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Traveling during the holidays is quite a stressful ordeal as it is, but it can be particularly "ruff" on your pup or kitty that's tagging along. From long plane and car rides to extended time spent in unfamiliar environments, traveling can contribute to anxiety and stress for your fur baby. As pet parents, we want nothing but the best for our little buddies, and it takes a lot of careful planning to ensure that a trip goes paws-itively well. We know how stressful and purr-plexing this process can be, especially as you're trying to also prepare and pack for yourself, so we're here to help ease your load.
We've rounded up the best problem-solving products from Amazon, Chewy, and PetSmart that have received stamps of approval from pet parents for managing anxiety and stress, especially while traveling. From portable diffusers for your kitty that allow you to bring calm vibes with you wherever you go to yummy & healthy treats that will keep your pupper busy and satisfied for long periods of time (while also cleaning their teeth!), we've got you and your pet covered this holiday travel season.
BurgeonNest Dog Car Seat
This dog booster car seat with 5,500+ five-star Amazon reviews is a game-changer if your travel plans include long car rides. It's comfy, fluffy & durable, and the bed is fully detachable and washable. The car seat also features an adjustable buckle design for easy installation and removal.
According to one Amazon shopper, "My puppy used to get really bad motion sickness so I went through a few types of carriers. This one has been the best and he's no longer afraid of car rides. Fabric is soft and fluffy so it makes the ride less bumpy. He falls right asleep during every ride."
Rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking
Long trips often mean that your kitty is limited in the amount of space they can explore and move around in. This cat harness and leash will help your feline friend get their daily steps in; it has 32,800+ five-star reviews on Amazon, and it features four adjustable straps to keep your kitty comfortable and secure. The vest-style design also helps distribute leash pressure evenly avcross the chest and shoulder, and it includes reflective strips to help keep your kitty visible in dark environments.
One reviewer on Amazon wrote, "I have a sweet grey tabby kitty who we take on camping trips. She hates to travel in her carrier but roamed all over the car when we were traveling once accidentally stepping on the button to the car window and opening it. Luckily I got her before she jumped out the window. I saw this harness and thought this would be the perfect solution and it was. It fit perfectly and she didn't mind wearing it at all. She would sit in my lap or sleep on the back seat and was very content. It is very well made and the leash allows her to roam around safely. I am so glad I made this purchase."
SmartPetLove Original Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy for Dogs
This top-rated stuffed toy with 46,500+ five-star reviews on Amazon is designed to provide comfort and anxiety relief to your pup by recreating intimacy and physical warmth. The toy stimulates a pulsing heartbeat that is designed to reduce loneliness, fear and negative behaviors associated with anxiety (e.g., whining and barking), according to the brand.
According to one Amazon shopper, "My 4 lb. Bolognese puppy was shaking with fright when I picked him up from the breeder before flying back to my home. But I activated the heartbeat of this Snuggle Puppy and he lay on top of it in his carrier (apparently the way he did with his siblings), calmed down, and didn't cry for the next four hours' travel. He's slept with it every night he's been home and doesn't whine or wake up until morning (wish I could say the same for me!). I am so impressed with this product, and only hope it's not something he will chew to death as he matures."
Lesure Waterproof Puppy Blanket
Help your furry friend stay cozy and comfortable throughout the entire trip with this calming blanket. Available in three patterns and five sizes, the blanket is designed with soothing sherpa material on one side and an extra-plush Jacquard shag on the other for maximum warmth and coziness. It also features waterproof inner lining to ensure no spills or dribbles seep through to the other side, keeping your pet (& car) dry and clean. Oh, did we mention that these blankets have matching donut beds?! How purr-fect!
According to one Amazon shopper, "This blanket is perfect. It's very heavy, large and very soft. Easy to wash. Because of how large it is, I'm able to fold it for the pups to lay on it, making it even more comfortable for them. My one dog is 14 years old. He doesn't have a very strong bladder anymore. This blanket is definitely waterproof. My oldest dog had an accident on it and I had to throw it in the washer. It washed very well and dried very easily. I put it into the dryer on low for 2 hours. It was still a little damp in a spot or two, but it was fine. I highly recommend this any pet owner. I might use this in my car as well."
ThunderShirt Classic Cat Anxiety Jacket
This anxiety jacket is designed to apply gentle, constant pressure to calm fear, over-excitement and anxiety resulting from a variety of environmental triggers such as traveling, according to the brand. It's made with machine-washable fabric that is resistant to pet hair, and it has 1,500+ five-star reviews on Amazon.
One Amazon reviewer wrote, "For years one of our cats threw up every time we traveled in the car (which was twice every weekend). We tried everything, including different kinds of medication. Nothing worked so every trip we had our paper towels/cleaning spray and garbage bags and had to pull over each time she got sick. We purchased the Thunder Shirt with a high level of skepticism but, for the price, would try anything. All I can say is we have probably done 30 trips since we purchased the Shirt and she has not thrown up once. It is so unbelievable to me and my wife that we actually tell everybody about it. It is kind of mind-boggling to me but couldn't be more surprised or thrilled. Highly, highly recommend!"
ThunderShirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket
The dog jacket has 30,700+ five-star reviews on Amazon, and one shopper wrote, "I don't normally leave reviews but I'm super impressed with this product. Our new, 15 month old Old English Sheepdog would always excessively drool and once vomited during car rides. It was a chore to get him into the car as he'd run the other way when it was time to go. When we put on the Thunder shirt, he was perfectly calm getting into the car and just laid down for the whole ride. What a change! We are so happy as we want to take him camping, to the snow, and to see family which means several hours in the car for each trip. Thank you!"
Best Friends by Sheri The Original Calming Shag Fur Donut Cuddler Cat and Dog Bed
This donut-shaped bed for cats and dogs has over 57,500+ five-star Amazon reviews, and it comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes. The soft faux shag fur helps keep your fur baby warm and cozy, while the extra filling and raised edges help orthopedic support and optimal opportunities for snuggling and burrowing.
According to one Amazon shopper, "We bought this dog bed for a 1,700 cross country road trip as we moved from one part of the country to the next. Our dogs had never been on a trip that long and this bed was a lifesaver for both of them (4lbs+16lbs Chihuahuas). Both dogs cozied up for 5 days of travel in the backseat area and barely woke unless we were stopping for food or bathroom breaks. Now we have arrived and bought another, one for bedroom & one for living area. Our dogs are still obsessed! They washed well the first 2 times and seem to be pretty durable for the price and softness."
Pet Honesty Probiotics for Dogs
Traveling can be both mentally and physically taxing for your fur baby, especially if they're staying in an unfamiliar environment for an extended period of time. Help your pupper maintain their digestive health with these tasty soft chews with 8,600+ five-star reviews . They're formulated with healthy active ingredients like pumpkin and chicory root to keep your dog regular, happy, and healthy.
One Amazon shopper raved, "I normally do not leave a review but I have to leave this one because it worked so well. After a road trip, my pup felt sick, he was vomiting, refusing to eat, and diarrhea. I figured since probiotics is good for us Human when we have stomach and intestinal discomfort, why not find a probiotics for pups. After reading the reviews, I went for it and tHis product came so fast almost overnight after paying a bit extra. I slowly introduced this with some home made food mix, applied it to his food, and on the fourth day he was back to his goofy self. No vomiting, stool is normal, and big appetite. Thanks!"
Sentry Behavior Portable Calming Diffuser for Cats
Bring chill vibes wherever you & your kitty go with this portable calming diffuser, which is also comes in a dog version. The diffuser doesn't require any batteries or outlet; according to the brand, it works for up to 30 days, releasing patented pheromones to help reduce stress-related behavior in your pet at home or on the go. When the pheromone cartridge is empty, simply replace the used cartridge with a refill & you'll be all set!
One Amazon shopper wrote, "I got one of these because I was planning on moving to a new apartment and was worried about my cats acclimating to the new environment and getting along with each other in a smaller space. Flash forward - now 1 month post-moving the cats in to the apartment - and I can say with confidence that I believe this is working splendidly. I haven't seen them fight anywhere near as much, and one of the cats seems to be extra "chill" with this around.. The other was still a little nervous about the move, but she settled down much more quickly than I had expected."
Rezip Pet Food Storage Bag (14-Cup)
If you're traveling with your pet, you're going to need a storage bag to keep their food. Instead of keeping your precious fur baby's food in random Ziploc bags, secure their kibble in this reusable storage bag that even features an adorable paw print design (not that you'd confuse their travel food supply with yours). The container features a roll-top closure with a hook and loop, so you can easily adjust the bag's size to the amount of kibble left & easily attach it to another bag if needed. It also compresses flat when empty, making it perfect for traveling, in which every bit of storage space counts.
One shopper on Amazon described, "This reusable food storage bag is nice and thick, very durable, and holds a lot more food than I imagined it would. The way the top foods down and turns into a handle is really convenient. This is a great replacement for using gallon ziploc bags and I've been using it when we go away for the weekend to bring the dogs dry food with us."
Purina® Busy Chewnola Small/Medium Dog Treat
Keep your pup happy and busy on long trips with these delicious Purina chew treats that have 5,000+ five-star reviews on Amazon. The long-lasting, triple-layer treat features multiple textures and is designed to keep your pup occupied while also helping clean teeth.
One Amazon shopper explained, "Chewnolas are fantastic and last several minutes! I have three aggressive chewers so most of the time, Busy chews and similar are a waste of money for us. Instead, my most aggressive chewer is entertained for over five minutes and the others are entertained for almost 10 minutes! I can hardly believe it. Usually something that will last a long while (like yak and nylon chews) will bore them so they leave it, but apparently Chewnolas last just long enough to encourage them to continue rather than get bored and walk away. Highly recommended!"
Kong Classic Dog Toy
Another way to keep your pup occupied while traveling is with toys that can help provide mental stimulation and thus reduce anxiety, boredom, and other stress-related behaviors. This Kong Classic Dog Toy is beloved by pet parents all around, and it has 66,500+ five-star reviews on Amazon. The treat-dispensing puzzle toy is designed to satisfy your dog's instinctual needs while mentally stimulating them, according to the brand.
One shopper on Amazon called this toy a "life saver for travel." They wrote, "We recently got two puppies - sisters. We has to make an emergency road trip even though they are still getting used to car. Kong was a life savior! Our car anxious puppies made it through 3 hour car drive, no issues! Since then, this has become our go to whenever they need extra TLC like when they need to be left home alone or when we have large number of guests over or when teething is troubling them a bit much!"
NaturVet Quiet Moments Herbal Calming Spray
This herbal calming spray, which has 29,400+ five-star Amazon reviews, is designed to soothe your kitty's anxiety during separation and travel by stimulating feline pheromones to provide a sense of safety, according to the brand. Enhance your feline friend's environment, crate or car with a calming scent that includes ingredients such as chamomile extract and rosemary oil. The brand also has a version that's tailored for dogs.
According to one Amazon shopper, "We had a cat who did not travel well and would actually vomit within one mile of leaving home and several times there after, even going a short trip to vets. Tried several remedies even prescription from vet. This product was recommended from a small pet shop and did the trick. I would spray it on a towel or old t-shirt, to put around or in the carrier, 20 minutes before the trip. On a longer trip I sprayed, every 15 minutes for the first hour until I was sure the cat was calm. It worked for our 10 year old cat."
VetriScience Composure Calming Formula for Cats - 30 Chews
These chewy treats have 5,800+ five-star Amazon reviews and are formulated with a calming formula that is designed to help ease nervousness. According to the brand, the treats begin working in 20-30 minutes, and the dose can be doubled or tripled as needed; they also deliver a tasty chicken liver flavor that cats love.
One Amazon shopper wrote, "I use these for my 8 month old fur baby. He has become more anxious as he's gotten older and started throwing up and peeing on things when we would take him in the car. He also gets very stressed around other cats. I was worried he wouldn't like them because they are so hard and he usually is very picky about textures in his food but he loves them. If the bag is out he will try to get into it. For normal day to day stress I give him one and he is much calmer. For heightened stress from travel I have to give him 3 for it to really help and keep him from peeing in the car. While they are primarily for this cat I have another cat who also likes them and I notice a difference when she takes them as well, she just doesn't need them as much."
Richard's Organics Pet Calming Drops
These organic calming drops with 1,900+ five-star reviews on Amazon are designed to effectively treat your cat or dog's anxiety and provide short-term stress relief, according to the brand. Made of natural ingredients such as chamomile and passionflower extract, the drops are ideal for helping your fur baby get through stressful events, including long car rides and environmental changes.
One Amazon shopper wrote, "This works great and it must taste good because she takes it without a fuss. In fact, it works so good we have bought it for our friends super hyper car riding dog and they love it too! Plus we have recommended it to other friends. Love that it is homeopathic also. Our dog would pant and hide for thunderstorms, and the same for traveling, but not anymore."
Looking to shop more must-have picks for your pet? Get them in the holiday spirit with these paw-some Christmas sweaters that are sure to earn them a spot on Santa's nice list.
—Originally published April 14, 2023, at 5:15 p.m. PT