A young woman traveling with a dog.

Pet travel safety tips

Traveling with pets doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s how to help keep your travel simple and pet friendly.

Traveling with a dog or cat? Bringing furry friends on a getaway means preparing to keep them out of harm’s way, paying special attention to your surroundings and packing essentials that your animal will need in the days ahead.

Whether you need to know how to travel with a dog by plane or whether or not you need a pet life jacket, brush up on these tips before your next trip — and don’t forget to grab Fido’s favorite treats.

Road trips

Creating a safe and cozy place when you are driving with pets can make even an hours-long car ride more comfortable for both animal and human. A great way to travel with a dog in a car is with a pet carrier for smaller dogs or a specialized dog safety harness for larger breeds. Cat essentials for road trips include travel cat carriers. Consider adding their favorite toys or a familiar blanket to make them feel safe. Plan ahead: Get your dog or cat into the habit of taking car rides with some smaller trips around your neighborhood.

Once you’re on the road, making stops is essential. Be sure to take potty, exercise and water breaks to keep your pup happy. Allowing time for the pet to stretch its legs can make them less anxious during the trip. Be careful around gas stations and be mindful of any harmful chemicals nearby. For more tips specific on traveling with pets, read up on how to road trip with dogs or cats.

In and around water

The beach is fun for everyone, but animals — especially dogs — need to take additional precautions if they’re splashing in the lake or hanging out in the sand.

When it comes to beachfront activities, your pup’s behavior and beach polices are both things to consider. Some areas do not allow pets or require them to be leashed. If you’re letting your furry friend off-leash in an approved area, be sure the dog can follow your commands. Knowing they can obey basic instructions is a must.

No matter where you are, it’s important to stay vigilant whenever your dog is around water. Even confident swimmers need supervision so they don’t get too tired after swimming far from shore. Take plenty of breaks and make sure your pup gets water and shade during super-hot days.

If you’re boating, make sure that your pet has an animal life jacket on to keep them safe should they get into the water. Getting your dog used to the boat ahead of time is key — and don’t forget the leash for potty breaks.

Hotels and rentals

Before you set out, make sure to find pet-friendly hotels on your journey or at your final destination. Four-legged friends will be excited to explore their new surroundings, so it’s important to inspect the area as soon as you arrive. And be sure to respect the areas designated for pet waste around the property.

If you’re staying multiple nights, plan the details. Make sure doors and windows are closed and keep any electronics or other potentially dangerous items out of reach. Bringing the animal bed and setting it up in a convenient, quiet spot can make it easier for them to remain calm overnight. Designate an eating area for pets — and keep litter boxes in the bathroom.

Experts suggest not leaving pets, especially dogs, alone no matter where you’re staying because it can cause animals additional stress. Most rentals, including hotels, ask pet owners to provide an additional deposit when booking, and there may be a no-pets-on-the-furniture rule. That means keeping pets monitored in your hotel room or vacation home will be better for you and your pets — and cost less, too. 


Having your pooch nearby as you roast hot dogs and marshmallows around the fire is sure to result in some quality bonding time. But even before you arrive at the campground, it’s important to set some ground rules to keep your furry pal safe. Most campgrounds request dogs be on a leash, and this becomes especially important if you’re out for a walk or hike. You’ll want to pack your dog’s essentials, too, including food, bowls, waste bags, insect repellant for pets and waterproof bedding that can stay in the tent. Be sure to bring a first-aid kit in case of accidental ingestion or another emergency. And consult the staff for any areas that pets should avoid.


Individual airlines have various rules about how to travel with pets on a plane, so it’s best to do some legwork upfront and understand the requirements before purchasing a ticket. In general, pets weighing less than 20 pounds can go in a carrier under the seat in front of you — and will count as carry-on luggage.

If you’re wondering if it’s safe for dogs to fly in cargo, the answer is yes. Most airlines transport larger dog breeds in the temperature-controlled and pressurized cargo part of the plane. Before you’re ready to jet, have a plan to keep your tail-wagging friend comfy on the go. Practice how your pet will rest in a carrier and determine what other items you’ll want to bring for your furry friend’s comfort. Flying with pets involves plenty of nerves, but often the final destination is worth it.

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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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