Planning on taking a vacation soon and wondering how to go about bringing your pets? Vacations are meant to be relaxing but we all know traveling can be stressful. Here are some tips to keep the stress away so the only thing you are worried about is if you remembered to bring the sunscreen.

Traveling By Plane

If you have decided to take a plane to your vacation destination, there are several things you want to think about and prepare when bringing your pet.

Check Airline Requirements– go to the airline’s website and do some research about what they require when traveling with your pet. Most airlines have everything listed, but if you have additional questions we urge you to give them a call. Some charge extra fees, some require health certificates or specific vaccines and others do not. The last thing you want is to show up at the airport unprepared and risk missing your flight or having to cancel.

Fit To Fly?– Schedule an exam with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is healthy enough to fly. Some pets are unable to fly in the cabin and have to fly below the plane in the cargo area which can be problematic for certain ages, breeds, and pets not in good health. Also, if your airline requires an exam or health certificate, you can get that completed during the exam.

Finding The Right Pet Carrier – prior to traveling, purchase the appropriate size carrier for your pet (and per airline requirements). Let your pet get used to the carrier prior to flying by putting it in your home with the door open and allowing them to go in and out as they please. It is also a good idea to put an ID tag or sticker on the carrier with your contact information.

Decreasing The Stress- traveling can be stressful, especially for pets who do not understand what is going on. Prior to your flight, ensure they get some good exercise to hopefully tire them out and encourage rest while on the flight. Place a familiar toy or blanket in their carrier or even a shirt that you have worn to give them familiar scents and help them feel more comfortable during travel.

The best thing to do when flying is to prepare! Do your research and know everything that is required ahead of time so you can show up at the airport confident and calm and start your vacation off on the right foot.

Paws to consider: When scheduling the appointment with your veterinarian, make sure to tell them that you are traveling and what you need from them at the appointment so they have time to prepare documents and records.

Road Tripping

Taking a road trip is a rite of passage and can be an excellent way to experience new sights with your pet.  Here are some tips to ensure your road trip goes smoothly.

Look For Pet Friendly Options- before you embark on your trip, spend some time researching pet friendly places such as hotels, dog parks, restaurants and attractions. You may be surprised to learn that many places do not allow pets and you do not want to be left disappointed if you make the trek somewhere just to be turned away. Even research the trails and parks you plan on visiting through the national parks and wildlife websites, as many do not allow pets due to preservation. Some great websites to find pet friendly places are,, and even travel sites like Trivago and Travelocity.

Take A Trial Run- you may know how your pet does on short trips to the store but have you had your pet in the car for several hours or an entire day? If you are planning on taking a long road trip, it would be beneficial to take some longer rides to see how your pet responds. Do they get anxious or carsick or whine? These are all good things to know prior to taking that long trip.

Buckle Up For Safety- pets that wander around the vehicle can cause a distraction to the driver and potentially cause an accident. In fact, according to a survey by AAA and Kurgo, distracted driving causes 20% of injury crashes. Keeping your pet restrained using a belt or harness, travel crate or pet vehicle seat not only keeps your pet safe but you and your family as well.

Frequent Pit Stops- your pet needs potty breaks just like you. Make sure to schedule in some pit stops along the way to ensure your pet is comfortable and can relax. This is a great way to see some sights on your road trip and get some exercise.

Never Leave Your Pet In The Car Unattended – remember that when it gets hot outside, the temperatures in your car can be much higher. If you are traveling to a warmer climate or making a stop that does not allow pets consider leaving your pet back in the hotel or in a boarding facility. Never leave your pet in a hot car as this can be deadly.

Be Prepared- preparation is key in any situation but especially when traveling. Think ahead of what your trip is going to look like and prepare for each scenario. Make sure your pet has ID tags on their collar with updated contact information. Consider getting your pet microchipped prior to your trip as another way to locate your pet if they happen to run off. Bring your pets medical records for your hotel, in case of emergency, or if you need to take your pet to the kennel for day.

Paws to consider: Travelling can be stressful for some pets, so be sure to take your pet’s personality into account before booking a trip. Consider whether they’re comfortable in new environments, meeting new people, or can they be alone in a hotel room?

We at Veterinary Center of Parker, Inc. wish you and your pet’s happy trails and would love to hear about the adventures you take! Post pictures of your travels on our Facebook page at

Give us a call at 720-851-0820 if you need an exam or have questions about traveling with your pet!