Tips For Traveling With Pets
Read Time: 8 minutes
Know Before You Go
Before traveling with your pet, you should always prepare for any worst-case scenarios. What would you do if your pet got lost en route to your final destination? Would you be able to track them down? Could you find a veterinarian nearby in the event of a medical emergency?
Take a look at where you're headed and familiarize yourself with the veterinarians nearby that may be able to help you in a medical emergency. You should also look into the things your pet needs to travel. If you intend to fly, you will need updated vaccines and a health certificate from your vet. You may also need a travel-approved pet crate and labels with your contact info, along with any necessary medical information.¹
Lastly, make sure that your pet is microchipped and wearing a collar with their name, your cell phone number, and other contact info at all times. It also doesn’t hurt to label everything—from your pet and their bedding to the crate they're riding in—to keep them safe and make sure you can find them if they get lost.
Consult Your Vet
You'll also want to get an appointment with your vet to make sure your pet is adequately vaccinated for your destination. For example, the leptospirosis vaccine may not be required, but the disease may be more prominent in the area you're traveling to. It may not hurt to have it just in case.²⁻³ When it comes to preventable diseases, it's always better to be safe than sorry!
Your vet visit is also a great time to discuss what to do about any of your pet's quirks—namely car sickness or travel anxiety. They may suggest Dramamine for car sickness.⁴ If your pet is a nervous traveler, your vet may prescribe a medication for the anxiety. They may also just avoid medication altogether, given that travel sometimes can make it a bit more difficult for your pet to thermoregulate.⁵
One option that may help with your pet's travel anxiety is CBD. CBD is non-intoxicating, so you don’t have to worry about your pet zoning out in the back of the car. It may also make it easier for them to manage chronic pain, stress, and anxiety when taken it daily.⁶⁻⁸ Most importantly, CBD seems to have a balancing effect that supports essential functions in the body such as their appetite, mood, metabolism, and even body temperature.⁹
Once you're set and your pet passes the health check, have the vet print you a copy of your pet’s health certificate so you don't run into any hiccups at the airport. A physical copy of the certificate also helps in emergency medical situations. Knowing what's going on with your pet will make it much easier to get your pet the proper care they need if you have to take a trip to the emergency room—and your regular vet can't get doctors their medical records in time.
Start With A Travel Kit And Monitor Food & Water
In addition to your pet's medical info and health certificate, your go-bag should include enough food for the entire trip (1-2 bowls), a collar and leash, disposable bags for when nature calls, grooming supplies, a first-aid kit, and any necessary medication. If your pet is susceptible to car sickness or travel anxiety, you may want to pack some CBD chews and Dramamine.¹⁰
It also helps to bring a couple bottles of water from hom—especially if your pet has a sensitive stomach. Drinking water from unfamiliar areas could result in a case of the runs—which isn’t fun for anyone involved, at the airport or in the car. The same can be said for food. If possible, try to avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle to help prevent any tummy troubles; and change their eating schedule while you're on the road.
A light meal 3-4 hours before your departure may help with their eating and pooping habits while you're in the car or the air. However, if your pet is notorious for stress diarrhea, you may want to skip a meal entirely. Feeding them a little less than usual could help avoid accidents in transit.
Prepare The Crate
When your pet is stressed out 35,000 feet up in the air—or hurtling down busy freeways at high speeds—you will probably want a crate. You'll want one for your pet's comfort, but also in the event of any kind of accident. Your pet should travel in a well-ventilated crate that is large enough for them to stand, sit down, lie down, and turn around in. You should be able to secure it so that your pet doesn't slide around or go flying in the event of any abrupt stops. Keep in mind that crates can actually be a comforting and secure area for your pet in times of stress.¹¹
You can pack their crate with a favorite toy, but don't stuff it with everything that they own. Try keeping it pretty sparse so that they can get comfortable. The crate should have a soft blanket that doesn't get too warm to prevent overheating. Sometimes it helps to forgo the blanket inside the crate and instead place one over the top—especially for cats who become uncomfortable in moving vehicles.
Tips For When You’re Flying
Unless your pet is small enough to ride alongside in the cabin with you, flying with pets isn't ideal.¹² It can be done but comes with its own set of risks. The cargo areas on commercial planes aren't great. The temperatures and air pressure can change drastically; not to mention it is dark and full of loud noises. Many medications could be dangerous due to these fluctuations; especially since it can make it harder for them to warm up or cool down. If your pet’s susceptible to anxiety, the entire experience can be terrifying. However, if you must travel this way, start with these tips:
- Talk to your vet. — If you do intend to travel by air, always ask your veterinarian about some of the side effects of your pet’s current medications to see if they are fit to travel on an airplane. If they're not, it's probably best to leave your pet at home or board them at a pet-friendly care facility.
- Book a direct flight. — Layovers can create unnecessary stress for everyone involved. Direct flights can reduce the chances of your pet being stuck on the tarmac in extreme weather conditions—or mishandled by baggage people during the layover itself.
- Make it known you're traveling with a pet. — While at the airport (both on the ground and in the sky), tell everyone you encounter your pet is in the cargo hold. This could help in the event of any delays or situations where you may be worried about the well-being of your pet. Airline personnel can check on your pet whenever it’s feasible and, in extreme conditions, may remove them from the cargo hold.
Tips For When You’re Driving
Driving is the preferred method for traveling with pets since monitoring their wellbeing is easier. While the travel kit, crate, and health certificates are a must, here are a few other things you should keep in mind if you want a smooth trip:
- Condition your pet for travel. — You can start by taking your pet on short drives at first and gradually increase time spent in the car before you head out. The more comfortable your pet is in the car, the more comfortable they'll be on longer trips. You can start doing this up to a month before your trip.
- Make sure your pet stays hydrated. — Offer them some of the water from your travel kit whenever it's appropriate. Pets can quickly get dehydrated on car rides; especially if they get motion sickness, diarrhea, or start vomiting. Stop frequently and offer water—or attach a bowl or water bottle to the crate to drink from as needed. You can also provide wet food instead of dry for extra moisture!
- Stop for potty breaks. — Whenever you stop for gas, leash your pet and take them for a pit stop in the grass. This will help them stretch their legs and reduce risk of accidents in the car. You can also stop at dog parks for a few minutes of fetch to help release their pent-up energy and keep your them relaxed in the car.
- Never leave them in the car unattended. — Cars are like little greenhouses—tending to get extremely hot or cold fast.¹³ Even with the windows down, your pet can overheat in no time. In extreme cold, pets can even freeze to death. Remember to remain in the car with your pet and never leave them unattended overnight or for any period of time.
Knowing When It's Best To Leave Them At Home
Sometimes, your pets will be much more comfortable staying home. If your trip involves visiting places that aren't pet-friendly—like restaurants, museums, and theme parks—you might want to kennel them or leave them with a friend or sitter. Even if you originally planned to have a pet-friendly vacation, an especially anxious pet will most likely be happier home with someone they trusts feeding them. Your pet will be super excited to see you when you get back—and travel diarrhea and anxiety aren’t the vibe on any trip.
There's a lot to consider when traveling with your pet. It can be a fun and rewarding experience if you take proper steps to prepare both of you for the journey ahead. With your pet's wellbeing at the forefront of everything you do, you can trust Lazarus Naturals CBD to help with facilitating a smooth, comfortable transition—wherever the road ahead may take you.