if you’re thinking of taking along your pet too, new air travel choices and great pet-friendly hotels make it easy to do so. Just remember though, planning in advance is key to making sure all family members have an enjoyable, safe and stress-free time.


According to our resident veterinarian experts, you should first evaluate whether your four-legged family member is okay with car rides:

Becoming One With The Road

Even before you start the engine, put your pooch or kitty in their kennel, crate or seat belt in your car. Open the window and let them get used to the smell of your car. Feed them their regular food or treats and give them their favorite toy to play with. This will help your pet associate car rides with good things.

Angry Kitten with Open Mouth Inside Carriage Box

Of course, never, ever leave your dog or cat alone in the car. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or not. It’s definitely not cool.

So your pet seems comfortable in the car. Great! Next time, start the engine and drive for a few minutes to a favorite destination like a park or the beach. Gradually increase the length of the car rides until pooch or kitty is relaxed and shows no signs of stress (like barking or pacing).

And if your pooch isn’t happy in the car even after a couple weeks, there are other ways to relieve their stress. Try a pheromone collar or a Thundershirt dog anxiety vest. As a last resort, you can also visit your family vet to discuss medication options—although neither of our experts recommends giving your pet a sedative unless it’s an extreme situation.

Getting Sick Of In The Car

Car sickness happens to pets and humans. But we can do a few things to relieve pooch or kitty’s stomach upset. Check with your vet to see if you can give your pet Dramamine, a relaxant and motion sickness reducer. If you prefer natural products, Vet’s Best Travel Calm is a soothing, calming mix containing ginger—a spice used to treat human tummy troubles too.

Final Preparations

Once your pet is comfortable traveling by car, it’s time to focus on final preparations save you time and hassle during your vacation:

  1. Make sure your pet is micro-chipped or wearing a collar so if they get lost, they will be make sure they are identifiable to shelters, rescues and local authorities.
  2. Give your dog a good bath the day before your trip and take along body mists to keep your pooch smelling fresh (but check local laws when traveling by air).
  3. Prepare a pet backpack. Our favorite items for pooch or kitty include:
    • A water bowl with bottles of water
    • Your pet’s favorite food—don’t wait to buy it during your travels as you might not find the food your pet likes or needs
    • A pet waste bag dispenser and extra bags—responsible pet parents always clean up after their four-legged friends
    • Any medications or supplements your pet needs
    • Pet diapers (better safe than sorry). Be smart and carry a simple solution for pet accidents.

Now you’re ready to set off. What else do you pack for your pets? Tell us in the comments below!

And stay tuned for our next installment of “Traveling with your Pet,” where we’ll offer tips for when you’re on the road.