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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Traveling With Your Pet

Traveling with a Pet

pet travel

Traveling With Your Pet

Did you know? Pets traveling by air require a health certificate. Your veterinarian will evaluate your pet and provide a health certificate to confirm your pet is healthy enough for travel. Also, your pet must travel within 10 days of the health certificate being issued. International travel will often require additional paperwork as determined by the country of destination.

Step 1Airline Travel With Pets

• Confirmed airline reservation for your pet; airlines accept a very limited number of animals per flight.

Medical Documents and Prescriptions
• Veterinary health certificate.

• Proof of vaccinations, if applicable.

• Prescribed medications and pre-authorized refills.

International Flights
• For international travel, the destination country should be contacted regarding necessary
vaccinations, quarantine and paperwork.

Housing Pets for In-cabin Travel
• Pet carriers must meet airline agency regulations.

• When flying with your pet as carry-on luggage, a padded, soft-sided carrier is required. Your
pet should be able to stand up, turn around and lay down inside the carrier without touching
the sides.

• Carriers should have mesh sidings for ventilation. Food and water containers should be secured on the bottom of the carrier.

Housing Pets that Will Travel as Cargo
• Pet carriers that will be checked have to be hard plastic with adequate ventilation.

• Dogs that are traveling as checked baggage will have to travel in cargo. Pets cannot travel when ambient temperatures are below 45˚ F and above 85˚ F at any point along the flight path.


Step 2Driving With Pets

When traveling via car you will need to allow adequate breaks. There are several things you
should have before you begin your drive.

Pet Stops
• List of pet-friendly restaurants, hotels and rest stops along your driving route.

• List of veterinary hospitals along your route.

• Leash for walking your pet at rest stops.

• Cats will need to have a harness/leash as well as a travel-size litter box available.

Medical Documents and Prescriptions
• Proof of vaccinations, if applicable.

• Prescribed medications and pre-authorized refills.

• Small pets can travel in a padded, soft-sided carrier. Be sure your pet can turn around and lay down inside the carrier without touching the sides.

• Larger dogs should be safely secured with a seat belt harness or a gate that encloses the
back of your vehicle.

• Pets should never ride in the bed of a pickup truck.

• When driving with your pets, old towels, baby wipes, puppy pads and cleaning solution should
be packed in case of accidents. Pick-up bags should be used for waste disposal.

Traveling with Exotic Pets
Prior to traveling, check in advance to see if they are included under “pets welcome” policies for air travel, hotels, restaurants and rest stops.

• Supplemental heat must be provided at all times for ectothermic reptiles.

• Pocket pets (Hamsters, Mice, Rats, Chinchillas) can travel in a soft-sided, well-ventilated carrier.
• Pocket pets should never be left unattended in a soft-sided carrier because they may chew their way out.

• Birds can travel either in a travel cage or padded carrier; travel cages should be equipped
with perches.


Step 3Nutrition & Maintenance

Airline Travel
• Offer your pet a small meal first thing in the morning so that your pet has at least four hours to digest the meal.

• Pets that are traveling in cargo should have food bagged and clearly marked with their name and date; pets may be offered food by airline employees (check with airline for specific details). Food and water containers must attach to the door so pets can be fed and watered without opening the door.

While You Are Driving
• Dogs and cats should have access to water every four hours. Water should be offered at rest stops and not left in the carrier.

• Food and water should be in the carrier at all times with birds and small animals.

Understanding Sedation
If your pet gets carsick or becomes anxious during car travel, your veterinarian may be able to provide prophylactic treatment. Certain blood tests may be required to determine if your pet can be sedated safely.

Safety and Cleanliness
Pets should always wear appropriately sized collars with identification tags. Pet carriers should also be clearly labeled with your name, pet’s name and your contact information. Pet waste should always be picked up and disposed of properly. Use hand sanitizer before and after handling your pet.