MexicoPet Travel

Pet Travel Packing List: The Ultimate Packing Guide for Pets

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Courtney and I have been pet owners for a long time now. We really thought we had all the essentials for pet travel. Boy, we were definitely wrong, especially when we started to travel by air with our pets. It has been a huge learning curve making sure we have our pets’ needs in mind while flying or driving with them, and it has taken us some time to put together our Pet Travel Packing List, but we are excited to share that it is ready! We hope you enjoy this and it helps you prepare for fun road trips with your pets or flying with your pets!

WHY YOU SHOULD TRUST US

It is important to take advice from people you trust, especially when it comes to your pets. Over the years, we have racked up experience with long road trips with our dogs and cats. We also lived in Mexico for 10+ months and traveled by air and car with a small dog multiple times. Sharing our insight with you is so important. Many mistakes have been made along the way. We want to save you the stress and prepare you for it all. This article will break down what to expect while traveling by air or car with your pet. As well as our must-have pet travel packing list you can’t leave home without. 

pet travel backpack
Duke with Hughie and Courtney

PET TRAVEL BY CAR

What to expect with cats

Pet travel is easy by car, right? Well, it depends. I’m sure you have done it multiple times, we have too! This doesn’t mean that it still can’t be done more efficiently. The biggest issue we have run into with pet travel by car is making sure all the animals have their own space to relax. Despite having traveled on many road trips with our pets in our Toyota Corolla, we only feel like we have recently mastered car travel with pets.

Cat travel by car looks different for every cat. Our cat is easily stressed, so much so that we had to take him to the vet and get anxiety medication, special cat food to help with digestion, and a stress diffuser. Honestly, he is high maintenance and it shows. First, we wanted to find a crate that gave him more space and even room for a tiny litterbox for long drives. Our cat does not do well outside of a crate in the car, he tries to climb under the seats and that can get really dangerous really quickly. This bigger crate made a huge difference as he is a big cat and typical hard crates are too small to move around. 

Having a large crate that has room for a litter box while driving makes it less stressful for you especially if you are wanting to pull over and go for a hike with your cat in a handy cat backpack. I worry so much about my cat if they haven’t had access to a bathroom, but I have fun plans for my road trip I don’t want to miss out on.

Don’t get me wrong, even with this fancy crate, he still managed to meow for 9 hours straight. This was because we decided to try out vet-prescribed anxiety medication. Even after testing it out on him before our trip, he still reacted badly to it. We took another 9-hour drive at the end of our trip and did not give him the medication, he did not meow at all! Every cat reacts differently, don’t be alarmed if they don’t react well. 

cat pet travel packing
Our cat was thrilled to be on vacation

What to expect with dogs

We have a large dog that weighs 70 lbs and a small dog that weighs 5 lbs. Both are easy-going in the car, but the larger dog used to get really antsy after just a couple of hours driving. We tried a new dog bed that gave him plenty of room to sleep and be comfortable while having familiar smells around him. We also gave him some CBD treats which helped him relax and sleep more.

For our small dog, we use a Sherpa soft carrier for car trips, I have it linked again below. He is used to the crate and has traveled by air and car plenty of times in it. We put a blanket in there, give him some CBD treats and let him sleep! 

PET TRAVEL BY AIR 

So we did the work and wrote an entire article dedicated to breaking down everything you need to know about pet travel by air, but here is the shortened list below. Be sure to read our other article as there are a lot of airlines with specific requirements for pet travel that are necessary to know before booking a trip.

PET TRAVEL PACKING LIST: AIRPORT INFO

  1. Be sure to arrive at the airport EXTRA early, you will have to go to the check-in counter and speak with an airline employee in order to complete the check-in process. Lines can be long and there aren’t generally special lines for pet check-in.
  2. Walk pet before arrival
  3. Bring vet records
  4. Read all the details in our Pet Travel By Air article as it breaks down exactly what you need from the airline.

What to expect with cats

If you are traveling by air, traveling with a cat that will be in the cabin with you can be more stressful than with a dog as they don’t like being confined for long periods of time. From experience giving them medicine like Xanax or CBD can make them more anxious. Our vet advised us to try out Xanax and the CBD before a long trip. For some reason, all cats react differently to these things.

Cats that are being checked into the cargo must have empty water and food bowls that you can attach to the inside of their crate. We forgot to do this and had to go buy water bottles in the airport and actually cut them with scissors and zip tie them to the inside of the crate. This is required. Also, be sure to line the bottom of the crate with pee pads and a blanket that has a familiar smell. 

In case of a layover between flights, even if it is short you will be required to check in with the airline regarding your cat in cargo. I had to run all the way across the airport with little time (I also had 2 kittens in a soft carrier in my arms).

Know that you will have to take the cat out of the carrier through security. Be sure to have a harness and leash on them to ensure they cannot escape. Ask for a private screening at the front of the security line to alleviate this part with a crowd. A private screening allows you to go into a room that is closed and they take your cat out and examine it in a much less stressful environment. 

What to expect with dogs

Dogs can sense your stress, which means when you are sprinting around the airport your dog may become more stressed. Giving them a couple of CBD or Hemp treats can help calm them down. 

Dogs that are being checked into the cargo must have empty water and food bowls that you can attach to the inside of their crate. We forgot to do this and had to go buy water bottles in the airport and actually cut them with scissors and zip tie them to the inside of the crate. This is required. Also, be sure to line the bottom of the crate with pee pads and a blanket that has a familiar smell.

If you think your dog may need to use the bathroom in the airport with no pet relief station in sight, take a pee pad and go to the bathroom and see if they will use it. 

hughie in chiapas
Walking in Chiapas Mexico

PET TRAVEL PACKING LIST: MUST HAVE SUPPLIES

CAT HARNESS

PUPTECK Ultralight Cat Harness and Leash for Walking - Escape Proof Adjustable Vest Harness for Kitten Puppies, Reflective for Safe at Night, Breathable Outdoor Vest
  • 😻SIZE: S - Chest girth: 12-14in, Width: 0.6in....
  • 😻MATERIAL: The surface is made of Cationic...
  • 😻SAFETY: The material of this cat harness is...

CAT LEASH

PUPTECK Ultralight Cat Harness and Leash for Walking - Escape Proof Adjustable Vest Harness for Kitten Puppies, Reflective for Safe at Night, Breathable Outdoor Vest
  • 😻SIZE: S - Chest girth: 12-14in, Width: 0.6in....
  • 😻MATERIAL: The surface is made of Cationic...
  • 😻SAFETY: The material of this cat harness is...

PET CBD/ HEMP OIL

Hemp Oil Dogs Cats - Anti-Anxiety, Arthritis, Seizures, Pain Relief - Hip Joint Health - 100% Organic Calming Drops - Omega 3, 6, 9 & Vitamins B, C, E
  • Pain relief: this remedy is sure to release your...
  • Deep sleep: this unique product is a calming...
  • Enhances focus and clarity: this pet hemp oils...

SEAT COVER FOR DOG HAIR

Sale
Giomoc Dog Car Seat Cover for Back Seat, Waterproof Seat Protector Scratchproof Pet Hammock with 4 Bags Side Flaps, Washable Nonslip Backseat Protection for Cars Trucks and SUVs
  • 【Large Universal Size and Side Flaps】: Open...
  • 【Made of 600D Oxford Fabric】: The pet car seat...
  • 【Convertible Hammock-Style Design】: This...

PET HAIR BRUSH

ChomChom Pet Hair Remover - Reusable Cat and Dog Hair Remover for Furniture, Couch, Carpet, Car Seats and Bedding - Eco-Friendly, Portable, Multi-Surface Lint Roller & Animal Fur Removal Tool
  • VERSATILE - Keep your home free from loose lint...
  • REUSABLE - If ripping off hundreds of lint roller...
  • CONVENIENT - No batteries or power source needed...

DOG BED

Pet Dog Bed for Medium Dogs(XXL-Large for Large Dogs),Dog Bed with Machine Washable Comfortable and Safety for Medium and Large Dogs Or Multiple
  • ☀COMFORT AND SECURITY: The medium dog bed's...
  • ☀SIZE &COLOR: Measuring from outside of bolster:...
  • ☀HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL OF PET BED: Cozy small...

CAT BED

Sale
Pyramid Cat Bed - Cat Houses for Indoor Cats with Removable Foam Cat Bed for Kittens or Small Dogs by PETMAKER (Light Blue)
  • LARGE CAT IGLOO - The enclosed cat tent is...
  • CUDDLE COMFORT – This stylish and charming...
  • SLEEP OR PLAY - This cat house offers a comforting...

CAT STRESS DIFFUSOR

Sale
FELIWAY Optimum Cat, Enhanced Calming Pheromone Diffuser, 30 Day Starter Kit (48 mL)
  • FELIWAY Optimum is a new pheromone discovery, and...
  • 93% of cat owners report enhanced calming, with an...
  • FELIWAY Optimum is a drug free solution that helps...
  

SHERPA BAG

COVONO Expandable Pet Carrier Backpack for Cats, Dogs and Small Animals, Portable Pet Travel Carrier, Super Ventilated Design, Airline Approved, Ideal for Traveling/Hiking /Camping
  • REAR EXPANDABLE DESIGN: With the rear expandable...
  • BETTER VENTILATION&VISIBILITY: The most important...
  • STURDY&SAFE STRUCTURE: Equipped with a firmly...

PUPPY PADS

Sale
Bolux Dog and Puppy Training Pads, 13”×18” Disposable Dog Pee Pads, 100/Counts Ultra Absorbent & Leak-Proof Pet Underpads, Dry Quickly Pee Pad for Dog Cats Rabbits or Other House Training Pets
  • ☀【Training Pads Size】 - Small Pee Pads: 13''...
  • ☀【Leak-proof Design】 - Our wee wee pads have...
  • ☀【5 Layers Construction】 - This dog pee pad...

WIPES

Sale
Pogi's Grooming Wipes - 100 Hypoallergenic Pet Wipes for Dogs & Cats - Plant-Based, Fragrance-Free, Deodorizing Dog Wipes
  • Conditioning Ingredients - Aloe Vera, Vitamin E,...
  • Large Pet Wipes (8 x 9 inches) - Our quilted dog...
  • Versatile - When normal baths are not an option,...

DOG BOWLS

Gorilla Grip Premium Collapsible Dog Bowls and Carabiner, Silicone Portable Feeding Dish, Dishwasher Safe, Easy Carry Foldable Pet Bowl, Walking Dogs Hiking, Camping, 1 Cup, Black/Royal Blue
  • Collapsible and Sturdy Design: this ultra durable...
  • Dishwasher Safe Food Grade Silicone: the bowl is...
  • Perfect For Pets On The Go: collapsible pet bowls...

BLANKET

Waterproof Pet Blanket Cat & Dog Blanket with Liquid Pee Proof Puppy Blanket for Bed Cover Reversible Sherpa Furniture Protector Cover for Small Medium Large Dogs Cats
  • Warm & Cozy Blanket: Dog blanket is lined with...
  • Waterproof & Leakproof: Waterproof impermeable...
  • Double-Sided Reversible: Dog blanket is reversible...

FOOD CARRIER

Kurgo Kibble Carrier for Dogs, Dog Food Travel Bag, Pet Food Travel Storage Container, Dog Travel Accessories for Camping, Easy to Clean, PVC Free, Foldable, Holds 5 Pounds (Navy Blue)
  • KEEPS DOG FOOD FRESH: Dog food carrier is made...
  • EXTRA STORAGE POCKETS: Travel dog food bag...
  • MADE FROM SAFE MATERIALS: Dog food container is...

Like this Pet Travel Packing List Article? Check out our other related articles!

Pet Air Travel Checklist

Puerto Vallarta Mexico Travel Guide 

Mexico Packing Guide 

Where To Stay In Mexico City

Costa Rica Packing List

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Traveling with your pet by car or air? Check out this pet travel packing list for everything you need! #pettravelpackinglist #pettravel #travelwithpet #travelwithdog #travelwithcat #adventurepet

I’m Sam and I may only be 5’3 but I’m feisty and enjoy a lot of sarcastic humor. I’m addicted to travel as well as feeding and advocating for street animals in every country I travel to. I’m married to Courtney and we’re super gay or whatevaaaa. We’re both extroverts and love meeting new people everywhere we travel. We are in love with Latin American culture but can’t wait to explore more of the world!

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