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How to travel with a dog in the US and abroad

How to travel with a dog in the US and abroad

Great vacations for pets and people

In 2017, it was estimated that over 44% of the US population share their lives with a pet.* It comes as no surprise then, that increasing numbers of us are vacationing with our furry friends in tow. It only takes a little bit of extra planning and prep to ensure that everyone enjoys a nice time, so here’s the Lintbells guide on how to travel with a dog.

Follow our preparation guide and look forward to endless summer evenings on vacation with your furry friends

How to travel with your pet

Practically speaking, there are a few things to consider before your pet joins you on vacation. Where can you go? How will you get there? Will your preferred accommodation welcome pets? And, will a happy vacation for your pet be fun for people too? Let’s take a look at these considerations one by one:

Where to go?

Travelling with pets is far easier than it used to be. With more and more pet-friendly campsites and hotels, a US-staycation is a great option if you don’t want to wave goodbye to your furry family member. If you’re looking to venture further afield, the Pet Passport makes holidaying overseas a viable option.

What’s a Pet Passport?

Pets can now get their own passport to travel to the US, and to a surprisingly large number of other countries. Before you book flights, trains or ferries, think about your pet’s temperament and physical fitness – how will they find the destination temperature and lifestyle? And how will they handle the travel?

How will you get there?

If you’re planning on travelling within the US, transport is straightforward – Hop in the car, buckle up and go or book your seats on the train – Check on Pet Friendly Travel for domestic and international train travel.

Is it possible to travel with a dog on public transportation?

Yes. But you'll need to be committed and organized, and your dog will need to be confident and outgoing.

The extra preparation it takes to travel with your pet is worth it for the memories.

Pets on planes

Pets can travel on planes, though different airlines have different rules about how and where in the plane your dog will be travelling – Check this guide. A small number of airlines allow smaller pets (under 17lbs including carrier) to be carried in the cabin with you, while the most common means of travel for pets is in the hold as ‘cargo’. If your dog is older, or of a nervous disposition, this isn’t always the kindest option. Weigh the options and consider whether your pet may be happier staying at home with family, friends, or a pet sitting service, or having a little vacation of their own in Doggie camp.

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) for Domestic and Overseas Travel

BSL varies from state to state and country to country, so be sure to check the rules before you book your trip. Restrictions sadly often includes popular breeds like Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and English Bull Terriers. However, your dog may still be able to join you– they just might have to stay on-lead and wear a muzzle. The best place to find more details is your destination country’s government website or embassy.

Where to stay – pet-friendly accommodations

There are more pet-friendly accommodation options out there than ever before. It’s a good idea to check some of the following websites ahead of time to easily find pet friendly locations such as: Official Pet Hotels, Airbnb, Petfriendlytravel.

Having fun travelling with dogs

Perhaps the most important thing to consider before including your pet in your vacation plans is – will you all have fun? This depends on what you – and your pet – enjoy doing. If you’re an outdoorsy type with an outgoing dog, it’ll be a great time all round.
Equally, if you’ve a confident dog who enjoys exploring new places, the pleasure of being with you will likely outweigh the potential stress. However, if your ideal vacation is a bustling city stay and your dog is nervous in traffic, they may be happier staying home.

With the right preparation, vacationing with your furry friend can be double the fun.

Vacationing happiness in 5 steps

  1. Check your pet insurance – if you’re going to take your pet overseas, you may need extra cover for any vet expenses.
  2. Be health-aware – research local vets near your destination, be up to date on vaccinations, and take a copy of their medical history and vaccination record in case of emergencies.
  3. Bring home comforts – a bed, blanket or favorite toy that smells of ‘home’, plus a spare collar and lead just case.
  4. Don’t forget dinner – dogs don’t adapt to dietary changes as well as humans, so to avoid digestive problems, bring food from home.
  5. Ask for advice – why not ask for top pet-friendly destination recommendations on the Lintbells Facebook page? We’ll be happy to suggest great beaches, lunch spots, and local pet-friendly accommodation in the US and beyond! 

Regardless of your journey plans, or destination, it’s always worth planning ahead to ensure that you are as prepared as possible to vacation with your pet. Though we live in an increasingly pet-friendly world, there’s no downside to being overprepared. It’s advisable to keep food and water handy wherever you are and pack a pet first aid kit which can be kept within easy reach. We’d recommend stocking your first aid kit with high-quality supplements that can support your pet before they travel, on the journey, and during your stay.

A dog and his owner watching the sea before going to surf

Keep calm and travel on!

You may consider supporting your dog with a calming supplement. It’s also worth packing some natural probiotic supplements for dogs facing digestive problems. Much like people, pets can struggle if they eat something they shouldn’t or aren’t used to, so everyone can quickly get back to having a happy holiday.

Do you travel with your pet? What are your top tips for happy travels with your dog? Please do leave a comment below – or say hello on our Facebook page.

*Consumer Goods & FMCG: Pet Numbers in the US by species 2017/2018