Is It Safe to Travel With Pets? Expert Advice for Stress-Free Travel.

Traveling with your pets can certainly be a delightful experience. Many pet owners consider their pet family and want them on their travels. But is it safe to travel with your pets? How can one ensure a stress-free, comfortable and enjoyable travel experience with their pet? Join us as we discuss traveling with pets and tips and tricks when it comes to traveling. 

Table of Contents

  • Is Traveling Safe For Your Pet? 
  • Car Travel-Benefits and Risks
  • Tips for Safe Car Travel
  • Air Travel-Benefits and Risks
  • Tips for Air Travel.
  • Some Myths Around Traveling With Your Pet
  • What If You Want to Leave Your Pet Behind?
  • Common FAQs
  • Conclusion

Is Traveling Safe For Your Pet? 

Experts agree that “no travel” is the best travel for your pet. Your pet would be healthier in a boarding kennel or left at home with a trusted guardian. 

Yet, if needed, you can travel with your pet. It is “generally safe to travel with your pets”.  Depending on the mode of Travel, the safety of your trusted animal can be compromised. 

What are the factors that need to be considered before traveling? Some are listed below.

  • Have proper Identification (collar, Tags, phone numbers, etc) on your pet. 
  • Check with your vet
  • Research the destination, whether it is pet-friendly or not. 
  • Check travel conditions before traveling. 
  • Use pet carrier restraints to keep your pet safe. 
  • Ensure proper rest breaks for your pet. 
  • Feed your pets on time. 
  • Administer vaccines to provide extra protection for your pet. 
  • Evaluate every travel alternative’s risks and benefits.

 

Which is the safest mode of travel? 

Car travel is the safest mode of travel for your pet. Your pet would be more comfortable to travel in a car rather than on a plane or a ship. 

Car Travel-Benefits and Risks

Why is Driving the Best alternative? 

Driving is the best travel alternative for your pet as it allows for regular breaks, gives your pet space to move around, and gives you more control over your pet’s travel conditions. This is the main benefit of driving. 

What are some risks I should consider before driving my pet? 

Your pet being able to roam around completely free can be very dangerous. They can distract you as you drive. They are also in danger of getting hurt if not restrained properly. 

Dogs like putting their head out of the car, this is very risky as they can hit their head or any foreign material can get into their eyes and mouth. The animal can also jump out of the vehicle easily or fall out during a crash. It is important to restrain your pet as you drive. 

 

Tips For Safe Car Travel

  1. Keep a collar or tag: In the situation your pet gets lost mid-travel, it is important to have proper identification on them. Collars like the Adaptil Collar or an ID tag like Hillman’s ID tag can help identify your dog. Keeping a phone number on your pet’s collar will also be helpful in case your pet is lost. 
  2. Use proper restraint: It is dangerous to leave your pet roaming around, especially dogs. It is important to restrain them in a crate or carrier and then secure them with a seatbelt. Ensure the carrier is large enough for your dog to move around freely. Carriers like the Skudo 7 IATA and the Prakito Metal are sturdy carriers that will secure your pets’ safety. 
  3. Cats belong in Carriers: Car travel is comfortable for most cats. It is essential to keep your cats in carriers and restrain them with a seatbelt in the car so they don’t bounce around. To find out how to select the most suited cat carrier for your cat, you can read here. 
  4. Leave the front seat for humans: Keep your pets in the backseat, secured with a seatbelt. The airbags deployed in the front seat in case of an accident are safe for humans and not for animals. 
  5. Take several breaks in between: Pets need breaks while traveling. It is just as tiring for them as it is for you. Keep a leash on them during their breaks, and disposable waste bags for dogs. Arya’s Poo bag refills are great for when you are on the go!
  6. Never leave your dog alone in a parked car: Even if it is a quick pit stop, never leave your dog alone in your car. Heat is extremely hazardous for your dog. Heat can leave irreparable damage to your pet’s organs.
  7.  Hydrate: Always bring enough hydration for you, and your pet during the trip. Ensure the water is from a familiar source or bottled water. A plastic fountain will be easy to carry around and hydrate your pet on the go. 

Air Travel-Benefits and Risks

Is Air Travel suited for pets? 

No, Air travel is quite risky for your animal.. Air travel is great for long distances. You can explore new places with your furry friend. But air travel comes with a lot of risks. It is important to weigh all the risks of air travel before booking the flight for your pet. Before flying, consider all the alternatives to flying. 


Flying is especially risky for flat-faced pets like Pugs, Bulldogs, Persian cats, Himalayan cats, etc. These breeds are brachycephalic (the medical term for flat-nose) and have a short nasal passage which leaves them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat strokes. 

Tips For Safe Air Travel

    1. Visit your vet: Most airlines require health certificates for your animals, stating they are safe for travel. Ensure all the vaccinations are up to date, and your pet has no prior illness. 
    2. Research your destination: Certain countries like Australia and Japan, will require you to quarantine your pet after arrival. It is important to research the country, and where your pet will be quarantined. Many countries also require import forms to be filled, so familiarize yourself with the requirements. 
    3. Carry them as hand luggage, if possible: Cargo travel comes with a great degree of uncertain risks. Many pets have died in the cargo, due to extreme temperatures, long waiting times and improper care. It is best if your pet can travel with you in the cabin. Most airlines will allow you to carry small dogs and cats in the cabin for an additional fee. Call the airline in advance to understand the requirements.
    4. Keep your pet secure during security check: You will have to scan your pet carrier at security. You can either secure your pet in the airport, as their carrier is being scanned or request a special screening where they would not have to be taken out. 
    5. Be aware of the dangers of your pet traveling in a cargo hold: Cargo travel is extremely dangerous for your pet. Many animals are killed, injured or even lost during commercial flights. 
  • Ask your airline these questions when flying in the cabin. 
  1. Will I be allowed to take a small dog or cat on the flight? 
  2. Does the airline have any special health requirements?
  3. What sort of carrier is required on the flight? 

Certain airlines have strict policies when checking in pets. Go through the policies thoroughly to minimize risks. 

How can I ensure my pet’s safety when traveling in cargo? 

Here are some ways by which you can reduce risks when flying cargo:

  • Use Direct flights as they reduce delays, complications and mistakes when flying with your pet. 
  • Try to fly on the same flight. If you fly on the same flight, you can still keep tabs on your pet. You can request the airline to watch them load and unload your pet onto the cargo. 
  • When you board the plane, notify the captain. If the captain is aware there is a pet in the cargo, they can take extra care to ensure a safe flight for your pet. 
  • Don’t ship brachycephalic (flat-nosed like Pugs, Bulldogs, Persian, Himalayan, etc) breeds in the cargo. If necessary, keep them in the cabin. The safest option for them is if they don’t travel at all. 
  • Try not to avoid it during the holidays as during this period, the cargo will be overcrowded and your pets will be more cramped. 
  • Do not travel during the summer with your pet in the cargo hold. The cargo is subjected to extreme temperature sensitives, and during summer it will be extremely uncomfortable for your pet in the cargo. The heat can be injurious to their health. 
  • Fix a label onto the carrier: This label should contain your name, telephone number and permanent address so that your pet can be easily identified if they are lost.

Can I feed my pet before traveling with them on a flight? 

It is better to not feed your dog four to six hours before the flight as it might lead to discomfort later on. Keep small ice cubes in the tray of their carrier to hydrate them. A full bowl may spill and make them uncomfortable. 

Myths Around Traveling With Pets

Here are some myths and facts about traveling with your pets.

  1. Myth: Carrying your pet as hand luggage is safer than checking them in

Fact: Yes, carrying your pet as hand luggage is indeed safer for them, but the air pressure in the cabin can be an issue too. It is important to be aware of the risks that come with flying with your pet.

  1. Myth: Stressed-out pets must be sedated before travel 

Fact: Most animals have manageable travel anxiety and don’t need to be sedated before a flight. For extreme cases, consult your vet, then sedate them appropriately. 

  1. Myth: Cats are not used to being driven around. 

Fact: Felines are indeed uncomfortable with car travel. They easily get motion sickness and are anxious about unfamiliar environments.

But taking them on short trips in a car is a good way to get your cat used to a car. Train your cat on how to sit in a car, and always keep them secured in a cat carrier. 

  1. Myth: Place treats, toys and chews in the crate as a way to fight boredom. 

Fact: Treats, toys and chews are all choking hazards, especially when they are locked inside the crate with your pet. Keep your crate as empty and spacious as possible, to reduce choking hazards. 

Common FAQs About Pet Travel

  • What If You Want to Leave Your Pet Behind? 

In case you feel like the risks outweigh the benefits of travel, it is alright to leave your pet at home! It is the safest option. You can leave your pet at home with a trusted guardian, and youse automatic feeders like the 5 Meal Pet Feeder to guarantee balanced meals for your pet. 

Or if you are unsure about leaving your pet home alone, you can also board them in a trusted kennel. At a kennel, all your pet needs will be taken care of while you enjoy your travel.

  • What kind of carrier will I need when I carry my pet in the cabin? 

Most airlines don’t have any specifications when it comes to the carrier. A hard-sided carrier(more sturdy and secure)  or a soft-sided carrier(  which is more comfortable for your pets) are accepted. Some airlines are particular about the brand of soft-sided carrier you use. 

  • Should I feed my pet before traveling?

If it is by car, Yes! Feed your pets well before driving them for a long distance. Ensure to take breaks during the trip, so that they can excrete without any discomfort too. 

If you are traveling by air, then No! Don’t feed your pets four to six hours before their flight. This can result in discomfort as they’ll be secured in a carrier for long hours. 

  • What are some safe restraints I can use for my Pet when traveling by car? 

You can use carriers like the Skudo 6 IATA or travel-safe harnesses to keep your dog restrained and safe while driving them around.  

  • How do I know if my pet is ready to travel? 

Always consult with your vet before traveling. Be sure to get all their vaccinations up to date and issue health certificates as proof that your pet is ready to travel. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, traveling with your pet can be a safe and fun experience if proper precaution is taken. By planning, training your pet, and choosing safe mediums to travel, you can ensure a stress-free experience for you and your furry companion.