Pet travel: Dog in car with man

Packing is no small feat, but when traveling with a pet the to-do list (or, to-grab list) can seem endless. Pets require extra gear and creature comforts while away from home, but to have the best possible trip it’s what you do before you leave that takes priority.

For sure, pet travel isn’t for everyone but when it’s approached the right way, it can make any journey more memorable.

Where to Start

Before you get too far ahead in the planning process, it’s a good idea to schedule a pet wellness exam. If there are any issues related to their health or behavior you can rule them out beforehand. Plus, we can give you ideas that aim to help your individual pet cope with being away from home. 

If they aren’t fully trained or socialized, we can offer recommendations on how to get started. For their safety and wellbeing, only pets that demonstrate mastery over commands should travel.

The Great Unknown

Pets are creatures of habit and even slight departures from their routine can sort of upend their otherwise calm state of mind. If you’ve been given the green light to take your pet on a trip try to stick with their daily schedule as much as possible while you’re away from home. 

Getting Serious About Pet Travel

Depending on your destination, pet travel can be a little tricky. Always be sure to fully research your mode of transportation and be sure to get approval for your pet to join you on the bus, plane, train, or boat. 

You may have to show a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for entry into many states. When we examine your pet, we can complete this health certificate for you. It will show that your pet is healthy, fully vaccinated, and parasite-free. 

Always be sure to read up on the state regulations or the foreign consulate or regulatory agency of your destination before you book your trip (at least one full month in advance).

Pet Travel Gear List

Don’t forget to bring Shiloh Veterinary Hospital contact information, your pet’s medical records/proof of disease prevention, and a list of emergency veterinary hospitals in the areas you’re traveling to. Have an extra photograph of your pet on hand and copies of their identification. If you haven’t updated their microchip information with your most recent cell number, do so prior to leaving home. 

You will also need:

  • Food and lots of fresh water (don’t forget the pet travel bowls!)
  • Prescription medication (and copies of the prescription)
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Collar, leash, harness
  • Crate with extra bedding
  • Toys and treats


Fortunately, many hotels, motels, resorts, and campgrounds are pet-friendly, but clarify this wherever you’re going. If your pet is not welcome at, say, the theme park that you drove 12 straight hours to visit, be sure that your pet can comfortably hang out in the room you’re renting, or hire a nearby doggie day care. Leaving them in the car is a big no-no!

Pet Travel Tips

If possible, make frequent stops for your pet to stretch, exercise, and use the bathroom. Be sure they are properly fastened, confined, or restrained in the car to reduce injury. Always provide fresh drinking water.

Have a great time, and please contact us with any questions or concerns. Your team at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital is here for you!