How To Travel with Your Pet on the Open Road

Overall safety is your # 1 concern for your trip. Please plan ahead. Ask yourself, do I have enough survival equipment in case of a disaster? Tornado, Earthquake, Flood, Hurricane, Avalanche, other disaster while I'm on the road?

  1. Always map out your trip. Look at pet friendly areas to spend the night.  
  2. When you're driving, always make your pet wear a seat belt. There are several types of pet seat belt systems. Make sure you pick carefully and use your pet seat belt every time as you would your own.

    If you place your pet in a travel kennel inside the vehicle, make sure the kennel is secure. What I've done is remove the metal screws from the kennel and replaced it with nylon cord. That way, if the vehicle gets rear-ended and I can't open the back door to my rig, I can crawl through the vehicle and use my pocket knife to cut the nylon cord and safely remove my pet from the kennel.  

  3. ID Your pet....Many times as a police officer and EMT I've responded to an accident scene and found the driver either dead or unconscious. It's frustrating for me and the other officers to find no emergency contact information for the pet passengers. They have to be transported to the nearby animal control agency pound. 
    • Place something in your wallet that states: EMERGENCY CONTACT INFO. List your contact person's name, address and telephone number, cell and home. Also, list on your cell phone ICE (in case of Emergency) a contact name and phone number. 
    • Get your pet micro-chipped. In the Portland area, this gets over 3000 lost, found and stolen pets home per year on average. Once micro-chipped, make sure you call the microchip company's 1-800 number and register your pet's name, current home address, and telephone# for you and a next of kin. I also put my pet's vet info on their file as well. 
    • Place some readable ID Tags on the back of your pet's harness. We are now using small portable USB Storage devices as our pet's id. This can hold your pet's photo, contact info, a copy of your pet's health record, rabies certificate and much more. Place it in a water resistant container on the pet's harness. Label it PET ID.  
  4. Carry extra, food, water, pet clean up bags, and a pet first aid kit along with a leash. Carry extra food, clothing, cash, sleeping bag, water, some rugged boots, warm clothing, rain gear, toilet paper and a first aid kit in your vehicle for you and everyone traveling with you in the event of a disaster.  
  5. Make up LOST PET posters before you travel. In case the worse happens and my pet gets away from me for whatever reason, I like to be prepared with lost pet posters already on hand. Then all I have to do if this happens is immediately flyer the area and start looking. It did happen to me once at the beach. Very scary stuff. 

If you have any further questions, please contact us at  

Safe Travels.

Thank you,

Mr. Oakes
SAR Coordinator. I.K.9.S.A.R.S.


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This is very helpful. My sister would love this. Thanks!

By Greg Quimpo

Great article. I have thought of this many times while traveling with our family pet. Thanks for the website links.

By Marion Cornett