Pet Travel Safety

When preparing for any travel with your pet, don’t forget his or her needs. Travel requirements for your pet should include a leash, favourite toys, blanket, treats, water, food, bowls and any medications. Proper ID’s, up-to-date vaccinations & a stocked pet first aid kit should always be packed, even for short day trips.

Here are some tips when travelling:

  • Accustom them to travel, beginning with brief, frequent trips.
  • Before you depart, make sure your destination spot welcomes pets. A great place to find out more information is online at
  • In vehicles, secure your pets in a well-ventilated hard carrier that allows the pet to move around or a pet seat belt harness, similar to our seatbelts. For larger dogs, special gates are available. It is illegal to allow an unrestrained animal to travel in the back of an open truck. Carriers prevent pets from wandering about inside the vehicle. Numerous road accidents have been caused when a driver is distracted by a pet. Carriers also prevent escapes through open windows and doors. They can be useful if overnight motel accommodations are required.
  • When travelling with a cat, it’s unlikely you will want to bring along your cat’s usual litter box, but bring along the same type of litter you use at home as it is familiar to your cat. Take some disposable litter trays along with you. Alternatively, you can bring along a small litter tray that is not disposable, to be used with a scooper and bags that can be disposed of.
  • Never leave pets in a closed vehicle on a warm day. Even with the windows down, they can quickly overheat causing heatstroke and possibly even death.
  • If you are flying and your pet is small enough to go under the seat, choose that option. It is the safest and most comfortable for them. Make sure your pet is in good health as flying is stressful and a sick or elderly pet’s health can be compromised with air travel.
  • Pets should be fasted 2-3 hours prior to travel (or during the trip) to help prevent motion sickness. To prevent accidents, exercise your pet before leaving and ensure they have time to urinate and/or defecate.
  • For lengthy trips, special instructions such as feeding, bathroom routines, medication regimes and special habits should be written down. It is important to get a clean bill of health from your veterinarian including proof of up-to-date vaccinations and a current rabies certificate. In addition, you must inquire into customs and air regulations if you will be flying your pet or crossing into another country. During prolonged car trips, allow brief “pit stops” every 2-3 hours for your pet to eliminate.
  • Pet identification should travel with your pet. This includes the current rabies tag, license tag, and a luggage tag with the name, address, destination, and emergency contact numbers. Remember that a Humane Society tattoo traces the pet to you only in Manitoba, while a microchip can identify your pet internationally.
  • At no time should you medicate your pet with human tranquillizers or another pet’s prescription? Always check with your veterinarian first to discuss sedatives while travelling.
  • Never allow your pet to extend its body out the window as wind, dust and debris may injure the eyes, ears or nasal passages.
  • If you are travelling to the beach or lake areas, invest in a life vest – even dogs that can swim can get caught in waves, currents and riptides. Use pet-safe sunscreen! Your dog’s ears and nose are very susceptible to burning.
  • If your pet is not a good traveller then maybe you should consider leaving them with friends, relatives or at a clean, well-run boarding facility.

Following the above tips will help to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for all. HAPPY TRAVELS.

For more information, please contact our hospital at 204-269-8162 or our boarding facility at 204-261-5928.

Written by Centennial Animal Hospital