Top Ten Travel List Logo Show Mobile Menu

11 Tips for Smooth Traveling with your Pets

Traveling with pets - Top Ten Travel List












Traveling with pets can be a major hassle, although sometimes necessary.  Trust me I have had to take many road trips with pets and I have learned that you can never be too prepared! Take a look at a few of my tips and feel free to suggest some of your own!

Research pet friendly hotels in advance! The biggest mistake I have ever made was not checking if a hotel is pet friendly prior to a trip. You can sort hotels on to include only those that are pet friendly – make sure to call and verify as well. It is worth the extra effort or you could end up driving around all night going in and out of hotels to find one that accepts pets.

One great chain hotel that always accepts pets (and for free!) is La Quinta Inn and Suites. These hotels are nicer than your average 2 star and charge no pet fees (which can often be outrageous). In addition, they are often conveniently located right along the highway. There are plenty of locations throughout the country no matter where you are traveling.

Stop for frequent breaks – Let your pet get out and walk around for a bit so they don’t get too antsy. When my cat is acting up in the car, I pull over a take a small break. Walking around a bit outside can really make all the difference. I usually try to stop in a grassy rest stop with some walkable space. A water break is always a good refresher!

Limit food along the way – I usually just feed my pet before the trip in the morning, unless it is a really long drive. Most of the times they don’t need to eat again until you arrive at the hotel. This could lead to more of a mess along the way. On the other hand, I do stop to give water along the way.

Put your pet in a cage – I used to let my cat roam the car while traveling until I got sick of attempting to clean the hair all over the place. It is better to put them in the cage and take a few breaks along the way then to risk an accident and a dirty car! Plus, the meowing strangely simmers down when the cat is inside the cage!

Make sure the cage is large enough – Pets will be happier if they have room to stretch and walk around comfortably. Being trapped in a cage doesn’t sound like any fun to you does it…same goes for a pet! Give your pet time to get used to a cage (if new) before the trip. Also make sure that the cage is well ventilated.

Use a calming spray – I use a natural cat calming spray, which I spray on the seats and bedding inside the cage. The one I use is called Nutri-Vet Pet-Ease Natural Calming Spray. It really tends to simmer the cat down while on a long car ride (and without using dangerous chemicals).

Bring with a few pet toys – This will make your pet feel more comfortable on the road!

Pack essentials in an easy to reach spot – I keep pet bowls, leashes, and other essentials in the backseat so I can get to them easily. I don’t want to be digging around a trunk for hours trying to find what I need. Having everything easily on hand equals less stress!

Roll down your windows – Animals love getting some fresh air especially when they are inside a cage. Also, every once in a while let the passengers hold the pet for a while so they can get out of the cage for a bit.

Give your pet time to eat and go to the bathroom in the morning – Get up a bit earlier to feed your pet, let them eat, and then put the food away. This should help time the bathroom break to occur before your trip, not during it!

Don’t forget the leash – You will need a leash when stopping at the rest areas. This is something that I will forget unless I remind myself in advance. I put it right in the backseat for easy access.

Feel free to share some of your personal tips!



    • vida_llevares
    • March 25, 2013  at  12:11 PM

    Also, be careful with hotels that claim to be pet-friendly but are not actually. They dont have facilities for pets and even have quite many restrictions on pets.

  1. Yes definitely litter for cats – although some cats are really picky and would rather wait until you get the hotel.

    • rainflowermoon
    • March 23, 2013  at  11:20 PM

    I love these tips for traveling with your pet. I would also recommend short trips to begin with if your furry friend is not used to auto/truck/RV rides. I can’t say enough about the microchipping and collar with tag. My only question is, what if you are traveling with a cat? My guess is you’d bring the same things along with enough litter?

  2. Thanks for providing your tips! These area all great ideas. I agree with micro chipping your pets – most animal shelters provide that option now when you adopt from them. Bringing bottled is always a great idea too. Oh, and I can’t stand people who leave their pets in the car (especially on hot days) while they dine/go shopping, etc. Just leave your pet at home!

    • SkinTight
    • March 22, 2013  at  1:07 AM

    Good thing you care for your pets and want the best for them while they are moving. There are no laws or regulations of putting it in the side of the road to go to the bathroom. However in some areas like parks or sidewalks. It is law requirement to pick up and throw out their poop in the nearest garbage. It is mostly done with a grocery bag. Check the signs to see if it is against the rules to not pick up the poop.

    Get a big cage and out it in the trunk for them to stay in. Make sure they go to the bathroom before the trip and play with them A LOT! An hour prior to the trip! This will make them exhausted and they will probably want to fall asleep.

    Thank you and good luck with your move! – Qwerty


    Here are some extra helpful tips!

    1: Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. And P.S., it’s smart to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.

    2: Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. And please be sure to always secure the crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.

    3: Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Don’t feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle—even if it is a long drive.

    4: Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

    5: What in your pet’s traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.

    6: Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear flat (never choke!) collars, please.

    7: Don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. He could be injured by flying objects. And please keep him in the back seat in his crate or with a harness attached to a seat buckle.

    8: Traveling across state lines? Bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states requires this proof at certain interstate crossings. While this generally isn’t a problem, it’s always smart to be on the safe side.

    9: When it comes to H2O, we say BYO. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area he’s not used to could result in tummy upset for your pet.

    10: If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers, available at auto product retailers.

    11: Don’t feed your dog a lot before travel, since they are prone to a lot of motion sickness which can cause your dog to barf.

    • mudrock
    • March 22, 2013  at  12:18 AM

    I agree with Rachele. Taking pets on car trips for me has always been a stressful situation but this article is amazing and has provided a lot of great tips that I will definitely try out. Bringing Pets toys and bones can help with the barking.

    • dogbert784
    • March 21, 2013  at  5:39 PM

    Saw a lady who carries her dog everywhere with her. Some pets get used to it, I guess.

    • Rachele
    • March 20, 2013  at  9:47 PM

    I can’t really figure out why people take their pet on a massive road trip. That’s not really fun for an animal who is sat in a cage for hours at a time, surely. And how on earth do they go to the toilet in a car or a hotel room? I would never make my cat endure a lengthy car journey.

Travel With Us!