December 30, 2021 3 min read

Whether it’s just a trip to grandma’s house or somewhere faraway, traveling with your dog can be stressful. Planning and making sure to do everything you can to help them travel safely will make you both enjoy a happier, smoother journey together.

In recognition of Pet Travel Safety Day, we’re sharing 5 pet travel safety tips, so no matter when you travel next, you will be prepared!


5 Pet Travel Safety Tips


 1. Plan a vet visit in advance

Making sure your dog is healthy before your trip is essential. Some places, especially airlines, will require your dog to be up-to-date on their vaccines and will need a copy of a recent health certificate. You will want to be sure your dog doesn’t have any health issues that could be affected by traveling as well. For especially anxious dogs, you should speak with your veterinarian for anything that can be provided to help them relax.


2. Help your dog feel comfortable

Just like some of us, our dogs can feel restless and unsure about going to a new place or being in a vehicle for long periods of time. You can help your dog feel more relaxed by providing them with something familiar, like their favorite blanket or toy, and getting them used to car rides ahead of time. If they will be traveling in a plane, check that everything complies with TSA guidelines and the specific airline you are flying. Ensuring your dog is comfortable before you leave will make the trip much easier.


3. Make sure your dog is secured

No matter how you are traveling, making sure your dog is not able to freely move around, knock into, or get stuck on something will create the safest trip for both of you.


Car travel

  • Always keep your dog in the back seat, not the front seat
  • Lock your car windows
  • Use a crate, one large enough for them to stand in that is crash-tested
  • Secure the crate to the seat with a seatbelt or other anchor
  • If a crate cannot fit in your car, a seat-harness can be used on larger breeds, but use caution when securing your dog this way
  • A barrier should be used between the front and back seats to keep your dog from jumping up to you
  • Keep your dog’s identification on them, microchipping them is best


Plane travel for small dogs

  • Dogs that meet the size requirements for the cabin should be with you
  • Use a crate that can fit under the seat, like a soft-sided crate
  • Do not remove your dog from it's crate or from under the seat
  • Be prepared for the crate to count as your carry-on item


Plane travel for large dogs

  • Large dogs will need to be secured in the cargo hold by airport personnel
  • Bring a hard-sided crate with good ventilation, large enough for them to stand in and turn around
  • Ensure identification is on both your dog and your crate
  • Speak with every employee you see to ensure they are familiar with your pet and the crate it is in
  • Review the performance record of the airline you are flying to see consumer reports of animal injuries in the cargo hold for different airlines


4. Bring water

Hydration is important, especially if you’re traveling when it’s hot outside. Keep a water dish secured to your dog’s crate and, if possible, plan for short breaks for your dog to relieve themselves. Freezing a dish of water can be helpful during a long car or plane trip as it won’t spill as easily and your dog will be able to drink it as it defrosts.


5. Pack a doggy travel bag

You pack a suitcase for yourself when you go on a trip and if your dog comes, they need one, too! Pack a separate bag that includes items for your dog such as their leash, harness, collar, food, and any medication or first aid they might need.


What am I missing?

Don’t underestimate the power of a good checklist. Use the checklist we created below to help you make sure your dog has everything they need before departing. The blank spaces can be filled with any additional items you need to add.

 Pet Travel Checklist

Right click on the list and save the file to your computer to print it.


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