traveling with pets

Tips and Advice for Traveling with a Pet

February 16, 2011
By:  Michelle Bogner, Recruitment Specialist

If you travel for a living, you know that a lot of planning and preparing goes into making sure you have a successful assignment. When you throw a pet (or two) into the mix, there's a lot more to think about...but a lot more fun as well! Here are nine quick tips for hitting the road with your pet:

1. Pack their health docs. Chances are you've just filled out and turned in documents for yourself...but don't forget your pet! It's a good idea to pack your pet's medical records, vaccination records, and any other pertinent info just in case you need to see a vet while you're away from home. Also, it's a good idea to have a current picture of your pet with you in case they happen to slip away from you.

2. Take breaks. When you're traveling, if you need a break, chances are your pet does too. Make sure to keep their food intake to a minimum, and give them plenty of chances to stretch their legs and use the restroom.

3. Safety first. It's really cute for your cat or small dog to be sunning themselves on the dashboard, but it's not safe at all. Make sure all pets are properly restrained when traveling so they don't get injured during turns or sudden stops. Also, you don’t want them to be able to dart out of the car when you open the door when you stop.

4. Know the lay of the land. Once you get to your new “home for the next three months,” scope out safe walking paths and parks nearby. Check out the leash laws for your new area and make sure you stay compliant. Also, locate the nearest veterinarian's office or emergency animal clinic. You'll want to have this information on hand before you actually need it.

5. Get new ID tags. Get a new tag for your pet with your contact information, plus your new address. This way, if they slip away, the person that finds them will know where they belong.

6. Give them time to adjust. Sometimes it takes pets (especially cats) a while to adjust to the idea of a new home. You can make this process easier by using familiar items, like blankets, food bowls, litter boxes, etc., and putting them in a similar place as they would be in your permanent home. Make sure to keep your pets confined so that they won't try to head “back home”.

7. Protect yourself. If you're moving into an apartment, document the condition of the apartment with pictures when you move in. Unfortunately, pets can sometimes be blamed for damage they really didn't create. With pictures, you'll be protecting yourself from incurring damage charges.

8. Keep them busy. To keep pets out of trouble while you're away, give them something to do! Try interactive pet toys that are designed to keep your pet's attention on the toy and not on the couch. Also, if they have several favorite toys, try rotating their favorite toys out so that something always seems “new” to them.

9. Have fun! You brought your pet along because it is your best friend, right? So, make sure to involve them in as many activities as possible. Find dog parks, hiking trails, pet friendly restaurants, or even pet play groups so your pet can experience all of the new sights and sounds (and smells!) of your new city too!