U.S. Pet Travel Laws Guide

Service animals, like the seeing eye dog shown here, are welcome on nearly all modes of public transportation.­ See more pet pictures.
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­You've brought your furry friend home from the shelter or pet store, and everything's going swimmingly. You're getting along well, your pet's adjusting nicely, and everyone's happy. However, now that this four-legged critter is a part of your family, you want to treat it like one. There's no clearer way to show your affection for your new pet than to bring it along on your next family trip.

Pets m­ake great traveling companions on short trips or on cross-country excursions. However, traveling with a pet requires a number of extra considerations beyond simply remembering to bring its bed and some extra pet food. There are several laws in place that must be followed when traveling with a pet. For example, every U.S. state requires owners to vaccinate their pets against rabies before travel. However, planning trips with pets can still be complicated because the length between required vaccinations tends to vary. Check with your destination to ensure that your pet is properly vaccinated.

­Some locales have harness laws, while others ban specific dogs according to their breeds. When traveling with your pet, be sure to consult the laws that govern your de­stination and any intermittent states that you plan to stop in. If you're taking a road trip from Los Angeles to New York and plan to stop for a few days in Chicago, for example, make sure you know the laws for all three states and cities. You don't want to deal with big fines or face the quarantine or removal of your pet.

Preparation is key if you want to share an enjoyable trip with your pet. Start by reading about breed-specific travel laws on the next page.