Traveling With Your Pet 101: What to Pack for the Trip

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As a self-proclaimed crazy dog lady, there are few places I will go without my beloved morkie, Mocha. These include grocery stores, for obvious hygienic reasons, routine appointments, and career-related functions. Nonetheless, if you happen to catch me virtually anywhere else, chances are pretty good you’ll find Mocha right by my side, stealing hearts left and right with her adorable puppy dog eyes. Last month Andrew and I spent the weekend in San Antonio, and albeit we had an amazing time (despite the less than fortunate weather), I found myself missing her way more than I had expected. After being away from her for 72 consecutive hours AND being forced to leave her with a random sitter (since we didn’t know many people in Texas yet), I vowed to never exclude her from our travel plans again.

When traveling with your pets, there are a few things one should take into consideration. First and foremost, double-check to make sure your accommodations are pet friendly. If you’re unsure or can’t find the information on the website, this probably warrants a call to the reservation office. For a list of dog-friendly hotels in your area, I highly recommend utilizing BringFido, which is a compilation of hotels and restaurants across the country that welcome pets. Dogs should be up to date on vaccinations before even considering taking them on vacation with you. Health certifications are usually required for air-travel, so you don’t want to wait until the last minute to garner these. Additionally, you should ensure that your dog is in good enough health to handle the trip. In some situations, it may be wise to consider finding a reliable pet-sitter as to not induce stress upon your furry friend. If you’ve successfully done all of these things already, then great! Next, we’ll talk about what to bring with you when traveling with your pet.

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Since Mocha is relatively small and we usually travel via automobile, I don’t feel compelled to bring a million things along with us each time. I try to focus on the essentials, including a few personal items like toys and blankets to make her feel at home wherever we go. Here’s what I typically pack in our travel bag:

Food and water bowls

While these might seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how many times I have forgotten them over the years. Whoops. PACK THESE FIRST!

A sufficient supply of food

If you’re going to be gone for a week, bring enough food to feed your pet for at least a week and a half. There’s nothing like running out of your dog’s food in the midst of a relaxing vacation. I recently switched Mocha over to Purina BENEFUL®, and luckily, it’s readily available at Target so I won’t have to go on a wild manhunt should I run out while traveling. Meat is the #1 ingredient so I can rest assured that she’s getting high-quality protein, and the added avocado, carrots, and tomatoes aid in supporting a healthy immune system. The product contains no corn, wheat, or soy, AND doesn’t utilize any added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which is super important to me when choosing food for Mocha.
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Download the cartwheel app and save 20% off Purina dry dog food between 3/19 and 3/25! There are ample types of delicious food for your dog to choose from depending on what his or her personal preferences are.

Purina Dry Dog 2

A few of their favorite toys

Although I’m sure Mocha wishes we could bring every toy she’s ever possessed with her on trips, I usually opt to pack her favorite three or four toys at the time. Lately, she’s really into toys that squeak (GAH).

Medical Records

I’ve found that most places won’t ask for these – but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’m adamant about keeping Mocha up to date on her shots, and I always make sure to grab a copy of her vaccinations to keep on file and bring with me on trips.

Crate

This is required for air-travel, and can make traveling by car significantly easier. Many hotels also necessitate you to crate your dog when you leave the property.

Bed and blankets

Some dogs sleep in crates, and then you have mine, who insists upon sleeping in her bed and refuses to slumber anywhere else. Therefore, I lug it around with me anytime we go on vacation. I also bring one or two familiar blankets to lay down for her while we’re lounging around the hotel room. Most places probably expect that there will be dogs or cats on the bed and/or furniture, but I try to be as courteous as possible.

Collar, leash, and harness

Your pet’s collar should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your phone number, in case you two should become separated at any point in time. I recommend using a retractable leash as they are much more flexible than your ordinary leash, and of course, a harness so you can bring your pet along with you on all of the adventures you have planned,

Extras

Be sure to bring an adequate supply of any medicine your pet might need. A permanent form of identification, such as a microchip, is also a great idea. If you’re traveling to areas with cooler weather, throw in a jacket or two to keep your dog cozy and warm throughout the trip.

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Traveling with your pet is a rewarding experience, as long as you’ve planned accordingly. Do you have any upcoming vacations planned with your pets? Tell me all about them below!

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1 Comment

  1. March 13, 2017 / 11:08 pm

    What an awesome list and tips! We travel with our dogs as often as we can and definitely agree with these! [client]

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