Pet Travel Checklist & Tips

Keep this checklist handy when packing for your next trip:     

  • Collar and ID tags
  • Leash/harness
  • Crate, safety harness or other restraining device
  • Litter box or poop bags
  • Food, water, snacks
  • Food/water bowls
  • Medications and copies of prescriptions
  • Vaccination records (especially rabies certificate)
  • First-aid kit
  • Grooming supplies
  • Familiar blankets and toys
  • Recent photo of your pet in case he or she gets lost 

If Traveling Abroad

Contact Global Pet Plus to learn about your destination’s requirements for your pet to enter the country and ensure you have a Passport for Companion Animal.

Traveling by Car    

  • Take your pet on shorter trips before traveling.    
  • Feed your pet lightly before beginning your trip.    
  • It is safer for you and safer for your pet if he or she is confined to a pet travel cage or crate.
  • Secure carriers with a seat belt or bungee cords.    
  • Always travel with a leash.    
  • Do not allow pets to hang out windows.    
  • Plan frequent rest stops during a car ride.    
  • Keep to food schedules.    
  • Bring fresh water and food.    
  • Bring along whatever your pet is accustomed to, and what smells like "home".    
  • Never leave your pet in a parked car. 

Traveling by Air    

  • Check with your air carrier's website for specific details.    
  • Make sure to make a reservation for your pet.    
  • Always try to book non-stop flights.    
  • If the animal is traveling in the cargo hold, be sure to label the crate with a photo of your pet on top of the crate.    
  • Never tranquilize. 

Hotel Stay    

  • Contact Global Pet Plus for help locating a pet friendly hotel.     
  • Keep your pet on a leash.    
  • Global Pet Plus can check for nearby hotel pet sitters or daycare
    centers.  
  • Leave the hotel staff an emergency contact number to reach you.    
  • Be courteous to hotel guests about your dog's room behavior.    
  • Report and pay promptly for any pet caused damage. 

Air Travel Tips

Top 10 Tips for Safe Air Travel with Your Pet

Traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and the four-legged members of your family. But with thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.

The ASPCA® urges pet owners to think twice about flying their pets on commercial airlines, especially if they plan on checking them in as cargo.

Unless your animal is small enough to fit under your seat and you can bring him or her in the cabin, the ASPCA® recommends pet owners to not fly their animal. If pet owners have already committed to transporting their pets on commercial airlines, the ASPCA® is offering the following top ten tips for safe air travel with your pet:

1. Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a checkup, and make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date. Obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of departure. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.

2. Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and is wearing a collar and ID tag. Breakaway collars are best for cats. The collar should also include destination information in case your pet escapes.

3. Book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel.

4. Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate that is large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Shipping crates can be purchased from many pet supply stores and airlines.

5. Write the words “Live Animal” in letters at least one inch tall on top of and at least one side of the crate. Use arrows to prominently indicate the upright position of the crate. On the top of the crate, write the name, address and telephone number of your pet’s destination point, and whether you will be accompanying him or if someone else is picking him up. Make sure that the door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency. Line the crate bottom with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb accidents.

6. Affix a current photograph of your pet to the top of the crate for identification purposes. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet.

7. The night before you leave, make sure you’ve frozen a small dish or tray of water for your pet. This way, it can’t spill during loading, and will melt by the time he’s thirsty. Tape a small pouch, preferably cloth, of dried food outside the crate. Airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he gets hungry on long-distance flights or a layover.

8. Tranquilizing your pet is generally not recommended, as it could hamper his breathing. Check with your veterinarian first.

9. Tell every airline employee you encounter, on the ground and in the air, that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they’ll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed.

10. If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the animal from the cargo hold and deplaning may be warranted. 

Tips & Warnings

  • Some airlines allow pets to travel as air cargo. These travel arrangements and requirements are addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Specify the breed of your pet when inquiring about pet-travel policies. Pugs or other snub-nosed dogs or cats may fall under slightly different air travel policies, because these animals require extra safety precautions for such special health characteristics as temperature sensitivity.
  • USDA regulations do not permit pets to travel by air on domestic flights that exceed 12 hours.
  • Do not obtain the health certificate too soon before your departure date, or its validity could become obsolete, depending on the airline. Obtaining the health certificate two weeks before travel is ideal, but check with your airline to determine the acceptable time frame for the health certificate to be issued. 

Rabies Recommendation

Animals in pain may bite you. It is critical that you can provide evidence of your pet’s rabies vaccination at all times. Depending on state regulations, a pet without proof of current rabies vaccination may be quarantined.    

Sources include, but are not limited to: ASPCA®, Pet Friendly, Checklist.com, USA Today Travel, Hartz.

Click here to download a printable PDF checklist