Traveling With Your Companion

Our dogs are just like members of our family, so it’s natural we want to take them on vacation with us! Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful experience, but before you go, consider whether your dog will be happy on this particular trip. Some pets prefer to stay at home, or just don’t like traveling by car or plane. If this is the case, your pet might be happier staying with a friend, relative, or trusted pet sitter. When that’s not a possibility, your pet could be comfortable at a well-run kennel. However, if you have a pet that loves to travel, taking him or her on a family vacation is sure to provide memories you’ll never forget!

If you decide to travel with your pet, you have to keep your pet in mind every step of the way. If you plan to travel by plane, bus, train, or boat, find out if your pet will be permitted aboard and what kind of travel arrangements must be made. If you plan to stay at hotels, motels, or campgrounds, make sure that pets are allowed, and specifically your pet, as some hotels have size limits on animals.

Tips for Traveling by Plane

  • Contact the airline you want to use well in advance. Every airline has its own set of rules and regulations regarding transporting pets.
  • Ask about the airline’s regulations for pet crates or carriers.
  • Try to book a direct flight or one with minimal stops. This will make the journey much more comfortable for your pet.
  • Some airlines will allow your pet in the passenger cabin if you can fit his or her crate or carrier under the seat in front of you. If your pet must travel in the cargo hold, be at the airport early, help him into his travel crate yourself, and pick him up right after you land.
  • Importantly, make sure your pet will be in a pressurized area of the cargo hold. Otherwise, it may get dangerously hot or cold.

Tips for Traveling by Car

  • If your dog is not used to traveling by car, take him on some short rides before the trip to ensure that he does not get motion sickness and to give him an opportunity to get more comfortable with car rides.
  • Keep your dog in a crate; he will be safer and more comfortable.
  • Do NOT allow your dog to put his head outside the window. Dirt particles in the air can cause injury or infection and cold air blasting into the lungs can make your dog sick.
  • For long trips, plan exercise and rest stops every two hours.
  • Do not leave your dog in a parked car for a long period of time. Keep in mind that on hot days, the temperature in a parked car can rise to levels high enough to kill a pet of heat stroke.

Wherever You Go

  • Your pet should always wear a collar with complete identification and a license tag. We also strongly recommend all pets be microchipped to ensure you are reunited should they ever be lost.
  • Don’t forget to pack plenty of food, toys, dishes, and a leash.
  • Make sure your pet is examined and vaccinated by a veterinarian before any long trip.
  • If your pet is traveling by crate or carrier, check that it is sturdy, large enough for him to stand up and turn around in, is well-ventilated, has a leak-proof bottom, has a place for food and water, and closes securely.
  • If you are planning a trip outside the country, contact the consulate or embassy of your destination or talk to your travel agent, as health and vaccination regulations vary across countries.
  • If your pet gets motion sickness, talk to your veterinarian about appropriate medication.