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The 17 Best Pet Travel Essentials and Vet-approved Travel Tips

We picked the best bowls, backpacks, litter boxes, and more for traveling dogs and cats.

Katherine Alex Beaven is a Los Angeles-based travel, food and drink, and culture writer.

travel dog kit

In This Article

  • Our Top Picks

Our Testing Process

Tips for traveling with your pet.

  • Why Trust T+L

The Spruce Pets / Kristin Kempa

Traveling with your dog or cat can get overwhelming for both of you. On top of many pets having travel anxiety or getting motion sickness, they also get bored, have to use the bathroom, and get hungry and thirsty on the road. Whether you're traveling by car, plane, boat, or train (or even just going for a hike), you'll want to stock up on the top pet travel accessories to make you and your furry friend's experience a heck of a lot more enjoyable.

To get expert recommendations and tips for traveling with a pet, we spoke with Dr. Gina Rendon, medical director at Williamsburg Vet Clinic in Brooklyn, New York, and Dr. Catriona Love, medical director at Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital in Seattle, Washington. They shared important safety and logistical tips for traveling with your pet.

We also took recommendations from Travel + Leisure editors, did extensive research, and reviewed 131 products across seven different tests including ones for dog car seats, cat carriers, GPS collars, and more. Before you take your next trip with your pet, check out these travel accessories that will make vacations with the whole family run smoothly.

Best Airline-approved Dog Backpack Carrier

Mr. peanut's aspen series airline approved backpack pet carrier.

  • Performance 5 /5
  • Quality 5 /5
  • Comfort 4.5 /5

Your pet will get great ventilation and views with mesh windows on all four sides.

The narrow width/height may not provide enough space for some dogs.

If you need an airline-approved pet carrier , this petite backpack-style dog carrier makes traveling hands-free with your dog a breeze. The thoughtful details stood out during testing, including several built-in pockets for storing treats, your phone, or waste bags. We also found the side water bottle pocket and laptop sleeve convenient. The interior is fleece-lined for your dog’s comfort, and there is a leash tether for security. Mesh on all four sides gives your pup a breathable space with all-sides peekability — two factors that can help comfort anxious travelers. This backpack is slim enough to fit under even the narrowest of under-seat space on a plane, but with only seven inches of interior floor width (as stated by the manufacturer, it’s made for smaller dogs). The padded backpack straps are easily adjustable, and you can also belt in the backpack with the handy seat belt attachment. 

Best Dog Car Seat

Away the pet carrier.

  • Comfort 5 /5
  • Portability 5 /5
  • Design 5 /5

It looks as good as it performs — and it has pet safety certification.

Minimal mesh paneling may be claustrophobic for some pets.

The Away Pet Carrier is a generous glow-up from the traditional pet carrier. Clean lines give this carrier a modern profile and silhouette, while the all-black color gives it an edge against the competition. We love this carrier not just for its looks, but also how it performs. Details like a water-resistant lining, removable plush bedding with a reinforced bottom, a retractable privacy screen, and loads of pockets and storage areas keep pets and pet parents happy. This carrier is also one of four pet carriers certified by the Center for Pet Safety for use in the backseat of your car. We tested this on a 12-hour car ride with a 6-pound dog who does not typically like car rides, and the dog seemed comfortable and secure, sleeping for almost the entire ride. It’s worth noting that there is limited mesh paneling (only on the top and one side), which may cause some pets to get claustrophobic and/or limit breathability in some situations. 

Best Car Seat Cover for Dogs

Urpower dog car seat cover.

  • Ease of Setup 5 /5
  • Functionality 5 /5
  • Ease of Cleaning 5 /5

It is easy to install and has high sides for full protection of your car and pet.

It’s got fixed measurements, so be sure it’ll line up correctly with your car’s backseat space. 

Road tripping with your pet? Polyester and 600D PVC material keep this hammock-style cover sturdy, durable, and waterproof — and your backseat spotless. We thought installation was painless, but take note if the fixed measurements and anchor strap placement fits with your car before buying. We love the high all-sides protection this cover provides so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up any shedding or mess from the floor, doors, or seatbacks — or your pet crawling up into the front seat. Cleaning the cover is as easy as wiping it down with a damp cloth. A purposeful design includes slots for accessing seat belt bases so you can clip in your pet for the ride, a nonslip rubber backing for stability when on the move, and a storage pocket with a Velcro closure for pet essentials. It comes in seven neutral color options, including a multi-colored paw print pattern and two black variations with orange accents.

Best Portable Pet Bowl

Maxbone go portable bowls.

Maxbone  

It’s a stylish silicone pet bowl that you can roll up and toss into your bag. 

The bowl size may be more of a snack size for larger pets.

This roll-up, two-in-one silicone pet bowl set is our favorite way to feed our pets on the road and gives us one less thing to keep track of while in transit. Each set comes with two bowls approximately five by two inches that are connected to a larger flat mat measuring 15.4 by 9.3 inches. The bowls are more like walled wells, and each holds around two-and-a-half cups. We tried this out with a dog who loves to splash, but the built-in placement and the way the bowls are attached mat them virtually spill proof (anytime the dog did scoop out food or spill water, the silicone mat would catch it). We also found the soft silicone veasy to clean with soap and water, and we love how quickly it dries — two big pluses when you’re on the move. The fact that you can easily roll up the mat and stick these bowls into your pet’s carrier or a tote also scores big in our books. Plus, the geometric design of the bowls adds an element of style to a product that is usually bland. These Maxbone Go! Portable Bowls are also available in contemporary colors like mint, pale yellow, peach, and sand. 

Best Dog Food Storage

Iris airtight food storage container.

  • Design 4.5 /5
  • Performance 2 /5
  • Durability 5 /5
  • Easy to Clean 5 /5

Both containers have easy-to-load, flip-top lids that snap shut. 

The larger sizes may not be suitable for all types of trips.

This double-decker food storage container is an ideal way to keep your dog’s kibble fresh while on the road. We were big fans of the top-loading, flip-top lids and how well they stayed sealed shut when put to the test. Cleaning just takes a little bit of soap and water, though you’ll want to make sure the inside is completely dry before closing the lid to avoid mildew from moisture. The 35-pound capacity is great for longer trips or multiple dogs, and the wheely bottoms mean no heavy lifting. We also like that there’s an included scoop. While it may not be small enough to take on the plane, the top container can easily fit into the backseat or trunk of a car. 

Best Cat Carrier

Maskeyon airline approved pet carrier.

  • Portability 4 /5

All sides can expand, but it still folds flat for easy storage. 

The 19.5-inch length won’t be able to fly on several airlines.

Whether you’re heading to Vermont or the vet’s office, this expandable cat carrier is a smart way to give your cat a little extra space to lounge while you wait. We love that each side has an accordion-style, scratch-proof mesh expansion window, giving maximum configuration customization options. We transported a cat to the vet with all of the flaps folded in and then laid her out on a bench with some flaps unzipped when we got to the waiting room for extra space. Three exterior pockets keep travel essentials handy, and you have three zippered access and loading points, including from the top. This carrier can hold up to 20 pounds of cat, and you can carry it via built-in handles or a detachable shoulder strap. A soft-lined interior panel keeps kitty comfy, and it’s removable and machine-washable. The exterior is waterproof and wipes clean. The Maskeyon Airline Approved Pet Carrier is somewhat of a misnomer, though — its length exceeds several soft pet carrier requirements on a handful of airlines, including Delta, American Airlines, and United. 

Best Dog Crate

Petmate pet kennel.

  • Performance 4.5 /5
  • Quality 4.5 /5

The metal grate is secure but super simple to open and close.

The small plastic handle makes it challenging to balance weight, especially if your dog is moving around inside.

This old-school dog crate carrier is a hardside option for transporting your pup. Assembly is quick and requires no tools, and there’s a small plastic carry handle. We like this carrier because it’s lightweight but sturdy and kept our pet secure during transport. It’s a bare-bones crate, but there’s enough room to put down a cushion or add your pup’s favorite toy. You can load dogs through the front gate or the top gate, both of which have a simple and easy pinch-and-lock feature. This crate is designed to hold up to 15 pounds of pup, but be warned that it can be difficult to balance weight sometimes since the plastic handle is small and placed at the center of the top. 

Best Grooming Wipes

Floof renewing wipes.

They are biodegradable and don’t have a strong scent.

Don’t use these around your dog’s eyes or inside their ears — everywhere else is fair game.

These biodegradable, hypoallergenic cleansing wipes are a go-to grab that can function as a quick way to get rid of dirt and bacteria between baths or simply after a walk. Made from bamboo and other natural ingredients like soothing aloe and chamomile, these wipes are as good for the environment as they are for your pet. They are gentle enough to use from nose to tail (just avoid eyes and inside the ears), and we love that we don’t have to worry about dogs getting sick if they happen to lick an area that’s just been wiped. One of our editors keeps a pack stashed in their dog’s carrier to clean his paws after walks or to give a light, impromptu, all-over bath anytime on the go. Wipes come in 30-sheet packs with a plastic snap closure to seal in moisture, and they’re small enough to tuck into the pocket of your pet carrier for easy access.

Best GPS Collar

Link link smart pet wearable.

  • Accuracy 5 /5
  • Design 4 /5

It also works as a behavioral training device. 

It requires a subscription to use.

Think of the Link Smart Pet Wearable Tracker as the Fitbit for dogs. This wearable takes GPS to the next level by also adding health and activity monitoring and behavioral training capabilities via sounds and vibrations. Plus, it works by transmitting location through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and mobile signals for the most accurate location information. You need to download an app, and we found it easy to set up and navigate. We were impressed by how accurate the tracking was through Google Maps, pinpointing not only the dog’s exact address, but also the specific area of the house she was moving through. This will be incredibly useful for travel or hiking with dogs. Owners will get alerts when their dog has moved beyond boundaries, and they can also set up temperature alerts, turn on the built-in flashlight through the app, and do real-time checks on health symptoms. There’s even a step counter. The catch? You’ll need a subscription for this wearable to work. Subscriptions have three options; monthly, yearly, and two-year. This wearable comes with two attachment options and a wall charger. 

Best Dog Seat Belt

Kurgo direct to seat belt tether for dogs.

It puts the bulk of the pull against your dog's body, not their neck.

It is not compatible with certain models of trucks.

Unlike many dog seat belts, the Kurgo Direct to Seat Belt Swivel Tether for Dogs clips directly into your car's seat belt fastener versus looping around the headrest. This tether is designed to attach to a dog harness instead of a collar, centering the pull of the tether on your dog's torso rather than their neck. The swivel-head carabiner harness attachment also allows your pet to move around without getting tangled. While this car seat tether works with most cars, it is incompatible with the seat belt fasteners in Ford F-series trucks.

Best Cooling Jacket

Ruffwear swamp cooler dog harness.

It also fits medium or large cats.

You can’t put this in the dryer.

A top pet travel tip from Dr. Rendon is to "be mindful and plan for the temperatures of the places to which you are traveling" and prepare accordingly. Bring coats and booties if it's cold and cooling mats or vests if it's hot. The Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Dog Cooling Harness functions as an evaporative cooling vest and lightweight harness that stays wet to keep your pet up to six times cooler in high temps. Triple-layer cooling panels — wicking outer layer, absorbing middle layer, and an inner dry layer — are located along the chest, stomach, and back. A padded, quick-grab handle allows you to assist your pet easily when needed. Plus, the simple and intuitive side-buckle design makes it a snap to get on and off. The harness's aluminum V-ring clips and reinforced loops can hold up to the demands of rugged outdoor adventures. Bonus? The XXS size was a perfect fit for my medium-size, heat-intolerant (and harness-trained) cat. When it's time to clean, it calls for the gentle cycle and air dry only.

Best Heating Mat

K&h pet products heated thermo-kitty bed.

The heat level adjusts to your pet's body temperature.

It's too small for medium-to-large dogs.

To continue on the theme of preparing for the weather, you can keep your cat or small dog toasty with the K&H Thermo-Kitty Mat. The insertable dual thermostat heater is designed to warm up only when your pet lays on top. From there, it adjusts the heat level to your pet's internal temperature so it's always just right. This is a great travel pet accessory to take camping, on car rides in cold temperatures, or for accommodations without central heating. This bed is big enough for any size cat and small dogs.

Best Dog Boots

Ruffwear grip trex dog boots.

They provide great grip and heat protection.

The low-ankle design may cause paws to get wet in snow.

Ruffwear Grip Trex Dog Boots are high-quality, rubber-soled dog boots that protect your pet's paws on rugged terrain, hot rocks and sidewalks, and frosty or salted paths. Some owners even use these boots indoors on slippery hardwood floors thanks to the heavily textured Vibram outsoles. The actual shoes are made from mesh, giving your dog's paws a bit of breathing room in hot climates. The gusset design makes it easy to take these shoes off and on. While these shoes work well on salted pavement and in freezing temperatures (with socks), the short-rise design isn't ideal for walks in more than an inch or so of snow.

Best Water Bottle

Kalimdor dog water bottle.

The handy design and size also works for cats.

Some pets may not be comfortable drinking out of this unfamiliar shape.

Heat, stress, and anxiety may cause your pet to become thirstier and more dehydrated than usual. For trips with her small chihuahua, Dr. Love prefers the Kalimdor Portable Dog Water Bottle because of its small size and leak-proof design. This one-handed, two-in-one design has a plastic bottle base that can store up to 19 ounces of water (most bottles only hold up to 16 ounces). The scooped-out top functions as a water bowl that holds up to 2.8 ounces of water. Liquid is released directly into the drinking area by unlocking a switch and pushing a button. You can recollect any unused water in the storage bottle instead of tossing it out. The compact design makes it easy to carry in a travel bag or backpack, or you can loop it around your wrist. Our one note is that we wish this had a built-in filter.

Best Portable Litter Box

Travel cat porta pawty.

You don't have to toss out the litter at every stop.

The collapsible design translates to weak sides.

Finding a decent travel litter box is one of the biggest challenges of traveling with a cat. The Travel Cat Porta-Pawty Travel Litter Box solves multiple problems, including wasting litter. The zippered top and built-in side handle enables you to scoop and go, reusing the same lot of litter along multiple stops. Its construction also helps to block odors, which makes stays at pet-friendly hotels more comfortable for everyone involved. The top-flap design and standard litter box dimensions (19 by 14 by 5 inches) give your cat sufficient room to do their business. The seamless, leak-proof interior is a cinch to clean, and when you're not using the bag, it collapses, folds, and snaps into a rectangle that measures 9.75 by 8.5 by 4 inches. Litter helps the collapsible walls of this box stay up and sturdy, so don't hold back when filling it up.

Best Calming Supplement

Vetoquinol zylkene behavior.

It has a natural, non-sedative calming effect.

It may not be enough to calm some pets.

According to Dr. Rendon, "Zylkene calming supplements are derived from milk protein and recommended by behaviorists." They can be used for cats or dogs and are a good option for owners who want to try over-the-counter remedies before getting a sedating prescription like Gabapentin or Trazodone from their vet. This supplement's active ingredient, alpha-casozepine, has natural calming properties. Although it's derived from cow's milk, it is lactose-free. The dosage is administered according to weight and can be given in its original capsule form or as a powder mixed into food by opening the capsules. Dr. Rendon recommends starting the supplements a few days before travel. Every pet is different, and Zylkene may not be effective on some animals.

Best First-aid Kit

Adventure medical kits me & my dog.

It's a first-aid kit for both you and your dog.

It only covers four days of basic medical needs.

Love hiking with your dog or running on the beach together? Or do you just want to be prepared for everyday outing accidents? This first-aid kit is a two-in-one medical kit you can keep in your car or toss in your backpack before an outdoor adventure. It comes with two separate pouches of medical supplies — one for you and one for your dog — that can cover basic first-aid needs like splinter and tick removal, wound irrigation, cuts and scrapes, and more. There are enough supplies in each kit to last one person and one dog up to four days. Even though it comes with how-to medical guides, it's not meant for severe injuries.

We combed through results from seven different pet product tests to find some of the recommendations in this roundup, specifically looking for the most travel-friendly options. We tested over 130 pet products, including dog food storage containers, dog backpack carriers, dog car seats, car seat covers, cat carriers, dog crates, and GPS collars. Some staple attributes we tested for in each category included design, performance, value, and ease of use. For carriers, crates, and backpacks, we introduced the products to our pets, carried them around in the carrier, crate, or backpack for 10-15 minutes, and noted how comfortable the item was for both ourselves and our pets. We also did a test run through all the features and cleaning. For dog car seats, we drove around with our dogs in the car seat for a week and then cleaned the car seat, again noting how comfortable we both seemed and the ease of cleaning. All tested products were put through real-world testing scenarios in order to accurately assess their overall performance and value for readers and their pets. We also included T+L editor recommendations that they personally use for their own pets for portable pet bowls and grooming wipes.

Check airline and FAA requirements ahead of travel

Nearly every airline has its own rules for flying with a pet. Check with your airline well ahead of your flight to confirm if your animal will be able to fly on the plane. Many airlines accept service animals but limit the qualifications to certain breeds and type of service. Additionally, short-nosed breeds of cats and dogs such as pugs and Persians are often not allowed to fly in cargo due to breathing concerns . Most flights only allow for a maximum number of in-cabin pets per flight or will only fly with pets in the cargo during certain months. It's wise to make a reservation for your pet well in advance to secure them a spot on board.

Consider microchipping your pet

If your pet isn't already microchipped, your upcoming trip may be just the right excuse to get it done. This is to help others identify your pet and locate the owner in case your pet escapes or runs away during travel. Collars also provide this information but can easily slip off in different circumstances. Microchipping your pet is added protection that you'll be reunited if they get lost and may be required for international trips.

Map out walk and bathroom breaks ahead of time

When planning your trips and travel time, be sure to pencil-in some time for your pet to use the bathroom — and find out where they can relieve themselves. In some (but not all) airports, there are dedicated pet relief areas with fake grass where dog owners can take their pets to use the bathroom. Options for cat owners are far fewer, which is why having a portable litter box on hand is so, well, handy.

Frequently Asked Questions

According to Dr. Rendon, one of the most important things you can do when traveling with your pet is to check each state or country's travel requirements well in advance of your trip. "You should contact your veterinarian or check the APHIS Pet Travel website for specific requirements," she says. "You may need a health certificate issued by a USDA-accredited veterinarian and approved by an APHIS veterinary officer in order to travel internationally. Your airline may also have specific requirements. Don't wait until the day before you travel to obtain the necessary paperwork!"

You must book a reservation for your pet in advance — some airlines allow you to do it online or through their app, while others will require a phone call.

"If you need to travel with your pet and they are too big to fly in the cabin with you (typically larger than 20 pounds), then cargo is a totally acceptable way to bring them," Dr. Love says. "It is always better to have them in the cabin with you because you can be with them, but that isn't always an option."

Both vets agree that the biggest downside to flying your pet in the cargo is that you're unable to monitor them or give them any anti-nausea or calming medicine as needed. Keep in mind that the cargo area is not temperature controlled and you should avoid flying your pets in very hot or very cold months.

One of the easiest ways to keep your pets safe while traveling is to keep them calm. "Don't wait until the day of travel to introduce your animal to a carrier or crate," suggests Dr. Rendon. "Place a familiar blanket or one of your worn T-shirts in the carrier with your animal so it smells like home. Carriers should be lined with a towel and covered with a disposable wee-wee pad that can be changed if an animal soils the pad mid-trip." She also recommends limiting the size of the meal you feed your pet before traveling in case of nausea. 

Dr. Love recommends exercising your pet before travel so they are more relaxed or having someone sit in the backseat with them.

The cost of flying with a pet depends on the airline, where you are flying to, and whether you're flying your pet cargo or traveling with them inside the cabin. For example, Delta charges $95 for domestic flights with a carry-on pet, $75 for flights from the U.S. to Brazil, and $200 for other international flights, and you must contact the airline directly to determine cargo fees. United Airlines charges $125 each way for a carry-on pet for domestic flights. American Airlines charges $125 for a carry-on pet within and between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean (based on each country's entry policy). 

Different airlines have restrictions on the age and breed of pets they allow to travel in the cabin. If your trip includes a voluntary stopover or connection of more than four hours, additional fees may apply for each connection segment. Check with your desired airline for specific pricing and restrictions.

Deciding how long your pet should ride in the car with you will be up to your individual pet. Some dogs may get antsy and need to go on their regularly scheduled walks, burn off energy, and use the bathroom. Monitor your pet during the car ride and check for signs of anxiety.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Katherine Alex Beaven got expert insight and tips from veterinarians and researched dozens of pet travel accessories for cats and dogs. She also combed through results from seven different tests for various pet products and personal recommendations from T+L editors, choosing the best options for travel.

In compiling our list of best pet travel accessories, we also spoke to practicing veterinarians Gina Rendon , medical director and lead veterinarian at Williamsburg Vet Clinic in Brooklyn, New York, and Catriona Love , medical director at Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital in Seattle, Washington.

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Beginner’s Guide to Pet Travel Kit

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You’ve packed your bags and are ready to go on a road trip.

If you’re bringing your fur pal along for the ride, then a pet travel kit is a must-have.

But what items are necessary? You might be surprised by how many things you can include in your pet travel kit!

Here’s what you need to include—and why:

Key Takeaways

  • A pet travel kit contains essential items like food, water, first aid supplies, waste bags, toys, and identification to care for your pet while traveling.
  • When choosing a travel kit, look for ones that are lightweight, durable, and customizable.
  • You can purchase pet travel kits from brands like Treksafe, JetPaws, and PetMate.
  • Kits range from $15 for basic versions to $200+ for luxury accessories.

two small dogs in sweaters sit on a blanket inside a car looking out the window

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Why Do You Need a Pet Travel Kit?

Did you know that according to the American Pet Products Association, more than  37%  of pet owners travel with their pets annually?

While you might feel it’s unnecessary to have pet travel accessories, there are many compelling reasons why it’s best to bring them along with you.

Pet travel kits can come in handy in various situations, such as:

  • To comply with the airline or other transportation regulations for traveling with pets.
  • Ideal for handling unexpected emergencies or accidents.
  • Provide your pooch with food, water, toys, treats, and other essentials during an extended trip.
  • Could help prevent stress, boredom, or illness in your pet during travel.

Overall, having a pet travel kit can make traveling with your fur baby much easier, more organized, and more enjoyable for you and your pooch.

a small white dog in a black pet carrier on a passengers lap inside an airplane

What Is Included in a Pet Travel Kit?

Remember those kibble wars in the airport café or the wet nose nuzzling in your bag?

Pets need their travel essentials just as much as you do when planning a weekend getaway, and it’s time to embrace it.

From dog car seats to motion sickness medications, here’s what you need to include:

Food and Water

  • In times when you can’t find a pet store, having a reasonable supply of regular food and a water cup will keep your fur baby well-fed and hydrated.
  • You can pack a travel accessory kit, such as a collapsible bowl, for easier storage.

First-Aid Kit

  • A comprehensive first aid-kit includes handy accessories such as bandages, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, tick removers, pain relievers, and a dog travel bag, among others.
  • Travel sickness, anxiety, and allergies are common.
  • Consult your vet for any required medications, vaccinations, and health certificates.
  • If your pet is on any medication, pack it along with copies of their identification number and veterinary records.

Waste Bags and Cleaning Supplies

  • Being a responsible fur parent includes cleaning up after your pet.
  • Make sure to pack plastic bags, absorbent kennel pad, zip ties, spill-resistant food, waste bags, as well as pet-friendly cleaning wipes.

Toys and Treats

  • Long journeys can be uncomfortable for fur babies.
  • Pack a familiar blanket, toys, and some cute live animal stickers to keep them entertained.

Identification

  • In case your pup goes astray, a collar with a temporary pet ID tag, a microchip, a pet photo, and pet travel forms can help reunite you in a jiffy.

Safety Gear

  • Don’t forget to pack the necessary dog travel gear, including your pet passport and pet airline travel kit, for your day trips. 
  • Reflective leashes, harnesses, and a pet life jacket for water adventures are vital for your pet’s safety.
  • An airline-approved carrier or crate that fits in the cargo area.

a grey and brown cat licking a red packet in an indoor setting

How To Choose the Best Pet Travel Kit

When you’re traveling with your furry friend, their comfort, safety, and happiness should be considered.

A great way to ensure this is by having a pet travel kit that contains all the necessary items to take care of your pooch during your journey, whether it’s a car, a flight, a train ride, or a boat trip.

Pet travel kits are a collection of items that you need to take care of your pet’s needs while on the road.

It can include things like water bottle, litter boxes, waste containers, grooming wipes, calming supplements, pet travel crates airline approved, carriers, pet travel bag, seat belts, and more.

But how do you choose the best travel kit for your pooch?

Size and Portability

  • The size and portability of the pet travel accessories are important factors to consider, especially if you have limited space.
  • If you’re traveling by air, look for a cabin pet airline kit that is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry and store.
  • It should also have a sturdy handle or strap for convenient transportation.

Food and Water Containers

  • Your pet will need to eat and drink during the journey, so make sure it includes travel bowls and water containers.
  • Look for containers that are spill-proof, easy to clean, and can hold an adequate amount of food and water for the duration of your trip.
  • Water clips and collapsible bowls are a great option as they take up less space when not in use.

Comfort Items

  • Traveling can be stressful for fur babies, so including comfort items in the travel kit is essential.
  • Choose a kit that includes a comfortable blanket or a padded mat where your pet can rest.
  • Familiar scents can also help calm your pet, so consider including a small toy or blanket that carries their scent from home.

Safety Features

  • Safety should never be compromised when traveling with your pooch.
  • For safe travels, opt for a kit that includes safety features like a  leash ,  harness , or  seat belt attachment , and seat cover for car rides.

Hygiene Essentials

  • I feel you on keeping pets clean when traveling – it can definitely be tricky! My best advice is to pack lots of towels, wipes, and cleaning supplies. Stop often so you can clean up any messes before they really set in. 
  • A good travel kit should include hygiene essentials like pet wipes, poop bags, and a small towel.
  • Some deluxe pet airline kits may also include a portable litter box, which can be a lifesaver on long trips.

a dog looking at a bowl of dog food held by his owner in a kitchen

Storage for Identification and Documentation

  • When traveling, especially across state or country borders, you’ll need to have your pet’s identification and documents handy.
  • Choose a kit that includes a compartment or  pouch  for storing these important items.

Customizability

  • Every pet’s needs are unique, so customizable space is a great feature to have.
  • Look for kits with plenty of room or  removable compartments , allowing you to organize and prioritize items based on your pet’s specific needs.
  • Pet travels can be rough, and the last thing you want is a travel carrier that falls apart midway through your journey.
  • Look for a kit made from durable materials that can withstand the rigors of travel.

Reviews and Recommendations

  • Finally, before making a purchase, check online reviews and recommendations from the American Kennel Club and other pet owners.
  • As the AKC is dedicated to canine health and wellbeing, their products are designed with safety and comfort in mind. 
  • You can browse AKC-approved travel gear on their website.

Remember to customize your pet travel kit based on your pet’s specific needs, such as any medical conditions or dietary restrictions.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to pack a few extra supplies in case of unexpected situations or delays.

Pet Travel Kit Essentials Checklist

Here’s a checklist of essential items to include in your pet travel kit:

  • Portable food bowls or double dish
  • Collapsible water bowls or dispenser
  • Sufficient amount of pet food and fresh water for the duration of the trip
  • Treats for rewards or distractions

Comfort and Rest

  • Comfortable bedding or blanket
  • Familiar toys or chew items
  • Pet carrier or crate (if necessary)
  • Extra towels or blankets for accidents or spills

Hygiene and Cleanup

  • Pet waste bags or poop scooper
  • Pet-friendly wet wipes for quick cleanups
  • Absorbent pads or liners for accidents
  • Pet-safe disinfectant or cleaning spray
  • Pet shampoo and grooming supplies (if needed)

Identification and Documentation

  • Updated identification tags with your contact information
  • Proof of vaccinations and health records
  • Copy of your pet’s microchip information
  • Travel permits or documentation required for your destination

Safety and Security

  • Leash or harness for walks and rest stops
  • Seatbelt attachment or pet car harness for car travel
  • For training and commands, a signal whistle can be an excellent tool. 
  • Pet first-aid kit with essential supplies
  • Any necessary medications or prescriptions
  • Emergency contact numbers for veterinarians along your route

light colored dog with blue collar looking toward his owner

Entertainment and Distractions

Miscellaneous.

  • Pet-friendly insect repellent
  • Extra collar or harness
  • Pet-friendly sunscreen (if applicable)
  • Travel-sized food and water dispensers for convenience

Where Can I Buy a Pet Travel Kit?

Depending on your budget, preferences, and specific travel requirements, you can choose from a range of pet traveling kits that provide your pet with all the necessary amenities and comforts on the go.

Here are some of the top brands that offer traveling kits to ensure a stress-free pet travel experience:

This brand provides comprehensive pet travel supplies that include a first aid kit, a hammock, a seat belt tether, a collapsible bowl, and more.

You can purchase it on popular online shopping platforms such as eBay or Amazon with free shipping and fast delivery times, usually within 2-3 business days.

JetPaws is a popular brand that offers the official pet carrier of JetBlue Airlines.

Their soft-sided carrier is designed to fit easily under JetBlue’s cabin or back seat and features JetBlue’s travel Petiquette™ on the fabric pattern.

It also has a side pocket, three mesh panels, and a washable pad.

You can purchase it from Glamour Mutt, eBay, or Galleon.

golden retriever dog sitting on the floor of a pet store with a large bone in front of it

Another well-known brand that offers one of the best pet travel products is PetMate.

They offer soft-sided carriers, hard-sided sky kennels, backpack carriers, tote carriers, and more.

In addition to carriers, they also carry accessories such as cooling pads, blankets, and leashes.

This is not a brand, but an agency that regulates the security screening of passengers and their pets at airports.

The  Transportation Security Administration  (TSA) regulates the security screening of passengers and their pets at airports.

It’s important to follow their guidelines and tips for traveling with your pet in order to avoid any problems or delays.

You can easily find this information on the TSA’s website or by watching their informative video.

Bottom Line

Now that you’re a pro, you’ll be all set to take your fur pal on the adventure of a lifetime.

With a well-stocked and thoughtful travel kit, you’ll have peace of mind and a happy pet as you hit the open road together for a long time.

So buckle up and get ready for a tail-wagging good time!

Some common questions I get from fellow pet parents:

Where Can I Buy Pet Travel Accessories Online?

You can find a wide variety of pet supplies at online retailers like Chewy, Amazon, Petco, and PetSmart.

Sites like Orvis and REI also carry travel gear for pets.

Look for products like collapsible bowls, car harnesses, and portable crates.

How Much Does A Dog Travel Kit Cost?

Basic travel kits start around $15-20.

All-inclusive kits with carriers, bowls, toys, etc. cost $50-100 approximately.

While the high-end versions with luggage-quality materials run $200+.

But you can always build your own with a bag and essential supplies for less.

* Note that prices vary based on content.

Can I Pay For Pet Travel Supplies In Monthly Payments? 

Some retailers like Chewy and Amazon offer monthly payment options on purchases over a certain amount, so you may be able to divide the cost into smaller recurring payments. 

However, credit approval is required based on your credit history.

Should I Label My Pet Carrier?

Definitely. Attach the standard set of live animal shipping labels to your carrier. Include your name, phone number, address, and emergency contact. 

List any relevant care instructions. And be sure your pet’s collar includes ID too. This ensures you can be contacted if ever separated.

When does the purchase date start for return policies on pet supplies?

The purchase date for return policies on pet supplies typically starts on the date the item was purchased in-store or the ship date for online orders. 

Many pet retailers offer 30 to 90-day return windows, during which unused items in new condition with original packaging and tags can be returned for a refund. 

Items on clearance or marked as final sale are generally excluded from returns. Be sure to keep your receipt or order confirmation with the date as proof of purchase. 

This will come in handy if you need to return an item from your pet supply shopping cart within the allowed new window.

More Travel Blogs:

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Furrtrekker Travel Checklist

Packing list  , carrier & other travel accessories.

  • Airline-Approved Carrier
  • "Live Animal" sticker
  • Collar, harness, and leash stored inside
  • Bedding & pee pads

Cleaning Supplies

  • Poop bags, wipes, & towels
  • Small first aid kit
  • Health certificate from vet
  • Up-to-date rabies vaccination records
  • Breed verification form (if required by airline)
  • Customer acknowledgement form (if required by airline)
  • Airline pet policy
  • Payment receipt as proof of pet ticket
  • Vaccine records
  • Emergency vet contact info

For Your Dog

  • Prescription medications, if needed
  • At least 2-3 meals' worth of dog food
  • Collapsible food & water bowls
  • Water bottle
  • Bandana or blanket with your scent to comfort your dog
  • Toys & their favorite treats
  • Print out of airline pet policy
  • Payment confirmation that shows your dog is booked
  • Photo of your dog
  • List of contact info for your vet and local emergency vet

How to Organize and Pack 

  • The key is organization! Split items between your carry-on and checked baggage.
  • Place all documents, your dog’s or cat’s food, bowls, treats, and the carrier in your carry-on bag so they are easily accessible.
  • Pack extras like toys, bedding, and your scent bandana neatly in your checked baggage.
  • Store medications, health records, and the airline policy printout separately in a folder or bag where they won’t get lost.

Download our checklist for FREE! We’d love to see how your travel goes. Tag @furrtrekker on Instagram! #furrtrekker

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12 Essential Dog Travel Accessories for Pet Owners

By Emily Pennington

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All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

On breezy trips to far-flung cities and hard-hitting hiking trails alike, it’s crucial to load up with the proper dog travel accessories to keep man’s best friend happy. Whether your idea of a good time is lounging in the sun at a hip Airbnb or taking your pupper camping , dogs get cold, need water, and have first aid emergencies just like the rest of us.

We asked a handful of travel pros what they never leave home without when satisfying their wanderlust alongside a furry pal. Here’s what they recommend keeping in a backpack or carry-on to make traveling with a dog easier and safer.

A multi-purpose leash

A harness that offers ultimate control on walks, a car safety harness, a pack for pups, a doggy backpack for human hikers, a travel food carrier, a collapsible travel bowl, a doggie first aid kit, a balm for sore paws, a low-profile travel bed, a packable winter coat, a cozy fleece pullover.

Image may contain: Adapter

Sometimes, you don’t even know that you have a problem until a brilliant piece of gear comes along and solves it in one fell swoop. The Magic Link is that piece of gear. “It’s my favorite leash for travel, since it can be worn in various ways and allows for hands-free walking,” says Nöel Russell, co-founder and CXO at Whimstay . This no-hands approach—pet owners can wear it around their wrist or waist—is ideal when carrying luggage or trying to use a smartphone while out and about, explains Russell.

Image may contain: Harness

“The Easy Walk harness has been a godsend for hiking,” says Jake Case, editor at Territory Supply . “The front-anchor point gives me more leverage when my dog pulls, making it less obnoxious and easier to control.” Subtle features like this are key when romping around a new city with your furry companion–distractions are high, smells are captivating, plus there are loads of new people. Keeping your dog in check with a sturdy harness will help make both urban and trail adventures more fun and less of a headache.

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Traveling at highway speeds on weekend getaways to Joshua Tree and Jackson Hole might feel like a breeze for humans in ergonomic seat belts, but Fido’s often left to fend for himself in the backseat without much recourse in case an accident happens. Kurgo’s Tru-Fit dog car harness slips on and fastens easily, clipping into any ordinary car seat belt. Plus, it’s crash-tested for dogs up to 75 pounds so that even your favorite chonk can stay safe on the road.

Image may contain: Bag, Backpack, Glove, and Clothing

Whether it be in the rust-tinted sandstone of Zion or the rolling green hills of the Great Smoky Mountains, if you’re planning to tackle some trails with your pup, it’s a good idea to get them a doggy backpack so they can help schlep any necessary pet gear, like treats and travel bowls. The Baxter dog backpack by Kurgo is a machine-washable rucksack with two saddlebags and eight adjustment points to give a near-custom fit when your pup’s out in the wilderness. Pet owners can choose between “Baxter” and “Big Baxter” sizes to accommodate dogs from 30 to 110 pounds. Heading on a multi-night adventure? Check out the larger Ruffwear Palisades dog backpack , which Kelly Sosa, founder of The Service Dog Connection , says is “ideal for packing in extra dog food, water, and supplies.”

Image may contain: Bag, and Backpack

Travel journalist and Traveler contributor Stephanie Vermillion loves toting around her nine-year-old Bichon mix in a K9 Sport Sack when she wants to put in the big miles. “As he gets older, he's not able to go as long as he used to,” she says. “The Sport Sack makes sure he can still be part of the fun, no matter his age.” The brand makes a variety of colorful backpacks for on-the-go humans to bring their dog along in, with features like side ventilation, internal frames, and hip belts for extra support.

Image may contain: Bag, and Cup

On both long-haul road trips to fanciful getaways and quick drives to visit family for the holidays, it’s key to carry and store your dog’s kibble in a safe container. Wilderdog makes it simple to skip the wasteful (and easy-to-rip) plastic bags with their waterproof doggie bag. These whimsical, boho roll-top sacks store up to five pounds of food and come with an adorable, 1.25-cup steel mug to measure out meals.

Image may contain: Accessories, Handbag, Bag, and Headband

The Ruffwear trail runner bowl is an ideal companion for sunshine-spattered hikes and warm, poolside vacations alike. Since dogs stay cool by panting, which can dehydrate them over time, it’s imperative to have a portable way to give them water on the go, and this durable nylon bowl packs up small enough to fit in your pocket. “Keeping water bowls on hand and easily accessible is key to keeping my dogs comfy while we’re out adventuring,” Russell says.

Image may contain: Bag, and Tote Bag

None of us want to think about worst-case scenarios when we’re trying to escape our city woes, but savvy dog owners know how important it is to travel with a pet-centric first aid kit and the name of the nearest vet on hand. The Trail Dog medical kit is designed to be a lightweight, easy-to-stow wellspring of dressings and bandages to soothe injured paws. It even comes with a sterile pair of tweezers to help remove ticks and splinters.

Image may contain: Bottle, Face, Head, Person, and Tape

Let’s face it—dogs’ paws are wont to get rough and cracked, especially if you traipse around on rough pavement, salted roads, or snowy areas. Musher’s Secret is a time-tested remedy of Canadian sled dog drivers, made to act like an invisible boot and protect pups’ feet. This fast-drying, hypoallergenic concoction is composed of food-grade ingredients like beeswax and vegetable oils so that even if your furry mate tries to lick it off, it’s safe.

Image may contain: Cushion, Home Decor, Pillow, Accessories, Handbag, and Bag

At outdoor restaurants and backcountry camps alike, it’s nice to give your pup a dedicated space to lay down that’s insulated from the cold, hard ground. The Highlands dog pad by Ruffwear is a lightweight solution that helps you do just that. City kids can use the pad to help their dog settle quickly, no matter the noise level, while campers will appreciate the extra protection between their dog’s nails and the delicate fabric of their tent. Rachel Popp, co-founder of Big Fish Collective , recommends pet owners pair it with a Kelty Bestie blanket for a complete sleep system that’s “cuddle-worthy for you and your pup, too.”

Image may contain: Clothing, Apparel, and Underwear

If you’re the type of traveler that likes to breeze through the airport with only a carry-on or an outdoor adventurer with a few winter hikes on the brain, Ruffwear’s Quinzee jacket is an ultra-packable, uber-warm solution that’ll keep your furry friend toasty without hogging all your luggage space. Made with high-loft polyester insulation that’s designed to mimic the packability of down, this weather-resistant coat features easy-release side buckles to ensure the perfect fit.

Image may contain: Clothing, and Apparel

Sometimes it’s cold but not too cold, and you might find yourself looking for a stylish pullover to keep your doggo comfy when the sun starts to set. Wilderdog’s funky, southwest-inspired fleece jacket comes in fun colors like olive and berry, is made of quick-drying midweight fabric, and features a neoprene neck gaiter for extra warmth. Add in the brand’s lifetime guarantee, and it’s a no-brainer when winter rolls around.

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Traveling With Your Pet? Here Are the Must-Have Travel Essentials for a Purrfectly Smooth Trip

Keep your cat or dog safe and sound with these paw-some travel essentials that’ll make any adventure full of tail-wagging fun..

Shop Pet Travel Essentials

We independently selected these deals and products because we love them, and we think you might like them at these prices. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a commission if you purchase something through our links. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. Prices are accurate as of publish time .

Pets are always there to comfort us at any moment, but when it comes to traveling, it immediately becomes overwhelming for both owners and their pets. But lucky for us, going on a trip with your furry friend doesn't always have to be a mission. With consistent practice and plenty of essentials that make your trip slighter easier (like roll-up food bowls and portable litter boxes ), you'll always be able to jet-set with your furball at any moment with little to no stress. Whether you're traveling by car, plane, or train, the trick is to keep their main necessities like eating and drinking or going potty, easily accessible with portable tools you can always have at hand. This provides less stress to your pet's routine, making it easier overall for both owners and their furry friends.

So, if you're getting ready to take your cat or dog on a tail-wagging adventure and need a little extra help figuring out what to pack , we've curated a list of the best pet travel essentials that are both highly reviewed and tried by our very own E! editor furry friends. From GPS collar trackers and seatbelt swivel tethers for safety to heated kitty mats and insulated water-resistant jackets for peak coziness, keep scrolling for pet products you won't be able to live (or travel) without ever again.

Wilderdog Doggie Bag

Whether you're embarking on a cross-country adventure or just a short drive, keeping your pet's food safe and accessible is paramount. Wilderdog's waterproof doggie bag offers a stylish and practical solution, replacing flimsy plastic bags with a whimsical boho roll-top sack that can hold up to five pounds of food. Plus, it comes with a charming 1.25-cup steel mug for easy meal measurement, ensuring your furry friend stays happy and well-fed on the go.

Link GPS Dog Tracker + Activity Monitor

Upgrade your dog's health and safety with the Link Smart pet wearable tracker , a revolutionary device that combines GPS tracking with health monitoring and behavioral training features. With its advanced technology utilizing Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and mobile signals, you can ensure accurate and reliable location updates for your furry companion, making every adventure worry-free.

GO! Portable Bowls

Say goodbye to messy meals on the road with this two-in-one silicone pet bowl set —it's our go-to for feeding our furry pals while traveling. With two bowls nestled into a convenient flat mat, each holding about two-and-a-half cups, it's the perfect solution for keeping our pets happy and fed on any adventure.

Go! With Ease Leash Bundle

Ensuring both you and your furry friend are comfortable and safe on walks away from home starts with the right leash. The Go! bundle offers just that, with a hands-free multi-function leash, a sturdy yet lightweight easy fit harness for your pup, and a stylish small pouch to keep your keys and credit cards secure.

Kalimdor Dog Water Bottle

Never let your pet go thirsty again with this innovative two-in-one water bottle design with a 19-ounce storage capacity, surpassing standard 16-ounce bottles. The unique top doubles as a bowl, holding 2.8 ounces, with a simple switch and button for easy release and convenient portability for your on-the-go adventures.

Kurgo Direct to Seatbelt Swivel Tether

Enhance your pet's safety during car rides with the Kurgo Direct to Seat Belt swivel tether , clipping directly into your car's seat belt fastener for a secure attachment. Designed to connect to your dog's harness, it ensures the pull is centered on their torso rather than their neck, while the swivel-head carabiner allows them to move freely without tangling.

K&H Pet Products Heated Thermo-Kitty Mat

Keep your cat or small dog cozy with the K&H Thermo-Kitty mat , featuring an insertable dual thermostat heater that warms up only when your pet lies on top, adjusting to their internal temperature for optimal comfort. Perfect for camping, chilly car rides, or spaces lacking central heating, it's a must-have travel accessory to ensure your pet stays warm wherever you go.

Travel Cat Portable Litter Box with Lid

Solve the challenge of traveling with your feline friend with the Porta-Pawty travel litter box , featuring a zippered top and built-in side handle for easy scooping and reusing litter across multiple stops. With its odor-blocking construction, it ensures a more comfortable experience for your pet during stays at pet-friendly hotels, addressing multiple travel litter box concerns in one convenient solution.

Ruffwear Highlands Dog Pad

Provide your pup with a cozy spot away from the cold ground with the lightweight Highlands dog pad by Ruffwear, perfect for outdoor dining or camping adventures. Its durable design offers campers peace of mind by safeguarding their tent's delicate fabric from their dog's nails, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for both pets and their owners alike.

Ruffwear Quinzee Insulated Water-Resistant Jacket

For travelers aiming for minimal luggage or outdoor adventurers planning winter hikes, Ruffwear's Quinzee jacket offers an ultra-packable and warm solution for keeping your furry friend cozy without sacrificing space. Crafted with high-loft polyester insulation, this weather-resistant coat includes easy-release side buckles for a snug and comfortable fit on any adventure.

Adventure Medical Kits Me & My Dog First Aid Kit

Stay ready for any mishaps during your adventures with the Trail Dog medical kit , a lightweight and easily storable companion packed with dressings and bandages to tend to injured paws. Complete with sterile tweezers for tick and splinter removal, it ensures your furry friend stays safe and comfortable wherever the trail leads.

URPOWER Dog Seat Cover

Hit the road with your pet worry-free with this hammock-style cover , crafted from sturdy, waterproof polyester and 600D PVC material to keep your backseat clean and mess-free. With high all-sides protection, you can relax knowing your pet stays safe and secure in the back, away from potential distractions in the front seat.

Flying with your pet? These are the must-have pet carriers for jet-setting with your fur baby .

—Originally published February 25, 2024 at 6:00 PM PT.

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From August 1, 2024, Onward: What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States

At a glance.

Starting on August 1, 2024, dogs entering or returning to the United States must meet new, specific requirements depending on where they have been in the 6 months before entering the U.S. and where they received their rabies vaccines (if required).

Requirements for all dogs

Requirements for dogs with a current and valid rabies vaccination administered in the united states.

  • Requirements for foreign-vaccinated dogs that have been in a country with high risk of dog rabies within 6 months before entry

Requirements for dogs that have been ONLY in countries that are dog rabies-free or low-risk during the 6 months before entry

All dogs must:

  • Be at least 6 months of age at time of entry or return to the United States
  • This must have been implanted prior to any required rabies vaccination
  • The microchip number must be documented on all required forms and in all accompanying veterinary records
  • Dogs may not enter the United States if they are carrying a disease contagious to people.
  • Isolation of the dog, veterinary examination, and additional testing, at the importer’s expense, may be required to determine if the dog has a contagious disease and prevent spread if the dog does not appear healthy upon arrival.

black and white French bull dog

This form should be filled out online ideally 2-10 days before arrival; however, it can also be completed right before travel (even in line at the border crossing) if you have internet access. If the information on the form changes before the dog arrives, you must submit a new form and indicate you are making changes to an existing form. All information, including port of entry where the dog is arriving, must be correct at time of arrival.

  • This form requires you to upload a clear photograph of the dog showing its face and body. Dogs that will be less than one year of age at time of arrival should have the photograph taken within 10 days before arrival.
  • There is no charge to importers for submitting this form.
  • Additional requirements for dogs with a current rabies vaccination administered in the United States
  • Additional requirements for dogs that have been in a country at high-risk for dog rabies within the 6 months before entry and do NOT have appropriate documentation of current US-issued rabies vaccine
  • Additional requirements for dogs that have been ONLY in countries that are dog rabies-free or low-risk in the 6 months before entry

Dogs that do not meet all entry requirements or do not have accurate and valid forms will be denied entry to the United States and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense. These requirements apply to all dogs, including service dogs and dogs that were born in the United States.

Specific requirements depend on whether the dog has been in a high-risk country for dog rabies  in the past 6 months.

Dogs with a current rabies vaccination administered in the United States that have been in a high-risk country for dog rabies must:  

  • Meet all requirements in the “All Dogs” section above
  • The Certification of U.S.-issued Rabies Vaccination form is required for the importation (re-entry) of U.S.-vaccinated dogs that have been in high-risk countries for dog rabies  within the 6 months before re-entry into the United States.
  • Please note, during the transition period, the importer may instead present a copy of the USDA endorsed export health certificate that was used to ship the dog from the United States, if that export health certificate documents the dog’s age (at least 6 months), the microchip number, and valid rabies vaccination administered in the United States. The rabies vaccination must be valid (not expired) on the date of return or the form will be invalid.
  • Arrive at the location listed on the CDC Dog Import Form receipt (This can be any airport, land border crossing, or sea port but you must select this location when you complete the CDC Dog Import Form.)

Dogs with a current rabies vaccination administered in the United States that have NOT been in a high-risk country in the last 6 months must:

  • A Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccine form that was endorsed by USDA before the dog departed the United States; or
  • Document a valid (unexpired) rabies vaccination administered in the United States (the form will be valid for the duration of the rabies vaccination (1 or 3 years)).
  • Arrive at the location listed on the CDC Dog Import Form receipt (This can be any airport, land border crossing, or sea port but you must select this location when you complete the CDC Dog Import Form .)

Important information about the Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination Form

The Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination form must be completed before the dog departs the U.S. Before asking your veterinarian to complete this form, verify the following requirements will be met:

  • Ensure your dog will be at least 6 months of age on date of return to the U.S.
  • Have your dog microchipped with an International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip (implanted before any required rabies vaccinations)
  • Ensure the veterinarian scans the dog for the ISO-compatible microchip and records the microchip number at the time of vaccine appointment. Rabies vaccines administered prior to microchip implantation will not be considered valid.
  • Ensure the rabies vaccination will be valid for the entire duration of your travels. If your dog’s U.S.-issued rabies vaccination lapses while overseas and your dog has been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months, your dog will need to be revaccinated overseas and meet requirements for foreign-vaccinated dogs to return to the U.S., including having a rabies serology titer, arriving at a specific port of entry, and possible quarantine requirements.
  • Your dog’s first rabies vaccination must be administered at least 28 days before travel.
  • Ensure the veterinarian submits this form to the USDA for official endorsement through the VEHCS portal
  • Your dog must travel with a printed copy of the official endorsed form upon your dog’s return to the United States if your dog has been in a high-risk country within the 6 months before returning to the U.S.

During the transition period, U.S.-vaccinated dogs that have been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months, may have either the Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination form or the USDA endorsed export health certificate for re-entry into the United States. Without one of these forms your dog will need to meet the requirements specific to the risk category of the countries where they have been in the 6 months before returning to the United States.

The export health certificate must document the dog’s age (at least 6 months), microchip number, and the rabies vaccination date. The rabies vaccine must be valid (not expired) on the date of return or the form will be invalid.

Requirements for foreign-vaccinated dogs that have been in a country with high risk of dog rabies within 6 months before entry

Dogs, including service dogs, that have been in a country at high-risk for dog rabies within the 6 months before entry and do not have appropriate documentation of current U.S.-issued rabies vaccine must:

  • Meet all requirements in the “All Dogs” section
  • Ensure the dog is microchipped with an International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip before receiving the rabies vaccination and the number is recorded on the veterinary documents or the vaccine will not be considered valid
  • Verify the dog is at least 12 weeks (84 days) of age when vaccinated against rabies
  • The dog must have a valid (i.e., non-expired) rabies vaccination. If it’s the dog’s first vaccination or if the dog’s vaccination coverage has lapsed, the vaccine must be administered at least 28 days before arrival to the United States.
  • The Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form must be completed by your veterinarian AND endorsed by an official veterinarian in the exporting country.
  • The blood sample for the rabies serology titer must have been drawn at least 30 days after the dog’s first valid rabies vaccination and at least 28 days before entry to the U.S.
  • Dogs with a history of multiple valid rabies vaccinations administered after the microchip was placed may have the sample for the rabies serology titer drawn at any time after a rabies booster vaccination as long as the dog’s first vaccine was given at least 30 days before the blood sample was drawn and there has been no lapse in vaccine coverage. If a lapse occurs, the sample must be drawn at least 30 days after the valid booster vaccination was administered.
  • The sample must be sent to a CDC-approved rabies serology laboratory . If there is no CDC-approved laboratory in your country, your veterinarian may draw the sample and send it internationally to a CDC-approved laboratory.
  • Passing results must be obtained in order for a serology to be valid.
  • Rabies serology titer results will be considered valid for the life of the dog as long as the dog’s rabies vaccination coverage does not lapse. If a lapse occurs, a new rabies serology titer will be required and that sample must be drawn at least 30 days after the new vaccination was administered.
  • If the dog does not have a valid rabies serology titer, it will be required to be quarantined at a CDC-registered animal care facility for 28 days after the dog is revaccinated by the facility’s veterinarian.
  • All foreign-vaccinated dogs that have been in a high-risk country in the previous 6 months must have a reservation for examination, verification of age, documents, and microchip number, and administration of a rabies booster vaccination at a CDC-registered animal care facility immediately upon arrival in the United States.
  • Dogs that do not have a valid rabies serology titer must also have a reservation for quarantine. Dogs will be quarantined at the facility for 28 days at the importer’s expense after being revaccinated by the facility’s veterinarian.
  • All CDC-registered animal care facility expenses, including exam, revaccination, and quarantine (if required), are the responsibility of the importer.
  • The facility will need copies of all required documents prior to confirming your reservation.
  • Ensure the dog meets any facility-specific requirements (contact facility for additional information).
  • If after arrival the CDC-registered animal care facility determines that your documents are not valid or the dog’s microchip number, age, or description does not match the paperwork provided, the dog may be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at your expense.
  • Dogs that have evidence of illness or are not healthy will be required to have testing to confirm they do not have contagious diseases before they will be eligible for release, which may extend the required quarantine period beyond 28 days. Any required testing or extended stay in quarantine will be at the importer’s expense, so please ensure dogs are healthy upon arrival (including no evidence of fleas, ticks, or skin diseases).
  • Dogs must arrive to the U.S. at the airport where the CDC-registered animal care facility is located. This must be the location where the dog has a reservation.
  • This must also be the airport listed on the CDC Dog Import Form
  • Domestic flights or other forms of travel to other locations in the U.S. are not permitted until after the dog receives required follow-up services at the CDC-registered animal care facility and is cleared for entry.
  • SERVICE DOGS ARRIVING BY SEA : Service dogs, as defined in 14 CFR 382.3, may arrive by sea if they meet the requirements in the “All Dogs” section, have a complete Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form and a valid rabies serology titer, and are traveling with their handler. Emotional support animals are not service animals under this definition.

Countries that are not on the list of countries at high risk for dog rabies  are considered to be free of or low risk for dog-mediated rabies virus variant (DMRVV) (called dog rabies-free or low-risk countries on these webpages).

Dogs, including service dogs, that have been ONLY in dog rabies-free or low-risk countries during the 6 months before entry into the United States must:

  • Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form, including the endorsement by an official veterinarian of the dog rabies-free or low-risk country where the dog has been located; AND EITHER (1) a valid rabies serology titer OR (2) veterinary records* (which list the microchip number) for the dog from the exporting country for the previous 6 months. The form must be completed within 30 days before arrival to the United States.
  • Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination form that was endorsed by USDA before the dog departed the United States
  • Is for the dog rabies-free or low-risk country where the dog’s return itinerary originated (the form will only be valid for 30 days if it does not contain rabies vaccination information), or
  • Documents a valid (unexpired) rabies vaccination administered in the United States (the form will be valid for the duration of the rabies vaccination (1 or 3 years)).
  • Certification of Dog Arriving from DMRVV-free or Low-Risk Country into the United States form endorsed by an official veterinarian in the exporting country; AND veterinary records* (which list the microchip number) for the dog from the exporting country for the 6 months before traveling to the U.S. The form must be completed within the 30 days before arriving to the United States.
  • Foreign export certificate that documents the dog is at least 6 months of age, lists the dog’s International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip number, and has been endorsed by an official veterinarian of the exporting country; AND veterinary records* (which list the microchip number) for the dog from the exporting country for the previous 6 months
  • Arrive at the location listed on the CDC Dog Import Form receipt (This can be any airport, land border crossing, or sea port but you must select it when you complete the CDC Dog Import Form .)

Any documentation that is not from the United States must be completed in the country where the dog’s travel originates. For example, if the dog’s documents were issued in France, the dog may not enter the U.S. via a land-border crossing from Mexico to the U.S.

*Examples of veterinary records that must accompany completed forms are European Union pet passports or proof of payment for veterinary services received in the exporting low-risk country for the previous 6 months. Records must include the dog’s microchip number.

For more information, see: Frequently Asked Questions on CDC Dog Importations  

If you have questions or need more information, please contact CDC-INFO at (800) 232-4636.

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Here’s what to know if you are traveling abroad with your dog

FILE - A traveler pulls his dog in a wheeled carrier at the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. If you are bringing a dog into the U.S. — whether if you are returning from a trip overseas with Rover, visiting the U.S., or adopting a dog from abroad — you have to follow a set of new rules released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, designed to help prevent the spread of rabies. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

FILE - A traveler pulls his dog in a wheeled carrier at the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. If you are bringing a dog into the U.S. — whether if you are returning from a trip overseas with Rover, visiting the U.S., or adopting a dog from abroad — you have to follow a set of new rules released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, designed to help prevent the spread of rabies. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

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If you are bringing a dog into the U.S. — whether if you are returning from a trip overseas with Rover, visiting the U.S., or adopting a dog from abroad — you have to follow a set of new rules designed to help prevent the spread of rabies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last updated these rules in 1956, when far fewer dogs came to the U.S. from other countries, officials say. About 1 million dogs now enter the U.S. every year.

There are additional restrictions if the dog has been in many countries where rabies is common. You can find the list of those countries on the CDC website .

The new rules go into affect Aug. 1. There’s a checklist on the CDC website .

Here’s what to know about about the rules:

— Dogs have to be healthy and at least 6 months old when they arrive in the U.S.

— The dog must have a microchip implanted under their skin, which contains identifier information.

— A CDC import form must be filled out in advance, and include a photo of the dog.

— Proof of rabies vaccination is required only if the dog was in a high-risk country in the past six months.

— For dogs vaccinated in the U.S., a certificate endorsed by the Agriculture Department is required.

This 2005 electron microscope image shows an avian influenza A H5N1 virion. On Wednesday, May 22, 2024, Michigan health officials said a farmworker has been diagnosed with bird flu, the second human case connected to an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows. (Cynthia Goldsmith, Jackie Katz/CDC via AP)

— For dogs vaccinated outside the U.S., a certificate of vaccination is required along with a blood test, and the animal has to be examined at a CDC-registered facility on arrival in the U.S.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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A small French bulldog licks his nose while sitting in a small open pet carrier that rests atop of a hotel bed.

With Extensive Planning, and Treats, 2,500 Show Dogs Descend on New York

The world’s top-ranked canines travel to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show mostly by car and plane. They don’t exactly travel light.

To participate in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Vitellozzo, a French bulldog from Croatia, was driven to Budapest, flown to Warsaw and then to Chicago (for another show). The final leg was a road trip to New York. Vitellozzo slept most of the journey. Credit... Clark Hodgin for The New York Times

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Christine Chung

By Christine Chung

Christine Chung pet a lot of dogs to report this story.

  • Published May 13, 2024 Updated May 14, 2024

Follow live updates on the 2024 Westminster Dog Show.

The A-listers who traveled to New York this past weekend, gathering for the biggest event of their careers, arrived by car and driver, or on planes surrounded by entourages. They didn’t even carry their own passports, much less pack their kibble or squeaky toys.

Each and every one of them, though, is a very good dog.

Some 2,500 top-ranked dogs are in New York City to compete in this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show . Breed judging, the marquee event, will begin on Monday, while several hundred other dogs have already battled it out in events testing agility, obedience and the ability to dive the farthest off a dock.

Getting into the show takes years of training and effort. Getting to the show requires extensive organizing by owners and handlers, who plan hours- or days-long road or plane trips, pack thousands of dollars worth of gear — grooming tables, industrial-strength hair dryers, leashes, collars, toys, kibble and more — and pray that neither delays nor cancellations disrupt their itineraries.

Treats are nonnegotiable.

“I try to stock up on healthy, single-ingredient treats such as freeze-dried duck or freeze-dried liver,” said Shell Lewis, 71, who came to New York with a Russell terrier and a Cairn terrier. On show days, however, her dogs receive “something special and high value.”

“It involves a drive-through McDonald’s to pick up two sausage biscuits — I eat the biscuits, they get the sausage,” she said.

Here’s how a few show dogs, and their entourages, traveled to Westminster.

Taking to the road

In the United States, accumulating titles at local, regional and national dog competitions require constant driving, with long journeys the norm. Most dogs, their trainers say, are used to the road.

Ms. Lewis drove 14 hours from Geneva, Ill., for Spangle, her 2-year-old Russell terrier, to compete in the agility event (Alas, Spangle was knocked out in the preliminaries.) Ms. Lewis also brought along Nora, her 7-year-old Cairn terrier.

“They haven’t learned to drive yet,” said Ms. Lewis, “but they are excellent travelers.”

Krysthel Moore and Quinnzel, her Border collie, who with a 15-foot jump made it to the finals in dock diving, drove eight hours from their home in Quebec. Quinnzel snoozed most of it, Ms. Moore, 40, said.

Quinnzel barely notices a change in surroundings, Ms. Moore added. “She doesn’t care where we are, she just likes to be close with me.”

An adorably happy black-and-white Border collie sits looking out of an open pink traveling crate that was placed on the back seat of a car.

Some attendees car-pooled to the show. Jenni Nieft and Kris Dunlap, who met at a dog show three years ago, drove from Wyoming for more than two days with Rowan, an 85-pound Bracco Italiano, and 52-pound Keeva, a Weimaraner. Both dogs will compete in breed judging on Tuesday.

“They start young, they’re crate-trained, they just get used to it,” said Ms. Nieft, 53, who added that on road trips, exercise and bathroom breaks are crucial. “We gear the trip around their comfort.”

Driving was the only transit option: Some dogs, like Rowan, are too big to fly, as commercial airlines have limits on weight and carrier size.

The dogs don’t travel light, as Jamie Goodrich, 41, elaborated. Traveling from Central Square, N.Y., north of Syracuse, she packed her 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan with two crates, two folding chairs, three gallons of water, emergency kits for both dogs and humans, two suitcases of human clothes, three leashes, days of kibble, grooming equipment — various brushes, clippers, a water mister, a table, scissors — and an electric fan.

“Oh, and the dog,” she said of Aero, her Akita who will compete in breed judging on Tuesday. (The fan keeps Aero from overheating backstage.)

Traveling by plane

Other dogs flew to New York, which required compiling myriad documents, getting vaccination shots in order, and fielding a minefield of varying airline policies and restrictions on breed and weight.

Janice Hayes, a 42-year-old professional handler from Palm Springs, Calif., flies regularly to show dogs. Buddy Holly, a petit basset griffon Vendéen, won the top prize at last year’s Westminster (“He has more miles than all of us,” Ms. Hayes said).

Buddy Holly is now retired, but made the trip again this year to bask in his final moments as reigning champion and to accompany three other show dogs. Britney and Spotify, also petit basset griffon Vendéens, are being shown, as is Hayden, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Because of their sizes, the three petit basset griffon Vendéens fly in crates and in the luggage hold. Hayden flew in the cabin.

Getting to the airport hours in advance is one of Ms. Hayes’s travel strategies, as is booking a seat on the side of the plane overlooking the plane’s hold — watching the dogs being loaded offers welcomed reassurance that the dogs too are en route.

Dozens of dogs traveled from abroad to compete in this year’s show. Anel Vazquez Franchini and her dog Khaleesi, a 5-year-old bearded collie, flew from Mexico City.

“We don’t have a lot of bearded collies here. It’s easy to win when you don't have competition,” said Ms. Vasquez Franchini of Mexico’s dog shows. The Westminster show, she said, is a coveted chance for Khaleesi — or Kaly, for short — to really prove herself.

The requirements for animals to travel internationally differ by country and can change frequently. Beginning in August, dogs entering the United States must be microchipped and be vaccinated against rabies.

Dogs living within the European Union who wish to travel internationally — or whose humans make that decision for them — must have their own pet passport . This document, issued by veterinarians, contains microchip registration, vaccine history and ownership information. It is mandatory for re-entry into the E.U.

Vitellozzo, a 2-year-old French bulldog living in Croatia with his handler, Valentina Zupan, has such a passport. He’s a seasoned international traveler — this is his second time in the United States.

While flying, Vitellozzo doesn’t need tranquilizers or other medication, said Ms. Zupan, 32. His crate fits under the airplane seat and he slept for most of their journey, which included driving to Budapest, flying to Warsaw, then to Chicago for another show, and then driving to New York.

Sharing rooms and beds

Hosting the dogs and their humans overnight are the hotels closest to the show venue, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“Big dogs, small dogs, fancy dogs, regular dogs, it’s a lot,” said Raquan Williams, a front-desk clerk at the sold-out Four Points by Sheraton in Flushing. “We love it.”

In addition to nightly rates over $200, hotels generally charge a one-time pet fee that can run more than $100. Most Westminster handlers and owners share rooms with their dogs.

“My dogs take up a whole bed. I am lucky if I get to sleep at the top,” said Patty Berkovitz, 69, who with her partner Jack Florek, and two Irish Wolfhounds, Rowan and Brody, are staying at Hilton Garden Inn in Long Island City. Rowan and Brody will compete — against each other — in breed judging. All four creatures are in one room, and each of the dogs weighs more than 160 pounds.

With such large bedfellows, Mr. Florek, 71, joked that the key strategy was getting into bed before the dogs, something he neglected to do Friday night.

“I was the little spoon,” he said.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

An earlier version of a photo caption with this article misidentified two terriers. Spangle, a Russell terrier, is pictured on the right, not left. Nora, a Cairn terrier, is on the left.

How we handle corrections

Christine Chung is a Times reporter covering airlines and consumer travel. More about Christine Chung

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'Breaking up families': CDC announces strict rules for traveling to the US with your dog

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new restrictions Wednesday on dogs traveling to the U.S., which some say will make it harder for families returning to the country with their pets or adopting pets internationally.

The new regulation, which goes into effect August 1, bans all dogs under six months from entering the U.S. Dogs over six months must show proof they have not been in a country identified as high-risk for rabies. Without proof, the dog faces potential quarantine. Dogs must also be microchipped.

The tighter restrictions are meant "to protect the health and safety of people and animals by making sure any dog arriving in the United States is healthy and doesn’t present a risk to our communities," the CDC said in a press release Wednesday.

The U.S. eliminated rabies in 2007, and the new rules are meant to prevent the re-introduction of the viral disease, which is transmitted through biting. The agency has identified 131 countries as high risk for rabies as of Aug. 2023.

The CDC also said it has seen "recent challenges with international dog importations," such as fraudulent documents or dogs kept in unsafe conditions.

Traveling with a pet can be difficult. Download these helpful apps

However, some say the restrictions will negatively impact families and those wanting to rescue pets overseas from legitimate organizations because it can be “especially challenging” to provide proof of a dog’s whereabouts," according to the Humane Society Legislative Fund in a press release on Wednesday. “Far fewer dogs will be able to find loving homes in the U.S.," the release said.

“The CDC’s job is to maintain public health, but these new requirements may needlessly delay Americans – including government personnel and military families – from returning to the United States with their pets, creating great anguish and breaking up families in the process,” said Tracie Letterman, vice president of federal affairs at Humane Society Legislative Fund, in a statement in the release. 

Airlines may also struggle to implement the new restrictions.

“Airlines will be left to their own discretion to enforce these rules, and if they err, it’s up to the airline to export the dog back to the dog’s country of origin,” the Humane Society Legislative Fund said. “To avoid confusion or difficulties, some airlines may opt out of allowing customers to travel into the U.S. with dogs.”

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at [email protected] .

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Watch CBS News

Bark Air, a new airline for dogs, set to take its first flight

By Megan Cerullo

Updated on: May 22, 2024 / 1:37 PM EDT / MoneyWatch

Bark Air, a new airline that puts dogs before their human companions, will take its first flight Thursday. 

Bark, a pet company founded in 2011 that sells dog food and other products, announced the new aviation experience for canines in April. It's the second air travel service to market itself as catering to pets before human passengers, recognizing how stressful and uncomfortable commercial air travel can be for animals . United Kingdom-based public charter operator K9 jets also lets passengers' pets travel next to them in the aircraft cabin, versus in crates in commercial aircraft cargo holds.

"We are excited to take the insights we've learned over the years to create an experience that is truly dog-first, which is drastically different from just accepting dogs – from the ground to the skies," Bark co-founder and CEO Matt Meeker said in April. "We believe this initiative will elevate awareness of our brand's mission and values, introduce more dog lovers to the Bark family, and help enrich the lives of dogs and their people around the world." 

The first flight from New York to Los Angeles Thursday is sold out, according to Bark's booking website. The company said it launched the air travel experience to make long-distance travel more comfortable for dogs that don't fit under the seats in front of passengers on commercial aircraft. 

"Too often, dogs are denied travel, confined to a duffle bag, or endure the stress of flying in cargo," the company said in announcing the flights in April.

testflight-5.jpg

Bark Air says it will offer "white paw service" to its canine customers — who'll even get to socialize with other dogs in what the company calls a "dog-centric" cabin configuration. Like first-class human passengers, dogs on board will be offered treats, noise-canceling ear muffs, a beverage of their choice and other surprises, the company said. 

Initially, the service will fly between the New York City metro area and Los Angeles, as well as from New York to London. More routes will be added soon, the company said. 

Bark Air will operate as a public charter service, flying on spacious Gulfstream G5 jets. It does not own or operate any aircraft. Each dog ticket comes with a pass for one human. Families may also purchase additional passes. Children under the age of 18 are not permitted aboard. There are no size or breed restrictions for dogs. 

testflight-10.jpg

The service doesn't come cheap. A one-way flight from New York to Los Angeles in June costs $6,000 for one dog and one human. A New York to London ticket costs $8,000. 

Meeker acknowledged the service's high cost in a May letter, but said he expects prices to come down as demand climbs.

"This is cost-prohibitive for most families, but less expensive than most options today. And this is also how most innovative products and services began," he said. "Televisions, telephones, VCRs and DVD players, to automobiles, train and boat travel, and, yes, even human air travel — all of these started with very high prices until demand was proven and the costs could be brought lower by serving the masses."

Megan Cerullo is a New York-based reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering small business, workplace, health care, consumer spending and personal finance topics. She regularly appears on CBS News 24/7 to discuss her reporting.

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When hotels go to the (Westminster) dogs

Private shuttles, free chew toys, breakfast in bed: How the elite pups of the Westminster dog show travel.

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FLUSHING, N.Y. — A stranger falling asleep on your leg while sharing a couch in a hotel’s public space is not okay. Unless that guest is a French bulldog named Dozer, who was plum exhausted after racing through an agility course at the Westminster dog show. Also perfectly acceptable guest behavior during the three days of competition is a polar bear hug from a Great Pyrenees by the check-in desk and a face full of wet kisses from a Belgian Tervuren you just met in the lobby.

“Sorry, sorry,” Gillian Irving apologized, before turning to her dog named Handsome, who was not sorry. “You’re being very naughty.”

For the 148th annual dog show, which started Saturday, more than 2,500 dogs representing 200 breeds and varieties invaded Queens. Many of the owners, handlers and canines come from outside the tri-state area and rely on the same tourist infrastructure as more traditional visitors.

When the show dogs aren’t trotting around the ring, they are kicking back like house pets in hotels fully stocked with treats and chew toys purchased on their behalf. They are traveling by shuttle bus or private vehicle to the competition site at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center , or catching a ride into Brooklyn or Times Square for a special adventure. Several times a day, they are sniffing out the local sights.

“I think the dogs are going to love Queens, and the people who are attending are going to find out how great Queens is,” said Rob MacKay of the Queens Tourism Council . “I’m really excited for the show, which is kind of crazy, because I’m a big cat person.”

The neighborhood hotels definitely rose to the occasion. The Voco Fiorello-LaGuardia East , which opened in September, built a special dog run for its guests. It also set up a custom shuttle to transport the dogs and their people to the tennis center and loaded up on “pet relief items,” the couth term for poop bags, for the front desk.

“We have those available, and we always have our staff on-site,” said Stephanie McCabe, the hotel’s director of sales. “Our houseman or our lobby attendant would be able to take care of any accidents that happen on the fly.”

Since the brand’s inception in 2005, the Aloft, which is part of Marriott, has provided pet amenities to all guests through its program Arf. On Monday, Lawrence Hou, the general manager of Aloft’s LaGuardia Airport location, took a seat on the same purple couch where Dozer had been snoring and snorting the day before. He said that last year, the hotel amped up its offerings for its Westminster patrons. The staff ripped out the bushes and built an L-shaped dog park with artificial turf and a tiny red fire hydrant. It also laid out bowls of dog treats like a consummate cocktail party host.

However, Hou said, they discovered that show dog owners are picky about dog snacks, and an employee ended up taking home the leftovers. This year, he scaled back on the biscuits — two full bowls by the front door — but not the hospitality. He set out chew toys that the pups snapped up.

The 148-room hotel, which sold out the 50 rooms blocked for Westminster, limits each guest to two pets per room. Hou had a sneaking suspicion that a visitor was flouting the rule. He had heard that a patron was keeping four dogs and possibly even more. But he wasn’t planning on intervening.

“We don’t want to throw them out,” he said diplomatically. “He’s going to be leaving tomorrow, so there’s no point in bringing it up.”

There’s also no guarantee that the show dogs will be back in Queens next year.

For more than a century, the Westminster Kennel Club hosted the country’s second-longest continuously held sporting event in Manhattan. The winners from the seven groups (herding, toy, sporting, non-sporting, etc.) vied for best in show in the storied Madison Square Garden. Many of the dogs and their owners and/or handlers stayed in Midtown. So did many of the spectators and dog fanciers, who would book the same hotels so they could hobnob with the contestants.

The pandemic upended traditions. In 2021, the Westminster Kennel Club relocated the show to the stately Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, N.Y. It returned the following year. The event only landed at the National Tennis Center in Queens last year (the venue is also home of the U.S. Open), and rumor has it that the show may boomerang back to Manhattan in 2025. It may also resume its traditional time frame in February, a month that’s ideal for hearty Tibetan mastiffs but tough for the hairless Xoloitzcuintli.

For now, though, the Westminster’s shuttle route winds past a number of Queens hotels. In addition to the Aloft, the buses also pick up and drop off by the Hampton Inn New York-LaGuardia Airport, the New York LaGuardia Airport Marriott and the LaGuardia Plaza, which waived its no-pets-allowed policy for the event.

About 80 percent of the Plaza’s guests were participating in the show, according to the hotel. The property designated four pet-relief stations and bulked up staff, including parking lot security to watch over the larger vehicles that are part mobile pet home, part pet store, part pet salon. During staff sensitivity training, the employees learned the proper etiquette for addressing the four-legged guests. They are not “the animal” or “that dog” but the more felicitous “your furry friends.” On Wednesday, the hotel will reinstate its pet ban.

Dining options are slim by the airport, and the Plaza’s restaurant, Elements, became the default gathering place for many dog owners and handlers. On Sunday night, purple, a Westminster color, was the primary clothing hue.

Three friends from Washington state tucked into a cozy corner in the restaurant. The white tip of a tail curled out from under the table. Julia Rylander, a repeat Westminster competitor, was showing her Siberian husky, London Fog; Bailee Lewis was handling a Tibetan mastiff; and Kathi Ogle was making her debut with Henry, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel resting at her feet.

“It’s been my dream for 15 years. I’ve been here to support others and cheer on friends,” Ogle said, pressing her fingertips to her eyes to stem the tears. “It’s my Olympics.”

The trio said they make small adjustments to their rooms to be good dog parents as well as upstanding guests. Rylander turns the thermostat down low for her double-fur-coated pooch. “We’re bundled up,” she said of the less insulated travelers. Ogle brings her own towels, hair dryer and bathtub fur trap for Henry.

“We don’t want to lose the privilege of staying here,” Ogle said.

Dinner arrived, and Henry’s head popped up like a gopher’s, his little black nose inches from the spread. He was a professional and knew how to play this moment. He fixed his round eyes on the plate of french fries and waited with poise and patience.

‘Do you want to take a picture with them?’

On Monday morning, the first day of the breed and group competition, the shuttle bus pulled out of the Aloft carrying a beagle (on his person’s lap), an Australian shepherd (riding in her seat like a proper commuter), an American Eskimo dog (on the floor, in those whites!) and a Beauceron, who struggled to find a comfortable position for his beefy 90-pound frame.

In the back, a klatch of former judges couldn’t help themselves from judging. They critiqued the scheduling — it was a “little stretched” — and the ride to the stadium.

“It takes 70 different ways to go to the same place,” a former official named Phil said.

When a rider asked them for their best in show predictions, they agreed that the winner would not be a sporting dog. On the way out, Laura Reeves, host of the “ Pure Dog Talk ” podcast, offered some unsolicited advice.

“The number one rule of Westminster is: Don’t pet the dogs without asking,” she said sternly.

Of course, this courtesy and precaution applies to all dogs, including those who have a single name and not a string of seemingly nonsensical words. The owners are surprisingly generous with their animals, especially when they are offstage and at ease.

“Do you want to take a picture with them?” Kathy Wright asked me, as I eyed her pair of Scottish deerhounds in the Hampton Inn lobby.

With her permission, I scratched the knobby heads of Fiddish and Cooper, who had enjoyed a cheese-and-egg breakfast in bed that morning.

“I’m on the floor on the dog bed,” joked Gary Wright, their co-owner. “Just give me a pillow and a blanket.”

The owners of Sebastian, a Great Pyrenees who flew first-class from Northern California, invited me along on their field trip to the self-service Astoria Dog Wash. Last year, they showed up in the afternoon and had to wait in a long line for their turn. This year, they were determined to get ahead of the crowd. We arrived before opening and found a cafe with enough space for Sebastian to sprawl without snarling sidewalk traffic.

At the facility, Sebastian stood in the bath like a trapped bear while one of his owners, Christine Palmer-Persen, set to work. While she scrubbed, rinsed, brushed and dried, several dogs came, washed and left, including two Bernese mountain dogs, a golden retriever (a commoner, not a show dog), a flat-coated retriever and a 150-pound Leonberger who had just arrived after a 46-hour drive from Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Even after 45 minutes under the dryer, Sebastian was still damp. Palmer-Persen slipped a bib over his giant head, which was now floofier after the salon treatment, and covered him in a sparkly gold coat that would suit a heavyweight champ. She would finish him off with the hair dryer in the hotel room, which, unlike at the dog wash, wouldn’t cost $5 for every five minutes over the free 15.

“It would cost a fortune to dry him,” said her husband, Steve Axelrod, as he paid the nearly $50 bill.

A winning update

The benefit of staying in the Westminster hotel triangle is repeatedly bumping into the same dogs and owners. Not only are there more wags and face licks, but the owners also share their dogs’ results.

Fiddish and Cooper placed best of opposite sex (the male to the female winner) and select (similar to runner up), respectively. Henry made it to the finals round in his breed. Sebastian’s coat finally dried and he won best of breed, advancing to the working group competition.

On Monday night, I sat at the Marriott bar with two women from Georgia who showed their Australian shepherds. Neither dog had made the cut. Several TVs were tuned to the live event.

After the judge chose the winner of the toy group, a Shih Tzu named Comet, the competitors drained their beers and headed back to their rooms, to console their pets.

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