International Pet Travel Country Questions

Pet Passport for International TravelTraveling internationally with a pet? Have questions about country requirements for entering with a pet?

  • Will my pet be quarantined?
  • What vaccinations does my pet need?
  • Will my pet need a passport?

Post your questions here and we will respond within 24 hours. You can also find information on international pet travel here: international pet travel

Airline Pet Policy Questions

airline pet policiesFlying with a pet?   Have questions regarding airline pet policy?

Need to know what type of carrier you will need?

What does your pet need to fly as cargo?

Will the airlines transfer your pet from one plane to another?

Post your questions here and we will respond within 24 hours. You can also find information here: airline pet policies.

Great Dogs for Traveling Seniors

dogs with traveling senior

Traveling seniors often find comfort, companionship, and joy in the company of a furry friend, and dogs make excellent travel companions for older adults seeking adventure and companionship. When choosing dogs for traveling seniors, several factors should be considered, including the dog’s size, temperament, energy level, and suitability for travel.

The Senior (aka baby boomer) generation is in midst of retiring. Born between 1946 and 1964, there are approximately 76 million baby boomers in the United States today – or about 28% of the US population. Seniors tend to be healthier, wealthier, and better educated than their parents, and they can expect to live well into their 80s. They have raised their children and now they are “empty nesters” as the kids have moved on to lives of their own.

In order to fill the emptiness in the house when the children leave, many seniors either get a pet or they inherit one from their children. As a matter of fact, baby boomers are more likely than other age groups other than Millennials to own pets. Yet, according to several recent surveys, baby boomers plan to travel extensively in their retirement, and many of them will face the dilemma of what to do with their dogs and cats when they travel.

Options for traveling seniors

Options include hiring pet sitters or leaving pets behind in kennels or pet hotels. Interestingly, however, a survey conducted by a pet product company found that more than half of all older Americans prefer to bring their pets along with them when they travel. Traveling with a pet makes for a more fulfilling vacation for many seniors.

Opting for a larger dog

It depends on the type of person and the type of travel. Physically fit adventure seekers who enjoy outdoor activities such as camping and hiking might consider choosing a dog from the Sporting Group, which includes Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, and Weimaraners.

Although these dogs are usually good-natured, friendly dogs that thrive on outdoor family activities, a senior considering this type of pet must be ready to devote time and energy to train and exercise their pet.

Traveling with a larger dog is also quite different than a smaller dog. The most comfortable way to travel with any dog over 15 pounds is by car or RV. This allows for frequent stops along the way to walk and hydrate the dog. Of course, your pet always needs to be restrained for safety in a pet harness.

Look for a dog that is trainable, obedient, and well-behaved, making it easier to manage in various travel situations and public settings. Breeds with a strong desire to please, such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, or Poodles, often excel in obedience training and are adaptable to new environments.

For those people taking extended vacations that require air travel, there are many considerations when bringing a large pet along. Undoubtedly, your pet will have to travel in the cargo hold of the aircraft, and so, needs to have an even temperament. An IATA compliant pet crate will be required, as will a health examination by your veterinarian just prior to flying.

Opting for a small to medium-sized dog

Seniors may want to opt for a small to medium-sized dog that is easy to manage and can comfortably accompany you on various modes of transportation, including planes, trains, and cars. Compact breeds are also well-suited for exploring crowded tourist attractions and navigating narrow pathways.

Choose a dog with a calm and easygoing temperament that matches your activity level. Low-energy breeds are ideal for traveling seniors who prefer leisurely walks, relaxed strolls, and quiet moments spent together. Consider breeds such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bichon Frises, or Shih Tzus, known for their gentle disposition and affectionate nature.

Opting for a small dog

For many seniors, and certainly for apartment dwellers and those with physical limitations, a smaller dog may be a better choice. Although they too need to be restrained in a pet car seat while traveling in a car or RV, small pets make great traveling companions. Most small pets enjoy the change in scenery and are truly happy to be with you in a new environment. Remember though that no pet should ever be left in the car alone in summer, not even for a minute.

Additionally, many traveling pet owners also like the fact that their small dogs may be allowed to fly with them in the cabins of many commercial airliners in a pet carrier instead of the cargo hold. Snub-nosed breeds such as Pugs, Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos are not allowed in the cargo hold due to their breathing problems, so be sure and be careful when selecting this breed if you want to travel extensively.

There are other reasons smaller dogs may be a great choice for traveling seniors. Larger dogs may be intimidating to strangers, and many pet-friendly hotels have size restrictions on dogs. Older seniors may also have difficulty handling larger, more energetic, young dogs.

Smaller dog breeds that traveling baby boomers might consider

Miniature or toy poodle: This people-friendly breed is intelligent and intuitive. Small and easy to carry, these dogs usually excel at obedience and are sociable with other animals.

Chihuahua: This is one of the smallest and easiest of all dog breeds to carry around. Feisty and entertaining, Chihuahuas don’t need much exercise. Some Chihuahuas may be temperamental, so it is very important that potential owners choose their breeder carefully.

Miniature Schnauzer: This breed is alert, intelligent, and obedient. Most are very social and love to be around people. They are very easy to travel with, but owners should be watchful around other small animals because of their terrier instinct.

Shih Tzu: Sweet natured and less yappy than many breeds, Shih Tzus don’t need much exercise. They are very easy to socialize and generally get along well with other pets and people.

Pekingese: This breed is calm and quiet when indoors and doesn’t need much exercise. Pekingese dogs are usually polite with strangers and accepting of other animals.

Maltese: Lively and playful, Maltese dogs love people. They are easy to socialize and require little exercise.

Lhasa Apso: This breed is strong-willed, yet calm in nature. Lhasa Apso dogs are very mannerly, but they may be suspicious of strangers if they aren’t properly socialized.

Yorkshire Terrier: Lively and inquisitive, Yorkshire Terriers don’t need much exercise. Their small size makes them easy travel companions. Although they usually get along with other animals if properly socialized, they may not like being around small children.

Other considerations

Choose a dog that is portable and travel-friendly, allowing you to bring them along on your adventures with ease. Look for breeds that are comfortable in carriers or travel crates and can adapt to various travel conditions. Toy breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, or French Bulldogs are compact and travel well, making them excellent companions for on-the-go seniors. Note that Pomeranians and French Bulldogs are difficult to fly due to their flat noses.

Select a dog breed known for its affectionate and loyal nature, providing companionship and emotional support to traveling seniors. Breeds that thrive on human interaction and enjoy being close to their owners, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bichon Frises, or Pugs, make loving and devoted companions for seniors seeking companionship on their travels.

If seniors are on a strict budget, they should not forget their local animal shelter!! They have wonderful pets for adoption and many of them have already been trained and are more mature. In many cases, these animals come from loving homes that, for many reasons, could no longer care for them. In most all cases, these animals are very grateful for a second chance and prove to be loving and loyal pets.

Ultimately, the best dog for traveling seniors is one that fits your lifestyle, preferences, and needs, whether you’re embarking on cross-country road trips, exploring new destinations, or simply enjoying leisurely walks in the park. With the right canine companion by your side, every journey becomes an adventure filled with companionship, joy, and cherished memories.

Senior pet owners can find more information at the National Council for Aging Care.

Camping with Your Dog

camping with a dog

Camping with your dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience, allowing you and your furry friend to immerse yourselves in nature, get some exercise, explore new trails, experience new sights and smells, and create unforgettable memories together.

Although camping is fun for both you and your pet, you should be aware of the responsibilities as well as precautions involved with bringing along your furry friend. It’s essential to plan and prepare carefully to ensure a safe and enjoyable camping trip for both you and your canine companion.

Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your outdoor adventure with your dog:

Before your camping trip

  • Consider your pet’s health and disposition. When it is time for a walk, does your pet respond with enthusiasm? Is your pet an outdoor lover, or is it more comfortable curled up on a pillow at your feet? Is your pet in shape? Answering yes to all of these questions will ensure a more enriching vacation for your both.
  • When planning your camping trip, research pet friendly campgrounds and parks. Some national parks do not allow pets, but there are some great alternatives that offer everything a national park does, and you can take your dog along on the trip as well.
  • Know Where to Find Veterinary Care. Research nearby veterinary clinics or emergency pet hospitals in case of unexpected health issues or emergencies during your camping trip.
  • For safety purposes, take a selfie or have a friend or a neighbor take a photo of you and your pet on your cell phone. If you and your dog get separated, this will come in handy in identifying you as the pet owner.
  • Before camping with your dog, you will need to get them current vaccinations as well as paperwork from your veterinarian, so plan to make an appointment shortly before your departure date. Keep a copy of the paperwork with you in case it is requested by a park or campground official.
  • Pack a first aid kit for your pooch. Bring along tweezers, thermometer, gauze, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, cotton swab, scissors, bandages, blankets, flashlight, adhesive tape, and eye wash.
  • Bring along toys and games for your dog to play with, such as fetch, frisbee, or tug-of-war. Engage in interactive play sessions to keep your dog entertained and active during downtime at the campsite.
  • Go to the hardware store and grab an extra set of dog tags with the exact address and campsite number where you and your dog will be staying.
  • Getting your dog a microchip and registering it is always a good idea. If you ever get separated, this could be the difference in whether you see your best friend again or not. Over 80% of all dogs that are lost that are not chipped and registered are never reunited with their owners.
  • If you are driving to the campsite, please restrain your pet in the car, either with a harness or a crate. In case of an accident, these products act as a seatbelt, and will keep your dog safe. If you are transporting the dog by truck-bed, it is imperative that you crate your pet during transport. There have been plenty of horror stories of dogs jumping out the back of truck-beds and sustaining serious or fatal injuries. A leash is NOT an alternative.
  • Make sure to pack two dog leashes with a maximum of 6 feet in length, a few towels, and a brush to help against the dirt and insects you might encounter on the trip. Don’t forget your dog’s food and plenty of poop bags to clean up after your dog.
  • Another great idea when camping with your dog is to attach a bell to your pet’s collar. (A jingle bell will do fine.) This way, you can hear your pet no matter where they are. GPS trackers are fine, but you might not want to bring your laptop or cell phone with you or service may be poor (that’s the point in getting away from it all), so this device might not be as helpful as it would be in town.
  • If you plan to have your dog sleep outside the tent, make sure you bring a doggie bed or their favorite sleeping apparatus. This will make them feel more comfortable as well as keep them a little cleaner. In addition, bring some rope or a sturdy anchor to tether your pet while you sleep.
  • You and your dog will need plenty of water, so make sure to plan accordingly. Portable water bowls are easy to pack and allow you to provide hydration to your dog anytime.

During your camping trip

  • When choosing a campsite, try to pick a spot with a shaded area, especially during the summer times. Your dog will be exposed to a lot of heat during the trip, and it is important to keep your best friend cool.
  • Pick up after your dog! This is the cardinal rule of camping with your dog (leave no trace) and one reason some parks don’t allow pets. Let’s try to change these perceptions, one scoop at a time.
  • Try to keep the barking at a minimum. Quiet hours usually start around 10:00 PM at most parks and are strictly enforced. If barking is an issue, try to see a specialist prior to going on the trip to curb that habit.
  • Follow Leave No Trace principles by respecting the environment and leaving campsites cleaner than you found them. Dispose of trash properly, minimize campfire impacts, and avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Be Considerate of Other Campers. Not all campers may be comfortable around dogs, so be considerate of others by keeping your dog well-behaved and minimizing noise and disturbances.
  • When camping with your pet, NEVER leave them unattended.
  • Monitor Weather Conditions. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and plan accordingly to ensure your dog stays safe and comfortable in changing weather conditions. Provide shelter and protection from extreme temperatures, rain, and storms.

Some fun activities like swimming, fishing and hiking are perfect to do with your dog. Here are a couple of tips when engaging in these activities:


  • Unless your dog loves to swim, do not throw them into the water. As excited as both of you are, it is a new environment for them and might take them some time to get used to it. Get in the water first and throw a ball in to help encourage the process.
  • Bring plenty of fresh drinking water. Even freshwater lakes and streams can contain different bacteria and parasites that maybe harmful if swallowed.
  • Make sure your dog always has an exit route. Some dogs are so excited about jumping into the water, they don’t always know the best way to get back on land. Jumping off a dock or a boat is a perfect example of this. Try starting in shallow water where they are not fully submerged.
  • Depending on where you’re camping, always be careful of other animals. Especially in the Southeast, alligators tend to reside near the shores of large lakes. Snakes can also be a concern. Check beforehand and ask park officials. Most importantly, respect posted warning signs. They are there to prevent accidents and keep you and your pet safe.
  • After swimming, be sure to clean your dog’s ears out extensively. Not doing this could lead to bacteria in the ear canal, resulting in painful ear infections.


  • If you plan on fishing with your dog, make sure to keep all fishing accessories far away from your dog’s reach. Cutting a fishing hook out of a dog’s paw would certainly not be fun for either of you.
  • When you hook that “big catch,” don’t be too distracted and forget to keep an eye on your best friend as well.
  • Keep your dog out of your bait bucket. Upset stomachs are no fun to deal with.


  • Unlike the relaxing time you can have camping with your dog, hiking is a physically strenuous activity. It is recommended that when you see your veterinarian for your health exam, have them do a physical on your dog to make sure they are healthy enough for hiking. Obviously, age and condition would also play a role in your decision to bring your pet along for a hike.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and as close as possible at all times. Try not to let them go farther than 4 – 6 feet from your side. This is mandatory while on the trails in most dog friendly parks.
  • Unlike your home, you might encounter plants or trees that your dog isn’t exposed to normally. Do not let them close to these new plants, unless your recognize them. Poison ivy affects dogs just like it affects humans. Also, you might run into shrubs with berries that shouldn’t be eaten by your pet. The last thing you want on your vacation is an emergency trip to the animal hospital.
  • Always keep an eye out for the wildlife and use good judgment. If you see a animal that your dog should not be interacting with, make sure that you both keep a good distance.

Use common sense and have fun when camping with your dog!

Some examples of great pet friendly national parks where you can camp with a dog

Grand Canyon National Park – Pets on a leash are permitted in the park and a few designated hiking trails.

Yosemite National Park – Pets are allowed in most campgrounds, paved roads, and developed areas.

Yellow Stone National Park – Pets are allowed in any areas within 100 feet of roads, parking areas and campgrounds. They are prohibited from entering the backcountry or any trails due to wildlife activity.

Acadia National Park – There are 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads in the park where pets are permitted. The two swimming beaches (Sand Beach and Echo Lake) are also pet friendly except from May 15 to September 15.

Smoky Mountain National Park – Dogs are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Dogs are only allowed on two short walking paths: the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail.

Rocky Mountain National Park – Pets are permitted in Rocky Mountain National Park, however they are NOT permitted on trails or in the backcountry. They are allowed only i n areas accessed by vehicles, including roadsides, parking areas, picnic areas and campgrounds.

Big Bend National Park – Pets are NOT allowed on trails, off roads, or on the river. Basically, your pet can only go where your car can go.


Camping with your dog can be a bonding experience like no other, allowing you to share the wonders of the great outdoors with your faithful companion. By planning ahead, prioritizing safety, and embracing adventure, you and your dog can enjoy countless memorable camping adventures together. So, grab your gear, leash up your pup, and embark on a camping adventure filled with exploration, discovery, and wagging tails!

Pet Friendly Adventures in the Berkshire Mountains

Pet Friendly Berkshire Mountains

The Berkshire Mountains region in Massachusetts is known for its stunning natural beauty and plethora of outdoor activities. If you are considering a vacation with your family (including the four-legged members), there are plenty of accommodations and things to do in the pet friendly Berkshire Mountains, no matter what the season.

The Berkshires is a hilly region in the western-most part of Massachusetts, stretching north to the Vermont border and south to Connecticut. To the west is New York State, and to the east a ridge of hills over which runs the Appalachian Trail. The region includes 30 mainly rural towns and two small cities, Pittsfield, The Berkshire County seat and North Adams. The Berkshire Mountains are equidistant from Boston – about 120 miles east – and New York City – about 120 miles southwest, or a two to two-and-a-half-hour drive.

The history of the area boasts a tradition of arts and letters from the 19th century, with famous American authors such as Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who resided in the area, and Henry David
Thoreau, whose visits to the Berkshires are well-documented. In the early 20th century, this was home to Edith Wharton, who built a summer estate called, simply, The Mount. This was also the summer getaway for the rich and powerful during the Gilded Age, when many of the luxurious Berkshire “Cottages” were built. These summer homes were, in fact, grand homes for residents of metropolitan. New York who spent summers here at the turn of the 20th century.

Springtime in the Berkshire Mountains

In the springtime, the Berkshires burst with new life. Snow dissolves into mountain streams, and the scent of springtime-of fresh flowers and rich soil-fills the air. A host of new activities in the Berkshires come to life as well. You can golf, bike, stroll through botanical gardens or budding forests, ride horses or llamas, visit antique shops, historical homes and museums, and much, much more.

Summertime in the Berkshire Mountains

The Berkshires truly come alive in the summer. Tanglewood brings classical concerts to music lovers beneath the stars (no pets allowed on the grounds, though). Museums feature new shows and world-class artists-both time-honored and cutting-edge spectacular mountains, beautiful forests, pristine ponds and rushing streams beckon lovers of the outdoors to camp, hike, bike, raft, fish, swim, boat and golf. Theatre festivals offer traditional and contemporary performances, from Shakespeare to Sam Shepard. Picturesque downtown villages host community parades and festivals.

Though farmers offer a colorful array of fruits and vegetables from May through the holiday season, it’s the cool autumn months that give a hearty robust flavor to fresh pumpkins and apples. A scenic drive along a backcountry road will most likely lead to a farm where you and your family can pick your own.

Outdoor activities during the spring and summer abound. The Berkshire Mountains are home to numerous parks, trails, and outdoor recreational areas where you can enjoy nature with your pet. Some trails do close in the winter months, so check this before you go.

You should bring your pet’s leash along as most all trails will require that your pet be leashed. Popular pet-friendly parks and trails include:

For “spirited” pet owners, check out these pet-friendly wineries:

Autumn in the Berkshire Mountains

When autumn arrives in the Berkshires, it means harvest time is here. The scent of fresh baked pies is in the air and pumpkins and apples are ready for the picking. The Berkshires are bountifully blessed with luscious, locally grown produce.

Stunning vistas become even more spectacular, as gold, yellow, and scarlet hues blanket the landscape. Mountains glimmer in the sun. Spend your days outdoors in the golden kaleidoscope-hiking, biking, picking apples and pumpkins. Embrace the views as you drive to museums, antique shops and cultural events.

The following museums will allow leashed pets on their grounds:

Because the Hancock Shaker Village has various animals in their attraction, pets are not allowed. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art also does not allow pets.

Winter in the Berkshire Mountains

In the Berkshires, wintertime means playtime. In other parts of the world people hibernate during the cold weather, but in the Berkshires, the fun is just beginning. You can ski or snowboard at one of our many ski resorts, explore miles of cross-country trails, visit historic downtowns illuminated by twinkling holiday lights and hike through still, serene forests.

Of course, there are plenty of tempting indoor pursuits as well: Take a leisurely stroll through your choice of museums, indulge yourself with a luxurious health spa visit or have a shopping spree at any of the Berkshires many different merchants. And when the winter day is done, warm your soul with a sumptuous dinner out, then snuggle into a cozy bed in one of a host of legendary lodging facilities.

Pet Friendly Accommodations in the Berkshire Mountains

Many hotels, motels, inns, and vacation rentals in the Berkshire Mountains area are pet friendly. Be sure to check with individual accommodations about their pet policies and any additional fees. Some popular pet-friendly options include:

Augusta House is a charming, pet friendly, 1863 Colonial conveniently located on a quiet street in the beautiful hill section of Great Barrington. It is surrounded by other elegant historic homes, only a few minutes’ walk to downtown Great Barrington, one of the wonderful towns nestled in the Berkshires. A day or evening stroll will bring you to shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Great Barrington was incorporated in 1761 and is a quaint town with enough activity to keep you and your pet interested.

For those of you who enjoy the supernatural, the innkeepers of the Wainwright Inn report hearing people singing and seeing lights turn on and off. Alarms in the hallways sometimes go off for no reason, and they’ve also heard unexplained footsteps in the attic above their living space.

It is always best to understand all pet policies regarding pet areas, leashing, waste removal and other considerations wherever you visit in the pet friendly Berkshire Mountains. Enjoy the adventures with your best friend! It will be worth the trip.

Why Pets Get Carsick and How to Help Them

carsick dog

Does your pet suffer when traveling in the car?

For many pet owners, taking their furry companions on car rides can be a source of joy and adventure. However, for some pets, the experience can be marred by the unpleasant symptoms of motion sickness. Just like humans, dogs and cats can experience nausea, vomiting, drooling, and restlessness when traveling in vehicles. Understanding why pets get carsick and implementing strategies to alleviate discomfort can help make car rides a more enjoyable experience for both pets and their owners.

Understanding Pet Motion Sickness

Pet motion sickness occurs when there is a conflict between the sensory inputs that the brain receives while traveling in a car. The inner ear, which controls balance and spatial orientation, detects motion, while the eyes may perceive a stationary environment inside the vehicle. This sensory mismatch can lead to nausea and discomfort, similar to the motion sickness experienced by humans.

Traveling in a car can be stressful for a pet. The first thing to realize when dealing with your pet’s car sickness is that, in 95% of cases, it is stress-related and not motion-related.

Your pet may relate to a car trip with being taken away from its first home, trips to the vet, or even worse, the kennel. So, it’s not surprising that subsequent rides in a car should evoke very strong mental and subsequent physical trauma.

Although pet owners of these breeds report they are more susceptible to motion sickness, this condition can happen to any pet. Some dog breeds are typically more prone to motion sickness:

Boxer, Border Terrier, Border Collie, Bulldog, Dachshund, Beagle, Pug, Golden Retriever, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Labrador Retriever.

Symptoms of Pet Motion Sickness

The signs of motion sickness in pets can vary from mild to severe and may include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Yawning
  • Whining or vocalizing
  • Panting
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting or dry heaving
  • Inactivity or lethargy

These symptoms may occur before or during car rides and can persist even after the journey has ended. Pets may also display anxiety or reluctance to enter vehicles if they associate car rides with discomfort.

Factors Contributing to Why Pets Get Carsick

Several factors can contribute to the development of motion sickness in pets:

  1. Age and Experience: Puppies and kittens, as well as young animals that haven’t had much exposure to car travel, may be more susceptible to motion sickness. With time and repeated exposure, some pets may outgrow or adapt to car rides.
  2. Anxiety and Stress: Pets that experience anxiety or stress during car rides are more likely to develop motion sickness. Fear of confinement, unfamiliar surroundings, or previous negative experiences can contribute to their discomfort.
  3. Travel Conditions: Factors such as winding roads, sudden stops or accelerations, and strong odors inside the vehicle can exacerbate motion sickness in pets.
  4. Preexisting Health Conditions: Underlying medical conditions, such as inner ear infections or gastrointestinal disorders, can increase a pet’s susceptibility to motion sickness.

Tips for Managing Pet Motion Sickness

While motion sickness can be distressing for both pets and their owners, several strategies can help alleviate discomfort and make car rides more tolerable:

  1. Gradual Desensitization: Gradually acclimate your pet to car travel by starting with short, low-stress trips and gradually increasing the duration and distance over time. Pair each car ride with positive experiences, such as treats, toys, or praise, to create positive associations. Pets are comfortable with structure and associate it strongly with past experiences. Now your pet will associate car travel with fun times.
  2. Reduce Anxiety: Minimize stress and anxiety by making the car environment comfortable and familiar for your pet. Use a secure pet carrier or restraint system to provide a sense of security and prevent excessive movement during the journey.
  3. Provide a Safe Place: Get a carrier or crate and get your pet acclimated to it at home. Put familiar things in it and encourage your pet to use it. Treats are excellent for coaxing a pet into a carrier or crate. Always leave the door to the crate of entrance to the carrier open and let your pet come and go as they please. This will take a while, but your pet needs to understand that their carrier or crate is a comfortable and safe place.
  4. Proper Ventilation: Ensure adequate airflow inside the vehicle by opening windows slightly or using a car ventilation system. Fresh air can help alleviate nausea and reduce the intensity of motion sickness symptoms; however, you don’t want your pet’s head hanging out the window.
  5. Be Up Front with Your Pet: There’s not as much movement in the front of the car as in the back, so it might help your pet if you let him ride in the front seat, but make sure they are in a dog harness or a small carrier or crate that buckles into the seat.
  6. Be Visible: Position your pet’s restraint facing towards the front so they can see you. If your car has dual airbags, then consider using the seat behind the passenger seat. It will comfort them to know you are in the car with them.
  7. Distraction Action: Try having a passenger distract your pet with a toy. A favorite pull toy or old sock may just take your pet’s mind off its surroundings for a while. Certainly, added attention will accomplish this effectively.
  8. Limit Food and Water Intake: Avoid feeding your pet a large meal immediately before car travel, as a full stomach can exacerbate motion sickness. Offer small, light snacks or withhold food for a few hours before the journey. Similarly, limit access to water to prevent excessive drinking, which can lead to vomiting.
  9. Expand Their Horizons: Pets, like people, are less likely to get carsick when they can watch the passing scenery out the window. There are pet car seats that will elevate smaller to medium pets to allow them to look out the window while still being harnessed.
  10. Rest Stops: Take regular breaks during long car trips to allow your pet to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and reorient themselves to their surroundings. Offer water and reassurance during rest stops to help your pet stay hydrated and comfortable.
  11. Medications and Supplements: Consult your veterinarian about the possibility of using motion sickness medications or supplements to alleviate your pet’s symptoms. Anti-nausea medications, such as dimenhydrinate or meclizine, may be prescribed for pets with severe motion sickness.
  12. Don’t Punish: Always praise your pet for good behavior, and never punish them should they get sick in the car. Just keep working with them, and things should improve. If not, ask your veterinarian whether their discomfort could be an issue with their health. You can also ask your veterinarin about a medication called Cerenia that will help deter vomiting in dogs.
  13. Try a Different Set of Wheels: If other remedies suggested here fail, try a larger vehicle. Sometimes the added stability of a larger vehicle can help. It is certainly worth a try.


Pet motion sickness can pose challenges for pet owners who enjoy traveling with their furry companions. However, by understanding the causes and symptoms of why pets get carsick and implementing strategies to minimize discomfort, it’s possible to make car rides a more pleasant experience for pets. With patience, consistency, and proactive management, pet owners can help their furry friends overcome motion sickness and enjoy safe and stress-free travels together. If motion sickness symptoms persist or worsen despite preventive measures, consult your veterinarian for personalized advice and treatment options tailored to your pet’s needs.

Pet Travel: Why Temperatures Matter

temperatures matter in pet travel
Photo by Naomi Salome:

So, it’s time to travel with your pet. Whether your trip is planned or unexpected, why is it important that temperatures matter? Simply put, extreme weather outside your door or at any place you stop along the way or at your destination can put your pet at great risk when traveling, especially when flying.

How to protect your dog or cat in extreme temperatures

High temperatures

How does a cat or dog regulate its body temperature during periods of high temperatures? Our fur babies do not sweat through their skin as much as we do. Their coat helps protect them, keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They can perspire through their ear canals and the pads of their feet, but they regulate their body temperature primarily through their respiratory system (panting). Excessive panting promotes dehydration, and that is why having water available to them when traveling is important.

Low temperatures

If dogs and cats are exposed to low temperatures for long periods of time, body temperatures can drop and hypothermia can develop. As time passes, their body’s ability to bring itself back to normal temperatures diminishes. Depression of the circulatory, central nervous, respiratory, and immune systems commonly develops. It all leads to difficulty breathing, which is never good for any of our four-legged friends.

Every animal is different in how they handle changes in temperature. Size, age, breed, type of coat, and health all play a part in protecting your cat or dog from variations in body temperature. Snub-nosed breeds are particularly at risk due to their inability to breathe efficiently. This can lead to rapid dehydration.

Obviously, dogs and cats that have thick undercoats, like Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes, Persians, and Maine Coon Cats, for example, are better protected in periods of cold weather, while Chihuahuas, Sphynx cats, and other small, short-haired breeds are more susceptible to cold temperatures. It makes sense, right? Does it work the other way around? Not necessarily. It depends on your pet’s normal environment and what temperatures they are accustomed to.

Adapting to a change in environment

If your dog or cat is traveling from a warm climate to a cold climate, it is important to offer protection to them until they can become accustomed to lower temperatures. One way to help is with a self warming pad. This nifty pad can be used in a crate, carrier, cage, or car and will hold your pet’s natural body heat to be reabsorbed back into its body, helping to keep it warm. Don’t forget sweaters for short-haired dogs and cats in low temperatures.

If you are relocating from an environment with cold temperatures to one with warm temperatures, the key is hydration. Make plenty of water available to your dog or cat. Keep them inside during midday hours, when temperatures are the most extreme. Walks should occur before the sun comes up or after it sets, if possible. Monitor your pet’s panting to be sure it is comfortable in warmer temperatures. Put your hand on the asphalt. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your pet’s paws.

dog in car with high temperatures are a danger
Photo by Maria Orlova:

How to travel with your pet in periods of low temperatures

Ground transport

Let’s first consider ground transport, as it is a less stressful way to travel with a pet. Obviously, if you are traveling in a car, conditions will be stable for your dog or cat because you will have control over temperatures in your car, that is, if you are in it. If you leave your pets in your car unaccompanied, temperatures can rise or fall very quickly in summer and winter, even if you leave the window open a bit. It takes only a few minutes to become risky for them, especially in periods of higher temperatures.

Remember, too, that our friends need pit stops when traveling, and protecting their pads is important in both the summer when asphalt is hot and the winter when sidewalks are icy and snow is on the ground. Dry their pads well, removing any snow or ice that is caught in their pads. (Cats will especially love this.)

Although transport is longer by ground, this type of transport is not subject to summer or winter heat or cold embargoes set by commercial airlines. (More information is below.) Your pet rides inside a vehicle that is heated or air-conditioned for its comfort.

If ground relocation is the best way to move your pet and you cannot accompany it or need stress relief, consider using a pet transport service. We have relocated thousands of cats and dogs within the lower 48 US states comfortably and safely. Our drivers are compassionate, experienced, and USDA-certified professionals who love what they do as well as their furry passengers. All pet owners are informed of their pet’s progress every 3–4 hours with texts and pictures.

Ground transport is truly the least stressful means of transportation for your pet.

Commercial air transport – when temperatures matter

When flying in the cargo hold of a commercial airline, the time when your dog or cat is most at risk is not after takeoff or at 30,000 feet. They are most at risk of cold or hot temperatures while on the ground during periods of holding, loading, and taxiing. Most cargo areas are not heated or air-conditioned efficiently. It can get mighty cold (or hot) waiting for hours before loading. Live animals are generally loaded after all the luggage. They wait on the baggage carrier or the tarmac until it is their turn. Also, if the airport is busy and there is a wait to take off, tarmac temperatures can affect the cargo hold until the aircraft’s heating or cooling systems kick in. (Similar to conditions in the cabin.)

If you are flying your dog or cat in the cargo hold, your airline will not accept live animals when temperatures on the tarmac fall below 45°F (7°C) or higher than 75-85°F (29°C) anywhere on your route (origination, layover or destination). Temperature limits will depend on the airline’s pet policies and your pet’s breed.

Some airlines may accept an acclimation certificate issued by your veterinarian if your pet lives in a cold climate and is of a breed that is accustomed to lower temperatures. No such certificate is available for higher temperatures, and rightly so. Like a hot car, periods of high temperatures are extremely risky, even for healthy pets.

What can owners do to avoid pet travel during periods of extreme temperatures?

Travel in Spring or Fall

The best time for pets to travel is in the spring or fall, when temperatures are not extremely hot or cold, no matter how you choose to transport your pet. Temperatures matter when it comes to your pet’s safety and comfort.

Travel During Non-Holiday Periods

Drive or book your flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday when demands on the cargo hold are not as excessive. If you drive, traffic will be lighter these days. If you are traveling for a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, go several days early before the rush and return during the week after the holiday, if possible. Be prepared to leave early and avoid rush-hour traffic.

Drive or Fly Directly

Unless you are traveling in an RV, get to your destination as soon as you can so you can introduce your pet to a stable environment. If you are flying, opt for a direct flight. It may be more expensive than itineraries with a layover, but it is far less stressful for your pet. Never change airline companies along the way, if at all possible. If you change airline companies on an international trip, your pet will be subject to import regulations in the layover country.

Acclimate Your Pet to Travel

Acclimating your pet to its crate or carrier is simply the best thing you can do to ease the stress of travel for your cat or dog. The time spent training your pet to recognize its crate or carrier as its “safe place” will be well worth the effort.

Lots of short trips in the car will help your dog or cat get used to leaving its environment. Training them in this way will be a bit less stressful for them. Get your pet a good restraint, whether a pet carrier or a booster seat. If flying, get a good pet crate and get your pet used to it as early as possible.

Life Happens

We do not always get the opportunity to plan our travels. Life brings sudden changes, and all of us want our pets with us when it is time to go. If temperatures are low or high, then consider changing airports where temperatures are cooler or warmer, if possible. Talk to your airline about holding and loading procedures once your pet is checked in.

If your destination is too hot or cold when you need to travel, you may need to leave your pet with friends or family until such time that it is safe for them to travel. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but safety always comes first, and to lose a pet is surely a tragedy. It’s better to fly your best friend alone or go get them later, when temperatures are more tolerable. Remember that temperatures matter!

Find more information on traveling with your pet.

The Cost to Ship a Pet Dog, Cat or Other Animal

cost to ship a pet dog or cat

If you are a pet owner, sooner or later, you will need to transport your pet, either with or without you. Pet owners take vacations; they relocate to new countries; they rescue disadvantaged pets. In all cases, there are two important questions to ask: what do I need to do, and what is the cost to ship my pet dog, cat, or other animal?

Obviously, all pet owners would like to ship their pet the best way possible, imposing the least amount of stress on them; however, cost is always an important part of the equation as transporting a pet can be quite expensive, especially internationally. Certainly, budget preparations should be made in advance.

Options to Ship a Pet Dog, Cat or Other Animal

Ground Transport

cost to ship a dog by car

Transport Pets by Ground

Ground pet transport may appear to be one of your best options for moving your pet, whether you can accompany it or not. Ground transport is less stressful for your pet than flying in the cargo hold of an airplane, even if the trip takes a bit longer. Most pets really enjoy an adventure with their owners, unless they are unruly in the car or suffer from car sickness.

With all the stress associated with travel, many pet owners prefer to enlist ground transport services to move their pets. Our sister company, Pet Travel Transport, has been moving pets by ground for many years. Our experienced drivers provide individual attention to every pet, stopping every three to four hours to allow them to stretch their legs. We can also expedite the trip for pet owners, as many of our drivers drive in pairs, allowing one to drive while the other sleeps. More information on ground transport here.

Depending on your route, ground transport can be more expensive than transport by air, but it is perfect for pets that cannot fly for the following reasons:

  • Shy, skiddish or anxious personalities
  • Snub-nosed breeds
  • Breeds classified as aggressive
  • Very large or small breeds
  • Puppies and kittens just separated from their mother

Another advantage to relocating a pet by ground are the summer and winter temperatures. Commercial airlines will not fly pets in the cargo hold when temperatures exceed 75–80 degrees F or are lower than 45 degrees F. This restriction is imposed for the safety of your pet. In these cases, ground transport is the better option.

Find more information on transporting a pet by ground.

Transport by Trains or Bus

Although this is not the case in all countries, the availability of bus and train transport in the United States is limited, and carriers like Amtrak will only accept small cats and dogs under 20 pounds. If these forms of transportation do not serve your destination, then you need to find other options when you disembark.

Unfortunately, the Greyhound Bus Line is not pet-friendly; however, if you are traveling in parts of Europe, there are many pet-friendly trains options to choose from.

More information on pet-friendly trains and buses

Transport Pets by Sea

Certainly, ground transport is not always possible, especially if your destination is across a large body of water like an ocean. Very few commercial vessels will accept pets unless they are service or emotional support animals. The Queen Mary 2 is pet friendly if it accommodates your route.

Transport Pets by Commercial Air

cost to ship a pet by air

Air transport is the quickest option for traveling pets. Costs will vary significantly based on airline pet policies, the class of service used, the size and weight of your pet, as well as your route and destination country. Many pet owners share concerns about flying their pet, especially in the cargo hold, but safety is every airline’s first priority when it comes to shipping live animals. Considering the number of live animals flown each year and the number of incidents that the airlines are required to report, flying is generally a safe and viable option that should be considered as long as your pet can be acclimated to a carrier or crate.

Commercial airlines offer three classes of service to ship dogs, cats, and other animals. Note that not all three options are available on all airlines.

  • In-cabin: generally for small dogs and cats weighing less than 18 pounds and less than 19 inches high when standing (will vary according to airline pet policies).
  • Checked baggage: for larger dogs and cats (and sometimes other animals) that are accompanied by an adult passenger. Weights are generally between 19 and 100 pounds, but may be less. Travel will be in a special area of the cargo hold, which is temperature- and pressure-controlled like the cabin.
  • Air cargo: unaccompanied dogs, cats, and (sometimes) other animals or pets bound by destination country pet import regulations. Travel will be in a special area of the cargo hold, which is temperature and pressure controlled.

Generally, the cost to ship a pet dog, cat, or other animal in the cabin or as checked baggage is a fixed price, and the cost is charged for each direction of the flight. So, if your pet was flying from JFK to Paris roundtrip, your airline would impose a separate cost to fly to Paris and another similar cost to return to JFK, no matter what class of service your pet was flying under.

Some airlines will tier their pricing based on the length of your route or the size of your pet if it is flying either in-cabin or as checked baggage. Lufthansa and Philippine Airlines are examples of airlines that use this type of pricing.

Note that several airlines will impose an additional pet fee if the flight has a layover, even if your pet is staying on the same airline. (Air France is an example.) Additionally, if your pet changes airline companies during a layover, another pet fee will always be imposed by the airline operating the next leg of the journey.

Transport Pets In-Cabin and Checked Baggage

Here are some samples of costs imposed by major airlines for pets flying in the cabin and as checked baggage. Note that these costs may change, so it is always best to contact your airline to confirm recent costs and make a reservation for your pet. Note that these are not round-trip costs; they are charged for flying in each direction.

In-cabin cost

  • American Airlines: $125
  • Delta Airlines: $125 (US/Canada/Puerto Rico), $200 (International/Virgin Islands), $75 (Brazil)
  • United: $125 (more for longer trips with multiple layovers)
  • Southwest: $95 flat fee
  • Lufthansa: $59 (domestic w/in Germany), $69 (w/in EU), $92 (to/from N. Africa/Asia/Mediterranean Countries), $103-126 (intercontinental), $100 (to/from Japan)
  • KLM: EUR 30 to EUR 200 depending on destination
  • Turkish Airlines: 80 TRY w/in Turkey, $70 USD (minimum) international

Checked Baggage Cost

  • American Airlines: $200 all routes ($150 to and from Brazil)
  • Delta, Southwest and United: checked baggage service for pets is not offered
  • Lufthansa: $92 (domestic w/in Germany), $115 (w/in EU), $149 (to/from N. Africa, Asia, and Mediterranean Countries), $172–218 (intercontinental), $200 (to/from Japan)
  • KLM: EUR 30 to EUR 200, depending on destination
  • Turkish Airlines: 120-260 TRY (depending on size of pet) within Turkey, $140 USD (minimum) international

Transport Pets as Air Cargo

Estimating the cost of shipping your pet dog, cat, or other animal via air cargo is where things get complicated. Most airlines charge by dimensional weight, which includes the weight of your pet, including their crate, and the dimensions of the crate. The algorithms used by cargo departments can be pretty complicated and very hard to estimate, especially for international transport, as many factors affect the estimate, including the cost of fuel, which can vary frequently.

Simply put, the cost to ship your pet as air cargo is going to be considerably more than flying with it in the cabin or flying it as checked baggage. Why is this? Basically, when flying as air cargo, your airline will track your pet via an air waybill from the origination airport through the layover airport(s) to the destination airport. The airline is responsible for the care of your pet from the moment it is checked in at the cargo facility. This class of service is a bit different than pets flying as checked baggage, where the owner has more responsibility to provide for care at layover airports when applicable.

In addition to the cost involved, almost all commercial airlines will require that a licensed agent book your pet’s transport as air cargo. Agents will charge a fee for this service, which can vary significantly depending on the services required and the extent of documentation involved. As shipping a pet can get very complicated, the peace of mind knowing an expert is handling your pet’s transport is worth the cost.

If you need an estimate of the cost to ship your pet as air cargo, then we can provide you with a free quote for our services.

The International Pet and Animal Transport Association (of which we are a member) is a worldwide organization of licensed transporters who can help you ship your pet safely. You can search for an agent in almost all countries worldwide by name, country, or airport on their website.

You can also contact us if you have any questions about shipping your dog, cat, or other animal as air cargo.

As the costs of shipping your dog, cat, or other animal as air cargo are significantly higher than in the cabin or as checked baggage, why would a pet owner ship their pet using this option?

  1. The destination country requires it. (Examples are UK, UAE, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and others).
  2. The owner or their representative cannot accompany their pet.
  3. The pet is being shipped for commercial purposes.
  4. The dog or other animal is very large (generally over 100 lbs. including crate).
  5. The airline does not offer checked baggage services for live animals.
private jet pet charter

Transport by Private Jet Charter

Chartering a private jet is the ultimate in shipping a pet. Your dog, cat or other animal can fly with you in the cabin, relaxing and enjoying the trip either on your lap or right next to you, depending on their size (of course). Here are some of the benefits of chartering a private jet:

  • You can book your trip according to your schedule.
  • No security or check-in lines at the airport.
  • Temperatures are not a concern.
  • Any size pet can fly safely in the cabin with you.
  • There are no distractions from other pets or passengers.
  • You can choose in-flight options.
  • You have 2 private captains to serve you.
  • You can fly from and to anywhere in the world.

Although the cost for a private jet is considerable, it will be the experience of a lifetime for both you and your pet. You can click here to find sample prices to ship your dog or cat via private jet charter.

Other Important Costs for Pet Transport

There are other costs to consider as well when transporting a pet, especially internationally. Some of these include:

  • Cost of a crate or carrier and accessories
  • Veterinary and lab costs for tests, vaccinations and health certificates
  • Import permits (if required)
  • Government endorsement (if required)
  • Pre- and post-travel inspection (if required)
  • Quarantine costs (if required)
  • Entrance fees (if required)
  • Value Added Tax (VAT) (depending on the purpose of travel)

With all the considerations involved, it is best to start early when planning to transport your pet because the costs can be significant. Certainly, it is worth the cost to bring your pet dog, cat, or other animal with you when you relocate to a new destination, take an extended vacation, or rescue a pet who does not have a home; however, costs can be sizeable when traveling far distances, and being aware of those costs early on will allow you the ability to budget for them.

More information on relocating a pet can be found at and

Pet Health: Getting Your Pet in Shape to Travel

getting your pet in shape for travel fat cat

Here’s the skinny: healthier pets are better travelers. Getting your pet in shape to travel will require lots of lead time, so start changing feeding habits early on.

A shocking report recently issued by Pet Obesity Prevention that states that over half of the dog and cat population in the United States. is overweight. UK pets suffer with the same problem.

If your pet weighs over 15% of its ideal weight, it qualifies as overweight

Last year, pet owners with one unnamed insurance company paid over 25 million dollars to vets to treat obesity-related issues. Why? Pets who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of a range of serious health problems, such as diabetes, joint damage, ruptured cruciate ligaments, increased blood pressure, urinary incontinence, skin and hair coat issues, and digestive issues. These are all common problems that affect obese pets.

Overweight pets are also prone to a poorer quality of life and less ability to exercise like they should.

Getting your pet in shape to travel is a very smart thing to do for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few of them.

Better chance of traveling the cabin

For example, if your pet is a smaller breed (under 19″ in length) whose average weight is around 11 to 15 pounds, they will be able to travel in the cabin area of a plane as long as your airline pet policies allow for that. However, if a pet of the same breed is obese and weighs 20+ pounds, your pet will not meet the weight requirement for in-cabin travel. This especially pertains to international travel, where the weight of a pet plus its carrier is checked more carefully.

Less breathing problems

Most dogs pant to regulate body temperature (since the sweat glands in their paws are basically inefficient). When a dog pants, heat escapes through the moisture of its tongue, mouth, and throat. As it exhales during panting, the moist air evaporates and keeps your pet cool.

When a dog is overweight, regulating body temperature becomes difficult, and heavy panting occurs. Heavy panting causes stress, anxiety, and dehydration. It can also lead to heat stroke.

There is a better chance your pet will withstand the rigors of traveling and a new environment

A healthy pet will have increased stamina, a better tolerance of weather conditions, and better breathing capabilities. All of these factors play an important role in adjusting your pet to traveling to new places.

How do you know whether your pet is overweight?

You should be able to see your pet’s ribs slightly through their skin as they walk and easily feel them when you run your hands along their sides. There should be a distinct pinch in the waist, after the ribs, and before the hips. Look for an hourglass shape when you look down at your pet’s spine.

What you can do to get your pet in shape to travel

The first step is to figure out your pet’s ideal weight. Your veterinarian can assist you with this. Then determine your pet’s current weight. If you are not due for a vet visit, just weigh yourself, then pick up your pet, weigh yourself again, and subtract the bigger number from the smaller number.

Depending on their level of exercise, the amount of calories your cat or dog needs can vary greatly. Obviously, if you have an active breed of dog or cat, they will need more calories than a sedentary one.

Don’t substitute food for affection. Dogs associate food with fuel and energy. If given the opportunity to overeat, they will take it. If you want to show your dog love, then give them attention, not extra food.

Here are tips to control your pet’s weight:

  • More exercise for both of you. This is the most effective way to help your pet lose weight.
  • Make sure that you are not overfeeding your pet. Your veterinarian can help with this, or you can do some research on your own.
  • Don’t leave your pet’s food out all day. Mealtime should be scheduled at the same time every day. Give your pet a reasonable time to finish their meal, then remove their food bowl.
  • Give love, not treats; reward your pet’s good behavior with love and attention, not high-calorie treats.
  • Make them work for their food. Many toy manufacturers make toys that will distribute food slowly such as Kong toys. Find a food bowl with a maze that will slow your dog’s feeding time down.
  • Give your pet water with food, especially dry food. Water will create a feeling of fullness.
  • Add vegetables to your pet’s food. Green beans and some carrots will add bulk but few calories to their dinner.
  • Slowly limit the amount of food that you give your pet. Slowly.
  • Consider a slow transition from a carb-based food to a fresh diet. Less convenient, for sure, but better for overweight pets.
  • Monitor their weight and measure it every week. One to two percent per week weight loss is ideal.
  • Read the label and be aware of the ingredients in your pet’s chow. More protein, which takes longer to digest, and fewer carbs, which are more easily turned into fat, are best.
  • Try speaking to your veterinarian about putting your pet on a low-fat diet.
  • Get out and get going. Again, the more exercise that your pet experiences, the easier it will be to lose weight.

Many vets consider animal obesity to be the most preventable pet health crisis facing the United States and the United Kingdom. As with preparing in advance to acclimate your pet to its crate or carrier is important, so is getting your pet in shape to travel.

What You Must Do Before Traveling With a Pet

acclimate your pet to carrier or crate

Acclimating a pet to its crate or carrier
Traveling with a pet can be daunting, especially the first time you both leave home. Whether you are driving or flying, travel can be either stressful or fun and exciting. Wouldn’t it be nice if your pet understood what was going on and did not shadow you, looking unsure and anxious as soon as you pull out your suitcase?

Preparing your cat or dog for travel is one of the most important things you can do to help them get through it. As for you, your worries about their welfare should lessen a bit knowing that you have properly prepared them for the experience.

Getting good equipment, like pet carriers for smaller pets and pet crates for larger pets, to keep them safe is so important. Safety comes first, and a carrier or crate that falls apart means your pet can escape, which is never good.

The focus here will be how to mentally prepare your pet for traveling, whether by car or air. This preparation is crucial to lessening the stress that your pet may feel on travel day.

There are two major reasons why your dog or cat may be anxious when traveling. First, you are removing them from their known environment, which they have explored and feel comfortable in. Second, and especially when flying, they will be separated from you during this time and cannot draw support from your presence. There are ways that you can address both of these fears before hitting the road, but it will take some time.

cat reading book
Courtesy of

Let’s take a brief moment to look at how dogs and cats learn. The first way is through social cues such as smells, body language, and verbal commands. This form of learning is useful to help your pet make day-to-day decisions about things they encounter; however, this information comes to them primarily from their surroundings and not so much from humans. And, for most animals, scents and smells will trump verbal commands. This is because scent is an extremely important part of learning for your dog or cat. More on that later.

The second form of learning is referred to as conditioning. This type of learning is imposed on your pet by humans and is used a lot in behavioral training. Conditioning is a crucial tool that can be used to lessen stress for your pet when traveling, and it will result in building experiences well ahead of time.

How can you use this technique of conditioning to prepare your pet for traveling? Simply put, when you take the steps to introduce your pet to its crate or carrier and to being removed from its environment (and maybe you), you create experiences for your dog or cat to remember. That is why dogs and cats who have traveled previously are better travelers because they have prior experience to draw upon. And they know that, in the end, they will be happily reunited with you because you will practice doing that over and over again.

The time and steps it takes to complete the process depend on your pet, its personality, and its willingness or interest to learn. If you are lucky enough to skip a step, that is awesome. If you are not lucky, you may have to back up a step and try again. Either way, set aside time each day to work on conditioning your dog or cat to travel. Patience is paramount here. Stay strong, positive, and consistent. The payoff will be worth the effort.

Get good Equipment

dog acclimated to crate

Start by getting your equipment early. If you have a small dog or cat, it may be able to travel in a pet carrier. If your pet is larger or your airline requires it, your pet will travel in a pet crate. Either way, it is important to introduce this new home to them as early as possible. Making a last-minute decision to travel with a pet is not a good idea unless your dog or cat is a seasoned traveler.

Introducing the New Home

Once you have received your carrier or crate, put it in a place where it is easily accessible and as close to where you and your pet spend your day as possible. Take time to introduce the crate or carrier. Keep all access available; keep the zippers open and flaps up; and only use the bottom half of the crate.

Put a pet pad, favorite toys, and a treat or two inside the crate. Also, include a “used” t-shirt or towel of yours so that your pet will smell your scent when in the carrier or crate. (hence the reference in the paragraph about social cues above). Personalize the crate or carrier for them and make it their second home—their safe place.

Spend time each day encouraging your pet to venture inside the carrier or crate. Feed them there if room permits. Encourage them to sleep in their carrier or crate by putting their bedding in it if room allows. Remember that conditioning your dog or cat for travel involves rewarding them for good behavior, so treats and attention at every step of the way are crucial for success.

Don’t get discouraged if your pet is slow to adapt to its new home. Remember that your pet? learns also from your body language. Stay upbeat and try various methods to encourage them to stay inside the crate. (new toys, catnip, etc.)

When some level of comfort is achieved, then put the top half of the crate and the door on, but leave the door open. Note if their willingness changes. More time and attention may be needed at this point.

Closing Doors

Once your dog or cat is comfortable in the carrier or crate, close it while your pet is in it; however, stay with them and offer verbal encouragement. This step should be performed multiple times for longer periods. Should your pet object when the door is closed, keep it open for a while before closing it.

Home alone

Next, move them to a place where they cannot see you. Again, do this for short periods at first, then longer periods, and always, when returning, reward them for their good behavior with treats and attention.

Introducing the car

dog with family on vacation

Now it’s time to introduce the car. Whether you are flying or driving, you will likely start your travels in a car. It is better to have your pet in the carrier before leaving the house, but this may not be possible for larger dogs.

If you hear objections to this step the first time, don’t start the car. Just put them in, wait for 5 or 10 minutes with them, take them back into the house, and let them out. If you do not sense signs of stress, start the car and either just let it idle or drive around the block. Short trips, then longer trips. Each time, remember to reward good behavior and never punish bad behavior.

If one of the few times your pet has been in the car is to go to the veterinarian, you will need to undo this experience, as it certainly was not a happy one for them. Creating happy experiences will go a long way in conditioning your pet for traveling.

Go somewhere fun

The next step is to take your dog or cat somewhere fun: the dog park, a pet store, or the home of a pet-friendly friend or relative. Again, lots of “good boys” or “good girls” when you get home, and don’t forget the treats.

This step may be a bit difficult with cats, so you may want to take them to a pet-friendly restaurant or anywhere where your cat can stay with you while in its carrier. The more your pet is removed from their environment, the better. After all, the goal is to build experiences for them, right?

The cargo hold

pet in cargo crate

If your pet is flying in the cargo hold of an airplane, it is hard to create the environment they will be in. One thing you can do is put them in a dimly lit location in your home while they are in their crate for a while.

Also, try accompanying them through an old-fashioned car wash while in their crate. All the while, reassure them that you are there and closely observe their reaction. When you feel they are ready, send them through on their own. You will have the cleanest car in town, and your pet will have another experience to draw on.

Travel day

If you have done a good job with the first 5 or 6 steps, then travel day will be like another outing, and the experiences you have created for your pets will be what they draw upon for assurance. Certainly, they should know that you will rejoin them as soon as they finish their new experience because you have done that every step of the way.

Traveling with a pet does not need to be as stressful as it seems if you take the time to train your dog to travel. The payoff for both of you will be significant.

How to Keep Your Dog and Cat Safe in Winter

Dog in winter snow

Winter weather is either on its way or is already here, depending on where you live. With winter comes snow and freezing temperatures, so it’s time to think about how to keep your dog or cat safe in the winter. While the weather outside is frightful, these winter pet tips can keep your precious pets snug, safe, and warm.

How long can my dog or cat stay outside?

The amount of time your dog or cat can stay outside depends greatly on its breed (or mix of breeds) and size. Small pets will lose their body heat faster than larger pets. Certainly, the thickness of a pet’s coat will make a difference. Huskies, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes, Newfoundland, and Bernese Mountain breeds have two coats, which prove to help trap body heat. According to the American Kennel Club, these large-breed dogs can stay outside in weather under 23 degrees for an hour maximum. Smaller or short-haired dogs should only remain outdoors in winter temperatures for 15 minutes.

Owners of brachycephalic (short or flat-nosed) breeds should understand how harmful freezing temperatures are for their pets. Because these breeds have inefficient airways and tend to pant more, they are more susceptible to extreme temperatures in the winter and summer.

Brachycephalic breeds

  • Bulldog
  • Boxer
  • French Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pomeranian
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Pugs
  • Mastiffs
  • Affenpinscher
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Brasileiro
  • Pekingese

When is it time to bring your pets inside?

Unless your pet is a breed that is heavily coated and accustomed to living in cold environments, when the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to provide shelter for them. These temperatures can cause frostbite and hypothermia. If possible, bring them inside with you. Just remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.

Many states and municipalities have passed tethering laws, which make it an offense to keep a dog outside when restricted for more than a certain amount of time. Pet owners should verify they are not breaking any local or state laws in this regard.

What if I cannot bring my pet inside?

If not in your home, then make a warm place for them in your garage or provide them with a draft-free shelter that is not much larger than the size of your pet when standing. The floor of the shelter should be raised from the ground. Cover the floor of  the dog house with straw or provide bedding such as self warming pet pads and other insulating material. The door should be covered with plastic or other wind-blocking, water-proof material.

Check their water frequently to ensure it has not frozen. Feed them more than normal, as they will need fuel to keep themselves warm. Consider a self-warming pet pad (on sale now). This pad will reflect your pet’s body heat back to your pet. Great for outdoor or indoor pets that need a bit of extra heat.

Keeping Your Pet Warm

Many people misunderstand the purpose of an animal’s coat of fur. Although it may be plush and beautiful, it is not always the perfect insulator, and if your pet has short hair or is hairless, they are even more vulnerable to the cold. To help prepare your pet for warmth, start with a dry, draft-free shelter with plenty of food and water.

Pet Clothes: Good or Bad Idea

The real answer is: it depends. There is nothing wrong with dressing your dog for the season, as long as it does not inhibit breathing or movement. Cute clothes for cats are usually not a good idea. They are more stubborn than dogs and could actually do more harm than good. In cold weather, keep cats (even outdoor ones) inside with a warm blanket, and they should be fine.

Keep the Outdoor Adventurers Inside

If you have a dog that spends most of its time romping in your backyard or a cat that whiles away the day in a sunny patch on the front porch, winter’s arrival may be a rude awakening. Pets are at risk of getting frostbite or hypothermia, just like humans. If your pet has been playing in the snow, protect their paws from salt or antifreeze spills with booties or petroleum jelly before they go out.  It is very important to clean their paws, ears, and coat when returning inside.

Make sure they are suitably entertained when inside. Boredom can bring on destructive behavior.

Protect your cat in winter

Tis the Season for Poisons

Coolant and/or anti-freeze can spill in the parking lot, garage, or driveway and are extremely poisonous to pets. Unfortunately, dogs love the smell and taste of anti-freeze. So, it is important to keep an eye on them when around these areas. Wipe paws, legs, and stomach when returning from the rain, sleet, or ice. If your dog licks rock salt from the street, call your veterinarian immediately.

Save a Cat

Cats love to be warm and cozy, especially in the winter. Since they don’t know any better, what better place than an engine compartment? This unfortunate accident causes numerous cat deaths each year. Save a life this year by banging loudly on your hood. This will give any sleeping cats a chance to vacate their hideout before turning on the motor.

Report a Crime

What to do if you see a dog or cat left outside in extremely cold temperatures. We encourage you to contact local law enforcement agencies, because leaving pets outside in cold temperatures is a crime, especially without shelter. Their owners are at risk of facing criminal charges. One of the most common forms of animal cruelty is leaving animals outside in in winter weather and these cases are investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse. Do your part and gently remind the owner or report the abuse to local authorities.

It doesn’t take much to keep your dog or cat safe in the winter when things get frosty. Just like us, our feline and canine friends need shelter, warmth, food, and care. When winter’s chill sends you scurrying indoors, don’t forget your furry four-footed pals and their simple needs during this season.

Airline Pet Carriers and Cargo Pet Crates – Choosing the Right One for Your Pet

If you and your pet are planning to ride in a car or fly in the cabin of an aircraft, the first thing you need to do is measure your pet. If your pet is at most 18 inches from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and between 12 and 14 inches high from the top of the head to the ground, there is a good possibility that your pet can travel in the cabin with you if your airline’s pet policies allow it. If your pet is larger than that, they will have to travel as checked baggage. Very large dogs, unaccompanied pets, or pets flying to the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, or South Africa will need to travel as air cargo.

In Cabin Pet Travel

Unless your pet must fly as air cargo, contact the reservation department of the airline and notify them that you are flying with a pet. Most airlines allow only a limited number of pets in the cabin, so make your reservations early. Ask the airlines the dimensions under the seat in front of you on the plane that services your route so you know what space you have to work with. If you do not have a flexible airline pet carrier, you need to get one. The airlines will require that your pet is able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. Do not stuff your pet into a carrier that is too small. The airlines will not accept your pet on the plane.

Additionally, the carrier must have a waterproof bottom and plenty of ventilation. The fasteners and zippers must close securely. An absorbent pad or two are really a must, especially for long trips. A high-quality, padded shoulder strap is a big help, especially if you have other carry-on items. Your pet carrier will be considered by the agent as a piece of carry-on luggage.

Checked Baggage Pet Travel

If your pet is too large to travel in the cabin but not over about 70 (or so) pounds, your pet can fly as accompanied checked baggage if your airline offers this class of service. You will check them in at the ticket desk, where luggage is checked. Your pet will fly in an area of the airplane that is temperature- and pressure-controlled, just like the cabin. You will need an IPATA-compliant cargo pet crate.

  • Your crate should be made of sturdy plastic and large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around.
  • The fasteners must be secure, and many airlines require steel nuts and bolts instead of plastic fasteners.
  • The crate must have adequate ventilation in the sides, and all four sides must be ventilated on international flights.
  • Live Animal stickers with writing that is at least one inch tall must be present on the sides and top of the crate.
  • Food and water bowls must be attached to the door of the crate and accessible to baggage handlers.
  • The lock on the door of the crate must be a spring lock mechanism that cannot be opened easily. (Many pets are clever escape artists!)
  • No wheels are allowed on any crates.
  • Unless the crate is of a medium size or smaller, handles are not allowed.
  • On international flights, a health certificate must be attached to the outside of the crate for inspection.
  • Pet absorbent pads are a good idea to keep your pet dry and smelling good.

Here is information on how to measure your pet for a pet crate.

Cargo Pet Travel

If your pet is over 70 pounds (for most airlines), you will need to make a reservation with the cargo department of the airline. Ask them the location of the cargo department of the airport you are traveling from because you will need to drop off your pet at that location. Your pet can travel on the same flight as you and will be in the same compartment as if they were traveling as checked baggage. The crate they will travel in will be subject to the same requirements as those above. If a giant airline cargo pet crate does not fit your pet, you need to contact the airline for a carrier or the IPATA regulations for crates for larger pets, or contact us at for custom crates.

Whether your pet travels in an airline pet carrier or a cargo pet crate, be sure to give your pet time to become acclimated to the carrier. Keep the pet carrier out where your pet can become familiar with it. Put a toy or treat inside, and always keep the door open. Don’t forget lots of praise when your pet goes inside. If possible, take your pet for a trip to the dog park or someplace fun in the carrier or crate before your trip. Doing all of these things ahead of time will make the trip far smoother when travel day arrives.

More information on airline pet carriers and cargo pet crates.