Traveling With Pets


Should I Take My Pet On My Trip?


Though it’s hard to leave those doleful eyes behind, traveling with a pet can be stressful for both of you. If you are taking your pet on a vacation or long trip, consider the following:


  • If I need to stay overnight in a hotel, will I be able to take my pet into the room?
  • Will I be able to find adequate, safe places to walk my pet so that he or she can eliminate?
  • If it’s hot out, keeping my pet inside the car for any length of time will be dangerous.  Are there times that I will need to leave the car, but won’t be able to take my pet?  If so, you should leave your pet at home in the care of a pet sitter or boarding facility.
  • Will my pet be welcome at my vacation destination?
  • Is the final destination safe for my pet?  If I plan on taking my pet off leash while I’m at the destination, are there wild animals or other dogs that pose a threat?
  • Are there new diseases or increased risk of disease at the destination that could be a problem for my pet?
  • Will the travel, change in environment, long drive, or other factors be too stressful for my pet?


Think hard about all of these questions.  In the end, though you hate to say goodbye, it may be better for you to leave your pet behind in the care of a trusted pet sitter or boarding facility.  At Brookfield, our boarders are rarely, if ever, upset that they are staying with us.  Our boarders love the exercise and attention that they receive while staying with us, enjoy the same eating schedule that you provide at home, and are always under the watchful care of our veterinary doctors, nurses, and support team.

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Make Sure Your Pet Has a Microchip


Brookfield believes that all dogs and cats should be microchipped.  Microchips are a safe way to identify any pet that has been separated from his or her owner. Nearly every veterinary office, rescue organization, and animal welfare organization in the country possesses the tools to ‘read’ a microchip and use the information to find the pet owner provided that the pet owner has kept the pet’s microchip registration up to date.  Additionally, microchip companies like Home Again assist pet owners with finding missing dogs by sending out alerts and even pictures of the missing pet to the areas in which the pet was lost.  For more on microchips, read the Brookfield Animal Hospital Microchip handout.


Make Sure Your Pet Is Wearing A Collar and ID Tag


Click the image to go to Amazon where you can shop for an ID tag for your pet.

In addition to a microchip, make sure your dog or cat is always wearing a collar with an ID tag that lists your dog’s name, your address, and your cell phone number.


Buy A Quality Travel Carrier for Your Cat or Dog


Whether you are traveling or not, you should invest in a quality kennel for your medium-to-large sized dog and pet carrier for your small dog or cat. Here are two trusted sources of information on the topic, the AKC for dogs, and the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Remember if you are expecting to fly with your dog or cat, his carrier must comply with airline guidelines. Use the resources below to find the information you need, then you can view airline approved carriers for purchase here.


Consider Getting A GPS Tracking Device For Your Pet


In theory, we know this should be an option, yet many of our clients have purchased pet GPS devices and complained that the battery life was poor, that they weren’t accurately reporting the pet’s whereabouts, or had no reception.  If you find one that you like, will you please tell us about it in the comments sections?


Secure Your Pet’s Carrier, It May Be the LAW!


Most of the states in the Northeast, including Connecticut, have laws that forbid driving with a distraction (sorry folks, kids don’t count:).  That can include a dog sitting in your lap. If your pet is traveling in a carrier, make sure that it won’t shift during travel or if you suddenly brake or accelerate.  Ensure that it has adequate ventilation, especially on hot days.  Remember if your pet’s carrier is on the floor of the car, it might not have air flow or access to the air-conditioning that is flowing to other parts of the car.


Use A Seatbelt For Your Dog If He is Outside the Carrier


If your dog is allowed to ride outside of his or her carrier, get him a seatbelt.  We do not recommend that you allow your cat to free roam in your car while traveling.  If you are transporting your pet in a carrier, do not place the carrier in the trunk of your car. If you place the carrier on the seat of your car, strap it in using the seat safety belt or shop for a car carrier online. If you place the carrier on the floor of your car (preferred), make sure that your pet is getting adequate airflow on hot and cold days.

This harness is great because it snaps right into your existing seatbelt buckle.


Interstate Travel?  You’ll Need A Travel Health Certificate From Us


Though it is unlikely you’ll get a ticket for traveling across a state border if you don’t have a health certificate, it is against the law. The USDA mandates that all animals traveling across any domestic state border require a health certificate.  Brookfield Animal Hospital provides health certificates for pets that are traveling across state lines. Remember in some major cities like NYC, the LAW requires you to carry a copy of your pet’s rabies certificate with you at all times when walking your pet out-of-doors, so be sure to locate your copy, make sure that it is up-to-date, and take a photograph of it with your phone so that you have it on you at all times.


Take A Picture Of Your Pets Medical Information


Get in the habit of taking a picture of your pet’s vaccination history (typically shown on every Brookfield Veterinary Hospital invoice) and your pet’s most current rabies certificate so that you can have it handy during travel.  You can ask us for a PDF of your pet’s medical records at any time.  Storing these on your phone is also helpful in case of emergency.


International Travel?  Plan Ahead


Some countries have time sensitive travel requirements for pets that are traveling internationally, especially the U.K., Australia, and Hawaii.  In order to take your pet to any country outside the U.S. you’ll need an international health certificate from Brookfield Animal Hospital.  Your pet will also have to meet certain vaccination requirements and may require worming or parasite testing.  Requirements vary from country to country, so it’s important to plan ahead. Start your exploration of what your pet will need by visiting the USDA APHIS website (United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service).


Short Nosed Dogs and Travel


Short nosed dogs like pugs and bulldogs (the correct term is brachycephalic) are more likely to experience respiratory distress during plane travel and are generally more sensitive to the heat and stress of travel.  If you are traveling with a brachycephalic breed, please see a Brookfield veterinarian for a Travel Health Certificate as well as some guidelines specific for your pet to keep him or her safe.


Motion Sickness


Both dogs and cats can experience motion sickness while riding in cars.  Signs of motion sickness include, pacing, drooling, restlessness, excessive lip licking, dry heaving, excessive panting, excessive yawning, reluctance to get into the car, and vomiting.  About 20% of dogs and probably just as many cats experience motion sickness while being transported in a car.  Brookfield has an FDA approved, non-drowsy medication for motion sickness in dogs and cats called Cerenia.  Ask us for a small prescription if you are planning on taking a long trip with your pet.  It is also helpful if you withhold food and water prior to the drive.


Pets Flying In Cargo


Pets that have to travel in the cargo portion of the airplane are at risk for overheating, chilling, stress related vomiting or diarrhea, motion sickness, respiratory failure, and getting misplaced.  The American Veterinary Medical Association has done a great job at putting together a list of tips for pet owners planning on flying with their pet, the link is just below.  Remember, do NOT sedate your pet before he or she travels on a plane in cargo.


Pets Flying In First Class


American Airlines offers a First Class cabin for elite pets.  The cost is the fare of one, First Class ticket plus $125.00.  Some restrictions apply.  Click the link for more information.


American Veterinary Medical Association Travel Guide

An exhaustive list of medical recommendations for pet owners by our peers!

States With Car Harness Laws

This link shows all the states that have laws restricting the movement of animals in cars so that they won’t serve to be a distraction while driving.

Pet Friendly Hotel Chains

These hotels have pet friendly policies

International Travel

Start here if you are planning to travel internationally with your pet.

Amtrak Train Travel Information

All aboard for pets traveling by train!

Airport Pet Relief Areas

Many airports are required by the FAA to have a pet relief areas.  You can find where they are here.

Airline Rules For Travel By Airline

Here is a list of rules for all the major airlines

Find An Emergency Veterinarian

The American Animal Hospital Association has a list of great veterinarians across the U.S. that can help your pet in case of emergency.

Plan Your Pet Friendly Driving Route

Type in the start and end point and find all the pet friendly hotels along the way!

Additional Reading

New To Brookfield?

We love meeting new pet owners.  Please use the button below to learn more about Brookfield Animal Hospital and to meet our veterinarians and nursing team.




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