The Ultimate Guide to Traveling With Pets (Part 4 out of 5: Packing Essentials and Emergency Plans)

Prepare Your Pet and Pack the Essentials

Photo Credit: Angelbattle bros

Create a list and stock up on all the things that will increase your pet’s comfort during the flight. You should ensure that you have a spacious carrier that is appropriate for travel. If you plan to fly, your airline will specify the requirements. Some items you should acquire and prepare include the following:

  • Get Your Pet Comfortable With the Carrier: Give your pet plenty of time to get used to the carrier at home by leaving it out with the door open. Put their favorite bed or blanket inside, leave a toy or treat, and praise them for going in on their own. Don’t push it, just give your pet time to adjust.
  • Invest in Calming Products: You might also want to consider anxiety-reducing products like a pheromone collar or lavender oil, which you can sprinkle inside the carrier for a calming effect. Another accessory to consider is a pet calming vest, which applies gentle pressure to specific areas to reduce anxiety. If your pet has a beloved blanket, stuffed animal toy, or even a shirt that smells like you, place that inside the carrier for comfort. Important! Make sure no tranquilizer is used on your pet that will reduce their blood pressure. This is especially dangerous at altitude for brachycephalics.
  • Pack Items for Restraining: Make sure you have collars, leashes, muzzles, safety vests, and other items that will help you keep your pet under control at all times.
  • Think Comfort: Check the weather and environmental conditions where you’ll be going. Be sure to pack collapsible water bowls, treats, toys, rain jackets, swimming safety vests or any other items your pet could use.
  • Prepare a Pet Travel Kit: Depending on the mode of transportation, pack the essential items for your pet, including:
    • A small amount of dry food
    • A small collapsible bowl
    • Medications and first aid items
    • Travel documents, like a rabies certificate
    • A favorite soft toy, blanket, or pillow
    • Treats and dental chews
    • Your veterinarian’s contact information

Plan for Emergencies and the Unexpected

The U.S. Department of State  pet owners have an emergency plan in case they need to send their pets back home or leave them behind in the destination country. The plan should include:

  • Who to Call: Your contact information, as well as your veterinarian’s.
  • How to Care: Instructions about your pet’s care and feeding, including medications and preventative treatments.
  • Where to Stay: Contact details of at least 1 trusted person or facility with whom your pet could stay, both in the destination country and back at home.
  • How to Pay: Instructions on financial and medical resources your pet might need in an emergency situation and accessibility details, like phone numbers and hours of operation.


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