Things to know before you travel with your pet

Today is National Pet Travel Safety Day, so when I thought about writing a blog post for today with great tips, there was no one better I could think of to create some wonderful tips + tricks than Holly Eely from Luxury Travel By Holly! Not only is she a phenomenal travel agent, but she's also a pet momma too! She knows first hand how important your pet is and how to keep them, and your sanity safe during any travels you may take! If you're looking to book a vacation for yourself or looking to bring your fur-baby with you - be sure to give her a BARK! Without further ado, here are Holly's amazing travel tips for keeping your pet safe + making you and your pet's journey as easy and painless as possible!


Today taking your precious canine or feline along on your travels has become more common because, who leaves their family behind, right?

Here are some important travel tips to remember whether you are  traveling by air or car.

Traveling by plane? When you travel with your pet by plane there are different guidelines for cats and dogs as well as different health requirements and documents needed to enter different countries. It's important to know what is needed prior to arriving at the airport but first, you need to know if there is even space on the plane for your pet.  Usually, there are two options and it will depend on the size of your pet.  For example, smaller dogs and cats would be able to be in a soft-sided kennel under the seat in front of you where larger animals would need to travel as "checked bags" in the cargo hold, or undercarriage of the plane.   There are other factors such as the age of the pet, how many can travel in one kennel and breed restrictions.

You would have to confirm with the airline,  at the time of booking,  if space is available for your pet as they do limit how many pets can travel on each flight in the cabin and in cargo.  The cost of these services can range anywhere from$100 - $500+, again depending on where you are traveling to and where the pet will be during the flight. 

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 during a layover. Once you have your pet confirmed on the flight it is imperative you find out the exact entry requirements or your pet could be denied entry into the country you are visiting.  In Canada, we do not have the same restrictions.

Your next step will be making an appointment with your pet’s vet for a checkup. You want to ensure your pet is in the best health as travel can cause added stress to their system. You will need to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate from your vet. This usually needs to be dated within 10 days of your departure. Many people think that tranquilizing their pet will help them when in fact it is not generally recommended as it could hamper the pets breathing. There are some great alternatives that are less harmful such as Feliway or Rescue Remedy, but always discuss any medical options with your vet before you administer drugs or supplements. You want your pet relaxed but you don't want the side effects that come from some medications.

Remember each airline has their own rules so I suggest starting with your preferred airline and seeking guidance there or, if you would like to use my services, I  can assist with your travel arrangements, securing your pets space on the flight as well as offering guidance for needed documents, vaccinations and other medical requirements to enter your destination.

You will also need to purchase a USDA-approved crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably, and lined with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb accidents. I also suggest putting in your pet's favorite blanket as well as a toy and don't feed your dog at least 5 hours prior to flying to ensure no messes.  

Also, make sure your pet’s crate has proper identification. Mark the crate with your name, cell phone and destination phone number, and maybe even a photo of your pet. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet.

Tell every airline employee you encounter—on the ground and in the air—that you are traveling with a pet.  It is best to make sure everyone is aware in the event there are delays or other considerations before, during or after your flight.

If this seems overwhelming to you please know you do not have to do this alone.  I offer support services for a small fee and will gladly help you book your flight,  secure your pets space as well as guide you through the requirements for your specific destination.

Your pet's well being is number one to me!

Traveling by car? Always make sure your pet is leashed before opening your vehicle doors.

Keep the windows down for ventilation but make sure your pet keeps their heads, arms & legs inside the vehicle. Even better, turn on that air conditioner on hotter days.

Although it's nice to have your pet close by,  consider keeping your pet in the rear seats. Never have your pet seated on your lap when you are driving.

Restrain your pet by using a pet car seat, seat belt or travel crate as this provides the most safety.  Always ensure that any device used is secure in the vehicle as the crate or car seat can bounce around and even become a projectile.

If buying a crate for your dog, look for one that has been crash-tested.

If you are going on a long road trip don't forget to bring along water and a  small bowl to ensure they stay hydrated along the way.

Never leave your dog alone in your vehicle, especially when the weather is hot.  Cars heat up very fast even on cloudy days, contrary to most people's belief, rolling a window down does not provide the necessary airflow to cool the interior of a vehicle and temperatures can rise quickly.   If your Province or State allows for pets in the bed of a pickup truck, remember part of that law may be that the pet must be secured at all times. Always ensure they are kept safe and secure inside a kennel crate but remember,  on those hot or cold days,  your pet is feeling that weather too. The safest way to transport your dog or other pet is to keep them inside your vehicle with you.

And last but not least, no matter where you’re headed or how you plan to get there, make sure your pet is microchipped for identification and wears a collar and tag imprinted with your name, phone number, and any relevant contact information. 

No journey in life is sweeter than one traveled with their pet.

Safe travels!

Holly Eely




Luxury Travel with Holly

Destination Weddings, Groups & Individual Travel

Follow me on Instagram or Facebook