Are you planning to travel this summer? Are you considering taking your pet with you for the ride? If so, you are probably familiar with the precautions associated with pets and vehicles, like do not leave your pet in a hot car, even if you have the windows cracked.

This may seem like a no brainer, but every year thousands of people do it, and every year, thousands of pets suffer the consequences.

Before you get your mind set on taking your pet with you, think about what you will do in situations where your pet cannot join you. For example, if you pull off of the highway to eat at a restaurant, where will your pets stay?

Here are a few other things you may want to consider before you decide whether your trip is safe for your pet.


Depending on where you are headed for vacation, you will need to ensure your pet is completely up to date on their vaccinations. They should also be up to date on all parasite and pest prevention.

If you will be camping, you need to be aware of the possibility of your pet getting ticks. Unfamiliar parasites, and unfamiliar breeds of common pests can be a severe threat to your pet.

Keeping a pet friendly first aid kit is recommended for your trip. This is especially true if you will be on the road for a long period of time, or in the wilderness. Antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and bandages are a necessity. Make sure you take the specific, necessary precautions for the areas you plan to visit.

Does your pet get motion sick in the car? If so, add the medication your vet recommended to your first aid kit so that it is easily accessible.


Before getting in the car, make sure to exercise your pet, and give them a bath. Car rides for pets can be very long, and slightly unbearable. Make sure you do not feed your pet for a few hours before your trip is to begin, or adjust your departure time to allow a few hours after your pet’s meal.

What to Bring

It does not matter what kind of pet you have, you will need to bring certain things with you. Taking your pet on a trip, is much like traveling with a child, they require quite a few things to make it through the trip. Here are the things you will need at minimum for your pet.

  • Toys
  • Cat nip, this will keep your cat calm in the car, and when you arrive
  • Chew toys, a few of your dog’s favorites
  • Pet food
  • Food and water bowls that pack away easily
  • Your dog’s leash and collar. Make sure their ID tag is attached to their collar in case they get lost
  • Old towels to cover your car seats and hotel beds when you stop
  • Plastic potty bags will allow you to clean up after your pet while you are traveling
  • Litter box and liter for your cat
  • Your pet’s favorite brush and flea comb
  • Pet treats
  • Your pet’s crate or carrier
In the Car

Make sure to put your pet in a special, approved car harness. This will act as your pet’s seatbelt. If your pet is in a carrier or crate, you can strap it in using a lap belt. Make sure you do not leave your pet in the carrier at all times. You will need to use the crate or carrier when you stop to sleep.

If you are debating between having your dog ride in a crate, or ride using a harness, it is always best to choose the crate. In the event of a car accident, your pet will be safer in their carrier.

Every few hours, you should stop and take your pet for a walk on their leash. It is important to always use a leash because pets can respond differently in unfamiliar areas. It is also possible for someone to steal your pet if they are unleashed.

If you have a cat, take time before your trip to teach him how to walk on a leash or walk on a harness.