Laws on Pets in Travel Trailers

By Anne Goetz - Updated June 16, 2017
Horse trailer in action on a motorway

Views on transporting pets in towed travel trailers vary widely, but generally it's frowned upon for several reasons: While there are few specific regulations regarding the transport of pets in travel trailers, it's not the most comfortable ride due to extreme temperatures inside the trailer and the pitch of the trailer itself as it's being towed down the road. Generally, it's advised that your pet ride with the family in the tow vehicle, but if you have no reasonable alternative -- that is, if your pet is too big or too manic to ride with passengers -- then it's important to learn the best way to transport a pet to make its travels from locale to locale as humane as possible.

Depending upon the type of animal you are moving, you may want to contact your local veterinarian (dogs and cats), or the Department of Agriculture (sheep, hogs, or horses) or Division of Wildlife (deer, rabbits) for the state you're traveling in. Any one of these organizations will have information to ensure your pet and others stay healthy and that you don't inadvertently violate any laws.

Permit Regulations

Find out whether a permit is required. Small domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, generally do not require permits, but if your pet falls under the category of livestock there may be a different set of transport regulations to which you must adhere. Contact your state's Department of Agriculture to find out whether or not a permit is required.

Health Regulations

Regardless of the type of pet you are transporting, there are regulations in place to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by transporting animals from state to state.

Contact your veterinarian to learn what tests and certificates your pet needs to move legally across state lines. Required documentation may vary from something as simple as possessing a rabies tag to needing a health certificate and a brand inspection. The regulations vary by state and by animal, so know your responsibilities before you transport your pet.

Safety Regulations

Safety regulations regarding animal transport are much stricter in Europe than in the United States. They include laws regarding proper animal handling, regarding allowing the animal to have sufficient room and regarding making sure the animal is fed and watered regularly.

Unfortunately, no similar laws currently exist in the United States that are comparable, but common sense goes a long way toward the humane treatment of an animal under transport.

Ensure that your pet has comfortable accommodations, access to food and water, and rest stops if the trip covers an extended duration.

Make sure the person driving the trailer is capable of handling it on the open road and obeys all traffic laws and speed limits.

Even if the laws in your state are not specific, you can still incur hefty fines and the wrath of passersby by transporting your pet under dangerous or blatantly unsatisfactory conditions, such as in an open trailer, being battered by wind, debris and the elements.

The Comfort of Your Pet

If you are hauling a smaller animal, such as a cat, dog or rabbit in your travel trailer, first load its kennel and secure the kennel with bungee ties to keep it from shifting during travel. Add extra bedding such as pillows or straw to help soften the bumps, then enclose your pet securely in it to prevent it from rocketing from wall to wall as you maneuver down the road.

The temperature inside the metal trailer is another factor you must consider before enclosing any living creature inside. If you are traveling through areas or during seasons of intense heat or cold, make alternative arrangements for the transport of your pet.

About the Author

Anne Goetz shares her parenting and career experience with North American Parent, Hagerstown Magazine, c0ws.com, Lhyme.com and a variety of other online and print publications. A mother of two with a degree in communications and a long history in management, Goetz spends her spare time hiking, camping and blogging. She is the author of the site, An Unedited Life: The Ultimate Blog for Freelance Writers.

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