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5 Things You Need to Know About Traveling With a Pet

Updated on April 6, 2011

Pets are official members of your family, and nothing can ruin a vacation like having to leave them behind. You’ll worry that they miss you, or if your pet sitter remembers to play their favourite game. You’ll wonder if the kennel is treating them nicely, and if they’ll forget about you.

Want to know how to avoid this pet-related anxiety? Take them with you! Here are five things every pet owner should know about traveling with their pet, from parylene coated microchips to jet lag to accommodation.



Losing a pet while you’re traveling is a million times worse than losing him in your hometown. He can’t run to his favourite hiding places, and when he wants to come home to you, he won’t know where to go!

Embedding an identifying microchip in your dog or cat is the best way to prevent pet loss or theft. Microchips are tiny—about the size of a large grain of rice—and are a permanent, unremovable means of identification. They’re coated in parylene, a conformal coating that’s biocompatible, non-toxic and impermeable. The parylene coating forms an irregular surface, which allows your pet’s tissue fibres to bond and grow around the microchip, holding it in place forever.



When traveling, you and your pet will meet all sorts of new people. Some will be animal lovers, others will not, so it’s important that you and your pet be on your best behaviour.

If you’re traveling by air, check with the airline for specific rules and guidelines on things like whether you are expected to hold your pet while the carrier is x-rayed, or if you have to leave security when your pet needs to relieve himself.

You should also bring treats or toys to relieve your pet’s anxiety, as well as pet waste bags and wipes in case of an “accident.” Always keep your pet on a short leash, and never leave them unattended.


Jet Lag

Jet lag is as fun for pets as it is for people—almost all life on Earth follows a daily circadian rhythm, so they also become sluggish, disoriented and sleepy. The dependency on this rhythm changes with species, but all pets are affected on one level or another.

There are several things you can do to prevent symptoms, including making sure they’re fully rested beforehand and scheduling departure and arrival times that fit in with their daily habits. If your pet has a rigid sleeping pattern, you can also slowly adjust your their bedtime before you leave. Once your pet is in full jet-lag mode, make sure they get plenty of sun, water and exercise. These activities will also ease your own ill symptoms.



Once you’ve made the decision to travel with your pet, you have to make sure your pet will be welcome wherever you go. It can be tough to find a pet-friendly hotel, so make sure you research beforehand and book ahead. A Google search for pet-friendly hotels in your area should do the trick. Or, you can go to a site like Travelocity to search pet-friendly hotels and whatever other amenities you may need.  

Try to look for hotels with dedicated pet services, like day care, food services and group activities.



This one’s simple—pets, like people, need the comforts of home. Be sure to pack their favourite toys, brushes, bowls, blankets and other items!


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