Thinking about traveling with your pet this year? You’re not alone. As the world reopens post pandemic, folks are indulging their wanderlust and bringing their pets along for the ride. In fact, VRBO’s 2022 Trend Report discovered a “40 percent increase in year-over-year demand for pet-friendly vacation homes” and 68 percent of survey respondents said they had either already traveled with pets or planned to in the future. Plus, The 2022 Traveler: Emerging Trends and the Redefined Traveler, a Report from Hilton, said the third most popular booking filter on Hilton.com was for pet-friendly options. Since many people are new to pet ownership (looking at everyone who adopted one when the world shut down), we thought it would be a good idea to identify all of the pet travel products you’ll need when traveling with cats or dogs.
Whether you’re going on a 2-hour road trip or a cross-country flight, you need a travel carrier. For dogs and cats up to 18 pounds, go for the Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier. Not only does it comply with most airline regulations for in-cabin companions, but it also received the highest score possible by the Center for Pet Safety when crash-tested in vehicles. Plus, it comes with pee pads in case your pet has an accident en route. For larger dogs or other needs, check out our full list of best dog carriers.
Even if Miss Piggy usually stays in your Birkin, traveling by planes, trains or automobiles can throw a wrench in your normal routine. What if she needs a leash at some point you didn’t account for? You’ll want a back-up in case something goes awry or if you lose one—you wouldn’t want to miss a great hiking trail or beach because your dog wasn’t on leash when it was mandatory.
Speaking of a leash, smart collars with built-in GPS tracking can ease anxiety about where your dog roams while on vacay. The Link GPS Dog Tracker literally lets you see where your pup is and what their activity levels are through an app. The device itself attaches to any collar or you can buy the Link-Ready Collar designed for the attachment. Add your dog’s tags just in case that battery dies (though a charge lasts 14 days). If a GPS system isn’t your thing, at least invest in a collar with your phone number on it.
Keep all of your pet’s vital info in one spot. While you probably won’t need to access their vaccination records or medical history, having it will come in handy should an emergency arise. Obviously, bring any prescription medication with you; having the dosage and your vet info on hand is helpful in case you need to replenish or replace. Pro tip: Look up the location of veterinary offices or animal hospitals near your destination in advance. That way you won’t be scrambling if a scary scenario presents itself.
5. Pet Passport
Another great way to keep track of your pet’s travels and information. The size of a standard passport (but obviously, not a real passport), this thoughtful booklet includes spots for your pet’s photo, paw print and other identifying information like microchip number, registration, vaccination records and more.
Having a pet first aid kit on a road trip, camping excursion or out of town adventure is a must. We love the Adventure Medical Kits Workin' Dog Canine First Aid Kit with QuikClot because it comes with instructions and pretty much everything you could possibly need (including a headlamp for you so you can administer first aid with good light and free hands).
7. A Waterproof Blanket
New place? We cannot recommend the PupProtector™ Waterproof Throw Blanket enough. It protects your couch, your car seats, hotel beds and more. Plus, it comes in a zillion different designs. If your animal gets weird about new places or things, try to roll out the blanket before you jet off so that when you unpack it on the road, it feels familiar. Cats especially are very territorial and need to know they have ownership over a space to feel comfortable. A blanket from home that smells like the environment they know and love will work wonders when it comes to spending time in a new place. (And yeah, if they pee on it, it’s waterproof.)
When you’re in the car or on a plane, no one wants to hear a squeaker toy constantly. Opt for travel-friendly toys that keep your pet entertained without distracting everyone else (including yourself). It may be worth designating a few toys as “travel toys.” These could be special items kept in the car or travel carrier that add excitement (and comfort) to adventures. Bonus points if they make highway pit stops and long stretches in the car easier, like these cat and dog teaser wands.
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Packing enough food for all the meals you anticipate your pet eating on vacation (and then some, just in case) doesn’t mean lugging a giant bag with you. Grab a tote that makes organizing and storing food, treats and bowls a cinch.
For the Great Outdoors:
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10. Calming Treats
As all dog owners know, treats are the key to a dog’s heart—especially when it comes to training and following commands. Calming treats can help ease cat and dog anxiety when it comes to traveling, no matter the method or how many times your pet has traveled before. Always try out calming treats or new supplements before administering them on a trip! If your pet has an adverse reaction you don’t want to be miles away from home.
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11. Travel Bowls
Food and water bowls are easy to forget because they’re so obvious. Purchasing travel or portable bowls is a great way to save space at home and when packing. If you can find a two-in-one set up, you’re golden.
12. To-Go Water and Food Bowls
Sometimes there isn’t anywhere to set up shop for a full meal, so you’ll want portable water and food dispensers handy. Ideally, grab one that provides storage for both food and water to cut back on gear you have to lug around.
If you’re lugging Sparky to and from the office day in and day out—or even if the 20-pound corgi just gets tired after walking a couple blocks—it’s easier to just pop the pup in a bag. Because this tote is designed specifically for that scenario, it’s got a built-in leash (genius), interior bedding for peak comfiness (genius) and ergonomic neck scoop for him to rest his weary head (genius).
Never leave for a vacation without these! Some travel litter boxes are designed to store litter, while others are disposable and come in packs of two or three. Depending on where you’re headed, the type of litter available at your destination and whether or not you want a used litter box in your car on the drive home, it might be smarter to use a fresh disposable one for each leg of the trip.
Whether you’re staying at a pet-friendly Vrbo or grandma’s house, a pet mess is never a good look for a guest. Cleaning supplies are a must. Choose your tools based on your dog’s or cat’s history with inside accidents and indigestion.
16. Dry shampoo
For some dogs, you can never take a vacation from grooming. Dog people swear by The Dry Shampoo by Rowan when they travel. Small enough to fit in a tiny carry-on, it’s a waterless formula that reduces odor and refreshes between baths for coats of varying lengths. It’s approved by vets and dermatologists, too. Really, anything for a quick refresh (especially on camping-style trips) is helpful.
17. A Dog or Cat Hiking Backpack
For the pups whose legs get tired on a hike but still want to enjoy your company, a bag like the K9 Sport Sack makes it easy for Roscoe to get some rest and still in enjoy the views. For cats, it’s nice to offer something more along the lines of a sensory deprivation tank in the form of this absolutely adorable space capsule backpack. Whiskers will love being perched up high in their movable watchtower where they can scan their surroundings and still feel protected.
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