Travelling peacefully with your pet

Basic care - Travelling peacefully with your pet

Before leaving

Make sure that your animal will be happy to travel... i.e. will it suffer from travel sickness? Will it be homesick? If it is the case, you may have a much less pleasant vacation. Fortunately, there are some alternatives.

Check with your family and friends. Perhaps a person you know could "baby sit", or you could leave your pet at a reputable facility.

Planning my animal's vacation

Check with airline, railroad or cruise companies to find out if animals are allowed to travel and, if yes, what type of reservations and what arrangements should be made.

Make sure pets are allowed in the hotel, motel or campground.

By plane

First, find out about the airline rules, reservations to be made and procedures that need to be followed when boarding. (Get the information as soon as possible!)

Try to find as direct a flight as possible or with the least amount of stops.

Arrive early at the airport in order to place your animal in the baggage hold and retrieve it quickly when you reach your destination.

By car

Ideally, if your pet is not used to car travel, have it take small rides during the days preceding your departure so it will get accustomed to it.

Plan stops every 2 hours or so for exercise, nature's needs and snacks. To avoid "accidents" in the car, it is preferable to give the main meal at the end of the day.

Don't forget that you should never leave your pet in a parked car for a long period of time, especially on sunny days. The temperature in the car goes up quickly and this could have terrible consequences for your pet (heat strokes can be deadly!).

By bus, train or boat 

Obtain information from companies to make sure you can travel with your pet. If possible, note the various procedures and requirements you need to follow.

Note that VIA Rail does not allow pets in passenger cars, but they can travel in a cage as "registered luggage"..

Vaccination and other medical information

Generally speaking, if you are thinking about travelling in the United States, make sure that the rabies vaccine schedule is up to date and that your animal is in good health. As an extra precaution, ask your veterinarian for a health certificate (a medical exam will obviously be necessary).

If you are thinking about travelling abroad (Europe for example), refer to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency site, under "Animals/Exports" You will find all the information you need regarding vaccines, necessary documents, rabies serum antibody titers and the type of identification required for your animal (microchip and/or tattoo).

Memo to help you find what you want on the site. Click on:

  • Exports
  • Live Animals and Animal Products
  • Pet Travel Scheme
  • Pets
  • European Community - Pet Dogs, Cats and Ferrets
  • List of Countries (choose the desired country)

For more information, communicate with the consulate of the country in question.

If your pet seems anxious or if it is agitated in the car for example, your veterinarian can prescribe some medication in order to make your pet's trip and yours more pleasant. (This requires a medical exam.)

General advice

Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with complete information and/or an identification tag.

Have on hand its favorite toy, a leash, some food (preferably kibbles) and fresh water.

In addition, make sure the transport cage (if necessary) is solid, big enough to allow your animal to move (turn around, lie down and stand up). It must have a waterproof floor, a food and water area, and it must lock securely.