I’m always surprised at the reaction of other travelers when we get out of the car (which is actually an SUV) with three dogs. While we certainly did not start out with three dogs (think yours, mine and ours) they’ve all become part of the family and I’m 100% sure our lives are richly blessed because they are in it. If you’ve ever been loved unconditionally by a dog, you know exactly what I mean.
We travel to the mountains to visit family quite a bit during the year and on our most recent trip I realized we’ve become more organized with every new adventure. I’ll freely admit, it’s mostly because the needs of our dogs have changed over time. The older they get (17, 16, 15) the more frequently they need to stop to potty and stretch. Without a doubt it alters the length of our trip (think 8-9 hours turns into 10-11) but understanding the needs of our pets goes a long way in helping us to plan what is best for them before we ever hit the highway. Here are a few things to consider if you’re traveling with pets (specifically dogs) this holiday season and how to make a pet traveling kit for your favorite furry friend…
- It’s always best to speak with your veterinarian before heading out of town so he/she can advise you on how to handle necessary health concerns, medication issues and anxiety/behavioral issues that may arise when traveling.
- Also talk to your veterinarian about which safety equipment (car seats, pet barriers, harnesses, leashes, crates, carriers, pet beds) will be best for your vehicle as well as the comfort of your furry friends. Pets are no different from people in that they need to be safe and secure at all times while traveling down the road.
- Make sure you have packed all necessary paperwork like medical records and your pet’s ID tags are up to date.
- Before you leave, map out pet friendly places to stop on your route including lodging accommodations, rest areas or gas stations that have pet walks.
- Be prepared to make multiple stops to allow your pets to stretch, hydrate and potty.
- Check the local weather to see how you can best keep your pets comfortable (think coats and boots in the winter)
- Prepare your Pet Traveling Kit in advance
Preparing a Pet Traveling Kit is easy to do and can be a fun gift to give this holiday season too! I picked up a canvas bags like this one from Hobby Lobby for less than $5 ($5.99 and 30% off in our area) because the pockets make them perfect for traveling!
I’m using the silhouette of a Jack Russell Terrier because my two littles are both Jacks. You can use the breed of your own dog (or the breed that most closely resembles if the dog is a rescue) or the breed of the dog you’re going to give this kit as a gift to. You can find free images like this one online and print them out from your home computer.
I’m going to use the easy transfer method to embellish this bag. Flip the silhouette over and shade the entire image with a graphite pencil,
then flip the silhouette back over, make sure your image has been placed where you want it to be transferred on your bag, then use a ballpoint pen to trace the outline of the image. I placed a small cutting board inside the front pocket to make it easier to press.
Once your image has been transferred, it should look similar to this. See how light this is?
Use fabric paint or fabric markers to fill in the pet silhouette image and stencils or transfer method to personalize the bag even further by adding the pet’s name. You’ll definitely want to make sure you leave the cutting board or even a piece of thick cardboard inside the area where you are painting in case there is any bleed through.
Allow the fabric paint or fabric markers to dry completely before embellishing with ribbon or upholstery webbing (yeah for no sew fabric glue) as seen here.
Fill the bag with all your pet’s traveling needs such as (blankets/towels/bed linens, paper towels, pet wipes, collars/harnesses/leashes, pet grooming supplies, pet potty bags, water, water bowl, dog food, food bowl, medication if needed, calming tablets if vet recommended, treats, raincoats/jackets/booties depending on weather, toys, flashlight, medical records, first aid kit). These are just suggestions but you can more comprehensive packing list for pet travel here.
As always, never leave your pet travel kit within reach of pets, children or elderly persons as safety precautions regarding (medication, first aid supplies, calming tablet, food/treats etc.) should be a top priority.
There are definitely a lot of things to consider before traveling with pets this holiday season but it can be done! If you have any ideas, tips or suggestions I’ve missed just let me know.