Auto Pet Travel

Auto Pet TravelMost people would prefer a car or RV for their pet travel. When traveling with a pet in a car, a responsible pet owner must abide by 2 important rules:

1. Secure your pet – whether a harness, carrier or crate, securing your pet while in the car is crucial for the safety of both your pet and the occupants of the car. As tempting as it is to have your pet curl up in your lap while you drive, it is putting both you and your pet in harm’s way. A sudden stop, even at low speeds, can seriously hurt your pet as well as other passengers in the car if your pet is not secured in a harness or confined in a crate.

2. Never leave your pet unattended in a car; on a hot summer’s day, the interior of an automobile can heat up to unsafe levels in less than 10 minutes. Additionally, pets are stolen everyday. Why would a caring pet owner take that chance?

Now that these very important points are out of the way, let’s get on to the basics.

Make sure your pet is healthy. Check with your veterinarian and renew any shots that are due. Also, give your pet a treatment of flea and tick medication. There may be parasites where you are headed that are different from where you live. Some parts of the country, especially wooded areas, may be infested with fleas and ticks.

If your pet is not accustomed to traveling in the car, take several short trips several weeks ahead of your travel. (Be sure and usethe harness, carrier or crate at this time.) Go somewhere fun like a local dog park so that your pet will associate the car with a positive experience. If your dog has not been crated before, set the crate up in the house and leave the top half of the crate off. Put favorite treats and toys there and offer lots of encouragement. After several weeks, put the top of the crate on but leave the door open. Your pet may take a bit of coaxing, but it will be worth your time in the long run.

Gather your pet’s supplies. Especially important is your pet’s food and water. Bring sufficient amounts of it along as the qualities of water change from place to place and that could contribute to digestive problems for your pet. Other items you will want to bring along are a quality leash, your pet’s collar with a tag on it that has your cell phone number on it, medications, portable water dish, dog treats, toys, brush, shampoo, an old sheet or two for covering up hotel furniture, and plastic bags for picking up after your pet.

Consider bathing and grooming your pet prior to travel. It will make your pet more comfortable and presentable. Feed your pet several hours before you start your trip and take them for a long walk just prior to leaving.

Create a place where your pet can ride safely and still see out the window if possible. Locate your pet where you can touch them to reassure them that you are closeby. They will also need access to their water. A favorite blanket or pet bed would be helpful to take so they feel “at home.”

Don’t forget the restraint device as you don’t want them flying through the windshield if you have to stop suddenly.

If you cat is traveling with you, make a place for the kitty litter. Behind the front seat will do well in some cars. First put down a piece of plastic (a trash bag will do the trick.)

Chances are your pet will sleep ninety percent of the time when they are not looking out the window or getting some attention from you.

Make sure your air conditioning is working properly and that you use it while driving. Don’t roll down the windows and let your dog hang its head out of the window, and never have your pet in the back of a truck.

Be sure and schedule frequent stops to allow your pet to move about and relieve themselves. Be sure and attach a leash before letting your pet out of the car and hold on tight. Some pets will bolt from nervousness or excitement when in unfamiliar environments. After a walk, offer your pet hydration and congratulate them for their good behavior. Respect the rights of other travelers and keep your pet close to you.

Hopefully you checked our pet friendly hotels and booked a pet friendly hotel or motel online. When checking in, get clarification on the hotel’s pet policy. If the hotel or motel charges a pet fee, pay it. Don’t try to hide your pet or smuggle them into your room.

Most accommodations ask that you do not leave the pet alone in the room for obvious reasons. You may have to order “take out” or room service. Ask at the desk if there are any restaurants with outside dining nearby and check with them to see if pets are welcome on their patio.

Be courteous to other guests in the hotel and keep your pet leashed, quiet, and well behaved while you are there. Walk your pet in designated areas and be sure to clean up after them.

Take your pet around their new home, and show them where you have placed their food, water, and bedding. Introduce your pet to the neighbors, and ask if there are parks nearby where your pet can exercise. Take them for a walk so they can explore the smells of the neighborhood. Most of all, enjoy your vacation with your best friend. You both will be glad you took each other!

More information about traveling with a pet in a car.


Auto Pet Travel — 35 Comments

  1. Silke – as you are traveling in a car, you can ride Le Shuttle from Calais, France to Folkestone. It is a relaxing 45 minute ride. There are also a number of pet friendly ferries that have routes from the mainland to the UK. Most will require that your pup travel in your vehicle and some have kennels on deck as well. All of these are approved transport routes for importing a pet to the UK, at least until Jan, 2021.

  2. Hi, my husband and I would like to travel to Southengland for 3 weeks in August 2020 (if it’ll be allowed due to Corona restrictions). We have an 11-year old Flat Coated Retriever with a EU-Pet-Passport and microchip. She has also all necessary vaccinations (rabies, etc.) and will get another worm treatment shortly before the journey. I also printed and filled in the online form about non-commercial travel with a dog to the UK. Now I read something about “a pet must arrive in the UK via cartein travel routes and ways” which only list rail, plane or cargo options, but we want to go by our own car (we have all necessary precautions for a dog of her size in our car). Is this allowed or would we run into trouble by taking her in our private car? I’m a bit confused by the rules mentioned on the GOV UK site.

  3. Kevin – all live animals must fly to the UK as air cargo. This means that you will likely need an agent to book the transport. Flying out of the UK, your Lab can fly as checked baggage. Both ways, it will need to fly in an IATA compliant pet crate like these: Know also that, if the UK withdraws from the EU with no deal that a rabies titer test will be required to return to Italy. Get the test done before you leave Italy and have the results recorded in your Lab’s EU Pet Passport otherwise you will need to get the test done in the UK and wait 3 months to return to the EU.

  4. Can anyone tell me if I need a crate to take my dog from Italy to the UK and back? I’ve been searching all over and not been able to find anything certain to say if the dog needs to be in a crate or just the boot will do. My dog is a Labrador, 10 months with passport etc all ok

  5. Dragos – as long as you are leaving and returning to the UK prior to October 31, 2019 or Brexit, your dog will need a UK Pet Passport reflecting a current rabies vaccination administered after a microchip was implanted and more than 21 days before travel. When you return to the UK, your dog will need a tapeworm treatment recorded in the EU Pet Passport between 1 and 5 days of entering the country.

    If you are entering the EU after Brexit or October 31, 2019, and the UK leaves the EU without a ratified deal, your dog will need a rabies titer test done 3 months prior to entering the EU. Your dog will also need an EU health certificate issued within 10 days of travel. That form will be good for 4 months of travel within the EU and you can use it to re-enter the UK.

    In short, the UK Pet Passport is good to enter the EU until either Brexit occurs or October 31, 2019. After that, the rules will change. This page will reflect the new rules:

  6. hello , i would like to go on vacation in the EU (Romania) and take my dog with me . I will be traveling by car so what are the steps to leave the UK and what will i need at customs when i get back to the uk ?
    The dog is brought from romania in 2019 and it is registered in the uk . thank you

  7. Allyson – as long as you are traveling prior to October 1, 2019 or before the UK withdraws from the EU, you can fly with your Collie as excess baggage into Paris and take Le Shuttle from Calais. You and your pup will need to ride in a vehicle on Le Shuttle. If you don’t have friends or relatives who can pick you up in Calais, you can hire a service like Pet Movers or Folkestown Taxi. You can also fly to AMS and take DFDS Ferry to Newcastle.

  8. Hi – I plan to move back to the UK with my smallish collie. Can I take her as excess baggage with Lufthansa? and then catch a train back to UK?
    She has all her injections etc and I will obviously get the appropriate paperwork sorter for her. I just need to save as much money as possible on doing things myself,

  9. Wang – there are not a lot of options to get your pup to either the US or EU other than flying. Also, your veterinarian must sign a document that she is fit to fly. Depending on her condition, the airlines must approve the transport. If this can happen, you need to get her a crate to travel in and get her used to it.

    The other alternative would be to transport her by ground to the EU. This would be more complicated and she would need a rabies titer test 3 months prior to travel.

  10. Thanks Susan. I am crying. really.
    The problem is–
    My daughter is vary emotional dog. and Some weakness. So, I Don’t want to send her to cargo. I am not a very rich man , how can I do for my daughter?

  11. Wang – the United States would be an easier country to import your dog to in terms of requirements. You can find them here:

    Because China is considered a high-rabies country by the EU, it can take 4 months to prepare your pup to enter the country. If you have a specific country in mind, you will need to find it in the drop down menu here and push the GO button:

    Cats and dogs departing China must be microchipped then rabies vaccinated at an official animal vaccination hospital in the PRC and must have the official “Animal Health and Immunity Certificate” (vaccination red book). The vaccination must be administered more than 30 days but not more than one year prior to international travel.

    No more than 7 days prior to travel, pets must be examined and obtain an Exit Health Certificate from a designated government quarantine hospital.

    You will need to find an airline that flies the entire route. Do no change airlines along the way.

  12. I am Wang. I am in Beijing, China. My kid–BoBo a 19 years old famale dog. She is in Canine Lymphoma and other tumors. She is my sweet daughter, I will never give up her. I want give her a best Medical to USA or EU from China. What need I do? Help me please.
    forgive my English

  13. Spain does not permit the entry of unvaccinated pets, nor does France. Your pup should be 12 weeks of age before rabies vaccination and there is a 21 day wait after vaccination. Get it microchipped before vaccination. (Same vet visit is OK) get it an EU Pet Passport and you are good to go.

  14. hello, Are dogs less than 3 months available to travel from Holland to Spain by car?

    Many thanks George

  15. There are no border points that we are aware of to enter France at Calais, but will the ferry company accept your dog?

  16. Hi doespecially anyone know if dog passports etc are checked travelling from dover to calais. Our dogs rabies injection is a couple of days under the 21 days but is valid to rent enter the UK. Please help!!

  17. We are are driving from qatar to UAE in a large minibus. We have 8 cats and 4 dogs (all in good health and neutered and spayed.) Are they any limits on the number of pets allowed into uae by road.? Thanks

  18. Really some useful tips to check out before planning a trip with your dog (long rides). Will be bookmarking this since I will be traveling for new year with my dog.

  19. Hello Maureen – as long as your pets have a current rabies vaccination administered after a microchip was implanted and more than 21 days prior to travel and are traveling with an EU Pet Passport, you are free to move from EU country to EU country.

  20. We are hoping to emigrate from UK to Spain next year. We plan to buy a motorhome and allow our dog and 3 cats to have the living accommodation, with partition to stop them entering the driving cab. We have the pet passports sorted out but are worried when we see things that say there are acceptable routes for entry to Spain. We are also worried about driving through France. Are there ‘certain routes’ we should plan on??

  21. xcDOGS is a service online and we connect people who travel with pets to a local person who can pet sit for short times, in a town travelers may not know anyone. SO, don’t leave pets in the cr, RV, or hotel room. Find a Host for peace of mind.
    See our story on YT at

  22. Hello.

    In May I will be flying home to Sharon, CT. from Bonita Springs, Fla… dog is just over the allowance of size and weight to permit her to fly on the plane with me….did you know of a reliable Pet auto van service that would transport her from Florida to Conn.?

    Eleanor Owens

  23. Camilla – generally, puppies are given rabies vaccinations at 3 months. To enter Britain, you need to wait 21 days after the microchip is implanted and rabies vaccination is administered as England will not permit the entry of unvaccinated pets less than 4 months old. Your pup will also need a tapeworm treatment between one and five days of entering the country as well as an updated EU pet passport.

  24. I am going to be traveling with my dog to Mexico via car. What does the dog need to enter and exit Mexico?

  25. Hello,
    I wondered if anyone could help me please?
    I live in germany, but I’m from leicester, England.
    My partner and I wish to drive next Thursday to visit family for three days with our puppy. We want to drive from germany to England.
    Can she come to England for three days?
    She has had all of her injections, her micro chip and she has a passport. She is three months old.

    Please can someone let me know if this is allowed and ok?

    Thank you, much appreciated. (-;

  26. Sharon – Your pup must be microchipped, vaccinated for rabies and accompanied by an Import Permit, Blood Titer Test (and other test) results and a veterinary certificate to enter South Africa from the Netherlands. The pup is at the age where it can receive its first rabies vaccination and the titer test should be done 30 days after the series is complete to allow the antibodies to get into the bloodstream. The requirements for taking a pet to South Africa can be found here: There are links to instructions and all forms required if you need them.

    The pup must arrive as manifest cargo, so you would need to contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route.
    Let us know if you have other questions.

  27. May I expat an Old English Sheepdog puppy 3 month old from Netherlands to South Africa? Costs and legal aspects please

  28. Hello Cash – it is certainly possible to travel through France, Switzerland, Spain and Italy with a pet. Before leaving the UK, have your pet microchipped, then vaccinated (in that order, but same vet visit is fine). Get an EU pet passport and have the vet record everything in the passport. You can enter the other countries you have planned no sooner than 21 days after vaccination. Within 10 days of travel, you will need to visit your vet and have your pet passport updated. The countries you have referred to have no additional requirements, but you will need to get your dog (if you are traveling with a dog) a tapeworm treatment between one and five days of re-entering the UK.

  29. Hi, we are planning for a summer trip from the UK through to France, Switzerland, Spain and Italy with our 2 dogs. The journey will be by car through Europe.

    Can you please advise if this is possible? As I am confused with many websites saying that only approved carriers will be allowed to transport the pets. What about if it is a hired, personal car?

    Please advise

    Thank you

  30. Hi Susan – to travel through the EU, your pet must have been vaccinated for rabies after it was microchipped and accompanied with an EU pet passport. Turkey poses challenges, however. Their rules are similiar to the EU, but we understand that there is a blood titer test requirement to enter the country. You can find details here: There are no such requirements to enter either Georgia or Armenia, however, the issue may be the timing of your pet’s health certificate as Armenia requires that it be completed within 14 days of entry. Both countries will require a health certificate. Additionally, because Turkey, Armenia and Georga are considered hi rabies countries by DEFRA, your pet will need a blood titer test if you are returning to the UK. (you can use the titer test for Turkey to return to the UK as long as the rabies vaccinations have not expired.) You can find requirements to enter any countries you plan to pass through at Hope this helps.

  31. Hello, we would like to take our dog from the UK to Armenia by car. This will involve driving across Europe, then through Turkey into Georgia, and then entering Armenia. We plan to do the journey over 2-3weeks.
    Can you tell me whether such a journey is possible? My dog has an up-to-date pet passport.

    Many thanks,

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