6 tips to enjoy stress-free summer travel with pets
Posted: August 04, 2023 | Word Count: 888
Mars, Incorporated and its family of brands for people and pets is in the business of helping create long-term happiness for you and your furry friends. From packing your pet’s favorite food to finding high-quality veterinary care, here's how to make taking your best friend on the road safer and easier this summer.
A survey from CESAR®, proudly part of the Mars family of brands, found that taking our dogs to work can provide mood-boosting benefits like increasing happiness (58%) and relieving anxiety or stress (57%). But do those benefits extend to taking your pet along on vacation?
Traveling with our dogs and cats is a tempting idea: It means we get more quality time together, can make amazing memories with them, AND we don’t have to worry about leaving them behind.
But just like your own vacation planning, travel with pets should come with a few considerations and careful preparation. While you will undoubtedly create unforgettable memories with your pet, there is always a chance pets might get hurt or sick, be uncomfortable or even get distressed in unfamiliar surroundings.
Thankfully, you can prep for travel that helps keep everyone (two- and four-legged friends included) content with these six expert-backed tips from the pet-loving professionals at Mars. We even created a helpful timeline, so you know where to start. Bark voyage!
Before you book: Find a pet-friendly home away from home
It’s easier than ever to find accommodations that will cater to your pet’s vacation wish list — so find the best. Look for hotels and resorts like the more than 5,000 Hilton pet-friendly hotels across the U.S. and Canada that offer unique pet-pampering amenities to ensure their vacay is as luxurious as yours. Hilton partners with Mars to offer pet-owning guests extra peace of mind with access to expert-sourced pet health, wellness, and behavioral support resources courtesy of the Mars Pet On-Demand program.
A few months before: Practice makes perfect
We all can feel out of place when we’re away from home. Same goes for pets. They might face new situations they aren’t familiar with, like taking elevators or being on loud city streets. As much as possible, practice new situations in advance to help ease transitions. Before hitting the road, make sure your pet is comfortable in the car. Carefully observe them and consult your veterinarian on safe options if they show any signs of motion sickness, anxiety or discomfort, which can include gagging, vomiting, drooling and excessive panting. If you’re planning to take your pet on a plane, talk to your veterinary team about behavior, safety and health concerns, so they can advise on a tailored solution for your pet. Also speak with your veterinarian about whether a health certificate might be needed for your pet — for traveling, boarding or staying in hotels.
A few months before: Manage medical care
Just like human health care, keeping up with our pet’s veterinary appointments can get away from us during the busyness of everyday life. With a trip around the corner, book a pre-departure visit to your veterinarian to consult on whether your pet’s health status and temperament are well-suited for travel. Banfield Pet Hospital — the leading provider of preventive veterinary care in the U.S. and part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of veterinary practices — recommends using this opportunity to ensure your pet is microchipped and up to date on vaccines, parasite prevention and other preventive care to help decrease the risk of disease transmission while visiting new places. Different locations may carry different risks — your veterinarian can share what to watch out for.
A week before: Pack with a plan — and well ahead of time
Packing a separate bag with all your pet’s supplies will make it easier to find what you need on the go. Plus, having their favorite toys and blankets can bring them comfort in unfamiliar environments — so long as they aren’t prone to chewing or eating items they aren’t supposed to. Mars is taking the guesswork out of packing by sharing a free packing list from BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™, a program that celebrates and supports cities that strive to be pet-friendly.
Before departure: Locate a local emergency veterinarian BEFORE you need one
Scope out emergency veterinarians in the area you’ll be traveling and bookmark their phone number for easy access. Your regular veterinarian may even be able to help with recommendations. BluePearl Pet Hospital and VCA Animal Hospitals, also part of the Mars Veterinary Health family, offer emergency services to support your pet no matter where you are. The last thing you want to do when you’re dealing with a sick or injured pet is scramble to find a reputable emergency veterinary clinic. And don’t forget to bring copies of your most recent medical records in case they’re needed.
During your trip: Stick to a regular meal schedule
Stick with your pet’s regular feeding routines while traveling to avoid upsetting their schedule — or stomach. Bring your regular healthy treats along, like ones from GREENIES™, TEMPTATIONS™ or PEDIGREE®, and even if you’re indulging on vacation, avoid giving them minibar snacks and table scraps as some human food can be unsafe for pets, especially if they’re already a bit stressed from travel and the new environment.