Gear Up for Pet Travel


There are 3 categories of toys, says Sandy Robins, a pet lifestyle expert with PETCO. Comfort toys, which are anything soft or that the animal likes to carry around; action toys to play with on the beach; and distraction toys, which you stuff with treats. The animal will keep busy trying to extract them -- it's both mental and physical stimulation.

Distraction toys can often double as action toys, as is the case with the JW Pet Hol-ee Roller 5, a rubber hexagon with cut-outs that can be filled with snacks. Your dog can chew on it, fetch it or spend time trying to get the goodies out while you're busy packing or out on the town for a few hours.

You want to make sure your pet has proper identification. Make sure its tags display your cell-phone number (because you’re on the road too), and consider a microchip. The process is simple: Purchase a chip kit, and take the preloaded sterile syringe to your vet for insertion. Since there are different microchip brands on the market that require different scanners, travel with your own universal scanner and never worry about which one the authorities will have. The Datamars Micromax is about the size and weight of a cell phone and reads 15-digit chips.

Keep canines (and yourself) safe on road trips by first securing them in a harness like the  Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness, and then hooking them to a Kurgo zip-line. It allows a dog to move somewhat freely in the back seat or cargo area, but will prevent dangerous seat-jumping. For small dogs who like to look out the window but can’t quite reach that high, install a booster seat; Kurgo makes one that collapses when not in use.

And you can easily monitor a dog’s temperature on a hot day by outfitting him in the LuvGear line of temp-alert harnesses and clothes, each emblazoned with a heat-sensitive icon that reveals the word “alert” if the outside temperature reaches approximately 100 degrees.


Crate options for flying pets are fairly standard because they all have to adhere to strict IATA rules. A cool way to keep your pet at a comfortable temp during a journey is the Snoozer Outlast Dog Crate Pad. The pad’s core material was originally developed for NASA; it collects body heat and reflects it back when the climate changes, preventing big swings in temperature that can be harmful to pets.

If your pet will join you onboard the plane, a popular choice for carry-ons is the SturdiBag. Its fiberglass ribbing prevents it from being crushed under the seat. Consider, too, carriers offered by Sherpa Pet Group and PETCO’s Guaranteed Onboard program, for which the companies teamed with major airlines to ensure that the bags meet all size and safety requirements.

With all this planning, don't forget the basics. You'll need a good leash -- like Kong's Control Grip Plus, which have foam-lined grips and a clip to adjust the slack. You'll also need smart ways to carry food and water. Store your pal's favorite eats in the airtight Traveltainer, which holds food in 2 separate 1-quart bowls and includes a handle. In the car, you'll want a spill-proof water dish, like the Buddy Bowl. However, you won't need a bowl if you have Waterbites. These packets contain portable, no-spill water that's been formulated into a gel.

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