Summer is right around the corner and if you’re planning to travel with your pet, you’re not alone. According to a recent Hilton survey, 55% of Americans who are pet owners are likely to travel with their pet this summer. Perhaps this is because many will consider car travel this year – despite high gas prices – says AAA, plus many are considering vacation rentals, with millions of pet-friendly listings to choose from. Or perhaps you decided to stay at a cottage or cabin this summer as a more relaxing (and less expensive) “staycation?”

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Whether it’s a road trip or a flight to a new destination, traveling with pets requires a lot of preparation and planning. 

Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit, a specialized veterinary practice in Phoenix and Tucson that offers low-cost vaccinations, mass removals, spay and neuters and tooth extractions, has some pet travel tips that will help make your trip with your pet a success.

Flying with an animal: 

Plan ahead: Before booking a flight, make sure to research the airline’s pet policy. Some airlines allow pets in the cabin, while others require pets to travel in cargo. Also, make sure to book your pet’s ticket in advance as airlines often have limited space for pets.

Choose the right carrier: The carrier should be airline-approved and large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Make sure to label the carrier with your pet’s name, your name, and contact information.

Make your pet comfortable: Before the flight, give your pet a chance to exercise and relieve themselves. Also, make sure to pack your pet’s favorite toys, bedding, and food. During the flight, offer your pet water and treats to keep them comfortable.

Check the weather: Make sure to check the weather at your destination before booking a flight. Some airlines have temperature restrictions for pets, and extreme weather conditions can be dangerous for pets traveling in cargo.

Visit the vet: Before flying, make sure to visit the vet to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to travel. This includes being up to date on vaccinations. Also, make sure to bring a copy of your pet’s health records with you.

Driving with an animal:

Plan your route: Before hitting the road, plan your route and make sure to include frequent stops for your pet to exercise and relieve themselves.

Secure your pet: Make sure to secure your pet in a carrier or with a seatbelt harness to prevent them from moving around the car. Never let your pet ride in the front seat or stick their head out of the window.

Pack for your pet: Bring plenty of water, food, and treats for your pet. Also, pack their favorite toys, bedding, and any medication they may need.

Keep your pet comfortable: Make sure to keep your car cool and offer your pet water and treats during the drive. Also, make sure to stop frequently to give your pet a chance to stretch their legs.

Taking an animal to an AirBNB:

Research the property: Before booking an AirBNB, make sure to research the property’s pet policy. Some hosts may have restrictions on the type or size of pets allowed. Do not try and “sneak” your pet in. You will likely violate the terms of the rental and may lose your deposit or worse – be asked to leave the property.

Bring your pet’s essentials: Make sure to bring your pet’s food, water, bedding, toys, and any medication they may need.

Clean up after your pet: Make sure to clean up after your pet both inside and outside the property. Also, make sure to bring cleaning supplies in case of any accidents.

Be respectful of the host’s property: Make sure to keep your pet off the furniture and to prevent them from scratching or damaging the property.

Be considerate of the neighbors: Make sure to keep your pet quiet and under control to avoid disturbing the neighbors. Also, make sure to pick up after your pet when outside the property.

Traveling with pets requires a lot of preparation and planning. By following these summer pet travel tips, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for both you and your furry friend.

Authors: Dr. Kelly Patriquin, DVM,  and Doug Patriquin, CEO, are the owners of  Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit, a specialized veterinary practice, offering affordable and convenient surgical care for pets at 6 locations in the Phoenix and Tucson Metro areas. Services include a variety of low-cost surgical care including spay/neuter, dental cleaning and extractions, mass removals and more. For more information, visit