For some of us, our pets—whether they be canine, feline, equine, you get the idea—are our greatest companions. They can also make terrific traveling partners—if you prepare adequately. Traveling via car, train, or air with an animal is actually easier than ever, so long as you have the proper required paperwork completed as well as a number of accessories and premade plans to ensure a smooth visit.
Thus, here are a few tips, tricks, and treats for traveling with your four-legged best friend this summer.
If you're taking your dog through an airport (or anywhere else crowded and potentially in a rush), then you'll want this leash from Found My Animal. It's the equivalent of walking (or running) with your dog while hands-free…or at least freeing up your hands for carrying your luggage.
Available in a rainbow of colors, the marine-grade rope with solid brass hardware can be fastened three ways: Hands-free, around the waist; a handle made by clipping to the O-rings; and you can even walk two dogs and form a handle with a simple knot in the center.
Dog and Cat Carriers
There are pet carriers…and now there are pet backpacks. Pet owners familiar with the New York City subway (and its rule that pets can ride only if transported in a bag) might have already seen the K9 Sport Sack AIR, which can fit a dog up to 30 pounds for easy transit while on your back. (Make sure to test this out with your pet a few times before leaving the house so he or she is comfortable with the new mode of transport.) Smaller dogs can also hop in the K9 Sport Sack with the included accessory that's like a yoga block that can be stuffed at the bottom of the bag.
For a more stylish look, there is the Wild One Carrier. Supporting pups 25 pounds and under, the all-weather shell sports a cut out, a cushioned base, soft straps, and a cross-poly durable exterior. There's also a clasp inside for keeping your dog clipped in while in transit, preventing your doggo from taking an unplanned trip of his or her own.
For cat lovers—this is truly a sight to behold—is the out-of-this-world and aptly named Cat Backpack. Owners can install either the bubble or screen, and there is a leash clip on the inside so folks can keep their cat secure with a harness while in the bag.
It's always advisable to get your pets microchipped when they join your family, but it's also worth remembering that even if a pet is microchipped, that's not the same as having an immediate GPS locator.
But there are devices you can clip around the collar that will provide near-immediate location information. Whistle is among the most effective in providing GPS location details, using your home Wi-Fi router as a home base, then pinpointing where your dog is—down to the city block—on-demand and via push notifications. The latest model, Whistle GO, starts at $99 for the device, with a monthly subscription service for the location tracking. The subscription is roughly the same price as what you'd pay for any streaming service—and it is definitely worth the peace of mind.
Whistle's newest creation, the Whistle GO Explore, includes support for a number of new metrics about your pet—including noticing changes in licking or scratching—and a double the battery life of the Whistle GO at 20 days per charge. The devices are great for travel as pet owners can keep track of their pets if they tend to wander off and compare their activity level to when they’re at home.
Hemp and CBD Treats
CBD is supposedly a wonder drug for humans, but it turns out that it's safe for doggos too. Now the market is ripe with dog treats infused with CBD, promising calmer pets for an extended period of time—which could be helpful if you and your dog are flying cross-country. Among some of the popular options out there are all-hemp Calm and Quiet soft chews from Therabis as well as hard treats and soft chews from Berkeley-based Holistic Hound.
Of course, as with any new pet food or treat, you should consult with your veterinarian first and do a sample test with your pet to see how he or she reacts to said treat before indulging any further.
Pet Boarding and Dog Walking
Having a reliable dog walker is just as key as having a reliable hair stylist or dry cleaner. These are people you trust, appreciate, and want to give regular business to. But when traveling, it might be hard to find someone new when you need a petsitter (and fast) while you go out on an extended day trip. Rover has grown to a network of more than 200,000 sitters in over 14,000 cities. Either via browser or mobile app, dog and cat owners can look up local pet sitters and dog walkers within seconds, with near-immediate availability in some cases.
On the flip side, in case you do happen to be traveling without your cat or dog, Rover has the option of helping you find a pet sitter for dog boarding or daily cat visits in your own home.
Pet Friendly Stay
For those of you who do take the pet to the hotel, make sure your hotel accommodates pets! Not only are there restrictions at some hotels about what kinds of pets can stay there (if at all) but also some hotels charge an extra fee—sometimes as much as a few hundred dollars extra per night.
That is not the case at Kimpton Hotels, which boasts to be extremely pet friendly at all of its hotels nationwide. Not only do pets stay free—nearly any kind of pet can stay free! (A Kimpton hotel in Washington, D.C., once hosted a waddle of penguins in a bathtub full of ice, according to a hotel representative.) Kimpton also goes the extra few feet with stainless-steel water and food bowls brought to your room as well as courtesy treats and waste bags for use during your stay. Kimpton's boutique hotels are also famous for having a daily (and free!) wine hour between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. local time. Pets are welcome to attend, too, so if you're someone who likes to drink with your dog, this is for you.
There are plenty of airlines that do let you bring your small dogs or cats with you in the cabin, either for a fee or free for passengers with documentation for emotional support animals. Among one of the more pet-friendly national carriers is JetBlue, which even has its own "wooftop" space at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in the airline's exclusive Terminal 5. The outdoor patio is small, but it offers enough room for dogs to walk around and relieve themselves and let their owners get the closest thing as possible to a breath of fresh air at an airport.
Some pet owners might say sky's the limit for their dogs—and for jet-setters on private planes, that's a reality, not a figure of speech. Earlier this year, global private aviation company VistaJet launched VistaPet, a bespoke and luxurious experience for pets and owners alike. Among the in-flight amenities are bio-organic pet food from Rockster, Random Rewards dog-training treats crafted by Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux, and water-free shampoos and soothing wipes for salon-quality fur care so even your pets can practice "self-care" while traveling.
Belt bags (fashion's new name for fanny packs, or bum bags, as they're known in the U.K.) are back in this season. On the whole, they're still more functional than fashionable. But a few brands here and there are elevating the classic staple of the '80s and '90s. Among them are Dagne Dover's neoprene Ace Fanny Pack, available in six colors with an adjustable strap (36 inches fully extended), easy-to-clean nylon lining, a front zipper pocket, and more pockets for stashing keys, cards, and cash. But for your pets, this is an excellent medium for storing waste bags, a foldable water bowl, and a few dog treats for a job well done.
This one is a bit superfluous, but it could be the equivalent of bringing an umbrella with you—but for your dog. Having a sartorial protectant from the elements could be extra crucial for dogs with fluffy and curly coats, or even just freshly groomed pets. An example in which style meets function equally is this raincoat from Max-Bone, available in either sophisticated gray or traditional yellow. (An extra-large size could even fit a small child, so look at the measurements carefully before purchase.)
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