Golden lab and human sitting in car

hitting the road with your pet

Oh, the joys of summer! Swimming, BBQs, staying up late with friends or family, and road trips with your favorite people and favorite furballs! If you have summer travels planned with your pet, here are a couple of tips you should know before hitting the road.  

Road trip essentials 

Pets need their travel essentials just like we do! Whether you’re traveling with a dog or cat (or lizard or bird or rabbit), it’s essential that you bring certain items to ensure a smooth journey. Since most people travel with their pups and kitties, we’ll focus on these two.  
What to include in your pet’s travel kit: 

  • Tags and appropriate vaccination paperwork 
  • Food, water, and respective bowls 
  • Medication (FYI — refilling pet’s medication out of town can be difficult, so make sure to plan ahead!) 
  • Leash and/or harness 
  • Poop bags for doggos 
  • Litter box, scooper, and fresh litter for kitties   
  • Crate or carrier if necessary  
  • Toys and/or blanket  
  • Another item we suggest: A handheld vacuum. If your dog or cat are messy, having a handheld vacuum enables you to clean up after your pet and not leave a mess. This is particularly handy for the car and for your hotel room.  

Dos and don'ts of driving with pets 

Even if your pet is chill as a cucumber on the road, there are a few things you should remember. 

  • Don’t let your dog put their head out the window — we know they love it, but it’s actually pretty dangerous   
  • While driving, keep your pet buckled in the back seat with appropriate equipment, and better yet, in a carrier or harness that protects them in case you should get into an accident
  • Make frequent potty stops for your pup  
  • Make sure your pet is well hydrated, but try not to overfeed them — having a full belly on the road could cause digestion issues  
  • And last but not least: Don’t ever leave your pet unattended in the car, ESPECIALLY on a warm day  

The journey’s end  

If you’re planning on staying at a hotel with your furry friend, hopefully you’ve cleared up whether or not your pet is allowed to stay there. While many hotels allow pets, some still do not (especially cats). It’s important to call ahead so you won’t be turned away. Hotels that do allow pets often charge a fee and might have policies, like your pet can’t be left alone in the room. Head over to our blog post “Tips for Staying at a Hotel with Your Pet” for additional insight.  
Same idea goes for camping sites, National or State Parks, Airbnbs, glamping villages, and so on — call ahead to get the scoop on whether or not your pet can stay there. Many parks allow pets, but only on designated trails and campgrounds. As for Airbnbs, you can filter properties by pet policy and it’s a good thing to ask the owner before booking.  
For additional tips on traveling with your pet, visit Mars’ Better Cities for PetsTM to get a plethora of pet travel tips from people who love pets.