Introduction to Pet Travel

Introduction to Pet Travel

Every year, 30 to 40 million people in the U.S. travel with their pets. The trip is much easier if you know what to bring and what to do. Read on...

Before your trip

Ask yourself if your pet is really a good candidate for travel.

  • Do they like to travel?
  • Do they bark much?
  • How do they do around other pets?

Certain pets should not travel. Please think very carefully about traveling with pets that are:

  • Very young
  • Very old
  • In heat
  • Pregnant
  • Sick
  • Injured
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Disobedient
  • Not housebroken
  • Destructive

Check out the weather at your destination. If the weather is not conducive to taking your pet outside, reconsider your plans as it will be unfair to your pet to leave them alone all day in an unfamiliar location.

Ask yourself if your trip is pet-appropriate. Skiing or museum-hopping for 8 hours while having to leave your pet alone in the room is probably not.

Schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

Make sure your pet is microchipped to aid in its return if lost. Hospitals, kennels, shelters, and humane societies are all using the chip scanners.

Confirm your pet is free of fleas and parasites.

Discuss any health risks at your destination such as flea, heartworm, tick, Lyme, and giardia.

Make certain all vaccinations and other protections are up to date.

Confirm you have copies of all vaccination certificates and records and bring these on your trip. These will reduce the chances of having duplication of vaccination in an emergency. Additionally, some properties may request copies.

Take a current picture of your pet if you do not have one available. Bring picture with you to aid in your pet's recovery in case they get lost.
Make sure your pet's tags are current and secure. Consider adding a paper tag with your cell number for use on the trip.

Check your pet's carrier/crate to make sure it us in good repair and clean. Re-acclimate your pet to it if it has been unused for a length of time.
Brush your pet to remove any loose hair and make sure your pet is free of fleas.

Locate the nearest animal emergency hospital at your destination.

What to bring

  • Your vet's phone number.
  • Phone number and address of nearest animal emergency hospital at your destination.
  • Sturdy leash and spare. Always use retractable leash in public.
  • Extra collar (always use breakaway collar for cats).
  • Booties (if weather and pet dictate).
  • Two sheets to cover bedding and furniture at destination.
  • Some of your pet's bedding.
  • Food. If you do not feed a brand you are certain will be available at your destination and along the way, bring enough for the whole trip. If you feed canned, bring a can opener and spoon.
  • Two gallons of extra drinking water from home. When you are down to the last half-gallon, begin mixing in equal parts with the water supply at your destination. If your pet is especially sensitive, use distilled water.
  • Food and water bowl set.
  • Dish soap to clean bowls. Mat to place under bowls.
  • Portable water bowl or bottle for use when away from your room.
  • Flashlight for nighttime walks or bathroom runs.
  • Treats.
  • Toys or chew items.
  • All required medications, supplements, and preventatives.
  • First aid kit.
  • Brush or comb.
  • Tweezers to remove foreign objects from fur or paws.
  • Lint and hair remover or brush.
  • Baby wipes or moist towelettes to wipe off paws.
  • Shampoo.
  • For cats, a full litter pan with extra litter, liners, and newspaper to place underneath. Think also about bringing a scratching post.
  • Waste removal bags.
  • Old towels, carpet cleaner, disinfectant spray, and trash bags for accidents.

During your trip

Make sure your pet is always leashed so it does not try to escape from you and return home. Use a retractable leash in public.

Always clean up after your pet.

Watch for any significant changes to your pet's temperature, heart or respiration rate, and frequency of eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating.
Take your pet to the bathroom before you enter festivals or other public gatherings.

Watch out for kids coming up to your pet so it doesn't bite.

Keep contact with strangers to a minimum and never allow pets to take food from strangers.


Incorrect or missing information? Please contact us and let us know.


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