You never want to leave your pets at home, but traveling with them is a different story. Travel, whether it's by air, land, or sea, can be stressful for both you and your furry friends. Luckily, technology makes everything better -- there are plenty of gadgets and apps designed to make traveling with your pets easy, safe, and stress-free.
Here are 9 products you can use to make your next vacation dog- or cat-friendly:
1. Kurgo Impact Dog Harness
Seatbelts aren't just for humans -- your pets should be strapped in when you're on the road, for both their safety and yours. Seatbelts may not be designed for your pup, but the Kurgo Impact Harness is, and it's been crash-tested for safety using the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for child restraint systems.
The Impact Harness, which comes in four sizes (for dogs 10 pounds to 110 pounds), is made of a single piece of 4000-pound tubular webbing with steel nesting buckles (read: it's super strong and built to withstand the force of a car crash). It's fully adjustable and it integrates directly into your car's built-in seatbelt system.
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2. Whistle GPS
Doggie activity trackers -- especially trackers with built-in GPS -- are super popular these days, and also super useful if you're going to be on the road with your pup. The Whistle GPS is a handy collar attachment device (works best for dogs that are 10 pounds and up) that tracks your dog's activity and location.
Unlike other tracking devices, which rely on a network of other users, the Whistle GPS has built-in GPS and a battery that will last approximately three days when it's not near the charging base station -- which will hopefully be enough time to find your dog should they get separated from you on your travels.
3. BringFido App
It's hard enough to find pet-friendly venues in your own city, let alone the city you're traveling to. The BringFido app (free; iOS) is an extension of the extremely useful BringFido website, which has all the information you need for successful dog-friendly travel. On the app (and website), you'll find pet-friendly hotels (complete with information about pet limits and fees) and dog-friendly outdoor restaurants, parks, and beaches.
There's even a section for "Dog Events," where you'll find nearby doggie meetups (in Los Angeles, for example, there appears to be a doggie pool party happening next weekend), adoption events, and doggie fundraisers.
4. Sleepypod Air
Smaller dogs can't fit into the Kurgo Impact Harness, and cats usually don't take too kindly to being harnessed at all. But these pets still need to be contained when you're in the car or in an airplane, so for those pets there's the Sleepypod Air. The Sleepypod Air is designed to keep your pet safe in all forms of transportation -- this airline-approved carrier fits neatly under most airline seats (and expands for more room once the plane takes off) and can also be securely strapped into a car seat using the car's existing seatbelt system.
Like the Kurgo Impact Harness, the Sleepypod Air has also been crash-tested for safety using the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for child restraint systems (baby seat crash testing up to 30mph). The Sleepypod Air comes in six colors and is designed for dogs that weigh up to 15 pounds and cats that weigh up to 18 pounds.
5. MapMyDogWalk App
Not sure where to take your pup on a trek around an unfamiliar city? MapMyDogWalk (free; iOS and Android) is a free app that can help you find dog walking routes, as well as dog-friendly amenities (such as dog-friendly restaurants and parks) no matter where you are. MapMyDogWalk is part of the MapMyFitness series of apps, so this app does focus on fitness: The app asks you to start your "workout" when you begin your walk, so it can track your time, distance, pace, calories burned, and route as you take your canine companion on a leisurely stroll.
But the map will show you where you and your dog can get water, food, or medical care, which might be necessary. The app also has a bank of user-submitted routes that you can use if you need some dog-walking inspiration.
6. Pawprint - Pet Health Tracker App
It's always a good idea to keep a copy of your pet's records -- vaccine records, license and registration information, and microchip number -- on you when you're traveling. You never know when you'll need to detail your pet's complete medical history to someone on the road. Pawprint (free; iOS and Android) is a free health-tracking app that helps you keep all of this information accessible on your phone.
The app has places for you to enter in all of your pet's information, from the basics (birthday, sex, and breed) to the not-so-basics (microchip number, license number, and pet insurance information). The app will also contact vets on your behalf to get your pet's current medical records -- this service is free, but it will take about 20 days to complete; you can pay a small fee for a "rush" order -- and has places for you to manually enter vaccine information and upload files and photos.
7. pDuties App
Keeping track of your pet's schedule is hard enough when you're at home. But when you're traveling, or on vacation? Forget about it -- especially if you have multiple caretakers. The pDuties app (free; iOS) can help you and your family members keep track of your pet's daily habits, including when they last ate, were walked, peed, pooped, had their litter box changed, and received medicine, so Fido's vacation is as stress-free as yours.
pDuties makes tracking your pet's habits ridiculously simple. First, you'll need to add your pet (dog or cat) or pets to the app. Once your pets are added, just tap the pet's name whenever something happens and check off the completed item -- for dogs, you can track pee, poo, walk, food, and medicine; and for cats you can track food, litter, meds, and treats -- and press submit. The app logs the time an action was performed and who took on the responsibility -- you can share this app with other caretakers so that everybody knows exactly what's going on.
The PetCube Camera is designed to help you keep an eye on your pets when you're away from home, but it can also be a handy travel companion. This small $149 gadget is perfect for when you need to leave your pets unattended in the hotel room...but you're not totally sure they can be trusted (you'll need an active Wi-Fi connection to set the PetCube up, but most hotels and Airbnbs have that).
In addition to a camera that you can use to check in on your pets (and make sure that the hotel room is still in tip-top shape), the PetCube also has a built-in speaker and a laser pointer so you can talk to and play with your pets remotely.
9. GoPro Fetch Dog Harness
Get a unique travel perspective with the GoPro Fetch Dog Harness -- a $40 GoPro mount that works with all GoPro cameras and fits most dogs that weigh between 15 and 120 pounds. The GoPro Fetch has flexible elastic straps and a padded back and chest plate that lets you mount your GoPro camera on your dog's back or chest (it also comes with a camera tether to make sure you don't lose your GoPro in the wilderness).
Trust me -- this accessory will benefit both you and your dog, because it will make you want to stop at all the dog parks, beaches, and other outdoor dog-friendly areas (that you'll find on BringFido) so your dog can make his own memories.
Photo credits: Kurgo, PetCube, GoPro, Sleepypod