How to Safely Travel with Your Pet

If your vacation plans involve deciding whether or not to bring along your four-legged family member, then you’re not alone. In fact, you’re one of the 84.6 million households that owns a pet, according to the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. Traveling can be stressful enough, but things can get even more complex when you throw your furry friend into the mix. Whether you’re flying across the world or taking a road trip, here are some tips to ensure you and your pet’s journey goes smoothly.

Pre-Trip Checklist

Get Your Pet Papers

Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and ask your veterinarian for a health certificate. If you’re traveling outside the country, additional health requirements may apply and you’ll need to check the regulations of your destination. You can verify these rules by visiting the official embassy website of the country.

Find the Right Crate

Find the best crate or carrier to safely transport your pet. It should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and move around easily. Airlines have specific requirements, so check their website for more details.

Use ID Tags

Attach your contact information to both your pet’s collar and its crate. Include the address and phone number where you’ll be staying. If you become separated, their identification tag will help them find their way back to you.

Car Checklist

NEVER Leave Your Pet Alone in the Car

It only takes minutes for your vehicle to reach deadly temperatures. Your pet could suffer from heatstroke in hot weather, even with the windows down. In cold weather, vehicles can retain the cold and potentially freeze your animal to death.

Keep Paws and Ears in the Car

It may be cute, but it’s not safe for your dog to stick its head out the window, according to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. This may cause inner ear damage and lung infections, and your furry friend could be injured by flying objects.

Pack a Travel Kit

Pack all the necessities, including food, a leash, medications, a first-aid kit and your pet’s favorite toy or blanket. Make sure you have plenty of bottled water. Drinking water from a new area may upset their stomach.

Flying Checklist

Prepare the Crate for Takeoff

Close the crate securely but don’t lock it, so it can easily be opened if your pet needs attention. Line it with an absorbent material, such as puppy pads or shredded paper to catch any accidents. To ensure your pet stays hydrated, freeze a small bowl of water, which won’t spill during takeoff and will melt when they get thirsty.

Communicate with Airline Staff

If your pet isn’t traveling with you in the cabin, notify staff and pilots that your pet is in the cargo hold. This prepares them if your pet needs attention or if you have any concerns. Ask them to verify that the correct temperature is set for your pet.

Check on Your Pet When You Land

As soon as you arrive, find a safe place in the airport to examine your pet. The Humane Society recommends taking your pet to a veterinarian immediately if anything seems wrong. Ask for the results of the examination in writing, including the date and time.

Traveling with Pets Checklist

Pre-Trip Checklist

☐ Print a copy of your pet’s updated vaccinations

☐ Talk to your vet about diseases, insects or harmful animals specific to your destination

☐ Ensure your accommodations are pet-friendly

What to Pack

☐ Pet’s collar with ID tags listing your current contact information

☐ Durable leash

☐ Crate, safety harness or other restraining device

☐ Pet waste bags or portable litter box

☐ Food, treats, water & travel bowls

☐ Toys

☐ Pet first-aid kit

Car Safety

☐ Protect your pets by restraining them with a safety harness or placing them in a carrier/crate in the back seat or cargo space in your vehicle

☐ Feed your pet a small meal to help prevent car sickness

☐ Keep your pet hydrated during the duration of your trip

☐ Never leave pets unattended inside a car. Temperatures can rise or fall quickly causing injury or even death.

Taking Flight

☐ All airlines require pets to have a ticket in order to board the plane

☐ Be sure your pet carrier meets the airline’s standards

☐ Check your airline’s policies on how many pets can travel in the cabin

☐ Contact your airline to ask about their specific pet regulations

For more tips on daily life with pets, please visit

Information in this article is general in nature and for your consideration, not as financial advice. Please contact your own financial professionals regarding your specific needs before taking any action based upon this information.

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.

RBFCU Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency. It is the role of the RBFCU Insurance Agent to obtain quotes from multiple carriers and offer comparisons to determine adequate insurance coverage.

Traveling with Pets Infographic: Plan Ahead for Smooth Sailing. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2018 from