8 Tips for Travelling With Your Pets

Travelling with the family pet isn’t as easy as throwing a leash, a couple of bowls and a big bag of kibble into the trunk. Check out our checklist for how to be prepared.


8 Tips for Travelling With Your Pets

Publish Date
Jul 06 2022

Travelling with the family pet isn’t as easy as throwing a leash, a couple of bowls and a big bag of kibble into the trunk.  Here’s our checklist for how to be prepared

1. Pack Thoughtfully

If you’re travelling across the Canada-U.S. border by car, bring your pet’s medical records and medication, including a valid rabies vaccination certificate. For the drive, brin ga first aid kit, food, bowls and a familiar pillow or blanket. Dogs will also require a leash and poop bags, while cats need litter, a box and scoop. Toys should be limited to one or two.

2. Have the Proper Identification

Outfit your pet with a flat collar and a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cellphone and destination phone number and any other relevant contact information.

3. Protect Your Vehicle

If you frequently hit the road with your pets, it’s worth investing in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers.

4. Build Up to the Big Day

Encourage your pet to spend time in and around the crate before travel day so he or she knows it as a safe spot. Puppies and kittens should be exposed to the car using small experiential steps as part of a training program. Dr. Jonathan Bloom, medical director of the Willowdale Animal Hospital in Toronto, suggests playing with your puppy in the back seat of a parked car. After a few successful stress-free sessions, do the same with the car engine running. Work up to taking a drive around the block. Increase the distance until everyone is comfortable being in the car.

Don’t feed your pet in a moving vehicle-except for treats, which can be used for positive reinforcement. Stop frequently for washroom breaks. Bring lots of water and pour some into a bowl whenever you stop, keeping pets leashed at all times outside of the vehicle.

5. Create a Comfortable Interior Cabin Temperature

Most cats are familiar with room temperature, which is 22C. On cold days, warm the car up before placing your pet inside the car. And on hot days, cool the car down.

6. Crate Your Pet

Your pet might be your sidekick, but your dog or cat should never ride shotgun.

Cats and dogs should be secured inside a well-ventilated crate or carrier in the back seat, and whether you choose a wire, plastic or soft-sided carrier, be sure to:

  • Secure the carrier to the inside of the vehicle so it doesn’t move if you suddenly hit the brakes.
  • Ensure it’s the right size. Your pet should be able to lie down, sit and stand up in it.

7. Never Leave Your Pet Unattended in the Car

While Ontario has the PAWS Act, which authorizes police and animal welfare inspectors to enter a vehicle to relieve animals in critical distress, the Atlantic provinces have various rules and laws prohibiting the leaving of unattended pets in parked vehicles in a manner that endangers the health or safety of the animal. In the cold, vehicles can quickly become freezing. “On a hot day, heat stroke is a risk with a potentially fatal outcome,” Bloom says. “When the outside temperature is 30C, cabin temperatures can increase 10C in just 10 minutes.”

8. Consider Leaving Your Pet at Home

Your pet may enjoy weekend trips to the cottage, but if he will be sitting in a hotel all day while you explore museums and other locations where pets are not welcome, leave your dog or cat with a sitter, or have someone come to your home while you’re away. 

Sign up to receive updates about travel deals and offers, discounts, membership and so much more.

Get In Touch

For more information, or to book your next vacation, contact us today!