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Dog in travel carrier at airport
Masarik | Adobe Stock

The Ultimate Packing List for Pets

There is a lot to remember when traveling with pets, especially when flying with one. We’ve made it easy for you with this packing list for traveling (by car, train or plane!)  with your cat or dog. 

General Gear for Dogs

General Gear for Cats


Exercise & Rest



Golden Retriever sitting in trunk of packed car

Medical Records 

Many places require rabies vaccinations, and it’s good to ensure you have updated records for your pet. If you are traveling in the car to Canada, they may ask to see them, so you’ll need to have them handy in the car. 


You won’t want to forget your pets’ medications while away. A week or so before you travel, take inventory of your supply and call ahead if you run out while away so you can stock up. 

Microchip Information

If your pet is microchipped, ensure you have the number and that you have registered your pet so that the scan of the microchip will lead them back to you in case you get separated. 


This may seem a no-brainer, but you’ll need a good crate when traveling with your pet- especially when flying with smaller ones. For bigger dogs flying in cargo, a heavy-duty carrier like this one is needed to ensure your dog is comfortable and the crate can endure the trip. For smaller dogs, a carrier bag like this soft-sided one will be easy to carry and fit under the seat in front of you. 


Not only will you be happy if your pet has a collar on if they try to make a run for it, and you can easily grab them, but the ID tags you attach to them will be important if they do get away from you. Make sure any tags have their name and your phone number so the person who finds them can contact you. 


Make sure you have a recent photo of your pet in case they go missing. You’ll need it to show people the animal you are looking for. 

Litter Box

Of course, you can’t go anywhere without a litter box for your feline friend. This portable, collapsable litter box is 100% waterproof, has a handle for easy carrying, and is collapsable for easy storage when not in use. 


Orange cat stepping out of travel carrier next to suitcase
Lightspruch | Adobe Stock


Collapsable bowls are the way to go – you can easily keep them tucked under a seat in the car or in a bag when flying. 


Don’t forget to pack your animal’s favorite food before heading out. If you don’t need a full bag of it, get a kibble caddie like this one, or try a whole travel center like this that holds the food, bowls, toys, and water. 


You’ll need plenty of treats for your pet while traveling. A treat pouch like this is perfect for dog owners, you can keep the treats and waste bags together for pit stops. 


Small dog sitting on the sidewalk and holding a leash in his mouth
Justyna | Adobe Stock


It may seem obvious, but if you are leaving the house with your dog in its carrier, you may forget the leash! We love the PetSafe Nylon Dog Leash

Waste Bags

If you are used to just letting your dog out by opening your back door and don’t need to pick up after them, you may forget that you need waste bags when you walk your dog. These compostable ones are our favorite. 


When traveling during winter months, your dog may need booties if it snows or gets icy. We love the Bark Brite All Weather Dog Boots– they will keep your dogs paws warm and clean in the worst of weather. 


Even though most dogs have a built-in fur coat, they can still get chilly, so a jacket or sweater is key to keeping them warm in colder months. 


Cat sleeping on wooden box
Sergiy Bykhunenko | Adobe Stock


If space is limited, this travel bed rolls up easily into the included pack for easy transport and is machine washable. 


If you can’t bring your dog’s favorite bed, throw in their favorite blanket for familiarity, especially if they are flying cargo. 


Golden retriever sticking his head out of a car window on a sunny day
koszivu | Adobe Stock


Make sure your pet stays entertained even while on the road by bringing their favorite toys


Keep your animal’s fur neat and tidy with a brush

Grooming Wipes

Make sure your pets stay clean while on the road with these grooming wipes—easy to keep on  hand for keeping them fresh. 

Seatbelt Harness

Keep them safe in the car with a seatbelt harness

Life Jacket

If you plan on taking your dog on a boat or to the beach, a life jacket like this is a good idea – not all dogs are great swimmers! 

Light for Collar

Keep you and your dog safe with a light for their collar. 

Absorbent Mats

If your pet is flying with you, pee pads like these may make or break a trip. Even if it’s a short flight, you never know what their nerves will do while flying. 

Scratch Post

This may seem overkill, but if your cat is used to having scratch posts at home, they will likely scratch things they aren’t supposed to while on the road, so a fold-up scratch post like this or a scratch pad may be a lifesaver. 

All of the products featured in this story were hand-selected by our travel editors. Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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