Top Menu

Pet Travel Tips


  • Make sure your pets are up-to-date with their PET TRAVEL TIPSvaccinations,flea, tick and heartworm treatments.
  • Microchip (in addition to collar and tags) – a very important tool to help you locate your pets should they wander during your adventures together. This little rice-grain sized object can help bring them back to you.
  • Pack their bags! Be sure to bring along extra collars, leashes, toys as well as food and water bowls for your pets.
  • Bring extra food, treats – and don’t forget the water. Water content changes from city to city so it’s best to prevent digestive upset and bring bottled water or bottled tap water from home.
  • Locate a veterinary medical provider near your travel destination. Being prepared will give you peace of mind. There are many sources to help you locate a quali ed veterinarian near your destination location. (
  • Bring medical records, medications and identification, including pictures of you with your pets.
  • First aid kits are essential in the case of an emergency.
  • Remember, pets don’t belong in hot cars! Heat stroke can be deadly and happens in minutes.

Your family is counting on you to ensure they arrive safely together. Please don’t let them down.


Distraction Prevention vs. Crash Protection; Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Pet travel harnesses come in two forms, those that only prevent distraction and those that provide actual crash protection. Choose wisely!
  • Prevent driver distraction! Did you know that distracted driving can be caused by not only your cell phone, but by the family pet? It’s important to be safer together on the road and ensure that your pet is safely harnessed in the back seat of the vehicle.

But what about crash protection?

  • We know from our research that all pet safety harnesses are not created equal. The Center for Pet Safety encourages pet parents to select a quality crash-tested harness to protect your pet and also protect your family if an accident occurs. CPS also warns against the use of long extension tethers and zipline style products during travel.
  • Dogs should be reined in during car travel. Allowing pets to put their heads out of the car window is dangerous for many reasons. While your dog’s ears flapping in the wind might be funny – road debris in his eyes can be painful and costly.

Securing Pet Carriers –

While it is intuitive for most people to “buckle up” their pet’s carrier – DON’T! – unless the manufacturer provides you with crash test video to illustrate structural integrity.  Using a seatbelt to secure a carrier can actually crush the carrier if you get into an accident.

Instead – put the small carrier on the floor of the vehicle behind the front passenger or driver seat.


  • Airlines typically require a health certificate be issued 7-10 days prior to travel by your veterinarian. This is an essential document and may be reviewed during different check points – keep it with you at all times.
  • Choosing a direct flight over multiple stops will help reduce travel related stress for both of you.
  • Certain breed types (bracheocephalic) are restricted from flying for health reasons. Check with your airline for details.
  • Arrive early – pets must be checked in at the airline counter – allow extra time especially during peak travel times.
  • Do not feed your pet for at least four hours prior to boarding your flight. This will help reduce airsickness.
  • Do not tranquilize your pet for air travel – tranquilzers can lead to in-flight emergencies. If your pet is a nervous traveler – try high activity exercise within two hours of heading to the airport.

While we prefer that you stay with your pet during travel – If your pet must travel as cargo –

  • Thoroughly research the airline and the care your pet will receive during travel. There are no standards for pet travel service providers (or their contractors) so the quality of care is subjective and inconsistent. Do your homework!
  • Ensure your pet is microchipped, has collar and tags, and the carrier is appropriately and heavily marked “Live Animal” and include your contact information, including cell phone. The destination location should also be included in labeling. If you have a secondary family member who can act as your backup in the case of an emergency – provide that information to the airline and include it on the travel crate as well.
  • Ensure you have a direct point of contact from the airline who can assist you with and pet related problems upon landing.
  • Upon inspection if you are the least bit concerned about the condition of your pet – obtain immediate veterinary care – and retain all paperwork and medical records.

If your pet can accompany you on the plane –

  • Ensure the carrier you select meets the criteria for the airline in advance of getting to the airport. Check with your Airline for details on size restrictions and travel conditions for in-flight pets.
  • If your pet is not accustomed to travel – acclimate him to his new carrier prior to heading to the airport. It will make the trip much easier for both of you!
  • Always pack your carrier with extra potty pads, pick up bags extra collar and leash. Small plastic food/water bowls are also helpful (especially if they have lids).
  • Do not let the attendants stow your pets in the overhead storage compartment on an aircraft.  If airline personnel provide guidance to the contrary, reach out to customer service immediately.


  • It is always helpful to bring an extra containment option with you to ensure your dog  is secure when staying in a hotel. Soft Crates are a very portable option and can be your dog’s home away from home.
  • Potty pads and belly bands can also be important tools – especially if your dog marks his territory!
  • Bringing extra blankets and comfort items can help your dog transition to the unfamiliar hotel room.
  • Avoid pet GI issues during vacation: forego the treats provided by the hotel. Bring extra treats from home instead. Introducing new foods during travel can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to pets.