Caring for Your Guide Dog or Service Animal Abroad

German sheppard service dog takes a break and looks intently at its owner
Learn tips for supplies to take along, climate preparations, and animal health while traveling internationally.

What will I need to take with me?

Food and Supplements

Figure out what you can bring along with you and order the remaining food and supplies.

  • Make sure that the food is manufacture-sealed in its package. Ask your pet food supply store for sample packs for air travel.
  • For short trips or animals with food or other allergies, carry what you will need (i.e. food, medication, shampoos) to travel.
  • For longer trips, order food and supplies online or direct from the manufacturer and have it shipped to your destination. Many countries also have pet stores locally too.
  • Keep medication in original prescription bottles, sealed, and with a note explaining what the drug is and its purpose.


Consider the climate from which you are coming since the animal will have their winter or summer coat.

When traveling from a cold climate to a warm climate, acclimatize your guide dog/service animal by:

  • Shaving the coat if possible
  • Brushing the coat often
  • Adding Pedialyte® to water bowls to prevent dehydration
  • Putting freezer packs in the pockets of vests to cool down the body
  • Purchasing a "cooler" collar to wear
  • Purchasing booties to protect the animal's pads, if applicable

When traveling from a warmer climate to cold climate, consider:

  • Purchasing vests/coats with insulation
  • Purchasing booties to protect the animal's pads, if applicable
  • Brushing the coat frequently.

Some guide dogs/service animals will need to get used to any new gear before being able to work without being distracted by it.

How do I keep my guide dog/service animal healthy?

  • Carry a pet first aid kit with you, or supplement yours with what your guide dog/service animal needs.
  • Take a pet first aid class. Even if you can’t physically perform the needed action you may be able to instruct another person and save your guide dog/service animal's life.
  • Identify veterinarians in the areas you plan to travel. Keep their names and contact info in a handy, safe place.
    • Set aside money for health certificates, veterinarian visits, and fees related to travel with an animal.
  • Carry a head halter and/or muzzle. Make sure your guide dog/service animal has been introduced to these items before travel. Some places may require a muzzle or muzzle like tool for dogs in public.
  • Take care of yourself. Your guide dog/service animal depends upon you as much as you do them. Make sure you are in good health so you can take care of your guide dog/service animal.
  • Have a back up plan to meet your needs in case your guide dog/service animal is not allowed to accompany you or becomes unable to work.