6 things to know before you travel with your pet

Pets are like members of our families so when it’s time to go on a family vacation, it’s natural to want to take them with us. Making sure you and your animal have an enjoyable time takes some careful planning. Here are some tips to help you travel with your pet.


1. Research your hotels

Some hotels welcome dogs and cats, while others just tolerate them. Don’t assume every hotel will allow you to stay with your pet. Ask about their policies before you book. Some places won’t allow pets under any circumstances or only accept smaller animals. Many hotels will charge non-refundable cleaning fees ranging from $35 to $100 per stay while others will charge nothing. Often bed and breakfasts are more tolerant of pets and have fewer restrictions.

2. Keep your pet healthy

Before you go anywhere, get your pet checked by a veterinarian to be sure he or she is in good health. If you are flying, many airlines require a formal health certificate for your animal. If your pet needs special medications, be sure to pack an adequate supply. Consider health insurance in case your dog needs medical care when you travel and make sure your animal is tagged and easy to identify in case you become separated.

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3. Flying with your animal

If you must fly with your animal, consult the airline to find out what their requirements are regarding pet carriers, immunizations and health certificates. You don’t want to be surprised at the airport. If it’s allowed, transporting your animal in the passenger cabin is preferable than in the cargo hold.

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4. Taking your pet in the car

You would never let a family member travel in a car without a seatbelt, so why should a pet be any different? Put your dog or cat in a harness or animal carrier so they don’t become projectiles during an accident. Remember to make frequent pit stops to take your animal for walks and to keep them hydrated. Restrict the amount of food you give them so they don’t get sick. If the weather is hot, don’t leave your animal alone in a car for very long. Even with the windows down, a car can quickly overheat with potentially lethal results for your pet.

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5. Crossing borders with your pet

Dogs entering the United States must have a rabies vaccination certificate. Cats don’t need such documentation, but they, along with dogs, can be denied entry if they appear sick. Hawaii has quarantine requirements for all animals. Travel to the European Union with a pet is more complicated and requires proof of vaccinations and health certificates that vary depending on which country you are entering. If you are going somewhere more exotic, consult with that nation’s embassy to find out what their rules are about entering with a pet.


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6. Feeding your pet on the go

Bring a variety of food – A mixed diet of wet and dry foods is recommended for your pet because of the unique complementary health benefits each type of food offers. However, when on the go, both food types have their own conveniences as well. Dry food makes feeding pets easy and keeps clean-up to a minimum. Offering wet food with fresh water at rest stops helps keep your dog hydrated. For more information and tips on mixed feeding, check out

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