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Traveling With A Pet

Gypsy is not too happy to be in her carrier - but in a strange (to her) environment, she will find safety there!
Mindy Norton
Gypsy is not too happy to be in her carrier - but in a strange (to her) environment, she will find safety there!

     The travel industry predicts that this will be the highest travel season in years, with more than fifty million people going more than fifty miles from home.  Many will be going by air, while others will drive to their destinations.  So what does all this travel mean for our furry friends?

     If you plan to take your pet with you, start with a few short trips with your pet in its carrier or crate – let it get used to being in a moving vehicle. 

Pack a travel kit for your buddy, including bowls, food, medication your pet may need, and information confirming your furry friend is up to date on all its vaccinations.  A collar or harness with a tag that has your information and cell number on it will be a big help if you get separated.  And for a cat, remember to include a litter box.

     Make a pit stop every few hours to let your furry friend out of its carrier and possibly take a potty break.  And confirm before you go that your buddy will be accepted wherever you plan to stay.  No one will be happy if you find yourself locked out of the hotel room.  You may ask a friend to care for your pet while you’re gone, or find a safe, comfortable place to board it while you’re away.

     We have had pets that were great travelers.  Others, like our current cat, Gypsy, do not enjoy the journey.  She just endures it until we get to our destination.  There, we set up a large pen with her bed at one end and the litter box at the other end.  We put down a sheet that has a familiar scent, and cover the pen with another sheet using clothes pins.  Because the items in the pen are all familiar to her, she will eventually settle down and (almost) relax.

     Travel with pets can be fun for both you and your furry friend, but if it’s not, try to keep things as simple as possible.  And when the trip is over, both you and your buddy can appreciate the comforts of home – again – when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.