Traveling with a pet can be amazing. Not only do you get to experience new sights and experiences, but you also get to do it all with your best friend. However, a lengthy journey can be difficult for pets, even if you’re a conscientious owner. The amount of new information can be overwhelming, especially to younger animals, and staying cooped up is more than many pets can handle.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ensure your pet not only feels safe and calm but also enjoys the experience. With the following pet travel tips, you can create wonderful memories together without the stress.
Find Pet-Friendly Hotels
If you’re planning to stay at a hotel, make sure it’s pet-friendly. Not every hotel is willing to make accommodations for animals, and some have limitations on which you can bring. For example, a hotel may only allow cats and dogs or even ban certain breeds.
Even when you find a pet-friendly place, make sure you review all the rules. Understandably, some hotels may prohibit barking or restrict where pets can go on the grounds. If you have to leave your pet in your room unattended, make sure the staff knows how to get a hold of you in case of an emergency.
The good news is, many pet-friendly hotels are happy to provide some basic supplies, such as beds, blankets, and toys. They may even have a daycare or dog park where your furry companion can make some new friends.
Bring Collapsible Bowls
Chances are, your fluffy friend is going to get hungry or thirsty before the journey’s over, so you’ll need to bring a couple of bowls along. While this isn’t necessarily a hardship in most cases, large bowls can take up space and be unwieldy in storage. Fortunately, collapsible bowls solve this problem.
These dishes collapse into a flat disk, making them easy to store. You may want to introduce these to your furry critters a few weeks in advance, so they’re comfortable with the new smell and taste.
Pack Clean-Up Bags
As a responsible owner, you know it’s essential that you clean up after your pet. Even if the journey is short enough that you don’t expect to stop for a potty break, you should still bring clean-up bags just in case. Some pets may have accidents out of nerves, and you don’t want to be left without a trusty poo bag if one should occur.
Take Rides in the Car
If your journey involves any time in the car, you should take your animal companion on rides prior to the actual trip. Being in a moving, confined space can be overwhelming for many pets, and you can’t comfort them while driving, so it’s crucial they’re able to behave while you’re on the road.
The key is to start slow. Try a 10-minute car ride at first, then build up to an hour. If your pet needs to be in a carrier or if you have a seat belt harness, make sure to use it from the beginning, so your dog or cat knows what to expect. After each trip, be sure to reward your pets and reassure them.
Bring Comforting Toys
Most pets have one or a handful of favorite toys, which can work in your favor. Make sure to bring along a few toys for them to play with; not only will these familiar items comfort them, but they also provide an outlet for anxious behaviors such as chewing. You can also use them to distract your pet during a particularly stressful situation, such as driving through a noisy area.
It’s important these toys are familiar to your furry companion, or their introduction can add stress instead of relieving it. If you want to bring along a few new toys, make sure you introduce them to your pet a few weeks ahead of time, so your pups or kitties know these items belong to them.
Research Airline Guidelines
Flying with pets can be stressful for both animals and owners. To alleviate some of that anxiety, make sure you read all the guidelines on crating and transporting your pet. You should also do your research on which airlines are known to be especially compassionate and caring; you don’t want your fluffy friend to have a bad experience and develop anxiety or bad coping behaviors.
Practice Walking with a Leash
Many dog owners take their dogs for walks on a regular basis, but if your pup isn’t used to a leash yet, it’s time to start. Even if your dog is a pro at trotting around the neighborhood, it’s a good idea to practice some behaviors:
- Make sure your dog doesn’t pull on the leash
- Make sure your dog comes back to you on command
- Make sure your dog is comfortable seeing other people out and about
You may want to take your pup to new locations, such as a local park, to practice these.
Make Sure Your Dog Knows Basic Commands
A well-trained pet can make travel much easier, as it ensures you have control over your dog’s behavior. Every dog should know at least these basic commands:
If your dog knows these commands, you can diffuse even high-stress situations without incident. Make sure to review these commands frequently in the weeks leading up to the trip to refresh your pup.
Plan Pet-Friendly Rest Stops
If you’re going on a road trip, make sure your planned rest stops are pet-friendly. You can find many areas that welcome cats and dogs if you do a little research. For example, some restaurants allow pets to accompany their owners onto the patio. Some rest stops are close to pet-friendly hiking trails, giving your furry companions the opportunity to stretch their legs.
Make Sure Your Pup Gets Plenty of Exercise
Speaking of leg-stretching, the best way to get your pet ready for a hotel stay is exercise. Taking a few laps around the block or having an intense play session should wear your pet out, priming them for a snuggle in a comfortable bed or cuddling in your lap. When tired out, dogs are less likely to bark, and pets, in general, are less likely to act out. Additionally, your furry critter will be in one place, instead of under your feet, while you try to settle in.
Keep a Routine as Closely as Possible
Getting out of routine can be confusing to animals, especially if they’re used to being fed at a certain time. While it may not be possible to follow your home routine exactly, you should try to stick as closely as possible to provide your pets with a sense of normality.
Traveling with a furry companion in tow doesn’t have to be difficult — in fact, it can make for an amazing experience. The key is to plan and do your research on the best spots to stay with your pet.
To that end, you should look into the many hotels owned and managed by Ellicott Development. You’re sure to find a comfortable place for both you and your pet. For more information, contact us here or give us a call at 716-854-0060.
Featured Image: Shutterstock / Monika Wisniewska