This week, while visiting Columbus, Ohio, I learned an incredibly valuable lesson. Don’t leave the room without “puppy proofing.” Here’s what happens when you don’t:

My six-month-old puppy, Frankie, experienced a full-blown panic attack after my boyfriend and I left for dinner. He thought we were never coming back to our motel room, so naturally he searched the phone book for an emergency contact. His nerves settled upon my arrival to the room, but the motel lost a copy of its Yellow Pages.

We don’t always have the option to leave our furry friends at home, so here are some tips for traveling with Fido:

Call Ahead – Be sure to book your reservations early with a hotel that allows pets. Ask whether or not they require a pet fee or deposit. Also, some hotels have weight policies for pets, so confirm that your pet meets all requirements.

Feels Like Home – For most of us, traveling takes us outside of our comfort zone. It’s the same for our pets. To make your furry guy feel more at home, be sure to bring a few of your pup’s favorite toys or bones.  Before you leave the room, “puppy proof” to ensure only your pup’s designated toys are accessible.

Never Leave Pets Unattended – Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. Many hotel policies’ fine print state that pets may never be left unattended in the room, either.

Travel Safely – Experts agree that pets should be restrained in the car for safety. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. Secured crates can be effective, but there are alternative options now available to pet owners.  Check out this On-Seat Booster  from Tagalong.

Pack a Puppy Suitcase – What does your dog need for the trip? Pack his food, medication, toys, blankets and any other items that may be necessary for his comfort and well-being.  I also recommend packing your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings. While this generally isn’t a problem, it’s always smart to be on the safe side.

Stay Hydrated – Dogs especially can become dehydrated easily, so it’s important that your pup is getting enough water. If you’re driving, this also means you will need to factor enough time for potty breaks and other stops for your pet.

For some pet parents, a trip’s not the same without our four-legged friends. But traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your animal companions. With thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.

Tips For Pet Travel