Traveling with Dogs



Traveling with Dogs needs a lot of effort but we are sure it worth it! Before taking your lovely dog on a flight abroad make sure to complete all your pet’s documents in traveling internationally and returning home (note that each country has different rules and requirements). It is very advisable to process every document early to make sure you can complete it before your flight.

The following are some things you need to do before you travel with your dog in and out of the United States and the documents you need to prepare:

  1. Research How to Fly with Your Pet – Each country has its own rules and requirements in exiting and entering animals so it’s very important to know the rules and requirements of the country you want to exit and enter. It is also important to check the transportation mode and its requirements in traveling with pets. The great place to start your research is the Pet Travel website of the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
  2. Contact your Vet – In traveling it’s very important to make sure your dog is healthy and fit enough to travel from one country to another, it is also very important that your dog can meet the requirements for your destination country.
  3. Making Sure Your Dog is Comfortable While Traveling – Prepare all things your dog needs while traveling to be comfortable, make sure he’s comfortable to his carrier it needs to be large enough for him to fit and it packed with essential things he needs inside like a blanket, water, and food. Walk your dog before leaving home and again before checking in so he can do his business before the flight if your dog is allowed in the cabin, check-in as late as possible to reduce stress if he will be transported as cargo, check-in early so it can go to the quiet and dimly lit hold of the plane. Talk to your vet before your flight to make sure your dog is well prepared.

Requirements for Dogs Leaving the United States

The process of exporting pets will vary depending on its species and the country, taking pets out of the United States may involve multiple agencies including USDA APHIS Veterinary Services (VS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) it’s very important to meet all the requirements needed by each of this agencies prior to export.

You must also check with your airline or ship representative to determine what requirements they may have because airlines and shipping lines establish their own policies to transport pets in addition to the requirements of the federal, state, and local governments. 

Requirements for Dogs Arriving in the United States

If you are returning or coming to the United States with your dog, he must need to appear healthy. The following are some requirements your dog need to meet to enter the US:

  • Valid rabies vaccination certificates – If your dogs are coming from a high-risk country for rabies they must have rabies vaccination certificates to enter the United States.
  • If your dog got his first rabies vaccination, you will have to wait 28 days before traveling to allow the vaccine to take effect.
  • If your adult dog’s rabies booster is current, you can travel without waiting 28 days.
  • Your dog’s rabies vaccination certificate must be valid for the duration of your trip.

Check with your destination state’s health department before you leave on your trip because some states may require other vaccinations and health certificates.

Note: Some airlines, cities, or states restrict certain breeds, so be sure to check before you travel.

Things You Need to Prepare Before Traveling with Dogs

1. Your Dog’s Documents (Health & Safety)

Before traveling it’s very important to bring your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up it is to make sure that your dog is healthy to travel. It’s also very important to complete or update his vaccinations.

Bring your dog updated vaccination record for document requirements when traveling, sometimes you also need to ask for health certification to your vet because some airline requires it.

Always make sure to have a contact number of your vet or emergency hospital in the area where you are going in case of an emergency.

2. Food and Maintenance

Make sure to have your dog’s regular dog food and treats ready for travel and if he takes vitamins or maintenance medication bring it also with you.

3. Crate & Leash

It’s very important to make sure your dog safe while you are traveling, a crate (most required) is one of the safest ways to travel with your dog in cars, ships, and airlines.

Make sure your dog is accustomed already to the crate to lessen its stress while traveling and it packed with essential things he needs inside like a blanket, toys, water, and food.

In choosing a crate for your dog it must need to be large enough to allow him to stand, turn, and lie down. Durability also needs to be considered, it also needs to be well ventilated and has a sticker showing that it is a live animal together with you (name, contact number, and address) and your dog’s information.

A leash is very helpful when you are taking your dog for a short walk to let him do his business before your flight so he cant run away from you.

Check here our Crate Training 101 of your dog and the list of the best crate.

4. Update Tag or Microchips Information

When traveling it’s very important to update your dog’s tag or microchips information so in case of accidents like your dog run away you can him immediately.

If your dog don’t have tag or microchip make sure to provide one before your travel.

Traveling with Dogs By Car

The following are some tips you can follow to safely travel with your dog in the car:

  • Get your dog used to the car
  • Avoid carsickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure he has plenty of water at all times.
  • Don’t leave your dog in a closed car alone especially if the engine is off it will suffocate him.
  • Always keep the car well ventilated. If your dog is in the crate, make sure it is also well ventilated
  • As much as posible travel with your dog with the window in the car close, but if your AC is broken or you want to enjoy fresh air make sure your dog head is not stcik out in the window becasue some foreign object might injure his eyes. If your dog is used to use shades made for dog it is better to let him wear it while the window is open.
  • Make time for some stretching and potty breaks while in the road.
  • Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death.

Traveling with Dogs By Bus or Train

Some public transportation doesn’t allow pets inside their bus or train except for service dogs. Some allow but with specific size only (each local rail and bus companies have their own policies).

Traveling with Dogs By Boat

Traveling by boat with dogs is much easier than train and bus. However, it is advisable to check the policies of the cruise line or ship you will be traveling on before making plans to take your dog on a cruise with you.

Some crusher provides special lodging and free meals for your dog and some is requiring you to keep your dog in the crate or your own room.

Traveling with Dogs By Airplane

Traveling by plane with your dog is needed to have extra preparations because each airline has its own policies and requirements when traveling a pet (some don’t allow so make sure to check your airline if they accept pets to travel in the air). The following are some of the things you need to do and prepare if you want to travel with your dog in the air:

  • Visit your vet for checkups, ask for a health certificate to prove your dog is healthy to travel. The vaccine of your dog (especially the rabies vaccine) must be updated together with its record.
  • Your dog should be at least 8 weeks old and weaned.
  • Federal regulations prohibit shipping live animals as excess baggage or cargo if an animal will be exposed to temperatures that are below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit for more than four hours during departure, arrival, or while making connections.
  • Talk to your airline about their policies and requirements
  • When making your reservations, you must make reservations for your dog. There are restrictions on the number of animals permitted on each flight. They are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Butler Oh
Butler Oh is a long time dog lover. Dogs are always part of her family since she was young and she grows up as a loving and caring fur parent. She has been part of our team here at ohmylovelypets since 2019 and has provided a lot of great research and information about dogs.


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