Pet Travel – Travel safely with your pet by car, bus, train or boat
There are many considerations for traveling with pets. First you should determine if it would be easier on your pet to stay at home with a friend or pet sitter, or boarded at a reputable facility. Next, make sure your pet is good at traveling.
Planning ahead is essential!
Whatever mode of transportation you use to travel make sure your pet is both micro-chipped and wears a collar with complete identification tag, microchip tag, rabies tag and license tag. Remember to check if your contact information is current with your microchip company.
Use a sturdy crate or carrier that has adequate space for your pet to stand and turn around, is well ventilated, has room for food and water, and closes securely. A leak proof bottom is also good. Make sure your dog is used to urinating and defecating while walking on a leash.
While many hotels, motels, campgrounds, airlines, and trains might allow pets, there is often only a limited number of spaces per flight, or rooms allotted for pets. You should contact all stages (airline, hotel, etc.) to make sure your pet will be allowed.
Make sure your pet is used to the carrier, crate or restraint needed for travel.
Keep a current photo of your pet with you in case they get lost. It will be easier to make “lost” posters.
Make sure to pack your pet’s food, water and food bowls, medication, vaccination and health certificates, toys, beds/blankets, extra leash. Don’t forget the water!
Interstate Travel requires a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (Health Certificate). It needs to be issued within 10 days of travel. As soon as you know your travel dates, call and schedule your exam appointment.
Requirements vary by country. Contact www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel as soon as you know your travel dates. Some countries require a quarantine period or vaccination titers.
Contact your airline as early as possible to find out their regulations and what reservations are needed for your pet. Also have a backup travel plan for your pet in case weather conditions (too hot or too cold) at the departure, connecting, or arrival airports cause the airline to refuse to transport your animal. The American Veterinary Medical Association web page www.avma.org has great tips on air travel with pets.
Make sure your pet is comfortable traveling by car. If your pet gets car sick, check with the veterinarian for appropriate medication. Your pet should be restrained or in a carrier. This is for your pet’s safety as well as your own.
Plan on rest stops about every two hours for exercise and potty breaks.
Never let pets hang their heads out the window (even if they like it), dirt particles and bugs can injure their eyes, and breathing in cold air can lead to illness.
DO NOT leave your pet in a locked car on hot days. It takes only a few minutes for your pet to suffer from heat stroke and can die. Studies have shown it only takes 10 minutes for a car’s interior to raise 19 degrees!
A small first aid kit is also helpful.
Contact the bus company directly. Greyhound is very strict and only allows certified service dogs.
Contact the rail company directly. Amtrak now allows a limited number of pets, but there are many restrictions.
Contact the cruise line directly. Most ferries allow pets in carriers, or in restricted areas, contact the ferry company directly.