Pet Connections

Journeying with Your Four-legged Companion

When traveling, many pet-lovers choose to bring their animal companions along – and why not? Sharing your journey with the ones you love can enhance your experience. However, when traveling with pets, there are some things you should know to make the trip safe and stress-free. Here are some tips for traveling with your pet.

Be Prepared

Before setting off on your trip, there are a couple of thinks I recommend. First of all, have your pet microchipped – that way if she gets lost, there is a better chance she will be returned. If you are traveling by car, another pre-trip task is to plot out where you will be stopping each night and find the address and phone number for the nearest pet ER. (The best time to plan for an emergency is before the crisis strikes).

Before traveling, also be sure to gather your pet’s medical history and vaccine records, including her current rabies certificate. (The tag on her collar is not proof of vaccination). If you are traveling out of the country, plan ahead and get all the government documents you will need. Sometimes the timing of veterinary exams and vaccines is critical. This applies to a simple drive to Canada as well as oversees travel. Consult this government web site for details Also, be sure to contact your airline and find out all of the regulations they have.

Driving with Your Dog

Let’s look at issues of driving with your dog. If you are the owner of one of the many dogs who suffer from car-sickness, try candied ginger or ginger tea. Make the tea by steeping two to three thin slices of fresh ginger in one cup of hot water. Give ¼ cup of the tea, or one square inch of the candied ginger, per 20 pounds, 30 minutes before traveling. Try these remedies and take your pet on a dry run before your trip to be sure they will work. If they do not, then ask your veterinarian for a prescription medication if needed.

For travel anxiety, lavender oil has been proven effective. I recommend adding 10 drops of pure lavender oil to one ounce of olive oil. Massage three to four drops of this mixture into the underside of the ear flap, about 10 minutes before travel. Be sure not to get any of the oil into the eyes.

Bring a container of water and a bowl, and snacks if appropriate, and stop every hour or two so your dog can stretch her legs and relieve herself. 

It is best to have a special harness that can be connected to the seatbelt for your dog. Having her free to jump around the car or riding on your lap is unsafe for both you and your pet. Always keep your pet on a leash, even inside the car, in case she slips out the door or window. Speaking of windows, do not let your dog hang her head out the window. The fast-moving air might carry particles that can damage her eyes. In addition, your dog might be able to slip out a smaller opening than you think. Also, I have treated more than one dog who choked herself by stepping on the button that closes the window while her head was hanging out. 

Feline Considerations

As for cats, most of them do not like to travel. The reason for this is that for most cats, the process of travel (being stuffed into a carrier and driven in a car) always ends at one place: the vet’s office. And if you’re a cat, nothing fun ever happens at the vet’s office. It is best to get your cat used to the carrier and associate it with good things. Keep your cat’s carrier out and feed him or give him treats inside it.

For travel with your cat, be sure to use a sturdy crate that is big enough both for him to move around and for a small litter box. Many cats like to have a blanket to hide in or cuddle up with. This would also be a good time to give him a catnip toy. I would suggest offering water in a bowl periodically since if you leave a bowl in the crate, it is likely to spill.  

No matter where your destination, traveling with your pet can make any journey more fun, but be smart about it.


December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023