Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The opportunity to escape from the daily grind and immerse in a new destination is nothing short of enthralling. But like most experiences, what makes traveling even more pleasurable is the company you keep. As a pet parent, one of my favored travel companions is none other than my furry, four-legged baby! Bringing him along on a road trip never fails to make the journey more fun-filled and memorable.
With just a little planning and preparation, traveling with your pets can be simple and stress-free. Here are some of my personal, tried-and-tested tips for pet travel. Whether it’s your first time or your nth time, these 7 useful tips will help make that dream vacation a reality.
1. Pick the Paw-fit Destination. Choose a pet-friendly location that both you and your pet will enjoy. Do your research to find a destination that welcomes pets as guests. There are only a couple of them around, so it is best to contact the hotel or resort in advance to find out about their pet policies before confirming your travel booking. Some places may charge an extra fee if you bring a pet with you, while some may have restrictions on the size and the breed of the pet allowed within the premises. For first-timers, I would recommend a road trip no more than 3 to 4 hours away. Tagaytay, Subic, and Batangas are some of my top picks.
2. Prepare your Pet Keep your pet’s personality and preferences in mind. If your pet is not used to being in a moving vehicle, go on several test rides prior to the actual trip. For pets that get anxious during car rides, calming treats may work wonders. Most dogs love the outdoors, so anywhere with greens and grass would be an ideal choice. Not all dogs may enjoy swimming in the ocean or digging sand on the beach, though, so introduce this place slowly and observe how your pet responds to the new environment.
3. I learned that my furbaby doesn’t really like the feel of sand on his paws, so when we go to the beach, I usually let him sit off-leash on a beach chair where he can feel the wind on his face, sniff the fresh air, watch people pass by, and just spend quality time with us. He loves that tremendously.
4. Pack Pawfectly Packing for your pet isn’t much different from packing for a child. Being a mom of both a human and a furry baby, trust me when I say that the best packers have the best vacations. Make sure you have everything you need, but try to pack light and leave the nonessentials at home.
5. Health and Safety First Visit your veterinarian before you leave, to ensure that all vaccines are up-to-date and that your pet is given a good bill of health. It info of at least one local vet clinic near the area where you will be traveling to. Also, it would be good to bring along your pet’s vaccination and veterinary records, just in case. Some places may, in fact, require you to bring your pet’s health records upon check-in.
6. Don’t forget to take Pet Stops. During the journey, ensure that you have adequate pit stops for rest, play, and bathroom breaks. Like you, your pet needs to stretch his legs and use the toilet, too. This is especially true for long rides. The last thing you want is a pee or potty accident inside your car. Mind your Petiquette.Always remember that you and your pet are not the only ones on vacation. The golden rule for pet travel is to respect your travel location and your fellow vacationers. Make the extra effort to ensure that your pet does not destroy or soil any part of the hotel or resort you are staying at. Make sure that he exhibits his best behavior at all times. This means no loud barking or meowing, no biting or scratching, no bad toilet habits, no disruptive activities.
7. The sad truth is, not all people are pet lovers. So unless a person approaches you with a smile and asks to pet your cute bundle of fur, it is best to keep your furbaby at a distance. This is especially true around children, because a pet who has never bitten anyone may possibly do so for the first time in a new and unfamiliar environment. If, for any reason, you are not confident about your pet’s behavior and temperament outside of your home, it is best to put your travel plans on hold for the meantime.
8. Say Woof! (or Meow!) Nothing is more beautiful or priceless than photographs taken while on vacation. My best advice? Take more than enough photos with your furbaby. Pets are a bit difficult to photograph, so take advantage of natural lighting and try taking multiple continuous shots to capture the most precious moments. Looking back at your vacation photos with your cherished furry one will never fail to make your heart smile.
Pet Travel Essentials
- All-natural pet food, enough to last your entire trip plus a day or two extra, in case of emergencies or trip extensions.
- Portable food and water containers. I love Gulpy water dispensers because they are so convenient and spill-proof.
- A sturdy leash, harness and collar. Best if you have an ID tag with contact information attached to your pet’s collar.
- Bug, Flea, and Tick Repellent. Spray this on your pet every time you go outdoors. Nature is teeming with creepy crawlies that can’t resist your pet’s soft fur. I swear by Ark Natural’s Neem Protect Spray. It naturally keeps pests away without any harmful chemicals.
- Grooming essentials such as a comb/brush, wipes, towel, and dry shampoo. I don’t suggest giving your pet a bath during the vacation because this is not only messy but impractical. Instead, use a dry shampoo or grooming spritzer to freshen him up after a day of fun in the sun.
- Disposable potty bags (for dogs) or a litter box (for cats). Responsible pet parents always clean up after their pets.
- Your pet’s bedding and/or carrier. It is always a good idea to bring a comfortable and familiar place for your furbaby to sleep in while away from home.
- Favorite toys and treats, something familiar for your pet to help him settle into a new environment.
- Prescription medication, calming treats, or vitamins, if your pet needs them.
About Pam So-Suarez:
Pam is a proud Pet Parent to her 7-year old furbaby and a loving Mommy to her 3-year old son. As the Marketing Director of Bow & Wow – The All-Natural Pet Store and the editor-in-chief of their in-house publication, The Bow & Wow Times, she is on a quest to transform pet owners to pet parents. To raise happy and healthy pets, log on to www.bowandwow.com.ph