Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tips for Packing and Traveling with a Pet

Traveling with your dog

I recently traveled 700+ miles for a relocation with my dog Lucy and it was quite an eye opening experience.  I prepared a lot for this trip  and wanted to put this in a blog post hoping to help future pet parents prepare easier for a trip with their beloved pets.

Packing-Your Pets Suitcase(s)

Yes I typed that.  Your pet will benefit from having their own suitcase.  This way their belongings are kept together and organized.  

Bag - I recommend a rolling backpack, scrapbook tote (what I used), or a small travel suitcase.  I like the ones with wheels as they are easy to move around and get into hotels especially when you have a leash , a hotel key card, your purse/wallet and cell phone. :)  

In this suitcase you need the essientals:  

(I packed dry kibble in a rubbermaid ceral container so it would be slim but allow me to have enough on hand for a few days)

Treats and Play Packs
(The thought of traveling with an 11 month old did give me quite a fright.  How would I ever keep her entertained for 700+ miles while I drove and listed to my GPS?  Puppy play packs, full blog with itemized list can be found here, this truly saved me from a hyper puppy.  I still do this now if we are visiting family near by.  Just throw a few of her favorite things in a bag with a blanket and she can be entertained while the humans talk.  
Leash, collar, harness, tags and sweater (where applicable): (Use what ever tools/tags you and your pet are comfortable with using. I personally used a puppia harness, for comfort, and walking. I used a retractable leash to give her room to run and sniff. And a basic nylon collar to hold her name tag. If you have a cold-natured pet or small breed consider packing extra sweaters. I thought it was fall and would stay warm enough that we wouldn't need any but we had a cold snap and ended up digging though my entire hatch for about 30 minutes to locate one. Better to have a few extra then not enough.)

Dishes(I used a collapsable food dish to save room.  For the water dish I picked up a collapsable dish with a clip from walmart so I could clip it onto the car seat belt so it would not get lost.  This worked very well for me and Lucy)

(I packed water from home as sometimes it can upset their tummies to have new water.  We were on well water so I worried city water might upset her system.  Its just a safety precaution.)
Vital and Medical Records
(Including travel health certificate, Pet info sheet, current color photograph, Rabies certificate,  a document/reciept showing Parvo Vaccine and kennel cough vaccine. More detail will be on this later with pictures.  These documents I kept in a zippered plastic folder for easy access and to prevent damage.  The pink document folders I used were purchased during school supply time for 97cents.)

Medications and Schedule
(The only medication my pet had was heartworm prevention.  I kept it in one of the little "Really useful Containers" from walmart to prevent them from being crushed.  A schedule was not needed for myself but my last poodle needed 3x daily eye drops and having a schedule with a little check box would have been useful so I could quickly check to see if I had given her the daily drops.  Travel is stressful and its easy to get off your normal routine.)
Toys (By far the most important if you ask my lucy. I packed only 5-6 of her favorites, not items from the play packs just her normal everyday toys. She did get a lot of use out of them during our hotel stays. Especially the tug tugs.)
Pee pads, Poop Bags and container
(I had a poop bag container on my purse with a set of bags but also carried extra rolls in the suitcase.  All rest stops and places to let you pet relieve themselves require you to pick up after your pet.  I also packed pee pads to put in her carseat under her blanket.  That way if she had an accident it could be easily cleaned.)
Small Zippered emergency bag (I carried a little zippered bag in her suit case that housed some items in case of an accident. A soft muzzle, a slipleash, and benedryl. If your pet is hurt a soft muzzle will protect you from a bite as you help your pet, a slipleash allows you to leash your pet quickly and not have to fumble with clips of a standard leash, and benedryl is great in the event of an allergic reaction.)
Packed in the car not in the suitcase was: Petseatbelts/carseats/carrier (After a horrible head on collision in 2007 I have always had a doggie carseat for my pets. A carseat is the only thing that saved my beloved Mollie's life. THe car was demolished but SHe walked away with a bruised shoulder and a couple cuts. I use the snoozer single pet carseat in the passenger seat. I used the CYTIK seat belts. I looped on end though the cars seat belt and the other end had a very light weight hook to connect to a harness. NEVER CONNECT a seatbelt to a collar. This will end up choking the pet if you have to stop or are involved in a crash.
(I took a wire kennel, again bring whatever your pet is used to using.  A carrier, collapsible kennel or hard plastic kennel may work better for some pets.  I kept it in its original box for easy transport and easy storage behind my seat.  )  

(If your pet is traveling in the car or in the airplane by kennel/crate I would suggest putting an additional dog tag clipped to the kennel with your name and phone number in the event the pet becomes lost or transferred incorrectly your name is on their crate and the pet doesn't have to be removed in order to get the phone number.  I leave a permanent tag on Lucys kennel in the house with my name and number.  So that if I have to evacuate my info is on her and the kennel.)

Dog bedding
(My dog sleeps in the bed with me so additional beds were not needed however if your pet uses a mattress or bed this can help them feel more relaxed during a stress ful travel experience.)

Travel Documents In the pink zipper folder I had: -Info sheet (This sheet will have name, breed, color, age, size, microchip, emergency contact, vet name/number/account number, and owner name/phone number. I also keep a current color photo paperclipped to this page so that law enforcement/border patrol can quickly identify a dog by apparance to his/her name...this could be helpful in cases where you are traveling with multiple pets. Other pertinant information such as medical condition, medication or distinguishing feature such as has 3 legs, blind, deaf, etc. may also be added but was not necessary on my dogs sheet at the time of travel.) -Rabies Certificate (This should have the vaccination date, vaccination type -1 or 3 year and/or killed or modified live virus-, dogs name/color/breed, vetinerian name and clinic name. vets license Number and/or signature must also be visible on the certifiate depending on vet clinic's policy on how they print/fill it out. -Other Vaccination document (For this i used my reciept that showed what vaccination Lucy had such as Parvo Vaccine and Bordetella Vaccine. It also shows date charged/administered. -Health Certificate (A health certificate must be written and exam given within 7-10 days BEFORE travel.) This is to ensure pets traveling into other states/countries are disease free. IF you are stopped by law enforcement/border patrol this is the main document they will request to see. Once issued a health certificate is good for 30 days unless otherwise stated. Side Note: The Health Certificate exam was quick and easy. My vet took Lucy's temperature, gave her a basic physical exam, and reviewed her chart for past fecal/heartworm tests/basic care. The form listed Lucys name, age, breed, color, reason for travel, departing address, destination address, was it marked that Lucy was showing no sign of illness and was signed by the veterinarian. -License with state/county/city where applicable. If you reside in a city, state or county that requires you to have your pet licensed with their office I recommend adding this in even if traveling out of area. At the time of travel I didn't have this for Lucy as my area didn't require it. NOw that I have moved to Wichita Falls, the city requires licensing for pets inside the city limits.

Side note: These travel documents minus the health certificate that is now no longer valid I keep in the pink zipper folder in my doggie closet and handy for quick trips to the dog park, going to new groomers, going to a new vet clinic.  This way no matter what happens I have proof of license, rabies and microchipping.  This is for your pets protection.  To me its like carrying your drivers license, car insurance and registration.  I just slip it in her diaper bag (Yes she has a diaper bag for everyday use) when ever we go out.  
I.D., especially when traveling is very important. For Lucy, a small breed poodle, keeping all her important tags on her collar wasn't really an option. So what I did was keep her name/phone number tag on her collar. THen on her harness I attached her rabies and homeagain microchip tag. That way if either failed there was back up.
State by state travel via car. Each state has requirements for pets entering via car. Some states do not allow reptiles, livestock and/or birds. So check each state (I google searched "Arkansas state laws travel with pet" and you will find all sorts of pages/documents from state departments or city websites) you will be driving through to ensure your particular pet is welcome. Most states welcome dogs and cats. But have requirements for documents they require stating the health of the animal.
Each state requires a valid rabies certificate from a licensed veterinarian.  To travel a pet has to have a rabies certificate that proves vaccination within the last 12 months but must be MORE than 7 days prior to travel.  SO make sure vaccines are done well prior to travel.

Most states I was visiting required a valid health certificate being written 7-10 days prior to travel.  

By plane each airline has their own requirements (but typically the same health cert, rabies etc apply) so be sure to ask ahead of time and make a list.  If traveling to HawaiI or out of the country I know there are some quarentine rules that apply so be sure to check them as well.  I did not fly by plane so I have no experience with this. ) 

Last but not least....

Have fun and enjoy your trip!  Bring along a camera or pull out the cell phone and take pics.  I LOVE having the photos from our bing move/cross country trip.  We had a blast looking for signs and places to snap a quick pic to show where we were on our journey.

*The momma*


  1. I think you were more prepared for the dog then I am for myself on long trips! Great tips.

  2. Thank you SO much for posting all of this! I know Eddy's only going on a week's vacation but I like to plan and have never traveled out of state with him before. Lucy and Katie - you're the BEST!

  3. What a very informative and helpful post!
    Hazel & Mabel

  4. Grreat advice! Our move was a whole lot simpler than yours, since we just went to another town in the same metroplex.