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Pet Travel with a Puppy

Pet Travel with a new puppy can take some work. Your new puppy is just so cute, a little bundle of fur and endless energy. You want to take your puppy everywhere – to work, to visit friends and relatives. You are even thinking that, instead of leaving him in a kennel, you will take him along on your next vacation trip.

Traveling with a puppy is a joy, but there are things you need to consider:


At the very least, your puppy needs to have had his puppy shots prior to travel. If you are traveling by air, you may need to wait until he is old enough to be vaccinated for rabies, generally about 3-4 months of age.

Travel by Car

A puppy’s boundless energy is great in the back yard, but may not be so great in the car. It is simply not safe for the driver to have puppy on their lap or bouncing around without restraint as it could be very distracting. You also need to think about your puppy’s safety as well. In case of a sudden stop, your puppy could be seriously injured. Your best bet is to let your puppy travel in a well ventilated pet crate or secure him in a puppy harness. Not only is it safer but in some states it is the law.

It’s best not to feed your puppy right before a trip as a full stomach may aggrivate motion sickness. You may want to consider a all natural pet calmer. You also want to have a supply of water with a travel bowl that does not spill.

A mature dog can travel for six or 8 hours but a puppy needs a “rest stop” every 2 to 3 hours. As tempting as it may be, do not take them out of the car without a lead attached. A squirming puppy can easily wriggle its way out of your arms and be off like a shot.

Travel by Air

Your puppy may be small enough to fit in an airline compliant carrier and go under the seat in front of you. You need to get a sturdy carrier large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around in and it must have ample ventilation. Most importantly, don’t forget plenty of quality made pads for the bottom of the carrier for those little squirts and squats.

Your puppy will need a health certificate completed by your veterinarian within 10 days of travel, and maybe a little all natural relaxer to calm them down. No food or water right before your flight, but it’s okay to let puppy lick some water off your fingers during the flight. You can do this by unzipping the top of the bag just a little so you can fit your hand snugly inside. Do not take your puppy out of the carrier during the flight. As much as you would like to show them off, it is simply too easy for your pet to get loose in the plane and bother other passengers.

If puppy is more than 15 pounds, then it will likely need to travel as checked baggage in a special section of cargo where the temperature and pressure is the same as the passenger cabin. Now you will need an IATA compliant pet crate to transport your puppy.

International Travel

Each country’s rules are different, but they all require that your puppy be vaccinated for rabies at least 30 days prior to the travel date. This means your puppy is going to be at least 4 months old before they visit most any country in the world.

Also consider a pet microchip if your puppy is not already microchipped. Many countries around the world require a 15 digit ISO microchip for identification. Have the microchip number engraved on your puppy’s collar tags as well as your cell phone number.

No matter how you travel, bring along your puppy’s food. Now is not the time to change their diet as it may cause digestion problems. Other handy item are wipes for accidents, familiar chew toys, portable water bowl, and a t-shirt or sock with your scent on it. The clothing will go in the carrier or crate with your puppy and provide security.

If you are staying in a hotel and your puppy is crated at night at home, try to stay consistent. If you did not bring your pet’s crate with you, ask at the desk. If they do not have one, try putting your puppy in the carrier at night. Pets like confinement, especially in strange environments.

Before you leave, have a friend take a picture of you and your puppy with your cell phone. Having a picture of you together will help officials identify you as the owner should your puppy get lost and picked up by the local dog catcher.

Does traveling with your pet seem like a lot of work? It’s well worth it when you and your new puppy are strolling down a street and every passer by stops to make a fuss over your puppy. The attention is great for your pup as the sooner you socialize your pet, the more fun your future trips together will be.

Here’s our checklist for traveling with a puppy:

Everything you need for safe and enjoyable travel with your puppy can be found at

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Have a question? We have current and accurate information on quarantine rules, health certificates, immigration forms, microchipping your pet, dangerous dog breed restrictions; it is all here and we are adding more articles all the time Your pet's health is always important, especially when you are traveling. We have articles on avoiding car sickness, canine influenza, pet safety, and more. There are also articles on fun things to do with your pet: camping with your pet, traveling in an RV, and other adventures that you and your pet can share.

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