How to Travel with a Dog in the United States

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated July 1, 2024

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Picture this — you and your furry best friend are ready for a much-needed vacation. You’ve packed your bags, made hotel reservations and eagerly counted down the days until your departure. But as you get closer to your travel date, you start to wonder — how will my dog handle the journey? Will they be comfortable in the car? Suddenly, the excitement of your upcoming adventure is overshadowed by worry and uncertainty. Are you confident you know how to travel with a dog?

But fear not! We know how important your furry companion is to you and we’re here to help. This comprehensive guide will take you through every step you need to travel with your dog in the United States. From health requirements and transportation options to packing essentials and safety tips, we’ll leave no tail-wagging detail untouched. So, buckle up and get ready to hit the road with your furry co-pilot!

Health Requirements for Traveling with a Dog

As a responsible pet parent, ensuring that your pets are healthy and ready to hit the road with you is vital. But before hitting the road with your furry friend, it’s essential to ensure they meet all necessary health requirements for travel. Here’s what you need to know:

#1. Check Health Requirements for Your Destination

Each state and country has its own set of regulations when it comes to bringing pets. Check your destination’s specific health requirements and ensure your dog meets them. For international travel, your dog may need additional vaccinations or a health certificate from a veterinarian.

#2. Update Vaccinations

Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, especially their rabies vaccination. Some airlines and states require proof of rabies vaccination. Keep a copy of your dog’s vaccination records with you during travel.

#3. Get a Health Certificate

Most airlines require a health certificate from a veterinarian dated within 10 days of travel. This certificate confirms that your dog is healthy and fit to fly. Additionally, some states may require a health certificate upon arrival.

#4. Check for Any Special Requirements

If you’re traveling from a country considered a high-risk area for certain diseases, your dog may need additional tests or a longer quarantine period before they’re allowed entry into your destination.

Remember, ensuring your dog’s health requirements are met is crucial not only for their well-being but traveling with pets of other animals and humans they may come in contact with during travel. So, plan ahead and ensure you have all the necessary documentation and information for a smooth journey.

Using Pet Ground Transport

If you’re uncomfortable with driving long distances or simply want to avoid the hassle of dealing with traffic, consider using pet ground transport services. These services provide a safe and comfortable way for your furry friend to travel, with experienced drivers who will ensure they are well taken care of throughout the journey.

One such service is CitizenShipper, a platform that connects pet owners with reliable and vetted drivers who offer pet ground transport across the United States. With CitizenShipper, you can easily find a driver who will take your dog from point A to point B, all while providing personalized care and attention.

Here are some things to look out for when using CitizenShipper for pet ground transport:

#1. Check the Credentials of the Driver

When using CitizenShipper, you can view the driver’s credentials, including their driving record and insurance information. This can give you peace of mind and ensure your pet is in good hands.

#2. Communicate With the Driver

Before and during transport, you must communicate with the driver to ensure they understand your pet’s needs and any special instructions you may have. CitizenShipper provides a messaging system to facilitate customer and driver communication.

#3. Confirm the Timeline

Make sure to confirm the timeline for transport with the driver before booking. This will help you plan ahead and ensure that your pet arrives at its destination on time.

#4. Prepare Your Pet for Travel

Make sure your pet is comfortable and prepared for travel. This may include providing them food, water and bedding during transport.

Can You Bring a Dog on a Bus?

Traveling by bus is a convenient and affordable way to get around, but can you bring your pup along for the ride? The answer is — it depends. Some bus companies allow pets on board, while others don’t. Additionally, the rules and restrictions can vary widely between companies and even between different routes operated by the same company. Here are some things to consider when traveling by bus with your dog:

#1. Check the Bus Company’s Pet Policy

Before booking your trip, check the pet policy of the bus company you plan to use. Some companies allow small dogs or cats to travel in carriers that fit under the seat, while others require larger dogs to travel in the cargo area.

#2. Call the Company to Confirm

Even if the bus company’s website says that pets are allowed, calling and confirming the policy is a good idea. You can also ask about any restrictions, fees, or required documentation.

#3. Prepare Your Dog for the Trip

Traveling on a bus could be stressful for dogs, especially if they’re not used to it. Ensure your dog is comfortable in their carrier or crate and consider using calming aids like pheromone sprays or natural remedies to help ease their anxiety.

#4. Be Prepared for Stops and Layovers

Depending on the length of your trip, you may have to make stops or layovers. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks for your dog and plan for potty breaks.

While traveling by bus with your dog could be more challenging than other modes of transportation, it’s possible with some preparation and research. And, if you feel uncomfortable taking your dog on the bus, there are always other options like CitizenShipper’s pet ground transport or flying with your furry friend.

How Do You Travel with a Dog on a Plane?

While it may seem daunting initially, traveling with your dog on a plane is feasible if you prepare accordingly. Here are some tips to make air travel with your dog hassle-free:

#1. Check Airline Policies

Different airlines have different policies when it comes to traveling with pets. Some airlines, like American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, allow pets to travel in-cabin with their owners, while others only allow pets to travel in the cargo hold.

Check with your airline before booking your ticket to ensure you know their specific policies and requirements.

#2. Use an Airline-Approved Carrier

If your pet is traveling in-cabin with you, it will need to be in an airline-approved pet carrier. These carriers come in various sizes, from small ones that fit under the seat in front of you to larger ones for bigger dogs. Make sure to measure your dog beforehand and choose the appropriate size carrier.

But if your pet is traveling in the cargo hold, it will need to be in an extra-large pet carrier that is airline-approved and has wheels for easy transport.

#3. Keep Your Dog Ready for the flight

It’s a good idea to get your dog used to their carrier before the flight. Leave it out in the house, let them explore it and even try putting them inside for short periods. This will help them feel more comfortable during the flight.

#4. Consider a Backpack Carrier

If your dog is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, you might want to consider using a backpack carrier. These carriers allow you to keep your hands free, which is a more comfortable idea for you and your dog during the flight.

#5. Choose the Right Flight

If your pet travels in-cabin with you, try to book a non-stop flight to minimize stress and the time your dog will spend in their carrier. Additionally, avoid flying during extreme temperatures, as it is dangerous for your pet.

Airlines That Allow Dogs in Cabin

The thought of flying with your beloved pooch in the cargo hold can sound nerve-wracking. But luckily, some airlines allow dogs to fly in cabins with their owners. First off, there’s a range of airlines that accept pooches in the cabin, including

  • Delta Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

This isn’t an exclusive list, so it’s always worth double-checking with the airline you plan to fly with before booking.

The size of your pup will also be taken into consideration before booking the flight ticket. Generally speaking, most airlines will accept one dog per adult in the cabin, provided it weighs no more than 20 pounds and fits comfortably in an approved pet carrier. You might also be required to pay a pet fee.

Make sure to arrive early and remain calm while at the airport. Flying could be a stressful experience for all involved, so keeping your cool is essential!

Health Precautions When Traveling with a Dog

When you’re traveling with your furry friend, it’s essential to take their health into consideration. Here are some health precautions to keep in mind:

#1. Heat Stroke

Dogs are susceptible to heat stroke, which can occur when exposed to high temperatures for too long. This can occur if you leave your dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes.

Some of the symptoms include heavy panting, excessive drooling, and lethargy. To prevent heat stroke, make sure your dog has access to water and shade, and avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day.

#2. Emotional Support

Traveling can be stressful for dogs, especially if they are not used to it. Consider bringing along items that provide emotional support, such as a favorite toy or blanket, to help your dog feel more comfortable.

#3. Temperature

Whether you’re traveling by car, plane, or train, it’s important to be mindful of the temperatures to which your dog will be exposed. In some cases, cargo areas may not be climate-controlled, which can put your dog at risk for heat stroke or hypothermia.

#4. Risks

Traveling with a dog can also expose them to certain risks, such as exposure to other service animals or illnesses. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on all their vaccinations, and consider bringing along any necessary medications or supplements to support their immune system. Remember, it’s always essential to consult with your veterinarian before embarking on any travel with your dog, especially if they have pre-existing health conditions.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Travel With a Dog?

The cheapest way to travel with your pup is to look for pet-friendly transportation options. There are several ways to do this, including using public transportation, carpooling with friends or family, and taking advantage of airline or bus discounts for pets.

#1. Road Trip

Driving can be the cheapest option for traveling with your dog. You don’t have to worry about airline fees; you can bring as much of your dog’s supplies as you need. Plus, it can be a great bonding experience for you and your pet.

But there are many disadvantages to it. For example, it could be time-consuming, and the car might have limited space, which can be daunting for the dog.

#2. Public Transportation

Public transportation could be a great way to travel with your pooch, as some public buses and trains will allow small dogs in their carriers at no additional cost. Check your local public transportation policies ahead of time because many don’t allow pets. Make sure that your dog is comfortable in their carrier for the duration of the journey.

#3. Carpooling

Carpooling is another affordable option for those who don’t want to leave their pup with a pet sitter while they’re away. Many people are willing to share the cost of gas if they don’t have to worry about finding a pet sitter while away. Although, there may be better choices for those traveling long distances as it could take longer than other forms of transportation, such as flying or taking the bus.

#4. Airline

You can also save money on airfare by looking for airlines that offer discounts for traveling with pets. Airlines like American Airlines and Southwest Airlines offer in-cabin travel for pets like cats and dogs up to 20 pounds. You may also be able to find discounts on bus tickets if you’re traveling within the same state or country.

With CitizenShipper, you can ease yourself of this burden. This transportation marketplace brings different pet transportation services together and allows you to compare until you find the most affordable option for your pup.

Ultimately, the best way to travel with your pup is to find an option that fits your budget and lifestyle. Whether it’s flying in-cabin or carpooling with a friend, there are plenty of ways to get your pup from point A to point B without breaking the bank.

Transporting Your Pet Has Never Been Easier — Try CitizenShipper Today

Now that you know the ins and outs of traveling with your furry friend, you’re ready to start planning your next adventure! Whether you’re heading across town or the country, CitizenShipper is the perfect way to find reliable, affordable pet transport options.

With CitizenShipper, you can easily connect with a community of passionate and experienced pet transporters who will ensure your furry friend arrives safely and comfortably at their destination. Plus, with the ability to compare quotes and read reviews, you can rest easy knowing you’ve chosen the best option for you and your pet.

So why wait? Head to CitizenShipper now to post your listing and receive free quotes from top pet transporters today. With CitizenShipper, your pet’s next adventure is just a click away!