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Car Travel with Your Pet

Car Travel with Your Pet


ASPCA, Companion Animal Services


  • Take your companion animal for a veterinary check-up and obtain a health certificate and documentation of inoculations.
  • If your pet has never been in a car, take him on short trips to condition him for the journey. Remember, traveling can be very stressful for a pet; you should try to eliminate as much stress as you can.
  • Animals should be secure during the trip and not allowed to jump around or hang out of the window. For this reason, a crate or carrier is recommended:

    A strong, wire mesh crate, not permitted for air travel, is preferable for car trips because it allows ample ventilation.

    The crate must be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down in.

    Line the bottom with towels to absorb accidents. Attach bowls for food and water, to be given at intervals during the trip.

    Accustom your pet to the crate prior to the journey.

  • Your pet should wear a flat-buckled ID collar with its name, your address and telephone number. For additional protection, consider tattooing him.
  • Try to avoid traveling in extreme weather conditions. If you must travel in hot weather, do it in the morning or evening.
  • Exercise and water should be given during rest stops. Do not allow your pet to run loose at rest areas. No matter how well trained an animal is, this is a new experience and an accident could happen.
  • Under no circumstances leave animal alone in a parked car. It takes only minutes for an animal to develop heatstroke in hot conditions or to freeze in cold.
  • If you are planning to stay in a hotel, make arrangements prior to starting your trip. Your pet should be a welcome guest.
  • When you arrive at your destination, keep your pet in a calm, quiet area and give him plenty of time to adjust to his new environment.
  • Tranquilization is not recommended.

Courtesy of ASPCA
424 East 92 Street
New York, NY 10128-6804
(212) 876-7700
ASPCA National Pet Shelter Outreach logo
© 2000 ASPCA

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