How to travel with your pet
Whether it is going to visit family or going on vacation, traveling with our pets has become more acceptable. However, there are things you need to do prior to your departure date so that both you and your pet have an good travel experience.
You've decide to go on vacation and you want to bring your fur baby with you. Traveling with your pet doesn't have to be a headache if you prepare in advance. Are you staying with friends or family? Is there a pet friendly hotel in the area? Am I going to be able to bring my pet places with me or does he/she have to stay in the hotel? Is my pet current on vaccine? Are you traveling by car or plane? What do the requirements do the airlines have? If traveling out of the continental US, what requirements does my destination country/location have? These are just some of the questions that you will need to research or decide before booking any reservations.
Hitting the Road?
If you are taking a road trip with your pet, don’t forget to take a trial run first. Bring your pet along with you on more local car trips to see how they respond in different situations. Additionally, make sure you have options to ensure your pet is safely secured within your vehicle. For smaller dogs and cats, always have them secured in a carrier. For larger dogs, a crate in the back of the car that is secured is preferable. Pet seat belts or restraints are also an option.
Depending on the length of your trip, plan out stops so that your pet has ample opportunities to use the restroom and stretch their legs. Some rest stops and larger gas stations even have doggy play areas! Don’t forget to allow pets to hydrate while traveling – and if traveling during regular meal times, make sure they are able to eat.
Lastly, consider car temperatures! Never leave your pet unattended in a warm car. Temperatures inside a parked car can reach 20-30 degrees higher than outside, and can quickly become deadly for a pet.
Flying with a pet is more popular than ever. Some airlines are even doing more to accommodate pets, but there are still a few things to keep in mind if you are taking off with your pet in tow.
First, always make sure your pet is in good health before flying. If your pet is very young or old, or has a particularly fragile medical condition, it may be best to leave them at home.
Second, do your research first regarding airline fees and policies – you might be surprised at how quickly they can add up. Some airlines charge extra for bringing pets and others will consider your pet carrier as a “checked bag.” Take a close look at your airlines’ pet policies.
If you are heading out of country, pay close attention to laws regarding vaccinations and medical records needed prior to bringing your pet. Some countries (and Hawaii) even require quarantine periods.
Keep your pet safe – no matter how you are traveling
Whether you are driving or flying with your pet, there are some common things to always do beforehand.
- Ensure your pet’s ID tags are current and that your pet is micro chipped with updated contact information
- Consult with your veterinarian about your plans
- If your pet gets nervous while traveling, consider a calming supplement to ease their worries
- Bring your pet’s favorite toys or blanket as a familiar reminder of home
Ensuring your pet’s well-being while traveling can help make your summer trip the best one yet. As always, if you have more questions regarding things to consider when bringing your pet along on trips, talk to your veterinarian.
For more frequently asked questions on pet travel visit AVMA's Traveling with Your Pet page.
If traveling out of the country, find the requirements for pet entry into many countries at USDA-APHIS Pet Travel Page