brown dog wearing sunglasses on blue textile

Bringing Pets on Your Next Vacation

If you’re reluctant to leave your dog or cat behind when you go on vacation, with some advance planning you can bring them along to share in the fun.

The American Veterinary Medical Association offers advice on its website,, for people who want to bring their pets on vacation. First, decide whether your pet is comfortable with travel. Some can’t handle the stress, whether it’s due to age, illness or temperament. Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification tags that will help you locate the animal if you become separated. You should also consider a permanent form of ID, like a microchip. If you’re flying, you’ll need a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. A vet can also give you tips on acclimating your pet to travel and new surroundings.

When it comes to picking a destination for you and your pet, there are lots of options, whether you’re looking for a beach vacation, a new city to discover or a national park to explore. Your Travel Leaders travel advisor can give you suggestions about where to go, explain the procedures for flying with a dog or cat and help you choose a pet-friendly hotel.

Airlines have different rules and fees when it comes to flying with your pet. But generally, your dog or cat must be able to fit in a hard- or soft-sided carrier that goes under the seat in front of you and must stay in the kennel for the entire flight. There also may be restrictions on the number of animals flying on each flight and the seats you can choose, so it’s especially important to book as early as possible. The only animals allowed on a plane without a pet carrier are service dogs that are specially trained to assist someone with a disability.

Remember to pack a pet-friendly travel kit, too. Bring all of the essentials you’ll need to take care of your dog or cat while you’re waiting to board, like a collapsible water bowl, leash, treats and plastic bags. To keep your pet calm during the flight, it always helps to bring a favorite toy, blanket or pillow that smells familiar.

Hotels will generally charge a fee to have a pet in your room. And keep in mind that in many cases, you won’t be able to leave the pet alone in your room, so check to see if there’s a pet-sitting service. But with those caveats, many hotels will roll out the welcome mat for your dog, cat or other animal, providing amenities such as beds, water bowls, litter boxes, toys and treats, and even spa treatments. Your hotel concierge should have a list of nearby dog parks where your pet can get some exercise.