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Bringing Your Pup to a Festival This Summer? Keep These Tips in Mind

Outdoor festival season has officially kicked off; and for many of us, that means packing up the car with all the summer roadtrip essentials (including your pup’s favorite summer ‘fits!) and trekking to our favorite fest to bask in the sun, sip on an ice-cold bevvy, and maybe even catch a live band or two. And while large music festivals, like Coachella, Stagecoach, Bonnaroo, Summerfest and Lollapalooza, don’t allow dogs, some local festivals, including music festivals, do–and even encourage your furry friends to come along. We chatted with a group of festival organizers and pet travel experts to learn the do’s and don’ts of bringing your pup to outdoor festivals, like summer concerts.

Make Sure the Festival Is Pet-Friendly

Before attempting to bring your dog to a music festival, it’s crucial that you check the event website for its rules and regulations. If there isn’t a clear-cut dog policy spelled out online, it probably means that dogs are not allowed on the festival grounds.

Most of the festivals that are pet-free won’t let you onto the camping grounds or through the gates with an animal in your car. These festivals can host upwards of 80,000 fans and simply do not have the means of regulating pets at their events.

Exceptions, however, are often granted to people who require service dogs. If you plan on attending a festival under these circumstances, it’s important that you follow the service animal rules and get prior approval to bring your pet. In most cases, service dogs must be registered ahead of time with the festival, have to remain leashed and by their handler’s side at all times, and are required to use the designated service animal relief area.

dog at festival with pet parent

Etiquette for Dog-Friendly Fests

If you are allowed to bring your dog, below are some rules that festivals may ask you and your dog to follow.

Make sure your dog is well-behaved in crowds.

The festival organizers of Birmingham, Alabama’s annual Do Dah Day event have a policy that pets who attend the festival must be on their best behavior.

“If you have any reason to believe that your pet may be aggressive or difficult to control, please do not bring them to Do Dah Day,” says Do Dah Day spokesperson Joyce Johnson. “If your animal shows any potential for hostility toward people or other animals, you will be asked to remove the animal from the park.”

The local police department also works closely with festival organizers to monitor the grounds for unruly animals. If your dog becomes loud or bothersome to concert patrons, festivals such as South Carolina’s Albino Skunk Music Festival will ask both you and your pup to leave the event. You’d be better off to have left Fido behind in that case—being expelled from a festival is a vibe-killer.

dog on leash at festival

Respect the areas where dogs are not allowed.

Some festivals allow dogs in the campground area but not near the concert site. Dogs must also be leashed and should remain out of the concert and vending areas. They can be walked around the perimeter of the campground, however, and are allowed to hop (on a leash) into a nearby swimming hole to cool off if they are warm.

Keep your dog on leash.

West Fest in Chicago requires dogs to be kept on leash at all times (like many festivals that allow dogs)—unless, of course, they’ve ventured into Pet Fest, an entire section of the festival dedicated to dogs, where they can run the agility course, get artsy at the paw painting booth and more.

Clean up after your dog.

This is just plain Pet Parent Etiquette 101. Keep those poop bags handy. No one wants to be dancing barefoot and step in a pile of dog poo.

Dog Festival Safety Tips

Once you determine that you are indeed able to bring your dog to the festival of your choice, keep the following safety tips in mind.

Make sure your dog can handle it.

The first rule of safety for bringing your pet to a festival is to consider your pet’s personality,” says Amy Burkert, founder of pet travel website Go Pet Friendly.

  • Burkert recommends asking yourself these questions to ensure you, your pup and everyone else at the event has a good time:
  • Is your dog comfortable around crowds?
  • Do they have good manners and won’t jump up on people or steal their snacks?
  • Are they well-behaved around other dogs?

It takes a special dog to enjoy an outdoor concert or music festival,” she says. “All of these things are important factors to ensure you, your pup and everyone else at the event has a good time.”

dog with woman at festival

Do your research.

Judy Conner, volunteer publicist for San Jose, California’s Bark in the Park, the largest dog festival in the United States, suggests doing some research prior to bringing your dog to a festival. Not only does it help to know ahead of time if the festival provides certain amenities such as dog relief stations or access to water, but past attendees can also give you the 411 on the experience itself, that the website wouldn’t necessarily list–like if the festival is just too crowded for dogs.

“Ask other individuals who have attended the event via social media about their experiences with taking their dog to that particular event,” Conner says.

Update your dog’s ID tag.

Proper and updated identification is essential for safety and peace of mind. Make sure your dog’s ID tag has your cell phone number on it.

“If you get separated, this will ensure that you can be reunited quickly,” Burkert says.

Provide private potty breaks.

Travel expert Susan H. Smith, president and CEO of Pet Travel Inc., recommends walking your dog in a quiet place ahead of time.

“Pets behave better when there are fewer distractions and less people. Once distracted, your dog will not think about doing its business until nature takes its course and, in that case, it could be right where everyone is,” she says.

Keep an eye on your pet at all times.

You might think this goes without saying, but trust us, with everything else going on, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and let you helicopter pet parent senses slip a bit.

“Watch your pet carefully when lots of people are around,” Smith says. “Some pets may not be as social in those situations as you would expect. Unless your pet is very accustomed to being petted by strangers, best to stay in the fringes of the crowd.”

Practice sun protection.

Use pet-approved sunscreen products and, when possible, keep your pet in the shade. It’s also important to avoid letting your dog overheat. According to PetMD, signs your pup may be overheating include: disorientation, noisy breathing, bright or blue gums, vomiting, and diarrhea. Give your dog frequent access to fresh water to help prevent this.

Pack for pet comfort.

Burkert suggests taking a blanket or towel for your pet to lie on and a few dog treats or quiet toys to keep them occupied during the show.

“Also be sure to pack his bowl and plenty of water, pet-appropriate insect repellant and sunscreen, some paper towels for muddy paws or other messes and waste bags to clean up after your pal,” she says.

Travel to and from the festival safely.

The most critical part of any outing with your pet is making sure that you come home safely.

“So in the car, use either a car safety harness or secured carrier to protect your pet in case of an accident,” Smith says.

It is also important to review CDC guidelines before traveling to an event for your safety and the safety of those around you.

Boarding Your Pup on the Road

If you can’t take your pet to an actual festival and also can’t bear the thought of leaving them at home, here are some suggestions on how to travel with them.

Find a pet-friendly hotel nearby.

Use websites like BringFido to check out reviews of pet-friendly hotels and accommodations.
Other services such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters can pair you with reputable pet sitters to watch your dog while you are out enjoying your favorite bands.

Find a doggy daycare in the area.

Consider using a daycare facility if you only plan to be away during the day. Do your research ahead of time to find a reputable and highly reviewed location, Smith says, recommending that pet parents arrive early and, if possible, check out the facilities in person before committing to dropping your pet off there for an entire day. That allows you time to make different arrangements, should you not be satisfied with a pet boarding center.

dog in hotel room

Dog-Friendly Festivals

Interact with the map above to find a dog-friendly festival near you.

While dogs are generally unable to attend large music festivals, some of the smaller and more regional fests that welcome pets include:

Albino Skunk Music Festival, Greer, SC

Bark in the Park, San Jose, CA

Bound Brook Food Truck & Music Fest, Bound Brook, NJ

Branchburg Food Truck & Music Festival, Branchburg, NJ

Bridgewater Food Truck & Music Fest, Bridgewater, NJ

Carabelle Riverfront Festival, Carrabelle, FL

Catfish River Music Festival, Stoughton, WI

Chester Food Truck & Music Festival, Chester, NJ

Craft Beer, Music and Crab Festival, Cape May, NJ

Do Dah Day, Birmingham, AL

Dog Day, Nashville, TN

Dominion Energy Riverrock Festival, Richmond, VA

Linden Hills Woofstock, Minneapolis, MN

Lowcountry Dog Woofstock, Hanahan Amphitheater, SC

Newburgh Illuminated Festival, Newburgh, NY

Ormond Beach Celtic Festival, Ormand Beach, FL

Paramus Food Truck Festival, Paramus, NJ

Petapalooza, Summerdale, PA

Pet-A-Palooza, Scottsdale, AZ

Poochella Pet & Family Festival, Melbourne, FL

Somerville Dog Festival, Somerville, MA

West Fest Chicago, Chicago, IL

Woofstock, Westminster, MD

Woofstock, Chandler, AZ

While it’s obviously important to have fun at any festival you and your pup may attend this summer, be sure to also keep these tips and etiquette in mind. Your dog (and fellow festival-goers!) will thank you! 

This article was co-authored by Sarah Kinbar.

The post Bringing Your Pup to a Festival This Summer? Keep These Tips in Mind appeared first on BeChewy.

Designing a Pet-Friendly Container Garden Is Easy with These 5 Recipes

C ontainer gardening has never been more popular, and designing a pet-friendly container garden is easy with these five “recipes” from the plant experts at Monrovia.

Container gardening is especially useful for those who have little space for a planted garden or who just enjoy being able to completely change out their garden from season to season, year to year. Growing plants in containers is an easy and affordable way to reap the benefits of gardening—the beauty, the mental health boost, contributing to a more sustainable planet—without the investment of time and funds required for a larger planted space. And having pets doesn’t have to be a problem if you choose plants that are not dangerous to them if consumed. If you have a porch, terrace, balcony, front stoop or other outdoor space, you can have a container garden.

To get you started we asked Georgia Clay, New Plants Manager at Monrovia, to identify five common wishes when it comes to gardening and provide a TDF plant combination made of fuss-free, readily available plants that are safe for most pets.  We asked her for some advice about a few things to consider before getting started with these pet-friendly container garden recipes. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Space: How much room do you have for a container garden? Plants typically perform better is a larger sized pot (which also means you have to water less often) so plan for this requirement.
  2. Light: Plant labels specify that amount of sunlight a specific plant requires to thrive and grow to its best size, shape and, in the case of flowering plants, amount, density of color and size of blooms. Know your light conditions before selecting plants.
  3. Zone: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. You can find your zone here and then refer to the plant tag to see if it will work in your area. 

Got that? Once you have this information, it’s time to head to a garden center and stock up on plants. Use these pet-friendly container garden recipes or find others that you love. Be sure every plant you purchase is safe for pets. Here are complete guides to safe plants for dogs and safe plants for cats. If you are unsure, please ask a garden center staffer for help.

To give you even more reasons to use these pet-friendly container garden recipes, we asked Georgia for some insights into each. See each “recipe” for her useful advice.

Bees, Butterflies and Birds Love This Combo


Food security begins with a robust population of pollinators such as bees, birds and butterflies and this combination provides them with food they need to do the job.

“We are all aware that our population of pollinators–those creatures who do the work of moving pollen from one plant to the next, a process that must occur for the the plant to become fertilized and produce fruits, seeds, and young plants–is in trouble, but you can help,” says Georgia. “By planting even one pot with a few plants that attract and sustain pollinators you can impact not just your own yard, but contribute to the larger global solution. When it comes to pollinators, every plant we put into the environment adds up.”

This pretty combination of rich purples blooms throughout summer well into early fall when pollinators are especially in need of food, and does best in full sun with regular water. Other pet-safe plants to consider for attracting pollinators include coneflowers, sunflowers, asters, bee balm and Joe Pye weed.

More information on pollinator-pleasing plants for your garden can be found here. (Note: not all plants found in this article are pet safe.)

These Drought-Resistant Plants Can Take the Heat


Drought and water shortages continue to be an issue in most parts of the country but these heat and low water tolerant plants sip rather than drink up the H2O.

“Hotter and longer summers are becoming the norm in many parts of the country. Couple that with less time for gardening (hey, we’re busy too) and let’s face it, a love for quirky gorgeousness, and we’re all about finding spectacular plants that are also not needy,” shares Georgia. “Like all plants, you will still need good soil and a source of regular water, but we’re talking minutes of attention per week!”

So, on her advice, we turn to sedums and succulents, those fleshy, colorful wonders that grow in full sun with only the barest of tending. While you can hew to one hue, we love mixing it up with a range of tones that stand up to the summer’s direct and brilliant sun rays.  Other excellent water wise pet-safe choices for growing in containers include daylily, lavender, and agastache. (Note–many lilies such as Asiatic or Oriental varieties are NOT pet safe. Stick with daylily, please.)

More information about designing with succulents and other low water need plants for your garden containers can be found here. (Note: not all plants found in this article are pet safe.)

Your Garden of Earthly Edible Delights


When it comes to plants with edible leaves or fruits you want them as close to where you are cooking as possible. Containers make this moveable feast a snap.

While not all plants with edible fruits and leaves are suitable for plants (we’re looking at you grapes, garlic, onions, chives, mushrooms, un-ripe tomatoes and cherries in particular), there are plenty that are easy to grow and perfectly safe in moderation if your pet decides to help themselves to a tasty snack. 

According to Georgia, most edibles do best in full sun with regular water and the best containers (we think) are those that mix perennials like rosemary, fruiting shrubs like blueberries and other woody herbs with annuals such as strawberries and tender herbs such as basil and parsley. “And here’s the best tip when it comes to growing edibles—the more you harvest the more your plant will produce. So pick, snip and clip often,” she says.

More information about designing with edible plants for your garden containers can be found here. (Warning: Not all plants found in this article are pet safe.)

Yes, You Can Have Color in a Shady Spot


If you live in a space with lots of shade such as a covered balcony or where there are large trees, you can still have a brilliant garden.

When it comes to “shade” it can be a bit of a challenge to know what are your exact light conditions. You need this information  so you are selecting the best plants for your conditions.

According to Georgia, if you get almost no direct sunlight that’s all-day or deep shade and yes, your choices are more limited. If you get shade in the morning or the afternoon but not both, that’s part-day shade and you have more options. If you get all day natural light but its filtered or indirect, that’s partial sun. Here too, you have more options. To understand what light you are dealing with, watch the movement of the sun over the course of a day and then take those findings to a local garden center for help with the right plants.

This painterly combination will thrive in partial shade as long as it gets at least 6 hours per day of light. Other excellent pet-safe choices for spaces that get a least partial sunlight for a period of the day include astilbe, camellia, columbine and some ferns (please ask your garden center about your specific variety.) Hostas are NOT a good choice.

More information about designing with shade-living plants for your garden containers can be found here. (Note: not all plants found in this article are pet safe.)

Non-Stop Color Changes Everything


And finally, flowers. What you’ve been waiting for! We all want to be surrounded with floral fabulousness that spans a long season.

Vase-worthy blooms with scent, color and form to swoon over in a potted garden or to clip and bring indoors for #dreamlife IG posts are why many of us want to garden in the first place. No one is likely immune to the allure of a romantic flowery garden and the good news is that there are plenty of options if you have pets.

To get the best results, Georgia advises that most plants that make lots of flowers over a long season are going to need full sun, which means at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun and regular water. They will also require you to deadhead (pinch off the spent blooms just below the the head) to encourage more flowers. (We like to do this chore in the AM with a coffee or PM with a cocktail!)

This combination is all about large flowers softened with the breezy movement of a grass. Other good choices for planters include roses, coreopsis, catmint, lavender, canna lily, and annuals such as cosmos, petunia and Gerber daisies. Note, we also love peonies, but they are not recommended where pets are likely to nibble.

More information about designing with full sun flowering plants for your garden containers can be found here.  (Note: not all plants found in this article are pet safe.)

Tips and Tricks for Pet-Friendly Container Gardening

  • Pot Size: Most plants need to be repotted once a year to ensure their roots can keep growing and taking in nutrients. If you see roots growing out of the drainage holes on the bottom of your plant, it’s time for a repotting.
  • Watering: Err on the side of underwatering. Most plants can handle drying out a bit, but few plants can handle soaking in water which can cause root rot. When identifying an ideal watering schedule, consider the heat, humidity, soil type, container type and presence of drainage holes.
  • Fertilizers: Unlike plants in the ground, plants grown in containers depend on you for their nutrients beyond what they can take up from excellent quality potting soil. Plan on giving them a hearty meal of balanced organic fertilizer in spring with additional monthly snacks throughout the growing season.
  • Pests and Disease: Don’t sleep on it when you spot visible pests or damage from pests as it will likely only get worse. Opt for non-toxic, pet-safe treatments you can find at a local garden center.

Fellow Pet Parent Tips

  • If all your pleadings and “no” warnings are not working, consider topping planted surfaces with pebbles that are not comfy on little paws. This might stop cats for napping in your containers. 
  • Use red herrings and redirection items to turn your pet’s attention elsewhere (chew toys, cat grass, anything that’s more fun than toppling and/or trampling your pots).
  • If despite your efforts every planted container is catnip to your pets, you gotta get them up and out of reach. Elevate your plants in hanging pots or on tall surfaces. 
  • Best advice? Plant sturdy, pet-safe specimens in heavy weighted containers and welcome pets into your wonderful potted garden!

Final Thought: When in Doubt?


Add a rose or a grass.
If you are overwhelmed or just prefer the simplicity of color and form, you will NEVER go wrong filling a container with roses. And, if your potted combo just doesn’t look “right” adding an ornamental grass usually does the trick! Monrovia’s Grace N’ Grit™ shrub roses are super hardy and bloom their little heads off for months on end. While not all ornamental grasses are recommended for pet-safe gardens, these three are fine (and so lovely!)

Ready to start planning your dream garden using our pet-friendly container garden recipes? For more plant info, including expert advice on gardening tips, free guides and live interactive webinars, sign up for Monrovia’s newsletter or check out Monrovia’s Be Inspired blog. (We especially love their story about how one homeowner created a wonderful dog-friendly backyard–find that here.)

Monrovia plants can be found at garden centers or Lowe’s stores nationwide. Need help finding your local garden center? Here’s a useful link.

All plant and container photos by Doreen Wynja.

The post Designing a Pet-Friendly Container Garden Is Easy with These 5 Recipes appeared first on BeChewy.

Pet Health Insurance: What Every Pet Parent Needs to Know

Do the words “health insurance” send shivers down your spine? There is perhaps no other phrase in the English language that inspires more fear, anger and confusion (except maybe “no WiFi”). Figuring it out for yourself is hard enough let alone figuring it out for your pet too. Maybe that’s why only 3.1 million dogs and cats were insured in the U.S. in 2020 out of a total of 135 million who live in homes. But guess what—you’re a pet parent now. Time to put on those big girl or big boy pants and learn all about pet health insurance: what it is, what it covers and what it costs.

For starters, pet health insurance can cut the costs of your vet bills, especially the most expensive and unexpected ones. That’s why the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) endorses pet health insurance, as long as the policy covers what you need it to (more on that later).

Feeling overwhelmed already? Don’t stress. We’re breaking it all down for you with the help of our experts so you can decide what’s best for you and your pet.

What Is Pet Insurance?

Pet health insurance is like the human kind with two key differences, says Paul Reynolds, insurance editor for

  • Most pet insurance policies don’t cover preventative or routine care, unless you specifically sign up for a wellness plan, which is pricier. That means you are responsible for paying for checkups, vaccines and even dental care.
  • Instead of paying co-pays at the vet (like you do at human M.D. visits), you usually pay the vet up-front for the procedure and get reimbursed by the insurance company after you file the paperwork.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

So what exactly does cat or dog insurance cover? That depends on the type of insurance you end up buying. There are three types:

  1. Accident only: These policies cover those unexpected injuries, including poisoning, car or other vehicle injuries (being hit by a car, being in a crash), broken bones, sprains and cuts, and swallowing objects (like rocks or squeaky toys). They’ll usually cover diagnostic tests (like ultrasounds) and surgeries.
  2. Accident and illness: These policies cover those unexpected injuries as well as certain diseases and conditions, including cancer, infections, bloat and other GI illnesses, diabetes and arthritis. They’ll also cover medical tests, surgeries, and prescriptions and some of them cover alternative therapies (like acupuncture).
  3. Wellness policies: Here’s where you’ll get reimbursed for routine vet visits, vaccinations, spaying/neutering operations, and routine labs.

Most pet parents choose accident and illness plans or sometimes accident-only coverage. These policies will help offset the cost of those expensive vet bills if your pet scarfs down a poisonous plant or gets cancer.

Pro Tip: To decide which policy is right for your furry family members, figure out what’s important to you, advises Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM, senior vet, oncology specialist and director of pet health information at Animal Medical Center in New York City. If you know the bulk of your pet’s vet bills will be spent on routine checkups expenses, then you may want to spring for a plan that covers wellness visits and then figure out how to come up with the money in case of an emergency. But if you know you can budget (or save) for checkups and really want insurance to cover an unexpected health crisis, then go for accident and illness.

How Much Is a Pet Insurance Plan?

The cost of pet health insurance depends on your pet. On average, premiums are $50 a month for dogs and $28 for cats if you get an accident and illness plan, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). If it’s accident only, then you’ll pay around $18 a month for your dog and $13 for your kitty. Stand-alone wellness plans have similar premiums to accident and illness coverage, ranging from $20 to $50 a month on average.

Type of Plan
Average Premium Cost
What It Covers
Type of Plan


Average Premium Cost


What It Covers

Unexpected injuries

Type of Plan

Accident & Illness

Average Premium Cost


What It Covers

Unexpected injuries and certain diseases and conditions

Type of Plan


Average Premium Cost


What It Covers

Routine visits and health care

But that’s the average premium. So how much does pet insurance really cost? Here are other factors that weigh in:

  • A deductible. This is the money you have to spend first before you get reimbursed. This can range from $200 to $1,000. In general, the higher the deductible, the lower your premium.
  • Reimbursement rates. This is the percentage you’ll get back from the insurance company. Pet insurance reimbursement won’t cover 100%, but you can shop around for plans that cover anywhere from 70% to 90%. Again, the more money you get back after a procedure, the more expensive the plan will likely be.
  • A cap on coverage. This is the yearly limit the insurance company will pay. Some policies cap the dollar amount at $5,000, others at $30,000. The higher the yearly cap, the more expensive the premium (and plan).
  • Your pet’s breed. Pedigreed pups and felines sometimes come with hereditary health issues—elbow dysplasia for Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, hip dysplasia in German Shepherds and Maine Coon cats, spinal conditions for Bulldogs, for instance. Insurance companies are aware of these hereditary conditions and will charge higher premiums to cover purebred pets. This is true for accidents as well. “Labrador Retrievers are notorious for eating crazy stuff and so their premiums tend to be higher because there’s a higher chance that they’re going to have to have an operation to take it out,” says Reynolds.
  • Where you live. City dwellers tend to pay more than pet owners who live more rural areas.
  • Your pet’s age. The older the pet, the higher the premium if you have accident and illness insurance. That’s because older pets are more likely to get cancer, arthritis or other age-related ailments. Some plans also have an age limit and either won’t cover older pets (typically starting at 10 years of age) or may only offer accident insurance.

How Does Pet Health Insurance Work?

When your pet gets sick or has some type of accident, you’ll file a claim with the pet insurance company. The insurance company determines if it’s an incident that’s covered by your plan, and will pay you back toward the money you spent on the vet bill.

This is where the pet insurance deductible and reimbursement amounts come in. So if you have a deductible of, say, $500 and you’re reimbursed at 80%, you might get back $320 from a $900 bill.

There are other things to be aware of too before you can receive money from a claim. Consider these “ifs”:

  • If your pet has a pre-existing condition. All pet insurance plans have one thing in common: They don’t cover pre-existing conditions. That’s a medical condition or symptom that your pet had before the cat or dog insurance plan went into effect. And companies check your pet’s medical records very carefully.

    Don’t think you can game the system, either. You usually have to fill out a questionnaire specifying any medical problems or symptoms your pet has had in the past six months or year, says Reynolds. If you fudge the answers, and your dog needs to get a tumor removed, the insurance company will ask the vet to provide medical records—and turn down the claim if the vet discovered a mass during a previous exam.

    The exception: Some insurance companies will cover the cost of treating conditions that your pet had before, like UTIs or ear infections, as long as your pet was cured at least six months to a year before the plan goes into effect. This is known as cured pre-existing conditions.

  • If there’s a waiting period before your plan kicks in. Typically, you need to wait at least two weeks after the dog or cat insurance plan starts before the company reimburses you for illness-related treatments, but some companies may have a 30-day period. That protects the insurance company in case there’s no medical record of the problem, says Reynolds. For instance, if your dog suddenly starts limping and you rush out to buy insurance in case he needs a leg operation, you’ll have to wait two weeks after the plan starts to have the surgery in order for it to be covered.

    The exception: The waiting period is generally shorter for accidental injuries, but again it depends on the plan. Some plans have a 48-hour one, some a two-week period. Do your homework.

  • If your plan has a deductible for each condition. “Say your pet has kidney disease, lymphoma and thyroid disease,” says Dr. Hohenhaus. “There’s a deductible for each one of those conditions instead of just one.”
  • If your plan covers follow-up recheck visits. Vets typically want to see your dog or cat a few weeks after treating your pet, even if your furball is symptom free, says Dr. Hohenhaus. Some insurance companies don’t cover those visits.

The bottom line, says Dr. Hohenhaus: “What is included in the policy is as important as what is excluded in the policy”—so pay attention to both.

Some categories to check on when you’re shopping around for plans:

  • Vet exam fees (routines are usually not covered; some cover the illness exam fee)
  • Hereditary conditions and hip dysplasia
  • Wellness plan (can be included, extra or not offered)
  • Surgery
  • Emergency/hospital care
  • Prescription medications
  • Cancer treatments
  • Specialty care
  • Holistic therapy (check to see what’s covered: some insurance companies cover chiropractic care or acupuncture, some don’t)
  • Chronic conditions (Are they covered for life?)
  • Diagnostic testing (X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasound, blood work)
  • Ligament and knee conditions (Check orthopedic waiting periods: some insurance have 6-month waits)
  • Rehabilitation, prosthetic devices, physical therapy
  • Non-routine dental (a cracked or broken tooth)
  • Euthanasia

Where Do You Get Pet Health Insurance?

So you’ve decided you want to buy pet insurance. Here’s where to go to buy it:

Head online. Googling “pet insurance” will turn up a number of results, including national insurance companies that also sell pet insurance.

Ask your vet. Yours might be happy to give you guidance or at least steer you to the companies their office deals with the most. The AVMA also keeps a short list that can help get you started.

But even if you get recommendations, it pays to do the research and do some comparison-shopping for the best pet health insurance for your furry family member. Here’s how:

  1. Use the “Get a quote” button on the pet insurance provider’s home page. Once you fill out information, like your pet’s age and your zip code and email, you’ll be presented with plan options. There might be just one set plan, several set plans or an option to customize. If you can customize the plan, you can select different options to see how each change affects the monthly premium.
  2. Be on the lookout for important information, like how long the waiting period is or how restrictive the exclusions list is, advises Reynolds. You also want to make sure the insurance company lets you keep seeing your vet (most do).
  3. Figure out your budget. Add up all the money you’ll spend a year, including the deductible, the premiums and the amount you’ll need to pay even after the insurance company reimburses you.
  4. Compare and contrast your top picks by finding out:
    • How fast do they repay claims?
    • How difficult is it to file a claim?
    • Do they have good customer service? Is it available 24/7?
    • Is there an app available?
    • Is their website easy to use?
    • What’s their rating from the Better Business Bureau?
    • Can you make changes to your plan?
    • Do they offer a money-back guarantee?

In the end, the best dog insurance or insurance for cats is the one that will give you peace of mind.

Pet Health Insurance FAQs


Is pet insurance worth it?

A:No one can answer that question except you. But here are some questions to consider to make your decision a bit easier:

  • How much risk am I willing to live with? “If your pet has a normal medical life—they get sick occasionally with something that is not life-threatening or requires surgery—then you will not recoup the money that you paid on pet insurance,” says Paul Reynolds, who’s crunched the numbers. The trouble is, you don’t know what the future holds. If your pet gets cancer, swallows a spoon (yes, it happens!) or gets hit by a car, pet insurance can help you pay the surgery or chemo bills.
  • Do I have savings? Are you someone who puts money aside every month? If so, then maybe that’s a better way for you to budget for vet care. “If you aren’t a good saver, pet insurance is a way to force you to have the resources to take care of your pet,” notes Dr. Hohenhaus.
  • Would I do anything to save my pet regardless of how sick or old they are? If your answer is yes, then pet insurance makes sense. Even if you answer no, think how you’ll feel if your furry friend gets really ill or hurt and you’re forced to make a tough call just because you don’t have the funds to pay for a life-saving treatment. That’s a decision no pet parent (or vet) wants to have to make.

The bottom line: Having pet insurance can help you pay the vet bills in case something serious happens to your pet.


When’s the best time to enroll in pet insurance?

A:If you insure your pets while they are young, the premiums will probably be lower, and they’re much less likely to have pre-existing conditions. (Remember that most insurance companies don’t cover those pre-existing conditions.) Puppies and kitties can also get into trouble, and will more than likely need emergency care. Or you might wait until your pet is older and more prone to getting seriously sick. Remember, though, that some companies have age restrictions.


Are dogs more expensive to insure than cats?

A:Yes—but that doesn’t mean cats are healthier than dogs. (Cats are just better at hiding when they don’t feel well, says Dr. Hohenhaus.) They both get sick at the same rates, but dogs go to the vet more often than cats do, according to stats.


If I don’t have insurance, are there ways to lower my vet bills?

A:There are some nonprofits that can help people in need (find a list at and you can also crowdsource the funds too. There are also health credit cards ( and companies that can loan you money for your bills (but check the rates). Or just have an honest convo with the vet.

“The veterinarian will say, ‘Here’s what’s wrong with your pet, here’s what I need to do and here’s how much it’s going to cost,’” says Dr. Hohenhaus. And then you have to be upfront with your vet and say if you can do that. That’s called spectrum of care, she adds: “What options does the veterinarian see for managing this particular pet’s condition or conditions? And then which option fits best with the family’s situation.” That can include your finances and whether you have the time and ability to bring your furry friend back and forth for treatment.

Vets may hate having to euthanize pets they think they can save, but they also hate making pet parents spend money they don’t have, says Dr. Hohenhaus.

In the end, the best way to save money on insurance and vet visits is to take your pet to the vet at least once a year, and even more often if your pet has a health issue, says Dr. Hohenhaus. That way, your pet’s provider is more likely to catch something early, when it’s fixable. And that will not only save you money, but give you much more time to spend enjoying your pet.

The post Pet Health Insurance: What Every Pet Parent Needs to Know appeared first on BeChewy.

The New Pet Parent Guide to Finding a 5-Star Vet… and How to Be a 5-Star Client

You just welcomed a new pet into your family—congrats! Having a new furry, feathered or finned friend in the home is exciting and as you can probably attest to, involves a good deal of prep work. While you’ve stocked up on pet food, pet-proofed the house and bought more chew toys than you can count, there’s still one more thing you need to do: find a veterinarian. Finding a vet is important because they will be your partner in ensuring your new addition stays as healthy (and happy) as possible.

OK, but how do you even go about finding a vet in the first place? Don’t fret. This guide on how to find a good vet can help. You’ll learn where to search and what questions to ask, plus how you can be the best parent-patient to make sure your pet ultimately receives the very best care.

When to Start Your Search for a Vet

If you already brought your new pet home and are just now starting your search for a veterinarian, we’re sorry to say that you’re already a step behind.

“You want to interview veterinarians for the potential puppy or kitten you don’t have yet,” says Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM, Oncology), staff doctor at NYC’s Animal Medical Center.

Not only does this preparedness ensure you have a plan in case an unforeseen illness arises—especially common with animals arriving from shelters or rescues—but it also avoids having to wait several weeks for an initial vet appointment, she explains.

Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, limited operating hours, staff shortages and a large influx of new pets entering homes, Dr. Hohenhaus says it’s not surprising to see veterinary practices booked six weeks in advance.

But hey, it’s OK if you’re still trying to find a veterinarian for your dog or cat. What’s most important is that you are doing it!

Now that you know there’s no time to waste, the next step is to identify a practice where you’d like to take your pet, and to ask about how you can get on their new patient appointment list.

Where to Look When Finding a Vet

The first step in finding a vet is to do you research. Start your search close to home (figuratively and literally).

    Celebrate National Pet Week

    Each day of National Pet Week is devoted to a different way to keep your pet happy and healthy. From May 1-7, take these actions to help you furry friend live their best life:

    Celebrate National Pet Week

    Each day of National Pet Week is devoted to a different way to keep your pet happy and healthy. From May 1-7, take these actions to help you furry friend live their best life:

    When to Start Your Search for a Vet

    If you already brought your new pet home and are just now starting your search for a veterinarian, we’re sorry to say that you’re already a step behind.

    “You want to interview veterinarians for the potential puppy or kitten you don’t have yet,” says Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM, Oncology), staff doctor at NYC’s Animal Medical Center.

    Not only does this preparedness ensure you have a plan in case an unforeseen illness arises—especially common with animals arriving from shelters or rescues—but it also avoids having to wait several weeks for an initial vet appointment, she explains.

    Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, limited operating hours, staff shortages and a large influx of new pets entering homes, Dr. Hohenhaus says it’s not surprising to see veterinary practices booked six weeks in advance.

    But hey, it’s OK if you’re still trying to find a veterinarian for your dog or cat. What’s most important is that you are doing it!

    Now that you know there’s no time to waste, the next step is to identify a practice where you’d like to take your pet, and to ask about how you can get on their new patient appointment list.

    Where to Look When Finding a Vet

    The first step in finding a vet is to do you research. Start your search close to home (figuratively and literally).

      • Ask a fellow pet parent: Talk to your neighbors, friends and coworkers about vets they’ve had good experiences with for their own animals.
      • Search online: A Google search can bring up nearby veterinarian offices. Many local and state veterinary medical associations have online directories you can search. There also are directories available for specialty veterinarians. Did you know there are 46 specialties officially recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association? For example, you might be surprised to learn there are actually vets just for cats, or vets who specialize in emergency medicine, cardiology and epidemiology to name a few.
      • Keep it local: Stay within 5 miles of where you live, says Dr. Kevin Kelley, DVM, emergency medicine veterinarian at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Clearwater, Florida. The last thing you want is to have to drive hours when your pet needs medical attention. You also want to find a veterinarian that can accommodate your work schedule, he adds.

      Questions to Ask a Potential Vet

      Once you’ve narrowed down your list, there are a bunch of questions that you can ask to help you choose a vet. Here are five common questions to ask as recommended by our veterinarians:

      1. Do you have evening and weekend hours? If you work a 9-5 job, this may be essential.
      2. Does the practice hold any certifications? The most common would be from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). AAHA-accredited practices are evaluated on a slew of quality-assurance standards. Fear-free certifications, which denote anti- fear and -anxiety protocols are used in the practice, are also becoming more common.
      3. What is your protocol in case of emergencies? You’ll want to know if the practice can adequately handle emergencies in-house or outsources urgent care and if there is a doctor you can speak to 24/7. (Don’t expect overnight voicemails to be returned unless explicitly confirmed by your practice.)
      4. Do you have a list of referred specialists? Whether it’s a breed-specific issue or an acute or chronic illness that needs special attention, specialists will likely be a part of your pet’s health care. “Most good quality veterinarians, if there’s something beyond their comfort zone or skill set, they’re going to know who to send you to,” says Dr. Kelley. “We live in an age of specialists for good reason.”
      5. How many vets are part of the practice, and will I see the same vet every time? “If they have more veterinarians on staff, they might have more availability,” says Dr. Kelley. A larger practice may be helpful with scheduling, but this also means you might not see the same vet every time—something to note if this personal relationship and consistency matters to you.
      When should you start your search for a veterinarian?

      Before you even bring a new pet home.

      Learn More

      Ideally, how close should the vet’s office be to your house?

      Within 5 miles.

      Learn More

      True or false: There are cat-only veterinary practices.


      Veterinarians can choose to specialize in feline care, along with 40+ other specialties, such as nutrition and behavior.

      Learn More

      Best Practices for Being a Good Pet Parent at the Vet

      Finding a vet is one of the biggest initial hurdles you’ll face as a new pet parent, but after you’ve settled on a practice you can trust, you’ll want to remain engaged and informed to make the most of every visit. After all, vet visits don’t come cheap. (P.S. Pet insurance can help offset the costs of health care, emergency services, and unexpected surgeries. Here’s what you need to know about getting pet insurance.)

      Whether it’s routine vaccinations or something more concerning, here are a few best practices from vets to ensure your four-legged family member always receives the best care:

      • Bring samples/paperwork: If you’re coming in for a routine checkup, bring fecal and urine samples. We know—gross! But the vet will almost certainly ask for this, and bringing them with you prevents the need for a stressful retrieval or another drop-off visit. If you’re changing vets or visiting a specialist, make sure you come prepared with your pet’s full medical record.
      • Have a checklist: Want to have a lump checked? Has your cat been extra itchy lately? Need prescriptions filled? Have a running list so you don’t forget anything during your appointment. “Show up at a visit with your veterinarian with a plan,” says Dr. Hohenhaus.
      • Be open-minded: Remember that at the end of the day, no amount of dog mom-instinct or Googling can compare to the medical expertise of your vet. While you might want to feed your dog a raw diet or grain-free diet, your vet might not agree. Stay open-minded to their philosophy, and if you ultimately want to seek a second opinion, that’s an option. (Here’s more advice on how to choose the best dog food, BTW.)
      • Remain patient: Vets are busier now than ever before, so there may be a delay during your appointment. “We’re doing the best we can to help you and your pet as quickly as we can,” says Dr. Kelley. And for some much-needed perspective, know that oftentimes, if you’re waiting, “it’s generally because there’s an animal sicker than yours, and we’re doing our best to help them,” he adds.
      • Ask questions: “You [want to] find a veterinarian who communicates very clearly and who understands how to educate you about your questions and problems,” says Dr. Kelley. Ask for clarification on anything that’s unclear so you can understand what’s going on and why before you leave.

      If you do forget to ask your vet something or a question comes up after hours—say you’re not sure if your cat is getting enough exercise or you’re having trouble potty training your puppy—you can still get expert advice through Chewy’s new Connect With a Vet service. It essentially puts expert docs at your disposal for any and all questions—big, small, gross, weird… ask them anything!

      “A service like this can really help you understand the severity of what you’re facing, whether this is something that you can wait to schedule an appointment for, or whether this is something that you need to deal with right now,” says Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, senior veterinarian with Chewy Health.

      Connect With a Vet is available daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, and allows you to chat with a licensed veterinarian “within seconds,” says Dr. Nelson, either for a fee or, if you’re a Chewy Autoship customer, for free. This real-time advice makes managing anxiety over your dog eating a banana or staring blankly at the wall (aka hovering ghost) so much easier if you can’t get in to see or speak with your primary vet for days or even weeks.

      Bottom line: When finding a vet or speaking with your new vet, it’s important to ask questions. Even veteran pet parents will have questions, so don’t be afraid to ask them! Being an informed pet parent will help you advocate for the best care for your family member who can’t “point to where it hurts.”

      The post The New Pet Parent Guide to Finding a 5-Star Vet… and How to Be a 5-Star Client appeared first on BeChewy.

      How to Travel With Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Hitting the Road With Your Pup

      Whether it’s reconnecting with family across the country or exploring an exotic new locale, there’s a good chance you’re dreaming of your next trip away from home. Here’s the good news: It’s never been easier to bring your dog along for the ride. From hotels and airlines to restaurants and tour companies, dog-friendliness is on the rise. So if you’re ready for a getaway with your pup by your side, read on—we’ve got everything you need to know about how to travel with a dog.

      Celebrate National Pet Week

      Each day of National Pet Week is devoted to a different way to keep your pet happy and healthy. From May 1-7, take these actions to help you furry friend live their best life:

      Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

      how to travel with dog
      Yes, traveling with a dog is easier than ever, but there are still some important preparations you’ll need to make before you hit the road. How can you get ready to travel with your dog? Follow these 10 steps to make the experience of traveling with your dog safer, easier and more fun for you both.

      1Talk to Your Veterinarian

      Is your dog healthy enough to travel? Are they up to date on all their necessary vaccines? Is their microchip still in place and scannable? Check in with your veterinarian before finalizing your travel plans, and if your dog is due for a checkup, schedule it before you leave.

      2Pack Your Pup’s Medical and Vaccine Records

      These will come in handy if your dog needs medical care while you’re traveling, and if you’re planning to enter another country on your trip, you may need them to cross the border with your pup.

      3Update ID Tags and Microchip

      In new surroundings, it’s easy for dogs to get lost. We know you’ll take every precaution to keep your pup by your side, but just in case, make sure that their ID tags have your current contact information on them, and that the info is up to date with your microchip company, too.

      4Carry Their Food, Treats and Medications With You

      When it comes to essentials like food and medicine, it’s best to have a supply on your person in case your luggage goes missing. Having treats handy is helpful for a different reason: Encouraging your dog to behave in new, exciting surroundings!

      5Pack Their Favorite Things

      For dogs, traveling to a new place can be exciting—but also a little stressful. Familiar items from home can soothe their nerves, so toss some favorite toys, their bed, or a special blanket into your suitcase.

      6Plan Their Potty and Exercise Breaks

      Traveling with a dog is a lot like traveling with a small child: Both need frequent potty breaks and opportunities to run and play. If you’re driving, look for dog-friendly rest stops along your route. Before flying, find out where your dog can relieve themselves at your departure and arrival airports.

      7Keep Them Hydrated

      Dogs need access to water whether they’re traveling or not—and refusing water can lead to dehydration. Pack a travel bowl and let your pet drink during breaks.

      8Consider Medication

      Is your pet a nervous traveler? Talk to your veterinarian about safe medications to calm their nerves while you’re en route.

      9Book Pet-Friendly Accommodations

      Many hotels, resorts and vacation rentals have dog-friendly policies, but in some places, dogs aren’t allowed. Before you book your stay, make sure your pup is welcome, and ask about any additional fees you may be charged for bringing them along.

      10Stay on Leash

      New places can be exciting and distracting for dogs, even those who can be trusted to roam off-leash at home. Keep your dog on leash while you’re traveling to make sure they stay by your side.

      Road Trips With Dogs

      how to travel with dog
      Road tripping can be one of the easiest ways to travel with your dog. But there’s more to road trips with dogs than starting the ignition and zooming off into the sunset. While there are plenty of benefits to car travel with a dog—you get to map your own route, set your own schedule, and the price can’t be beat—a road trip with your pup will have its own challenges, too. Here’s how to make the most of your time behind the wheel.

      1Take Practice Trips

      If your dog isn’t used to car travel, start small. Before your long haul, take short practice drives with your dog. Make sure to end your drive someplace fun, like the dog park or a favorite store—that’ll teach them that spending time in the car is a good thing!

      2Safety First

      You rely on your seat belt to protect you in case of accidents. Doesn’t your dog deserve the same protection? Make sure your pup is secure whenever you’re driving, whether it’s in a car seat, using a seat belt, or some combination of the two.

      3Fight the Fur

      Dogs can be messy, so some advance backseat prep can save you hours of cleaning after your trip. A car seat cover can keep your dog’s fur, drool, potty accidents and more from putting a dent in your car’s resale value.

      4Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

      A tired dog is a happy dog, so make sure to give your pup lots of playtime before your trip, and stop often along the route so they can get their zoomies out. Physical activity can help dogs manage any anxiety they’re feeling about the trip—and just might result in a peaceful mid-drive nap.

      5Pack the Necessities

      At minimum, your dog will need water and a vessel to drink from on your journey, and if you’re traveling during their usual mealtimes, you’ll need to provide food as well.

      A few favorite toys will help keep them busy during long stretches on the road.

      And of course, don’t forget the poop bags—picking up after your pup at rest stops is the responsible thing to do.

      Can Dogs Get Car Sick?

      Unfortunately, yes—but there’s plenty you can do to help, from keeping your car’s temperature cool to using calming products.

      Learn More

      Road Trip Essentials

      Now you’ve got the basics handled, but when it comes to car travel with your dog, you can’t be too prepared. Click the links below to find out more ways to make the most of your road trip together.

      Flying With a Dog

      how to travel with dog Blanco
      Planning to take flight with your pup? There’s a lot to consider, from your airline’s pet policies to keeping your pet calm throughout the process. Before you book your tickets, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the federal regulations that cover flying with a dog, as well as your airline’s unique rules for dog travel by plane.

      Is My Dog Allowed on the Plane?

      Here’s the good news: Many airlines have dog-friendly pet policies that allow you to bring your pup with you in the cabin of the plane. But the rules of each airline are different, so it’s important to find out the details of your unique flight in advance. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

      Service Animals

      Airlines are required to allow service animals to fly with their parent in the plane cabin, except in cases where the animal violates safety requirements, poses a threat to other passengers, causes significant disruption or violates health requirements. Remember: Service animals are not the same as emotional support animals. The U.S. Department of Transportation defines service animals as “a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability.”

      How are service animals different from emotional support animals?

      Service animals are dogs who are trained to work or perform tasks to help disabled individuals. Unlike emotional support animals, service animals and their parents are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

      Learn More

      Required Paperwork

      Some airlines require veterinary proof of vaccinations and an indemnification or waiver from the traveler. Ask your airline about the required documents you’ll have to provide, and when possible, fill out any necessary forms in advance to save yourself stress at check-in.

      Size Restrictions

      Most airlines specify maximum sizes and/or weights for dogs, carriers or both. Before booking, ask your airline about their size requirements and measure or weigh your pet and your carrier to ensure they fall within the allowed limits.

      Pet Fees

      Many airlines also charge an additional fee for flying with a dog. To avoid budget-breaking surprises at the airport, ask your airline about their pet fees in advance.

      So what are your airline’s pet policies?

      We’ve rounded up the rules of the top domestic airlines here. Regulations change frequently, so for the most up to date information, ask your airline directly.

      how to travel with dog

      Airport and Flight Safety: What to Know

      Planes and airports are built with human travelers in mind, which means they can be challenging environments for dogs. Follow these tips as you and your pup navigate from check-in to your final destination.

      Dogs Fly in the Cabin

      Though some airlines offer to ship pets in cargo, the part of the plane that carries checked baggage, dog experts advise against it. In cargo, your dog will have to endure loud engine noise and temperatures that can be very hot or very cold. The experience is stressful and overwhelming, even for dogs who are well trained to be comfortable in their crates.

      Consider Your Dog’s Breed

      Some veterinarians recommend against bringing brachycephalic, or flat-faced dogs, such as Boxers, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, on planes because of their sensitivity to pressure changes, recycled air and other environmental conditions. Ask your veterinarian if flying with your dog presents health risks.

      Airport Safety

      Airports can be hectic, overstimulating environments for dogs, which can bring out behaviors in them that you’d never expect in calmer, more familiar surroundings. Keep your dog on leash or in their carrier throughout the airport to protect them from getting lost or responding negatively to fellow passengers.

      how to travel with dog

      Flight experts share their tips for flying with dogs, from lining their crate with potty pads to calming them with their favorite blanket. Learn more.

      Traveling With Dogs on Trains and Buses

      how to travel with dog
      Don’t count out alternative means of transportation when you’re considering how to reach your destination. Traveling on trains and buses can be a more scenic, less stressful and less expensive way to travel—but each has its own guidelines about dogs on board. Here’s everything you need to know.

      Dogs on Amtrak Trains

      All aboard, train travelers—even furry ones. Amtrak trains allow dogs on most routes, with the following restrictions:

      • You must provide a pet carrier, which must be leak proof and well ventilated. The maximum size is 19″ long x 14″ wide x 10.5″ high.
      • Your dog must be at least eight weeks old and odorless, harmless, not disruptive and require no attention during travel.
      • The combined weight of your dog and their carrier must be 20 pounds or less.
      • You must sign a Pet Release and Indemnification Agreement for each travel segment.
      • Your pet must remain inside their carrier while on the train and in train stations.
      • Dogs are not allowed in First class, non-Acela Business class, bedroom accommodations or food service cars.

      Visit for the company’s full pet policy.

      Dogs on Greyhound Buses

      There are just two types of dogs you’ll see on a Greyhound bus. One is the dog in the Greyhound logo painted on the side of your vehicle. The other is a trained service dog who’s there to help a disabled passenger. That’s right—apart from service animals, no pets are allowed on Greyhound buses. (Remember: Service animals are different from emotional support animals and therapy animals.)

      Different local and regional bus services have different pet policies. Ask your bus company about their policy for dogs on board.

      Dog-Friendly Vacations

      how to travel with dog Shavshyna
      Here’s the fun part: Choosing a dog-friendly travel destination! More hotels, restaurants, beaches, shops and other public spaces allow pets than ever before, which means you have a world of possibilities to explore. Start with our top picks for the best dog-friendly destinations of the year, and check out specific sites for hiking, camping, and more. Click the links below to learn more.
      how to travel with dog

      What’s the best place to visit with your dog this year? We asked experts in pet travel to list their top picks. Learn more.

      Dog Travel Accessories

      how to travel with dog
      Whether you’re at home or on the road, there are some things you and your dog just can’t live without. Ready to pack your bags? Make sure to include these must-have dog travel accessories.

      Travel Products We Love

      travel packing list

      Download a shoppable version of our packing list here, and check out some top product picks below.
      Looking for more great gear? Click the links below to explore our top picks for camping, hiking and beyond.

      Traveling With Dogs: FAQs

      Q:What is the best travel crate for dogs?

      When choosing a travel dog crate, consider your dog’s preferences, the weight of the crate, and any airline or train requirements you’ll have to abide by while traveling. Here’s how to choose the best crate for your dog.

      Q:Which airlines allow dogs?

      All airlines are federally required to allow service dogs. For other dogs, the rules vary. Consult our guide to domestic airline pet policies, and confirm with your airline before booking your ticket.

      Q:How can I help my anxious dog when we travel?

      Products like calming sprays, herbal supplements, and compression vests can all ease dogs’ anxiety about traveling. Providing comforting items from home and engaging toys, such as treat dispensers, can also distract them from their stress. Find out more about travel anxiety in dogs.

      Q:What are the most important things to pack when traveling with my dog?

      Carry these items with you (not in your checked luggage) when you travel:

      • Dog food (a couple days’ supply) and water
      • Your dog’s medications
      • Your dog’s medical and vaccine records
      • A leash and well-fitted collar or harness
      • Treats and toys to entertain them and encourage good behavior
      Congrats—now you’re fully prepared for traveling with your dog. Have a wonderful journey, and don’t forget to share your travel pics with us @Chewy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Happy trails (and wagging tails)!

      The post How to Travel With Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Hitting the Road With Your Pup appeared first on BeChewy.

      Dr. Katy Nelson DVM Shares Must-Have Items for a Pet Emergency Kit

      Do you have a pet emergency kit? Right now, before an emergency or natural disaster, take the time to gather items for a pet emergency kit. Having what you need on hand can help you respond quickly and appropriately when needed. It’s not a huge list and there is nothing you can’t find at a drug store or online in the case of some pet specific items.

      Here’s what pet parents should have on hand in a pet emergency kit to be prepared for most emergency situations. (And if you’re wondering whether you need to take your pet to the vet now vs. waiting, what to expect, how to prepare, and what to do if your vet is closed—read more from Dr. Nelson here).

      Celebrate National Pet Week

      Each day of National Pet Week is devoted to a different way to keep your pet happy and healthy. From May 1-7, take these actions to help you furry friend live their best life:


      More Information

      • A copy of your pet’s medical records (not just a folder of receipts)
      • ER contact card with Poison Control’s number and that of your local emergency animal hospital on it
      • A commercial pet first aid kit, like this kit from Kurgo, stocked with non-stick pads, bandage gauze, alcohol swabs, pressure wraps, small tweezers, blunt scissors and bandage tape
      • Emergency eye wash, like Espree’s Opti-Soothe eye wash, for rinsing out foreign matter
      • Oral-activated charcoal administered in case of toxin ingestion (call your vet first)
      • Plain canned pumpkin (the puree, not the pie filler) in case of diarrhea
      • Hydrogen peroxide, which can be used to do the initial cleaning of a wound (only once, not daily) or, if advised by your veterinarian, to induce vomiting
      • A pet thermometer, like Pet-Temp’s ear thermometer
      • Petroleum jelly can be used as lubricant for a thermometer, or to cover a wound under a bandage before you seek treatment
      • Paw balm, like Bag Balm for pets, is useful in both winter and summer for dry, chapped or burned paws
      • A calming aid, like Rescue Remedy drops, to use in times of stress
      • Nail trimmer and styptic powder to stop the bleeding of minor cuts or if you cut the nail back too far. One option is Miracle Care’s Kwik-Stop.
      • Gloves
      • Plastic oral syringe, like this one by Lixit for small pets, for administering medicines or flushing wounds
      • Flashlight or pen light
      • Fluffy towel to wrap scared kitties in or warm cold puppies up
      • Treats to give a little comfort in a scary situation

      If your pet is on prescription meds, it’s recommended to keep at least a 2- to 4-week supply of the medicine on hand in case of an emergency, an evacuation or an illness. This includes heartworm, flea and tick preventive medications and any prescription diets that your pet has been prescribed. Also, have an extra bag of kibble or case of cans of your pet’s regular diet on hand at all times, as well as extra litter for your kitties. While you’re getting supplies together, it’s also a good time to check pet tags and microchips to ensure all are up to date.

      By taking a little extra time to gather all of this while you’re calm and able, you’ll certainly save yourself a lot of anguish if an emergency strikes. A large, flat plastic container will hold most of these items. Check twice yearly to ensure no products have expired and to update your pet’s medical records.

      The post Dr. Katy Nelson DVM Shares Must-Have Items for a Pet Emergency Kit appeared first on BeChewy.

      Pet Grooming at Home 101: A Cheat Sheet for When You Can’t Get to a Grooming Salon

      Let’s face it: In these busy times, it may not be possible for you to see your favorite hair stylist, let alone take your pet to their stylist. It can be hard to find the time to take your dog or cat to the groomer. If your pet is looking a little rough around the edges, you can do some cat or dog grooming at home to keep them looking and feeling their best. Not to mention, it’s a great way to bond with your pet.

      “Pets enjoy being touched and paid attention to, so grooming can be pleasant if it’s a regular part of their routine,” says Daryl Conner, a Master Pet Stylist at Fairwinds Grooming Studio in Appleton, Maine. “Many people find it very satisfying to spend this type of time with their pet. Having a neat, tidy, tangle-free coat to admire and pat is pleasant, too.”

      From brushing to bathing, here’s a cheat sheet for pet grooming at home.

      Celebrate National Pet Week

      Each day of National Pet Week is devoted to a different way to keep your pet happy and healthy. From May 1-7, take these actions to help you furry friend live their best life:

      Full width image


      Bathing Beauties

      If you’ve been spending a lot of time relaxing at home, binge-watching TV, you can probably skip a shower or two. (That’s what dry shampoo is for, right?) Just like you, your dog’s activity level impacts their bathing needs. The less they’re out and about getting dirty, the less frequent they’ll need a bath.

      “If [you use] a quality [pet] shampoo, followed by a conditioner, dogs can be safely bathed once a week or whenever they don’t smell nice,” Conner says.

      Cats generally require less bathing than dogs do, although it depends on the breed. “Cats—except breeds that produce excessive oil like the Sphynx—don’t require frequent bathing, though it is not dangerous for them,” says Conner, who also serves as vice president of the Professional Cat Groomers Association of America.

      If your nose knows it’s time to give your pet a bath, Conner says to start by washing from behind the ears and working your way back toward the tail, saving the face for last. When rinsing, it’s the opposite. Start with the face to decrease the chances of shampoo getting in your fur baby’s eyes. Once you have washed and rinsed your pet completely, rinse again. Yes, TWO rinses.

      “Shampoo or conditioner left in the coat will attract dirt, cause tangles and can irritate animals’ skin,” Conner says. And always use a shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for pets. Conner recommends TropiClean’s Gentle Coconut Hypoallergenic shampoo and their Kiwi & Cocoa Butter Moisturizing conditioner.

      Another pro tip? Mix a little pet shampoo with some warm water in a cup or bowl. Dip a kitchen sponge into the diluted shampoo and use it to apply product to the coat. “This works well to evenly distribute the shampoo—and conditioner!—through the coat,” Conner says.

      Get tips to make bath time less stressful.

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      Nails on Point

      The next time you’re thinking about doing your nails, you might want to think about doing your pet’s nails, too. You don’t have to give them a full-on paw-dicure (unless you really want to be extra), but dogs and cats do need to have their nails cut generally once a month, Conner says. Not only do regular trims protect your floors and furniture, but it prevents painful ingrown nails and infections.

      To start, make sure you have a good set of sharp nail clippers. Conner recommends these clippers by Millers Forge and says a pair of medium-sized clippers is usually better than large, which can be harder to hold and “unwieldy.”

      Next, find a quiet spot where your pet will feel relaxed, like their favorite spot on the couch. Conner also suggests cutting dogs’ nails in, of all places, an empty tub. Why, you ask?

      “The unusual surface makes them a little hesitant to resist and sometimes this is a great trick,” she says. “Not always, though!”

      Using your nail clipper, snip the tip of the nail at a slightly forward angle and firm enough that you don’t merely crush the nail. You want a nice clean cut. Be sure to reward for good behavior!

      Get more instructions on how to cut a cat’s nails.

      Get more instructions on how to cut a dog’s nails.

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      Brush Up on Brushing

      Brushing your pet can make for a great bonding time. Plus, “frequent brushing helps remove loose, shedding hair and prevents tangles,” Conner says. What constitutes “frequent” brushing? A few moments every day or a longer session once a week, she says.

      Sounds easy enough, right? But wait. First, you need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Pets with a longer coat do best with a slicker style brush, like this one by Miracle Care. For dogs with short or “smooth” coats, a rubber curry brush is a good option. And then there’s actually a specific way you should brush your pet.

      “A common mistake pet parents make it to just brush over the top layer of their pet’s coat,” Conner says. “Effective brushing includes brushing from the skin to the tips of the hair, all over the body.”

      She recommends paying extra attention to areas where friction occurs, including:

      • Behind the ears
      • Where the collar or harness comes in contact with the coat
      • The “armpit” area under the front legs
      • The “tuck up” area in front of the rear legs
      • Paws
      • Where the tail comes in contact with the fur on the rear legs

      After brushing, long-haired pets should be combed with a pet comb, like this steel one by Andis.

      “Ideally, the coat is combed from skin to hair tips, all over the body,” Conner says. “If there is an area the comb cannot penetrate, go back with the brush, working in that spot until the comb can be smoothly drawn from the skin out.”

      Pro tip: A good quality coat spray is very helpful, as it helps the tools glide through the coat more easily. Conner recommends TropiClean Sweet Pea Tangle Remover.

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      Time for a Trim

      While shaved heads seem to be having a moment right now, you might want to think twice before taking the clippers to your pet.

      “In general, it’s best to leave hair cutting to the professionals,” Conner cautions. “Pet owners need to be aware that when they use clippers or scissors, they are putting sharp tools on an unpredictable, moving target. Accidents can happen.”

      If you feel comfortable enough, can you do some maintenance trimming. For example, you can trim the hair around your pet’s eyes if you are worried it has grown too long and your pet can no longer see well. (If you’re going to do that, Conner says to comb the hair forward, and trim the hair that hangs in front of the eyes. “Many people make the mistake of cutting the hair close over the top of the eyes—think where human eyebrows would be—and this can be difficult for the groomer to fix,” she says.)

      She recommends Top Performance’s Fine-Point shears to trim hair over the eyes, around the potty area and the feet. But again, in general, she doesn’t recommend that the average pet parent give their pet a complete haircut.

      “The most important thing [you] can do is to keep the coat brushed and combed,” she says. “A well-maintained coat ensures that the groomer can give the pet the desired style. Matted coats usually need to be clipped very close in order to humanely remove the tangles.”

      A little DIY dog or cat grooming at home can go a long way until you can make it to a professional groomer. Not only will your groomer thank you for keeping your pet’s coat in tip-top shape between visits, but your pet will, too, because it means more bonding time with you and less time at the grooming salon.

      The post Pet Grooming at Home 101: A Cheat Sheet for When You Can’t Get to a Grooming Salon appeared first on BeChewy.

      Super-Charge Your Dog Walks with This Easy Exercise Routine

      Want to get the most out of those daily dog walks? Of course you do! Beachbody trainer, barre instructor and rescue dog mom Elise Joan says that these necessary outings with your furry friend can be combined with an easy exercise routine to maximize your wellness benefits while keeping your dog in shape.

      Says Joan, “My rescue pup Larkin and I always look forward to our beach walks together. Getting outside with our pets is an important part of bonding, as well as our own exercise routines.”

      When it comes to daily dog walks, your doggo certainly isn’t the only one reaping the benefits of your daily dog walks. In addition to helping keep your pet at their ideal weight, alleviating their excess energy and providing an additional opportunity for bonding, walking your pet every day comes with some built-in health benefits for you, too. In fact, a report originally published in the Current Opinion Cardiology found that a walking-based exercise routine could significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, while researchers at the American Heart Association found that walking could cut obesity-promoting genes in half.

      “It’s important for me to get the most I can out of my workouts with Larkin,” Joan says, explaining that you can further challenge your muscles and care for your body with specially designed (yet totally doable) moves that maximize every step you take while walking your dog.

      Exercise Routine

      Courtesy of Elise Joan

      Celebrate National Pet Week

      Each day of National Pet Week is devoted to a different way to keep your pet happy and healthy. From May 1-7, take these actions to help you furry friend live their best life:

      Ready to super-charge your dog walks? Try Joan’s four simple moves to boost your metabolism and sculpt your body.

      Dog-Walking Exercise Routine


      About 5 minutes

      Recommended for:
      Pet parents of all fitness levels (with your doctor’s approval)

      Exercise Routine

      Chewy Studios

      1. Walking Lunges

      Take a huge step forward and lunge both knees, alternating legs as you walk forward. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

      Tip: Be sure your front knee is stacked directly over the ankle with each forward step to properly target the gluteal and core muscles, as well as your hamstrings and quadriceps.

      2. Booty Kick-Backs

      With every step forward, take a leg lift to the back with your opposite leg to help lift, shape and tone your derrière. Try 30 reps for each leg.

      Exercise Routine

      Chewy Studios
      Exercise Routine

      Chewy Studios

      3. Incline Push-Ups

      Find a park bench, fence or railing. Place your hands on the elevated surface and step back, aligning your legs and feet so your body forms a straight, diagonal line. Bend your elbows to lower your chest down. Then, straighten your arms and push upwards, completing the push-up. Aim for 10 reps every time you pass an inclined surface.

      Tip: Want even more of a challenge? Try lifting one of your legs with each push-up, alternating legs with each rep.

      4. Side Squats

      Walking sideways, take a deep lunge with each step while keeping your back flat, your hips back and your knees stacked over your ankles. Try 10 reps facing alternating directions.

      Exercise Routine

      Chewy Studios

      Gear Up Before You Sweat It Out

      Of course, your dog’s safety should be of upmost importance during your dog walks, so ensure that you can execute these moves safely and keep ahold of your pup’s leash the whole time. You may want to consider special gear like a hands-free leash that’ll keep your doggo safely close by as you complete your incline push-ups and side squats.

      Check out the Hertzko Nylon Reflective Bungee Hands-Free Running Dog Leash, which can be clipped around your waist and also features an easy-grip handle for more control when needed. The Kurgo K9 Excursion Polyester Reflective Hands-Free Running Dog Leash is another option that features useful extras like storage space for a poop bag and headphones in the waistband, as well as a BPA-free water bottle to keep you and your pooch hydrated during your workouts and walks.

      Now get out there, break a sweat and treat yourself and your pup to a super-charged dog walk with these easy fitness moves. (Prepare to get a rep as the hardest working pair at the dog park!)

      The post Super-Charge Your Dog Walks with This Easy Exercise Routine appeared first on BeChewy.

      How to Celebrate National Pet Month: Four Weeks of Activities and Adventures

      Happy National Pet Month! Throughout the month of May, BeChewy is celebrating the animals who bring joy to our lives each day with special deals to spoil pets with all their favorite food and gear. And there are plenty of ways you can join in the fun, too! Follow our lead as we celebrate our pets in new ways every week this month.

      Week 1: Protect Their Health


      Your most important responsibility as a pet parent? Keeping your new bestie happy and healthy. So there’s no better time to make sure you’ve got the essentials covered.

      We’ve got your guide to following the American Veterinary Medical Association’s suggestions for each day of National Pet Week, which runs May 1-7. Ensuring your pet’s safety with a microchip? Check. Finding the perfect vet? Check. Grooming, travel, exercise and beyond? Check, check and double check.

      Think of it as the perfect way to kick off a whole month of showering your pet with love.

      Week 2: Make Mealtimes Fun

      Nutrition is important, but there’s more to food than its health benefits. It’s also the chance to bond with your pet, sustaining both their body and spirit.

      So this week, serve them a DIY recipe as a special treat. Whether you bake up some scrumptious cookies, fire up the grill for some pet-safe kebabs, or even mix them up a pet-friendly mocktail, one thing is certain: You’ll love watching them chow down on your homemade snack, and they’re sure to feel the love, too.

      Explore All Our Pet-Friendly Recipes


      Week 3: Plan an Adventure


      When it comes to making memories with your pet, there’s no time like the present. So go ahead, plan a fun, exciting experience for you both to share.

      First, consider your pet’s personality and abilities: Would they prefer exploring outdoors, or staying inside? To be surrounded by friends or one-on-one time with you? An active escape or a chill-out session?

      Then, choose an activity to match, whether it’s a rugged hiking adventure, visiting a new park, or just some extra playtime with an intriguing new toy. No matter what you choose, you’ll have a blast as long as you’re together.

      Week 4: Go Ahead—Spoil Them!

      Admit it: You love splurging on your pet almost as much as they love the new toys and treats that come inside that blue box.

      Well, we’ve got good news: Chewy’s making it extra easy to spoil them this month, with a ton of National Pet Month deals and discounts perfect for celebrating the awesome animals in your life.

      From treats to toys and beyond, you’re sure to find something special for your favorite furry friend.

      Shop National Pet Month Deals


      However you choose to spend National Pet Month, we’re wishing you and your pet plenty of happiness all month long. Now get out there and make the most of it!

      The post How to Celebrate National Pet Month: Four Weeks of Activities and Adventures appeared first on BeChewy.

      Is This Normal: Why Do Cats Put Their Butts in Your Face?

      Q:My cat frequently turns around and puts her floofy behind in my face Doesn’t matter if I’m on my computer in the middle of a Zoom meeting or watching TV on the couch. Why do cats put their butts in your face? Is this normal?

      A: Yes, it’s normal. Your cat is most likely just trying to communicate with you as cats do.

      You’re having a pleasant evening, sitting on your couch watching that Netflix show that everyone on your Twitter feed has been talking about, when your cat jumps into your lap. You think that maybe they want you to scratch their head or rub their back, but…nope. Instead, they turn around and put their butt right in your face.

      This isn’t the first time that your cat’s, uh, given you that particular vantage point, and they’re definitely not the first cat to do this. “Why do cats always put their butts in your face?” has been a frequent topic on subreddits like r/ExplainLikeImFive and r/NoStupidQuestions. So what gives?

      why do cats put their butts in your face

      A cat showing you their butt is a normal behavior among cats themselves, particularly among feline friends. It likely means they trust you and probably want attention.

      It’s Common in Cat Conversations

      We’re humans, so we tend to analyze our pets’ behaviors as if they’re four-legged people. We’d (probably) never kick off an interpersonal interaction by shoving our butts into someone else’s personal space, but it’s not uncommon during cat conversations.

      “To analyze cat communication we need to look at all body language signals as well as the context of the behavior,” says Pittsburgh-based cat behaviorist Patience Fisher ACCBC, CVA, DipFBST, BSBIO, owner of Patience for Cats LLC.

      While Fisher isn’t aware of any research on the behavior, “what I can tell you is that cats live in a world of scent. They sniff each other’s pee and poop, so there must be information in it. And they sniff each other’s rear ends sometimes.”

      It’s Not for Every Cat

      Cats can be selective about which other cats get to see their butts, according to Fisher.

      “I’ve had cases of cats that don’t get along, and have seen one cat sniff the other’s rear, and that one will whirl around, sometimes even swatting [at] the sniffer,” she says. “I’ve also seen [cat] friends do this, and the other cat has no issue with it. So it seems to be something that is only tolerated between friends.”

      What Are Cats Trying to Tell Us With Their Butts?

      There have been suggestions that this is an instinctive behavior, and that cats backing into your face with their tails up is a throwback to how kittens would allow their mothers to clean them. (It’s for the best if you don’t think too hard about that sentence.) This particular presentation could also be your cat’s way of demonstrating that he trusts you, or feels affectionate toward you.

      “If the cat is being friendly to the person by purring and rubbing on them, has relaxed ears and a relaxed body, and then puts his rear end in their face, it is likely a friendly gesture,” Fisher says.

      It could also be because they want something from you, like to be petted or food, and “rubbing and purring did not get them the attention they were seeking.”

      Well, putting their butt in your face is certainly one way of getting attention. It could also be a sign that we need to notice the other ways that our cats try to communicate with us—before they reach the Butt-in-Face stage.

      The post Is This Normal: Why Do Cats Put Their Butts in Your Face? appeared first on BeChewy.