Pet Health

Have Pet. Will Travel.

Traveling can be a stressful thing. There’s the expense, the planning, getting the time off of work, rushing to catch a flight or sitting in traffic on the drive. Add to that a pet coming along for the journey and things just got a whole lot more complicated.

Traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be a headache for you or your four-legged friend. These tips will help ensure a stress-free traveling experience for both you and your furry companion. 

Road Trip

If your dog is not used to riding in the car very much, it is wise to take them on a couple shorter car rides before heading out on a long road trip for the first time. Let them get used to the motions of the car.

You also want to make sure your pet is comfortable for the long journey. Set up their favorite blanket for them to snuggle in to. You can also spray the car with essential oils like lavender or even use a pheromone spray to ease any anxiety they may be feeling.

My boys buckled up and snuggled in on one of our many road trips.

My boys buckled up and snuggled in on one of our many road trips.

Safety First!

If you are heading out on the road with your pet, please keep them safe. Purchasing a harness for the car was one of the best things I did for my two dogs. It allows them to sit, snuggle up and even poke their head out the window, but keeps them to a restricted area and will protect them from being tossed around the car if we are ever in an accident.

A bonus for me was that as soon as I started using the harness, my dogs were much calmer on the ride. They couldn’t fidget about the backseat and would just settle in and relax. It makes for a much more pleasant ride for all of us.


If you are not wanting to bring your dog along to wherever it is you are headed, consider a trusted friend or family member to puppy-sit for you. They can come to your house or your pets can go to theirs if you think they would do well in that environment. This is obviously a much tougher option during the holidays when everyone is busy with travel and festivities of their own, but makes a great options for the occasional getaway.


There are plenty of hotels that accept pets. The key is to plan ahead and call around to learn their unique pet policy and pricing. You can expect each hotel to charge some type of fee for your pet’s stay.

* When looking for a pet-friendly hotel during the holidays, keep in mind, they will book up fast so be sure to schedule your stay in advance.


Smaller dogs can be stowed under your seat in a carrier on many flights. Larger dogs can be crated and placed in the cargo area during your flight. I myself am skeptical about this as the air pressure and temperature can be bothersome to many different breeds of dogs, but many people have had success with this method of travel. To each their own!


If you plan to stay at a hotel or fly with your pet, be sure to find out their requirements in advance. Many require different types of documentation proving vaccinations and other things.

Before You Leave

You’ll want to tucker your pup out before leaving for any lengthy travel. Take them on a long walk, wrestle around in the living room or just throw their tennis ball until they surrender in defeat. This will help keep them relaxed and make it easier for them to settle in and sleep through more of the journey. This will make it less stressful for them and much easier on you.

* There are lots of rest stops that have fenced in dog areas where you can give them a good run along the way if they start to build up some excess energy mid-way through your travel too.

Be Patient

Yes, travel is stressful on you, but it is equally stressful on your pet. They too are leaving the comforts of home, rushing from here to there and staying in a new, unfamiliar place. Do your best to stay patient and understanding of your dog’s feelings, as to not make the situation worse by yelling or scolding them if they act out. Your pets feed off of your energy, so stay calm and enjoy the journey that leads to your exciting destination ahead.


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