Traveling With Pets

For more from Dr. Ruth MacPete, find her on Facebook or at!

For many people, it wouldn’t be summer without a family road trip. Since most Americans consider their pets to be members of the family, that means bringing your pet along. But unless you want your vacation to resemble a National Lampoon movie, there are a few additional considerations you should follow when traveling with your pet.

For starters, do your homework and make sure your destination is pet-friendly. For example, if you were planning to bring the family pooch with the rest of the family to Yosemite National Park to enjoy the great outdoors, you would be disappointed to learn that dogs are not allowed on the hiking trails, even on a leash. Although the national parks were established to make the great outdoors accessible, they were also set up to protect these lands. Unfortunately, even well-behaved dogs can disturb these delicate ecosystems. The main point is do your homework and find out ahead of time.If you’re okay with staying in the campground with your dog, then it may not be an issue for you. If you really want to take your dog on a hiking trail, you may have to choose another destination, like a national forest. Check ahead of time to avoid last minute surprises that can put a damper on your trip.

If this is your pet’s first big trip, you should get them used to travelling well ahead of your planned trip. If you’re traveling by car, this means taking them on frequent car trips to get them used to being in a car. I also recommend making the experience as positive as possible by giving lots of praise and treats. The same principles apply if you’re planning to travel by air. Get your pet used to their travel crate and give them lots of rewards. If your pet becomes very anxious despite these measures, speak with your veterinarian about using a sedative.Another consideration is lodging. Fortunately, the Internet is a great resource for finding pet-friendly lodging. There are numerous websites and even apps for your smart phone to help you find pet-friendly hotels. Just call to confirm their policies and to get the details. For example, some hotels may have a size limit or a restriction on the number of pets. Some hotels even cater to pets and offer special pet-friendly services to make your pet feel right at home.

Finally, as seasoned travelers know, make a checklist of what you will need for the trip. Since your pet can’t really eat at a food stop or restaurant, bring enough of their food for the entire trip. Don’t forget to pack food and water bowls, their bed, and favorite toys. Bring a health certificate or their vaccine record and any medications they are taking. Don’t forget to bring their collar with I.D. tags and a leash. And if your pet doesn’t already have a microchip, I highly recommend getting one for your pet since collars and tags are not foolproof. Finally, it goes without saying, never leave your pet in an unattended car since they can overheat and die within minutes.

Traveling with your pet may require some additional planning, but with a little foresight, it can give you and your family some priceless memories.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Car Travel With Pets: 10 Tips for Safety and Security

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

Some families can't imagine taking a vacation without including their dogs. A 2018 survey found that almost 95 percent of pet owners were planning at least one overnight trip with their pet. Many dogs love to travel, but it can be stressful for you and your pet if you aren't prepared. By planning ahead, you can make sure your journey is safe and comfortable for you and your dog.

If you're planning on traveling with pets, whether it's for pleasure or necessity, you'll need to take some steps to prepare for your dog's needs along the way. Car travel with dogs, especially long trips, requires some forethought. You can't just assume you'll be able to get everything you need for your pet during your trip.


  • Find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many do not, or have size restrictions.
  • If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff, and the property.
  • Keep your dog as quiet as possible.
  • Do not leave the dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place.
  • Ask the management where you should walk your dog, and pick up after him. Do not leave any mess behind.
  • Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds in good condition.
  • Puppy-proof the vacation home (or room). Before you let your dog have free run of his home away from home, make certain it’s safe for your dog to explore. Be sure that electrical cords are out of reach and that previous occupants didn’t leave anything on the floor or under furniture that could be potentially harmful to your dog.

Remember, it’s a vacation. Traveling can be stressful, but a calm owner usually has a calm pet. Our animals pick up on our stress, so if you’re nervous and uptight, your dog may show stress and anxiety, too.

Traveling with Pets

By Desireé R. Broach, DVM, MS, DACVB

Whether you are planning a move or traveling for leisure, taking your pet along with you can be stressful for both of you.

General Travel Tips:

  • Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website, and research the requirements and regulations for the location(s) you will be traveling to and through.
  • Work with your veterinarian to create a timeline for necessary vaccinations, completion of health certifications, and other area-specific requirements, such as rabies titer testing.
  • Research the departure and arrival destination requirements regarding pet identification tags or registration, kennel markings, and ISO-compatible microchip information.
  • If you will be staying in a hotel during your travel, leave a radio on at a soft volume, keep your time away from your hotel room short, and use your pet’s crate when away from your room to help avoid destructive behavior.
  • If your pet has a history of anxiety, distress, or nausea when traveling, consult your veterinarian for recommendations to prepare your pet for the trip. These recommendations may include training exercises to acclimate your pet to a kennel or vehicle, tools to use to help your pet relax, or administration of medications to assist with anxiety or nausea.

NOTE: Sedation or tranquilizing a pet during travel is not advised (nor permitted for aircraft travel), as it can be fatal. Sedative or tranquilizer medications may cause pets to have breathing problems, blood pressure problems, or problems regulating their body temperature.

Flying with Pets:

  • Research transportation options before booking travel and determine whether you will use a commercial carrier or a private charter company for transportation of your pet.
  • On commercial carriers, pets may be categorized for travel as: checked baggage in-cabin with owner, checked baggage cargo on the flight, or manifest cargo on an unaccompanied flight.
  • In-cabin transport is airline-dependent and is restricted to small pets that fit in a kennel under the cabin seat.
  • Pets must be at least 8-10 weeks old for transport but may be required to be at least 15-16 weeks old for international travel.
  • Brachycephalic, short-nosed, flat-faced, breeds may be prohibited from flying in cargo due to safety risks. Some examples are bulldogs, Boston terriers, boxers, and pugs, as well as Persian or Himalayan cats.
  • To minimize stress on your pet, it is recommended to book a non-stop flight when possible.
  • Carry on copies of your pet’s veterinary record and health certificates, along with a leash, food, and any medications in case luggage is delayed or lost.
  • Check with the airline you are using to ensure your pet’s kennel meets specifications. Each airline may vary, but general specifications can be found on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website.
  • Kennels need to be well-ventilated and big enough for the pet to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around in. Food and water bowls must be secured to the carrier and absorbent material supplied for the pet to lay on. Soft-sided and wire-sided kennels are not permitted for cargo travel.
  • Ensure your pet is acclimated to his travel kennel early.

Driving with Pets:

  • Carry a copy of your pet’s recent health certificate which is required when you cross state lines.
  • If your pet is not comfortable riding in a vehicle, work with your veterinarian to discuss ways to improve your pet’s comfort.
  • Research the safety data and size restrictions for any restraint devices or kennels you plan to use. The safest method of restraint for car travel is a kennel on the floor in the back seat or secured in the rear cargo area. This prevents driver disruption and keeps the pet secure in the event of an accident. Front seat travel should be avoided due to driver distraction and possible airbag injury. The kennel should be well-ventilated and big enough for the pet to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around. Other restraint options include harnesses, car seats, and pet barriers.
  • Never leave your pets unsupervised in a parked vehicle, regardless of the outside temperature, even when windows are left open.
  • Pack a travel kit for your pet. Include medications, leash, fresh food and water, bowls, waste disposal bags or litter and litterbox, as well as cleaning supplies.
  • Plan breaks for every few hours offer water and the opportunity to go to the bathroom.
  • Offer food in small amounts to help reduce possible upset stomach. This is pet dependent.

What to Do Before Traveling With Pets

No matter if you’re crossing the Atlantic or finally taking that cross-country drive, there are some necessary precautions to take for your pet’s health and safety. Some of these can take months to complete, so do your best to get started ASAP, so you’re not caught in a bind on your travel day.

Make Sure Your Pet Is Properly Vaccinated

Whether traveling by train, plane, or car or staying in a hotel, vaccinations are extremely important, according to Jeff Werber, D.V.M., the chief veterinary officer for Airvet Telemedicine. He says there's typically a core set of vaccines that are given in a series when your pet is young and then updated every three years. Your vet may recommend additional vaccines depending on your location, your lifestyle, and other factors. Every shot is different and has a varied timeline for immunity success, so Dr. Werber recommends letting your vet know about your travel plans ASAP. Plus, if you’re going to a destination that could put your dog or cat at a higher risk of infection for a disease that’s not common in the United States, they may require another vaccination.

More often than not, your vet will provide a ‘Health Certificate’ that will be checked when entering a new state and/or country, according to Dr. Jerry Klein, the chief veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club. In some cases, this certificate must be vetted by a USDA-accredited veterinarian and may require a notary stamp for verification. This document is particularly important for international travel since your beloved pet may not be admitted to your destination country without it.

Watch the video: First Time Flying with My Dog! DOs u0026 DONTS:

Previous Article

Cat daycare near me

Next Article

6 Types of Natural Cat Litters for Anderson Pooper

Video, Sitemap-Video, Sitemap-Videos