Summer is quickly approaching, and many pet owners are planning to hit the road with their families—human and animal—in search of a little R & R. But before you strap Fido in his doggie harness seatbelt, be sure to prepare like a pro for your pet-friendly getaway.

Here are 5 steps to a pet-friendly road trip: 

#1: Schedule a veterinary visit

Before traveling with your furry friend, schedule a visit with your AAHA-accredited veterinarian. During this visit, your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your pet to ensure she has a clean bill of health:

  • Is she current on her vaccinations?
  • Does she have ample supply of her regular medications?
  • Is she protected against heartworm disease, fleas, and ticks?
  • Will she need a health certificate?
  • Does she need calming supplements or medications?
  • Is she microchipped, and is your contact information up-to-date on her registration?
  • Does she need motion sickness medications?

#2: Prepare properly

Is your pet accustomed to spending extended periods of time in the car?

As your vacation approaches, slowly increase the length of time she spends in the car. Also, ensure that your pet’s kennel is large enough for her to stand up and turn around while inside. Make it cozy by including a familiar blanket or bedding.

#3: Arrange for pet-friendly accommodations

Planning to stay in a hotel along your route or when you arrive at your final destination? When traveling with a pet, plan your hotel stays in advance and research each hotel’s pet policy. Go Pet Friendly can help in your search for pet-friendly restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, and more. Staying with friends or family? Don’t neglect to mention in advance that your furry friend will be coming along.

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#4: Keep your pet safe

At home, your pet’s veterinarian is a quick phone call or car ride away. But, what happens if an emergency arises while on the road in unfamiliar territory? Before embarking on your trip, bookmark the American Animal Hospital Association’s AAHA-Accredited Hospital Locator. Find an AAHA-accredited veterinary practice near your final destination, and keep the website handy in case your pet needs veterinary care while en-route. Just because you’re traveling, doesn’t mean your pet shouldn’t receive the highest quality veterinary care should she need it.

#5: Pack your pet’s bags

Don’t forget to bring along your pet’s essentials, including:

  • Food, water, and bowls (avoid switching your pet’s diet, otherwise you could be dealing with the not-so-pleasant effects of gastrointestinal upset during your vacation)
  • Collar or harness with identification tags and leash
  • Bags to pick up and dispose of waste during pit stops
  • A few favorite toys
  • Bedding
  • Medications
  • Medical records, including proof of vaccinations

Now, you’re ready to hop in the car and enjoy your pet-friendly road trip.

As the only organization that accredits veterinary hospitals in the US and Canada, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) sets the standard for quality veterinary care for companion animals. Learn more about the AAHA Standards of Accreditation and how they impact the veterinary care your pet receives by visiting, and find an AAHA-accredited veterinary practice near you at

May 10, 2019
Pet Care

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