The Ultimate Guide to Work Travel with Pets: No Sitter, No Problem

Small dog laying in a suitcase

When the call of duty beckons across the vast landscapes of Canada, leaving your pet behind can tug at the heartstrings. Yet, navigating the realm of work travel with your pet need not be a logistical nightmare.

With Canada’s pet-friendly attitude and a bit of savvy planning, the two of you can explore the country’s breathtaking beauty together. Here’s your compass for embarking on a seamless journey with your four-legged companion.

The Rising Relevance of Travelling with Pets

In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving work landscape, the integration of work travel with pet companionship has taken on new significance. This is particularly true for pet parents navigating the complexities of separation anxiety, frequent relocations, and the financial implications of continuous pet care services. Here’s why this topic resonates now more than ever.

Addressing Pet Separation Anxiety

The pandemic has reshaped our work environments and, by extension, our pets' lives. Pets have grown accustomed to having their human companions by their side more frequently. As work travel has picked up in the years since, pets, particularly those prone to separation anxiety, face the challenge of readjusting to time apart from their owners.

Travelling with pets offers a solution, keeping the bond intact and reducing anxiety-induced behaviors in pets caused by their owner's absence.

Remember, every pet is an individual, and mobile lifestyle may be better suited to smaller or younger dogs. Senior pets with mobility problems, large, size-restrictive dogs, and cats who typically prefer the comfort of a familiar environment may find it less anxiety-inducing to be left with a sitter or boarding facility. Consider your companion’s needs and chat with your vet before planning out a pet-friendly trek.

Frequent Movers: A Lifestyle, Not a Choice

For many, frequent relocations are a staple of their career path. This nomadic lifestyle can disrupt the sense of stability and security pets thrive on. Constantly adjusting to new sitters or boarding facilities can be stressful for pets and emotionally taxing for owners.

Incorporating pets into your travel routine not only alleviates this stress but also reinforces a consistent presence, offering comfort and familiarity amidst change.

Economic Considerations: A Cost-Effective Companion Journey

The financial aspect of maintaining a pet's well-being while away can be daunting. The costs associated with hiring sitters or boarding can accumulate, especially for those with careers necessitating regular travel. Opting to bring pets along on work trips can, in many cases, prove more cost-effective.

While it does involve initial investments, such as pet-friendly travel accommodations and possibly flight fees, these can be offset by the savings from not using pet care services as frequently. Moreover, many accommodations and airlines are increasingly accommodating pets at minimal extra costs, recognizing the growing trend of pet-inclusive travel.

A Shift in Perspective

The evolving dynamics of work and pet ownership demand innovative approaches to balancing responsibilities and companionship. Travelling with pets addresses several contemporary challenges:

  • Mental Health: For both pets and their owners, maintaining the emotional bond reduces stress and anxiety, contributing to better overall mental health.
  • Financial Efficiency: It offers a practical solution to manage the financial responsibilities of pet care without compromising on the quality of life for either party.
  • Lifestyle Adaptability: For those whose careers demand mobility, it provides a feasible way to maintain a consistent and comforting presence for their pets.

As we navigate these changing tides, the concept of work travel with pets transforms from a logistical challenge to an enriching experience, fostering a deeper understanding and stronger bond between pets and their owners.

This approach not only caters to the emotional and physical well-being of pets but also aligns with the lifestyle and economic realities of modern pet parents.

Pre-Travel Prep: Vet Checks and Regulations

Before setting off, a visit to the vet is a must. Ensure your pet is up to date with vaccinations and fit for travel. Discuss any travel-related concerns, especially if your journey involves flying. Health certificates and a pet passport detailing vaccinations may be required, especially for air travel within Canada. This is also a perfect time to ensure your pet’s microchip information is up to date.

Flying with Fido: Navigating Canadian Airlines

Air travel with pets varies among Canadian airlines, but one thing remains consistent: preparation is key.

  • Air Canada permits pets in the cabin and as checked baggage, with specific guidelines regarding crate size and breed.
  • WestJet also welcomes small pets in the cabin and larger pets as checked baggage, subject to certain conditions and fees.
  • Air Transat allows small domestic pets in cabin with a carrier and larger pets as checked baggage – but certain terms and conditions apply.

Always check the airline’s pet policy ahead of your trip and consider direct flights to minimize stress on your pet.

On the Road: Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Canada boasts an impressive array of pet-friendly accommodations. From cozy B&Bs in Nova Scotia to luxurious hotels in downtown Toronto, you’ll find a place that welcomes both you and your pet. Websites like and are excellent resources for finding accommodations where your pet will be more than just tolerated—they’ll be celebrated!

Setting Up a Mobile Home Base

Upon arrival, create a comfortable space for your pet with their bed, toys, and a piece of clothing with your scent. This familiar setup can help ease the stress of new surroundings. Additionally, stick to your pet’s regular feeding and walking schedule as much as possible to maintain a sense of normalcy.

Exploring Together: Canada’s Pet-Friendly Attractions

Canada’s cities and natural parks are a playground for pets. Consider these activities:

  • Urban Adventures: Many Canadian cities, including Vancouver and Montreal, offer pet-friendly cafes, parks, and even shopping centres. Leash up for a stroll through Stanley Park or along the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal.
  • Nature Escapes: For outdoor enthusiasts, Canada’s national parks offer limited pet-friendly trails. Always keep your pet leashed and respect the wildlife.

Work-Life-Pet Balance: Managing Your Duties

Balancing work obligations with pet care on the road requires a strategy:

  • Schedule Wisely: Align sightseeing with your pet around work commitments. Early morning or evening explorations can be perfect for avoiding crowds and the midday heat.
  • Daycare and Pet Sitting Services: For those times when pets can’t join in on your adventures, research local pet daycares or use apps like Rover to find trusted pet sitters.

A Word on Etiquette and Safety

Practicing good pet travel etiquette ensures a positive experience for all involved:

  • Always keep your pet on a leash and clean up after them.
  • We don’t recommend it, but if you plan to leave your pet in your hotel room for any length of time, double-check the policies at your specific stay and be sure to set your pet up for success. Consider utilizing ambient sound (the TV or radio will do), a Kong to keep busy, and plan on frequent check-ins for their safety and the comfort of your neighbors.
  • Respect the space and comfort of others, recognizing that not everyone is a pet enthusiast.
  • Keep your pet’s health and safety top of mind, especially in unfamiliar environments.

Navigating Health Emergencies on the Road

Travelling with your pet offers an enriching tapestry of experiences, but it's not without its risks. Illness or injury away from home can be a pet parent's worst fear. Yet, with a sprinkle of foresight and the right preparations, you can navigate these choppy waters with confidence.

Be Prepared: The First-Aid Kit

Begin with a well-stocked pet first-aid kit. This should include basics like bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and a thermometer, alongside any regular medications your pet takes. Knowledge is just as crucial, so familiarize yourself with basic pet first-aid procedures. This prep work can make all the difference while you seek professional care.

Finding Veterinary Care Away from Home

Should your pet fall ill or sustain an injury, knowing how to quickly find a reputable vet is crucial. Apps and websites like VetFinder offer a lifeline, helping you locate veterinary services wherever you are in Canada. Additionally, don’t hesitate to ask locals or your accommodation hosts for recommendations. Often, local knowledge can direct you to trusted veterinary professionals.

Better yet, if your pet is covered by pet insurance through Pets Plus Us, you receive free access to PetHelpFone™ and Pet Poison Helpline® which can be helpful when on the move with your pet. Here’s what you can expect from our Blue Ribbon Benefits:

  • PetHelpFone™: Our experienced veterinary nurses (animal health technicians) are available when your regular veterinary practice is not, providing 24/7 service. All calls are triaged and you will be referred back to your regular veterinarian during normal business hours or to the nearest emergency hospital.
  • Pet Poison Helpline®: A 24/7 animal poison-control service that aids with treating a potentially poisoned pet. Pet Poison Helpline is staffed with veterinary and toxicology professionals.

The Role of Pet Insurance: A Safety Net for the Unexpected

Beyond just benefits like a licensed veterinary professional hotline, pet insurance in general can be invaluable in case the unexpected happens while travelling. Facing a medical emergency with your pet in an unfamiliar place can be daunting—not just emotionally but financially.

Pet insurance can help buffer against unforeseen veterinary costs, allowing you to focus on what's most important: your pet's safety.

Why Pet Insurance Matters

Coverage: Many pet insurance plans cover a broad spectrum of veterinary care, from minor injuries to major surgeries, even including diagnostic tests and medications.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that you may be financially protected in the case of an unexpected accident or emergency can help alleviate the stress of decision-making when it matters most.

Flexibility: Many pet insurance policies offer nationwide coverage. In fact, with Pets Plus Us, you can take your pet to any licensed veterinarian — even specialists and emergency care providers. Pets Plus Us also reimburses in Canadian dollars the cost of care from a licensed veterinarian in the U.S. should something happen while you are abroad.

Wrapping It Up

Embarking on work travel with your pet in Canada is an enriching experience that deepens your bond and enriches your adventures. With the right preparation, flexibility, and a dash of adventurous spirit, you and your pet can tackle any business trip with ease. Happy travels!

Written by Lizz Caputo
Article reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Sperry, DVM.
The information provided and contained herein are the opinions of PTZ Insurance Services Ltd. which are based on external publication. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice. PTZ Insurance Services Ltd. assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss, claims or damages arising out of the within content.