6 Tips For Taking Your Pet On A Road Trip


It’s so hard to leave Fido or Fluffy behind when you go away on a road trip, you might decide it’s best to take them with you. Whether your faithful friend is a dog, cat or other pet, here are six things to consider when taking your pet on a road trip.

1. Why are you taking your pet on this trip?

If there is no one else to take care of your pet while you’re gone, then you don’t have much of a choice. But if there is someone, leaving your pet in their familiar surroundings is probably for the best for everyone. Some pets do well in kennels and some don’t, so a lengthy stay may not be a good choice for all. But, you can still consider daycare for your pet as needed while on your trip.

If money for a kennel is a factor into whether you take your pet, remember there will likely be extra expenses at the hotels on the road with a pet, too.

If you are traveling to the home of a friend or family member where your pet is welcome, it’s certainly a good alternative to leaving them home with a caretaker.

2. How will they travel?

Car trips aren’t too much of a problem, except for the choice to keep them in a crate or pet pouch, or let them roam free to be with other family members. Leaving them untethered can be considered a hazard for an active pet.

Don’t forget that your dog or cat will need time at each gas or rest station to stretch their legs and do their business in the same way that your family will.

Be sure to bring pet food, bottled water, dishes for both – and a towel is always good to have around for spills.

3. What will you do with the pet when you stop and want to eat, shop, or sightsee?

While some climates are temperate, there are many times of the year when it is dangerous to leave your pet in your car due to extreme cold or heat. In some areas there are laws against this and animal activists who will break your car window to rescue a “trapped” pet. Never leave a pet unattended or in a car with closed windows.

4. Where will you stay with your pet if you have a multi-day drive and need to book a room?

First check out the many sources on the internet. Google “pet-friendly hotels.” Some of the sites will even show you the route you’re taking and the pet-friendly hotels along the way. Be sure to check to see if your pet in particular is one they’ll accept. While dogs and cats are commonly welcome, snakes, birds, hedgehogs, and pot belly pigs may not be. Breaking their rules can get you put out or fined.

If you are sure of where you want to stop, book your room(s) in advance, or be sure to book them in the early afternoon each day you travel so they don’t fill up and you have to drive a lot longer to get to the next available accommodations.

5. Can I leave my pet in my hotel room and go out?

Many hotels don’t want you to leave your pet as they need their staff to come in to clean the room. They don’t want the responsibility of chasing your pet down the hall because it bolted out as soon as the door was opened.

If it is allowed it will really depend on whether your pet makes a lot of noise. A constantly barking dog or a yowling cat will certainly irritate your neighbors and get complaints to management.

An angry pet in unfamiliar surroundings may also do damage they wouldn’t do at home. You really don’t want to be paying for what they destroy while you were gone.

If you’re in a large urban area and need to leave your pet for some time, look into local animal care businesses. Where there are people, there are pets and where there are pets, there are vets.

Whether it’s a kennel or a vet that takes in daycare animals, that will be much better than coming back from your fun and getting kicked out of your hotel.

6. What about licensing?

Be sure to have all your shots and pet licenses updated and bring the paperwork from your vet to prove they’re covered in case you are stopped and questioned. It’s especially good to have the paperwork proof of any rabies shots required if you are traveling to another country.

So, give all of this some thought and make the right choices for your pet and your trip. Enjoy!