Traveling with Pets

Dog travelNow that we’re starting to see “sun breaks” here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re starting to think about all of the places we’d like to travel… 

Although traveling is not ideal for all pets (some dogs and cats would much prefer you bring them a souvenir instead), planning ahead can save you lots of stress and panic at the last minute, no matter whether your pets are coming with you or staying home.

Leaving Your Pet While You’re Away

If your pet is not comfortable traveling, or the nature of your trip makes it impossible to bring your pet with you, there are a variety of options for third party pet care these days… from Pet Sitters who will stay in your home, and private homes who will give your pet the “comfort of home” at their location, to several different professional boarding facilities in our area (this page of our website includes a handy list).


No matter what option you choose, make sure to book a reservation ahead of time, and if you have the time, we recommend taking a tour to find a place best suited to your pet’s needs.

Remember too, boarding and grooming facilities alike require that pets be up to date on most vaccines; if you are unsure whether your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, please call us and we will be happy to look up the information, or if necessary, make an appointment to bring them current.


Traveling With Your Pet

If you decide to travel with your pet, the best first step is to check in with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is ready.

Depending on your mode of travel and destination, some states require pets to be vaccinated within certain time frames; airlines require a health certificate for pets in order to fly; Canada requires pets have proof of rabies and a brief visual inspection.

For more information on specific state requirements visit the USDA website.
For more information about visiting Canada with your pet, visit the Canadian Inspection Agency website.

Other reasons to visit us (aside from vaccinations) are to make sure your pet has a microchip implanted, and is protected in advance against any health-related issues inherent to your destination—such as ticks carrying Lyme disease, or mosquitos carrying heart worm—both of which are common in many parts of the U.S.

Next, make sure all of your pet’s ID tags are current. If your pet doesn’t have an ID tag, your nearest PetSmart or PetCo usually have tag engraving machines on site that create tags inexpensively while you wait.

cat hike leash
Cats that hike? Read this great article by Christelle L. Del Prete

Finally, assemble all the supplies you will need to keep your pet comfortable, including:

  • Collar, leash, and an extra set just in case
  • Food, water and appropriate dishes
  • Can opener if you feed wet food
  • Medications
  • Emergency medical kit
  • Copies of medical records / vaccinations
  • Portable bed
  • Old blankets or sheets to protect motel beds
  • Plenty of disposable bags to collect waste
  • Towel(s), paper towels, carpet cleaner and wet wipes
  • Lint and pet hair remover
  • Hiking booties (or a tweezer for removing splinters)
  • Brush for pulling out tangles after a hike
  • Favorite toy(s)
  • Crate or X-pen
  • Tarp, small tent, or beach umbrella for shade
  • Flashlight for night-time potty breaks

Ready to hit the road?

Don’t feed large meals before travel to prevent motion sickness, and plan ahead for stops along the way to take short walks and bathroom breaks. maintains a list of off leash parks around the U.S.; simply click on the state you are visiting to see a list of parks organized by city.

Pahrus TrailIf you’re planning to visit a national park, explore the park’s website in advance to find out what restrictions they might have for pets. Many areas do not allow pets on trails; some, like Zion National Park, don’t allow cars in the inner park, so if you want to see that area, you must leave your car parked all afternoon in a non-shaded lot while you board a public shuttle. In these instances, you’d need to locate a pet boarding facility outside of the park for the day of your visit. Better yet, consult this website’s list of the “top 10 pet-friendly national parks.

If you are going to be driving long distances with your dog, remember to crate them or strap them into a vehicle safety harness while driving.

Of course, remember to never leave your dog alone in a parked car, especially if it is warm outside.

Dog winter hike mountain sit

Where to Stay and Play with Your Pet

There are several cities in Washington that are dog friendly including Ocean Shores, Leavenworth, Vancouver, and Friday Harbor just to name a few.

Visit for a complete list of dog friendly cities in Washington along with hotel, beach, and outdoor dining options to visit with your pet; the following is a complete list of websites that offer pet travel information:


About Bothell Pet Hospital

Since 1954, Bothell Pet Hospital has been operating as an independent small animal hospital, providing primary veterinary care to cats and dogs in Bothell, Lake City, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Woodinville, Mill Creek, Kirkland, Brier, and other surrounding neighborhoods.
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