A Complete Guide to Traveling With Pets

September 27, 2021 6 min read

A Complete Guide to Traveling With Pets

dogs in convertible

No doubt, taking your pets along trips can increase the fun by manifolds. However, traveling with pets, especially dogs and cats, is not an easy task. You not only have to bring a ton of items for your pet but also remain mindful of the rules and regulations of traveling.

However, you don't need to worry. This guide will cover all the know-how of traveling with pets either by car, train, or airplane.

Things to do Before Traveling

 dog in suitcase

Before embarking with your pet on either a short or long trip, it's wise to carry out a few things prior to traveling.

Health Checkup

Remember that some pets cannot handle the stress of traveling due to being old and unhealthy. Therefore, it's always good to visit a vet and get a health checkup. 

Make sure all the vaccinations are completed, and just in case, get some booster shots too. Your dog or cat may need that extra strength during traveling.

Depending on your pet's physical and mental condition, consult with your vet whether you should take them along your trip or not. In the end, respect whatever the vet says. After all, your vet understands your pet's health better than you.

Essential Documents

If you are traveling within the US states, then before departing, understand each state's requirements. 

Always pack all the vaccination proofs of your dog & cat with you. Make sure you are also carrying your own Covid vaccination certificate. 

Many flights don't allow dogs without a rabies vaccination certificate. So, it's wise always to carry a rabies vaccination proof of your pet with you. Also, don't forget to get the health certificate from your vet.

Update Identification

Always make sure that your pet's information on the ID tag is up-to-date. If not, update your dog or cat's name, owner's name, home address, and phone number.

It helps in case your pet gets lost. For pets, who travel through cargo, updating identification is one of the critical things to do before.

Microchipping your pet is also extremely useful for situations where your dog or cat runs away. It serves as a permanent means of identification for them. So, if you didn't get your pet microchipped before, it's high time to do it now. Again, ensure before traveling with your pet that all the contact information on the microchip is up-to-date.

Pet Carrier

Whether you are taking your pet by car or by air, a pet carrier is a must thing to have. After all, your pet, especially a dog or cat, would be spending most of its hours in the carrier.

  • The pet carrier should be strong enough to handle the weight of your pet. It also should have handles and grips.

  • The carrier should be spacious enough so that your dog or cat can stand up, turn around, and lie down without any problem.

  • Always choose a pet carrier that has a leak-proof bottom. Whereas being covered with absorbent materials would be a plus point.

  • Fill the carrier with plenty of water, food, and your pet's favorite toy.

Traveling With Your Pet Via Car

cat in passenger seat

Must-Have Items for Car Traveling With Pet

  • Car Seat Cover. So that your pet remains comfortable during the road trip.
  • Pet Carrier. To efficiently carry a cat, dog, or other small size animals.
  • Collar and Leash. So, you can walk your dog.
  • HarnessIt helps in traversing dogs through rugged terrains.
  • Bandana with Your ScentHelp keeps your pet calm, especially in carriers or cargoes.
  • Water bottleTo keep your pet hydrated.
  • TreatsSo that your pet follows you. 
  • FoodDepending on your trip, wisely choose the number of meals. 
  • Roll of Poop BagsGreat for the bathroom.
  • MedicineAny vet prescribed medicine (if any). Also, take fleas, ticks, and heartworm preventatives with you.
  • Rabies Certificate – Printed.
  • Health Certificate (if needed) – Printed.
  • Vaccination Records – Printed
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Photo of Your Dog – Printed. In case the dog gets lost.

Tips for Car Traveling With Your Pet

dog enjoying car ride

Whether you are hitting the road for 3-4 days or making long trips for weeks, these tips will help you smoothen your pet's journey.

  • First, Get Your Pet Accustomed. Before blasting off to the road for many days, it's wise to first get your pet, especially a dog or a cat, acquainted with a short journey. During this time, monitor how your pet behaves. It will give you an idea of how much trouble your pet will likely give you during traveling.

  • Car Seat Cover Vs. Pet Carrier. Depending on how your pet behaves in a car, you should either get a car seat cover or a pet carrier. If the pet keeps hopping in the car, restraining you from driving, then it's ideal to choose a pet carrier. However, if your dog or cat has a gentle personality that doesn't create much mess in the car, then you can even go for the car seat cover.

  • Don't Feed Your Dog Within the Car. To avoid dog car sickness, don't feed him within a moving car. Instead, give pets their fill 3-4 hours before departing, and then always stop to feed your pet.

  • Get a Folding Playpen. If you are thinking of camping, it would be wise to get a folding playpen for your pet. A folding playpen will give your dog or cat their own free space and protect them from getting lost.

  • Don't Let the Dog Take His Head Out. Not denying the fact that it looks Hella cute. However, dogs with their head out are more likely to get injured, hit by an object, or get thrown out of the car when you speedily hit the brakes.

Traveling With Your Pet by Air

pet travel by air

Must-Have Items For Air Traveling With Pet

  • Airlines Pet Policy. So, you know your Rights!
  • Dog CarrierTo keep your pet safe during the flight.
  • Collar and Leash. So that your pet can walk before departure.
  • Bandana with Your Scent. It helps keep your dog calm inside the pet career.
  • Roll of Poop BagsIn case of accidents.
  • Water bottleMake sure your pet is well-hydrated.
  • Dog TreatsKeeps your dog calm.
  • MedicineVet prescribed medicine (if any)
  • Calming Treatment. Medicines like Benadryl, Hemp Oil, CBD, or whichever calms down your dog.
  • Photo of Your Dog – Printed. 
  • Payment Receipt – Printed. 
  • Rabies Certificate – Printed.
  • Vaccination Records – Printed
  • Health certificate – Printed.
  • Hand-Held FanSo you can cool down your dog inside the carrier.
  • Small First Aid KitJust in case your pet somehow gets hurt.

Tips for Air Traveling With Your Pet

dog travel by private jet

  • Make Reservations of Pet as Early as Possible. Now, almost all airlines work according to the "first come, first serve" motto. Thus, make haste when booking for your dog, cat, or any other animal because all airlines allow only a limited number of animals per flight. You can make the reservation either by contacting the respective Airline or by going directly.

  • Get a Health Certificate of Your Pet. It's required to submit your pet's health and other necessary certificates before ten days of departure. Although it varies from Airline-to-Airline, it's wise to contact the Airline to better grasp their policies.

  • Go Through Direct Flights. Irrespective of age and health, no pet likes to be cramped up in a pet carrier for a significant number of hours. Therefore, it's recommended that if you have the option, always opt for a direct flight while traveling with your dog, cat, or other small animals.

  • Not to Feed Your Dog Before Flight. AKC (American Kennel Club) recommends that you should not give food to your dog six hours before travel. However, you can give them water right until the time of flight.

  • Avoid Muzzle on Dogs & Cats. If your pet is going through cargo, then it's highly advised not to put a muzzle on them. At higher altitudes, a muzzle can prevent your dog or cat from breathing.

  • Acquaintance Your Pet With the Carrier. To avoid any discrepancies, later on, it's good to familiarize your pet with the pet carrier from the start. So, to make sure that the dog or cat doesn't cause any trouble in the airplane, it's wise to gradually introduce pet carriers to the dog, cat, or other smaller animal.

Traveling With Your Pet by Train or Bus

If you wish to travel through a train or a bus with your furry friend, then the good news is that Amtrak has made it possible. However, Amtrak only allows service dogs or pets weighing less than 20 pounds with a fee of 25$.

What's more, that you have to keep your pet under control all time. Pets should be either on leash or harness so that they do not create any disturbances for the other passengers.

Amtrak personnel will ask you to remove your pet from the train if the pet exhibits aggressive behavior. Then you can either leave the train or give the pet's custody to another handler for the time being.

Wherever you are going, there is no greater joy than having your pet accompanying you on your next great adventure.  Happy travels!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.