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Traveling by Car

Car rides can be stressful for a pet if they are not used to traveling.  It is a good idea to start with smaller car trips in their carrier or in a harness seat belt and just go down the driveway and work up to around the block, or to the park and back.  This is especially true for cats as they rarely go into their carrier and in a car unless they are going to the vet’s office!  For cats, it helps them if you leave their carrier out at all times with toys, a bed, some catnip, or treats just so they get used to seeing it and don’t automatically associate the carrier with a car ride.

truck and trailer

Here are some helpful articles about cat and dog travel in a car:


While on the road trip, it is important to take frequent breaks to get fresh air and let your dog eliminate.  Never let your dog hang their head out of the window.  Debris can hurt them (the eyes are particularly vulnerable) and some dogs may see something exciting and try to jump out.  Obviously for cats you don’t want them outside of the car, but you can allow them time outside  of their carrier while the car is parked, to have access to a litter box, food and water.


NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED IN A CAR FOR ANY PERIOD OF TIME!  It is far too hot and dangerous to ever leave your pet unattended in a car.  Even if it is cold outside, an unattended pet is usually a pet that gets into trouble by rummaging through luggage.  You want to especially be careful of your pet having any access to your human medications or their own medications as they can be toxic.  Here are some helpful links to search for pet friendly hotels and restaurants around the country:

Pet Friendly Hotel Search

Nation-wide search of dog-friendly hotels, events, campgrounds, parks, beaches, dining, and skiing

Search engine for pet friendly places

Etiquette for pet travel

It is going to be very important to plan your trip in a very detailed manner that is comfortable for both you and your pet.  Designate rest stops and places to stay overnight based on businesses that allow pets.  If in the unfortunate event your pet does get a hold of an unwanted substance like people medications or all of their year’s supply of rimadyl in one sitting, here is a link to animal poison control you can call and a searchable list of emergency veterinary clinics by state:

ASPCA Animal Poison Control

Emergency Veterinary Clinic search engine

Hopefully, you will not need any emergency veterinarians or poison control hotlines, but like they say, “Always be prepared!”

How do I Prepare for Travel?

dog carHow do I prepare for travel?

The first questions are how are you traveling and where are you going? The requirements are different depending on your mode of transportation and final destination.  Click on the links at the end of this article for more information on how to prepare for travel.


If you are going to be traveling internationally, or to Hawaii, begin preparations for travel 1 year in advance.  Certain countries require rabies titers. The timing of these titers is important with respect to the date the vaccine was given, and when you intend to travel.   Each country’s requirements are different, and they change frequently! Having a successful and easy trip requires cooperation and teamwork between client, doctor and staff at Westgate Pet Clinic.  Please try to make any necessary travel appointments with the same doctor each time for consistency.  Also, please check the USDA website before any travel appointment to see if travel requirements for your final destination have changed.


If you have general questions about traveling with your pet, please contact one of our receptionists at 612-925-1121 and we'd be happy to assist!


Traveling by car

Traveling by car to Canada 

Camping and hiking 

Traveling by boat

Traveling by plane within the Continental United States 

Traveling by plane to Hawaii

Traveling by plane internationally



How Should I Travel with My Pet

dog drivingHow should I travel with my pet?

For safety purposes, it is best if your pet is either in a well ventilated crate or wears a seat belt harness in the back seat.  These can be purchased and fitted by many pet stores.  If you’re in a car and it comes to a sudden stop, being in the front seat can be very dangerous for a pet.  Depending on how you are traveling, the crate sizes and structures can vary, and we will talk more about what airlines require of a crate when we get to the section on traveling by plane.

A discussion about sedatives while traveling is one you should have with your veterinarian.  Some airlines forbid sedatives for the pet’s safety, and many times you can work your pet up to longer travels by taking shorter car rides with them leading up to the trip instead of using sedatives. On the other hand, if you pet is very anxious, it might make for a better trip for everyone, if a sedative is used.

Should I travel with my pet

dog-noseShould I travel with my pet?

First and foremost, is your pet healthy enough to travel with you?  A health check with your veterinarian is important to make sure they can handle an extended trip.  Also, it is a good time to update the vaccinations and get a signed rabies certificate to keep with you on your travels at all times.  Depending on how you are traveling, a health certificate signed by your veterinarian may be required.  For longer trips, bringing bottled water (or tap water from home put in a sturdy container) and a large quantity of their food is a good idea.  Also make sure you have enough of the medications they are taking, if any.


Make sure your pet is wearing identification at home and while you travel. A sturdy collar with quality identification tags (or an embroidered collar), and a microchip under the skin.  For cats, we recommend the break away collars and a microchip.  It is also a good idea to have with you a recent picture of your pet. Depending on where you are going, a microchip may be required as a form of permanent identification, and most veterinary clinics, animal control centers and humane societies have the capabilities to scan a pet for a microchip and get a hold of the owner if a pet was ever lost.


Here are some good websites with frequently asked questions on pet travel:


American Kennel Club Travel Tips

AAA Pet Book

American Veterinary Medical Association: FAQ Travel with your Pet

Humane Society Pet Travel Tips

Red Cross Preparing to Travel with a Pet








Traveling with your Pet

suitcaseTraveling with your pet can be great fun!  But there is a lot to think about before “hitting the road” with your furry friend.  Travel by car within the United States is logistically quite easy, but if you are going to be leaving the continental United States, things can get complicated quickly!   Read on for more information to help you answer these questions:



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Minneapolis, MN 55410
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