Whether you’re traveling with your fur-family member out of necessity or choice, it can feel like there are a lot of challenges to manage. Don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to make traveling with your pet a pleasant experience. These five tips will help you both stay comfortable.
Pre-Travel Pet Prep
The perfect pet-traveling experience begins before the traveling does. Make sure your pet has had food and water before venturing out together. Be sure your pet has used the bathroom before you place them in the carrier, too, as you won’t want to stop shortly after you’ve set out.
Do you have all your pet gear? Make a checklist — water bowl, food bowl, toys, treats, cat litter, etc. If you’re planning to be away for a long time, be sure that your pet has had vaccinations and a checkup from their regular vet, and a print out of their updated vaccinations.
If you’ve ever had to take your cat or dog to the vet, you know this step well: when the carrier comes out, your pet doesn’t. A game-changer is to let your cat or dog get used to the carrier; if they only see it when it’s time to go on a lengthy trip or a visit to the vet, they’ll have only unpleasant carrier-memories to recall.
A week or two before travel with your pet, leave the carrier out in an area your pet hangs out; that way, they can get used to it. They may even go inside on their own and lay there; if so, reward them, so they don’t associate it only with scary car rides. Find a blanket or t-shirt that your pet likes to lay on and put it in the carrier. The smell of your pet’s scent will make it more familiar.
Cover the Carrier
Now that your pet is used to the carrier, there’s one more tip that can make it even easier to travel together. We know it seems unfair to our human preferences, but dogs and cats enjoy being in compact spaces; they feel safer and more comfortable there. Just be sure your carrier isn’t too small — no one likes that. Your pet should be able to stand and turn around in their carrier, especially if it’s a lengthy trip.
If you drape a piece of light fabric over the opening of the carrier, you can give your pet a feeling of comfort. The scary outside world is blocked out, and they can be happy in their little den. Never completely cover a carrier in a way that it would prevent airflow, of course. An old t-shirt or blanket works great.
Always consult a vet before giving your cat or dog any herbal supplement because cats and dogs can’t consume some things that humans do. That being said, many herbs are safe and gentle, which may help calm your cat or dog. Valerian root is often used for cats, and chamomile is used in several herbal supplements for dogs. Remember, — cats and dogs tolerate different herbs. Always check first to make sure it’s safe, and don’t assume what’s good for a dog is good for a cat. Whatever you give your pet, try giving it to them a few days or weeks before departure to make sure they don’t have a reaction on the day of departure.
If your kitty won’t stop meowing or your pup won’t quit barking while on the road, you can always try to bribe them with treats. Your pet probably associates getting treats with pleasant times and exemplary behavior, so a few treats, especially in reward for good behavior, is a splendid idea on the road.
Traveling with your pet can be a fun- and memory-filled experience. Just try these tips before your next trip.