Pet Travel Tips

Pet Travel Tips: Hitting the Road with Your Best (Furry) Friend


Apr 13, 2017 | by Aon

Taking your pet on vacation with you can be fun and rewarding but sometimes very stressful. Per the Travel Industry Association of America, some 30 million Americans travel with their pets; travel options have expanded in tandem, but not all pups and kitties will be able to tag along due to special needs, flight rules, or even lodging restrictions.

Here are some questions to ask before planning a trip with your cat or dog.

Does my pet have any health conditions that should keep them at home?
When plotting your next great escape, check in with your vet first to discuss whether your pet is up to the task. If your pet has any special health conditions that could be exacerbated by travel and stress, your best option is to arrange for a sitter. Illnesses that affect the lungs, heart, and kidneys are especially worrisome when traveling by air travel, and altitude sickness can also create complications.

Are my pets allowed on planes, trains, and automobiles?
It depends.

  • If you’re taking a road trip in your own car, traveling with your pet may be as simple as utilizing a travel-friendly kennel or a harness-seatbelt for safety. Never let your pooch hang their head out the window: pets are at risk of serious injury from flying debris or rocks, sideswiping cars, and even low-hanging trees.
  • If you’re traveling by train, Amtrak allows you to bring a small dog or cat for a fee.
  • If you’re dreaming of life on the sea, most cruises only allow service animals.
  • Airplanes get a little tricky. There are regulations for “snub-nosed” (brachycephalic) breeds due to respiratory issues, heatstroke, organ failure, and even death. Double check with the airline before bringing along Fluffy and consult your vet as well. At the very least, remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry when dealing with long flights.

Can or should I medicate my pet before a trip?
Depending on your vet’s advice, you may be considering sedation for your pet before embarking on your trip. Cats and dogs have different reactions to drugs; their physiology (size and weight) determines what they can and cannot handle, as well as any past behavioral issues, sensitivities, allergies, etc. Many vets do readily prescribe motion/car sickness medicines, however, and may be a better option than a tranquilizer.

Are pets allowed where you’re going?
For the adventure-seekers, most national parks allow leashed dogs and cats with varying restrictions; pets are confined to paved trails and communal areas and not usually allowed on campsites due to possible disruption of wildlife. Check park websites and call ahead as limits vary from park to park.

For those with a taste of luxury, many hotels offer pet accommodations that even include special treats for both dogs and cats (check out and, and Airbnb has special ‘Pets Allowed’ amenities.

Basic pet safety rules apply wherever you go. Remember to never leave your pet unattended in a car, bring all medications your pet has been prescribed, and keep an emergency kit with you if you’re road tripping. Make sure your pet has all the required identification (tags, microchip) and vaccinations must be up to date. Should the worst occur, Healthy Paws protects pets while you're traveling within the US and even temporary vacations in Canada. Your trip from Milwaukee to the Grand Canyon? Covered! Happy tails!

Content provided by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, the #1 customer-rated provider of insurance for dogs and cats. Get more pet parent tips on the Healthy Paws Pet Care Blog.

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