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Top 7 Must Have Items For Your Pet on a Vacation

Published on: November 8, 2016  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

dog in sunglasses on a boat

Deciding what to take on your vacation can be a tough decision. Add in your pet, and you have more to think about. What you should take along for pet travel depends on where you’re going. And your mode of transportation. Here are seven must-have items for your pet on vacation.

1. Things that make them feel at home

Pets away from home can feel anxious. So in addition to taking along portable food and water dishes, bring your pet's own bedding and some favorite toys.

2. A supply of their usual food

Take enough to last your entire trip, unless you can buy the same brand along the way. Take a few snacks for your cat or dog, if they will be riding with you onboard a plane or in a vehicle. You’ll want a bottle of water, too. If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo or accompanied baggage, you’ll want to feed him two to four hours ahead of check-in. Pack some of their favorite food or treats to reward them for a “job well done” once you arrive at your final destination.   

A special note about snacks: if your pet is traveling internationally, be aware that countries have rules about importing meat products. Be sure your pet’s food and snacks comply, so you don’t have to hand them over at customs.

3. Identification

Make sure the ID tags on your pet’s collar are up to date with your correct contact information. Consider having another temporary tag made that shows contact information where you will be vacationing. All pets traveling internationally must be microchipped. This can boost your peace of mind wherever your pet travels, even around home. Things happen, and you would be devastated to lose your beloved cat or dog.

4. Paperwork

When pet travel involves only a short trip, we don’t think about documentation. But if you’re going on vacation across the country – or out of the country – you’ll need very specific paperwork. In the US, some states require you to carry a copy of your pet’s rabies certificate. You’ll probably never have to show it at a border, but carry a copy anyway, just in case. 

If you’re traveling by car from the US to Canada or Mexico, your pet will need a rabies certificate and health certificate. 

If you’re traveling to any foreign country by air, your pet will need similar paperwork. Each country has different rules about which documents you’ll need. Learning exactly what is required should be one of your first trip planning activities. Your vet and your international pet transport company can help.

5. A travel kennel

Experts advise that pets traveling in a car should ride in a carrier. This is for your driving safety as well as their own safety. Cats generally feel more comfortable in a carrier anyway, but your dog may not like the confinement if they aren't used to it. You can also try using a dog seat belt. Whether you’ll be staying in pet-friendly hotels or with friends, a carrier that confines your pet is considered good manners. We also have some tips to keep your pet comfortable in their travel carrier

If you are traveling by air, an airline-approved travel kennel is mandatory. On-board carriers can be soft- or hard-sided, as long as they fit the under-seat in front of you on the plane. Ask, as all airlines are different. For cargo travel, your pet will need a kennel that meets the requirements of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). You can purchase an approved carrier from your pet transport company, at pet stores, or online. Be extra careful to ensure your pet's travel kennel is IATA-compliant or they might be refused for travel.

6. Medications

If your pet regularly takes medications, be sure you have an ample supply for your entire trip. If you’re worried about possible carsickness, talk to your veterinarian about natural, over-the-counter options. Pets traveling by air should not be sedated for their trip, as this can be more dangerous and upsetting for them.

7. Little extras

Some must-haves are weather and activity related. Will your pet need a raincoat for drizzly walks or warm boots for fun in the snow? A life vest for kayaking or boating? Will you need a towel for cleaning muddy paws?

With these must-haves and a pet-friendly itinerary, you and your dog or cat are sure to have a tail-wagging vacation.New Call-to-action

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.