Traveling with a Pet: Better Sleep for Both of You

These smart tips will help your furry friend relax, so you can get more shut-eye on your next vacation.

For many people, pets are part of the family—and that means wherever you go, Fido goes, too. Thankfully, the travel industry is taking note of the fact that pet owners love to vacation with their animals in tow. These days, it’s easier than ever to find animal-friendly hotels, and trains like Amtrak recently started allowing pets on board. Traveling with your dog, cat or other furry friend can be fun for both of you as long as you’re properly prepared—and that starts with planning out your sleeping situation so your trip is restful, not stressful.

Take a Walk
As soon as you arrive at your destination, make sure your pet gets a little exercise. After being cooped up in the car or on the plane, canine companions need to stretch their legs just like humans do. Take a walk around the neighborhood, find a local hiking trail or simply stroll the hotel grounds. Allowing your pet to sniff and explore can help tire him out when it comes time for slumber.

Pack Toys
Packing a favorite toy or bone from home can give your animal an outlet for his or her energy, and provide a distraction while you settle into your new surroundings. Just as it does at home, any sort of mental or physical stimulation will improve the chances of your pet snoozing when night comes—and that means sounder sleep for you, too.

Bring a Bed
Animals that are nervous when away from home may whimper or have a hard time settling down, which could keep you up at night. To prevent this anxious behavior, minimize the amount of time that your pet is alone. It’s also smart to pack comforting items, such as your dog’s bed from home, to give him a familiar spot to go to when he is unsure of himself.

Consider a Crate
For some people, snuggling up with Fluffy can increase feelings of security. But for others, having a pet in the bed can disrupt sleep. If you’re one of them, you may want to travel with a portable kennel. These collapsible crates fit under a table or in the closet when not in use, and allow your pet to lie on the floor next to your bed when you sleep, while still providing you with the space you need to snooze in peace.

Vacationing with your pet should be enjoyable. If you notice that your pet is having a difficult time adjusting to your new location, talk with your veterinarian. She may be able to recommend ways to keep your companion happy at night so that you both get better sleep.