A majority of American adults* who traveled long distances** with their dog(s)*** within the country used their cars, and mostly all of them were extremely satisfied with the experience.
- Nine out of ten travelers (96%) reported positive outcomes from their trips with their dogs, and nearly half (47%) expressed extreme satisfaction with their overall travel experience.
- Traveling with their dogs by car (85%) accounts for the majority of trips made in the US, and at least 10% make the trip by airplane.
- The majority of dog owners (79%) travel with their pups primarily for family vacations, followed by 11% for relocations.
- The majority (80%) have traveled at least twice or more with their dogs, and only 19% indicated they’d done it once.
- Only a small percentage (17%) indicated they had to comply with special requirements/considerations before traveling with their dog(s).
Table of Contents
How are they traveling with their pups?
For most Americans, long-distance domestic trips are mainly made in their vehicles (e.g., cars, pickup trucks, or SUVs),1 and our data shows that when it comes to long-distance travel with their pet dog, many of them do so with their car (85%).
On the other hand, air travel is the second most utilized mode of transportation for long-distance dog travel within the country. However, it only represents a tenth of the preferred transportation options.
Airline travel is generally viewed as efficient and fast, although it’s pretty different when you travel with your dog(s). A thorough study shows that air travel is stressful for pets.2 Also, owners will still have to comply with specific requirements and other related fees for air travel.3
Why make long-distance travel with their dogs?
Most Americans like to travel with their pets.4 In the study, more than three-quarters of people cite family vacations as their reason for traveling with their dog(s).
Relocation falls second, though it only constitutes more than a tenth of the entire survey.
Dog adoptions and accompanying service dogs only cover a small percentage of the respondents, while veterinary visits indicated the very least.
Are they satisfied with their travel experience?
More than 95 percent of the respondents have a satisfactory experience in long-distance travel with their dog, and 47 percent were reported to be extremely satisfied. On the other hand, those who indicated a negative experience in their journey only accounted for a fraction of the overall result.
Who’s traveling with their dogs?
Men constitute the majority of survey respondents, which is more than half (54%) of all who participated in the survey. Most participants have children (61%), and nearly half are married (45.20%).
Data shows that long-distance trips with dogs are most popular with people who make between $25000 and $50,000 per year (26.40%), which falls under a quarter (18.76%5) of the US population.
Also, people between 25 and 44 years of age (60%), comprised chiefly of Millennials,6 are more likely to travel with their dogs. Interestingly enough, eighty percent7 of dog owners in the country are millennials and are considered more traveled than any other generation.8
Were there any special considerations or requirements they needed to comply with before travel?
Close to 85 percent indicated having no special consideration before their travel plans, which may show a substantial correlation to the majority of respondents based on their choice of transportation.
The 17% that did comply with special considerations or requirements have shared the following as part of their bucket list:
- Food and water (e.g., homemade treats)
- Calming medications
- Potty stop location routes
- Pet safety products ( e.g., ramps, muzzle, pet barriers, safety harness, car seat straps/safety belts, and other pet restraints)
- Essential items for comfort (e.g., collapsible travel bowls, dog pads, blanket, pillow, etc.)
- Dog-friendly hotels and other accommodations (e.g., holiday parks)
- Companion dog certification/requirements
- Dog crates/kennels: sizes
- Disabled or with special needs (e.g., blind)
- Vaccinations and vet certificates
- Mental preparation and conditioning
- Commercial flight restrictions/pet policies
Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS, FiveBarks’ consulting veterinarian comments: “This data seems consistent with what I see in my practice. Many owners come to me before a long journey by road to ask for things like calming medicine and anti-nausea medicine.”
“Many dogs dislike car travel, and some suffer from motion sickness; this can make an owner reluctant to travel by car regularly with them. Traveling by plane is relatively uncommon, which I suspect is due to cost but also a desire of the owner to stay close to their pet and a fear of the pet becoming anxious while in cargo.”
* Pertains to dog owners of legal age (18 and above).
** Defined by NHTS 2001 as a travel distance of 50 or more miles.9
*** Assumes any breed of dog regardless of its age and health condition. Also, it does not take into account the number of dogs involved.
This survey sampled one thousand US residents who are of legal age and have traveled 50 or more miles to their destination with their dog(s) within the country (not including the territories). This study was held in October 2022.
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1 Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (n.d.). Long Distance Travel. Retrieved October 30, 2020 from https://www.bts.gov/bts/archive/publications/highlights_of_the_2001_national_household_travel_survey/section_03
2 Bergeron, R., Scott S.L., Jeanne-Pierre, E., Mercier, F., Cook, N.J. & Schaefer, A.L. (2002, July). Physiology and behavior of dogs during air transport. Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, 66(3), 211–216. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC227007/
3 Burkert, A. (2022, April 20). US Airline Pet Policies. Go Get Friendly. https://www.gopetfriendly.com/blog/airline-pet-policies/
4 Survey reveals America’s love for pets is evident in travel habits. (2021, Feb. 5). The Roanoke Times. https://roanoke.com/lifestyles/pets/survey-reveals-america-s-love-for-pets-is-evident-in-travel-habits/article_2ab96268-ab38-5ea7-87c5-75ea5224d75c.html
5 US Census Bureau. (2022, August 17). Income Distribution to $250,000 or More for Households. Retrieved October 30, 2022. https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income-poverty/cps-hinc/hinc-06.2021.html#list-tab-28AGXCAC1DEO9COESY
6 Dimock, M. (2019, January 19). Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/
7 American Pet Products Association. (n.d.). APPA Generational Report Volume 4. https://www.americanpetproducts.org/pubs_generationalreport4.asp
8 Gelfeld, V. (2018, December). Americans Already Packing Their Bags for 2019. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2018/2019-travel-trends.html
9 NHTS. (2004, June). 2001 National Household Travel Survey: User’s Guide January 2004 (Version 3). https://nhts.ornl.gov/2001/usersguide/UsersGuide.pdf