Traveling Safely With Your Pet During the Holidays

During the holidays, many pet owners traveling out of town prefer to bring along their pets. It’s important to remember that not all pets are good candidates for travel. In fact, some pets might be better left at home with a trusted caretaker. However, if you do plan to take your pet out of town this holiday season, following the tips below will ensure that everyone has a safe and happy trip.

Make sure your pet’s microchip information is current before you leave for out-of-town travel.

  • Staying in a strange place can be stressful for your pet. Your pet should be wearing an ID tag or collar.
  • Microchips are a good secondary form of identification. All of contact information should be up-to-date prior to traveling.


Visit your veterinarian to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for travel.

  • Your veterinarian will make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and guide you through any necessary steps—including providing you with enough of your pet’s medications (if applicable) to last the duration of the trip.
  • If you are traveling out of state, ask your veterinarian to provide you with a health certificate for your pet.


Bring along a copy of your pet’s vaccination records.

  • If your pet has a chronic medical condition you might want to consider also taking a copy of your pet’s medical record.
  • If you will be traveling with your pet across country borders, make sure to find out what Customs requires for documentation, i.e., rabies certificate, and be sure to carry that documentation with you.


If traveling by air, make arrangements early.

  • Be aware that airlines may prohibit or have restrictions on the type and number of pets that can travel both in cabin and in cargo.
  • You will also need a health certificate from your veterinarian, showing your pet has received an examination by a veterinarian within 30 days of travel and is current on rabies vaccination.


When traveling with your pet, it’s safest to secure your pet in a carrier.

  • If your pet is not used to being in a carrier, buy one as soon as you know you will be traveling and talk with your veterinarian about the best way to acclimatize your pet prior to your trip.


Bring along items from home that provide your pet with safety and comfort.

According the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), your pet needs the following when traveling out of town:

  • An adequate supply of food
  • A bowl
  • A leash
  • A waste scoop
  • Plastic bags
  • Grooming supplies
  • Medications
  • Pet first-aid kit


Familiar items such as your pet’s bed, special toys and its usual food will help minimize any stress or discomfort that might present itself during your travels. It’s recommended that you enclose your pet in a well-ventilated carrier during car travel to maximize safety.

Do not leave your pet in the car during cold temperatures.

  • Even if left in the car for a short period of time, your pet’s body temperature can drop to dangerously low levels.
  • Special caution must be taken to protect young, elderly or short-haired pets and those with medical conditions from cold stress.

As you travel this winter, remember your pet is part of your family and you should take the same level of precaution as you would with a child. If you have questions about how your travel plans might affect your pet, consult your veterinarian.