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SMALLPET / fun & fashion

Traveling With Your Small Pet, Bird or Reptile

Birds, hamsters and snakes, on a plane…or in your car


Yes, you often may bring your reptile, bird or small pet with you when you travel. Follow these guidelines and always consult your veterinarian before you take your pet on the road or in the air.

Air Travel

Did you know? Airlines require health certificates for pets traveling on board. You should get one from your veterinarian no more than 10 days before your trip. The certificate is only valid for 10 days after it’s issued.

International travel will often require additional paperwork, determined by the country you’re headed to.

Before your flight

  • Well in advance of your trip, check with the airline to be sure it will accept your particular pet.
  • Make your reservation as early as possible, because airlines accept a very limited number of passengers with pets per flight.
  • If you’re traveling internationally, contact the destination country regarding any necessary vaccinations, quarantine and documentation.
  • Clearly label your pet’s carrier with your name and contact information.

During your flight

  • If you’ll be bringing your pet into the cabin, your animal’s carrier should have mesh siding for ventilation. Food and water containers should be secured at the bottom of the carrier.
  • If your pet is traveling as cargo, the carrier will have to be hard plastic with adequate ventilation. Pets may not travel in cargo if the temperature will be below 45 degrees or above 85 degrees at any point along the flight path.

Driving with small pets, birds or reptiles

Before your drive

  • Well in advance of the trip, research pet-friendly restaurants, hotels, rest stops and veterinary hospitals along your driving route.
  • Be sure to bring any prescription medication your pet will need.
  • Clearly label your pet’s carrier with your name and contact information.

During your drive

Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle on a warm day, even with the windows cracked.

  • Small pets can travel in a padded, soft-sided carrier. Provide food and water at all times, and be sure your pet can turn around and lie down inside the carrier without touching the sides. Never leave small pets unattended in the carrier; they may chew their way out.
  • If you’re traveling with a reptile, you must provide supplemental heat at all times.
  • Birds can travel either in a padded carrier or a travel cage equipped with perches. Provide food and water at all times.
  • Pet waste should always be picked up and disposed of properly.
  • Use hand sanitizer before and after handling your pet.