Travel isn’t just for the two-legged members of your family; some people like to bring their pets along when they hit the open road. But before you pack up your furry friend, keep in mind that traveling with pets isn’t always a walk in the park. You need to ensure that your pet has a safe and secure travel experience, so you’ll have to do a little extra legwork before departure day arrives. Luckily, we’ve got some essential tips for prepping your pet for a trip.

DO Give Your Pet a Taste of Travel

Head Cat out of a car window in motion. summer

If this is the first time your pet has ever traveled, it could end up being a terrifying experience for him/her. To reduce stress for your furry friend and make the whole adventure far more pleasant, get your pet prepared for travel. Take them on drives so they become accustomed to the sensation of travel. Make sure your pet is comfortable being in a crate for a long period of time. If you can, find other ways to simulate aspects of travel. That way when the real day arrives, your pet will know what to expect — and end up a lot less stressed.

DON’T Skip Your Research

Pet laying in the lap of the owner who is typing on laptop

While you may consider your pet part of the family, not everyone feels the same way. Be sure to check that all the places you’ll be staying and visiting allows for pets. Find out what the rules and requirements are for traveling with an animal, and make sure your pet fulfills them all. If you need to schedule shots or get paperwork from a vet, do it sooner rather than later. The earlier you start planning, the more time you’ll have to ensure that every part of the trip is perfect for you and your best friend.

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DO Wear Them Out

Asian woman playing with her dog

Right before your trip, make sure to give your pet some serious play time to help them burn off excess energy. Either take them on a long walk or play with them until they’re worn out. If they’re totally wiped before the trip, your pet is far more likely to spend the duration of their travels snoozing away.

DON’T Forget Their Needs

cat drinks water

Your pet is going to need adequate food, water, and shelter during your trip. If they’re going to be in a car with you make sure you take frequent pit stops along the way. If they’re in a carrier, let them out for a breather. Be sure to offer them food and water. Take dogs on a quick walk at every stop in case they need to use the bathroom. For pets that will be flying, ensure that their carrier is comfortable and that they’ll have sufficient food and water for the trip. And if you can, always opt for direct flights.

DO Put Your Pet First

Cat in the airline cargo pet carrier waiting at the airport after a long journey

Ultimately, deciding to bring your pet along on a trip is up to you — they don’t exactly get a say in the matter. So make sure your plans prioritize your pet’s comfort and safety. Keep them in mind when considering the duration of your holiday, travel time, and accommodations. If your pet is naturally anxious or doesn’t deal well with change, consider leaving them home. At the end of the day, you want travel to be a positive experience for everyone involved, including your favorite furry companion.

DON’T Be Late

holiday vacation jack russell dog waiting in airport terminal ready to board the airplane or plane at the gate,

If you’re the type to arrive fashionably late, now would be a good time to ditch that practice. Leave yourself plenty of extra time when traveling with pets, in case there are any unexpected delays and complications. By not rushing you’ll also be less stressed, which in turn will keep your pet relaxed as well. Arriving early will also give you plenty of time to make sure your pet is settled, secure, and ready for their impending travels.

Got any other tips for getting your pet ready for travel? Let us know in the comments.

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