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Travel Tips on Travel with Pets

  • The American Pet Products Association offers some of their top picks for making summer traveling with your pet safe and more convenient. Click here to see their picks.
  • To facilitate airport screening, handlers of service animals are encouraged to carry ID, such as:
  • According to the Humane Society pet owners should always bring pet health documentation when traveling across state lines, or to another country. The WagíN Pet Passport is the answer for those looking for a convenient way to carry pet records. The WagíN Pet Passport can be ordered online within minutes, and setup with as little as one trip to the veterinary office. Order the WagíN Pet Passport at
  • When making airline reservations, let the airline know if you have an animal to transport and then review the rules regarding kennel size, ventilation, markings and contents. Reconfirm your petís arrangements within 24-48 hours of the flight. It is important to realize that airlines have complete control over whether or not they allow an animal on a flight. They are not required to carry live animals and can deny the animal for any reason, such as poor health or disposition.
  • Carry a current photograph of your pet when traveling. If he becomes lost, having a recent picture will make the search easier. (This is a good tip for your kids as well!)
  • If you're planning to buy a bird overseas, learn about the strict regulations for bringing it into the United States from the USDAís Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). These rules include obtaining a health certificate from the country in which youíre buying the bird, and submitting the bird to a 30-day quarantine period at an approved facility. Smuggled birds may bring in diseases (such as the Newcastle virus) that could severely affect the U.S.ís commercial poultry flocks.
  • Traveling is stressful on pets. Donít assume that your pet will behave in the same manner he does when he is at home. Keep him leashed and control the number of new people he meets.
  • To make walks with your pet more convenient, be sure to reserve a room on the ground floor.
  • Certain animals may experience severe motion sickness during car rides. Discuss the situation with your vet who can recommend medication.
  • If you own a breed of animal with a pug nose (bulldog, Persian cat, etc.), your veterinarian may recommend that you donít transport him by air. These animals can have problems breathing at high altitudes.
  • When staying in a hotel with a pet, make sure he is in his carrier and wonít disturb other hotel patrons if you must leave the room for a short time. Hotel employees may need to come into the room and your pet may not react well to the stranger. Also, the door may be left ajar and your pet may make a run for it.
  • Traveling with a pet can be a very enjoyable experience, but make sure you consider the type of vacation you want before making the decision to bring him along. If you plan to leave him in the room for long periods while you shop in town or go for leisurely dinners, perhaps itís better (and less stressful) to leave the pet with a sitter.
  • If you donít have a cage to use in your car for transporting your pet, another option is a doggie car harness. These harnesses are specially designed to work with your carís seat belt to keep your pet in the seat in case of an accident. These are especially helpful in preventing young, untrained dogs from jumping into the front seat and possibly getting in the way of the driver.
  • Donít be a driver who allows their dog to lean out the window! Although you might think your pet enjoys the fresh air, flying road debris injures many pets each year. Instead, leave a window rolled down a few inches, and stop every two or three hours for a short walk.
  • Taking your pet into Canada on vacation? Bring along a valid rabies certificate to prove to Canada Customs that your dog or cat has been vaccinated between 30 days and three years ago.
  • Animals, like people, need some consistency in their lives. If you are taking your pet away from home for a while, try to keep to the normal routine where you can. Use the same brand of pet food you use at home to help quell stomach troubles. Walk them at the same time of the day.
  • Your pet should always have some kind of identification in case they get lost. This becomes more important when traveling, as a lost animal in unfamiliar territory wonít be able to find its way back home. Pick up an inexpensive ID tube before traveling. Write down your vacation address and phone number, as well as your home information. That way, regardless of whether your pet is found on vacation or afterwards, he can be returned to you.
  • Use an animalís natural defenses when trying to get your pet in its travel kennel. If he wonít walk into the kennel with a little coaxing, donít push him in face first. If you do, he will probably dig in with his back legs and make the process more difficult. Instead, gently back him in using a soothing voice and demeanor. Reward him once heís in the kennel with praise and a small snack.
  • If you are planning to take your pet on a long car trip, and heís not accustomed to car travel, take several short trips in the days and weeks before the vacation. This will make the day of the trip go much smoother since you wonít have to worry about a nervous pet.
  • Pets travel more comfortably Ė and in far greater safety Ė in the passenger compartment rather than as checked baggage. Ask your vet about sedatives and how to use them. Be sure to bring enough pet food in your other carry-on to see them through the journey.