You read that right—over 25 pet travel statistics are coming your way in this blog post. We couldn’t believe it either! There’s a lot to know about the growing popularity of traveling with pets, and we’re so excited to share it with you.
Have you gotten your dog a passport? Are you planning an overnight getaway for your cat? Have you been daydreaming about taking your hamster on vacation? No matter what kind of pet you have, and no matter what kind of travel you’re looking to do with them, we think we’ve got some pretty cool pet travel stats that will make you say “huh,” or maybe even “wow.”
Pet Travel Statistics (Editor’s Picks)
Our readers can’t get enough of our pet travel statistics, and we’re not surprised. It’s hard to find a more charming topic than the adventures humans have with their furry friends, as well as the amazing ways pets help us learn about ourselves.
There’s something for everyone in our latest batch of pet travel statistics but here are the highlights:
- 78% of American pet owners travel with their pets every year.
- 53% of pet owners take their pets when traveling.
- Females are more likely to bring their dogs on vacations compared to males.
- Dogs make up 58% of transported pets worldwide.
- 63.8% of pet owners prefer to travel with their pets by car or pick-up.
- In 2020, 311,149 pets were transported by airlines in the US.
- In 2020, Alaska Airlines transported the most pets out of any airline in the US.
- One in ten pet parents has stashed their pooches in their luggage to get them into a hotel.
General Pet Travel Statistics
1. 78% of American pet owners travel with their pets every year.
(The Roanoke Times)
Pet parents love traveling with their pets. More people view pets as sentient beings who have the same needs as we do, so going on trips with pets has become a trend that many people have found to be fulfilling. It’s not a surprise that the travel industry has also adapted to this trend.
2. 53% of pet owners take their pets when traveling.
Did you know that almost 53% of people (who own pets) worldwide take their pets with them when they travel?
That’s more than half the world’s pet owner population! This statistic should make you feel proud, as it’s a testament to the fact that we all love our pets and want them in our lives as much as possible. As long as they’re not being harmed by the travel, I think it’s a wonderful idea to bring your pet along on your next trip.
You’d be surprised at how many people are taking their dogs, cats, and other companions on trips. You never know who’s going to be sitting next to you on the bus or plane. And with so many pet-friendly options for lodging and accommodations, it’s no wonder that so many people are traveling with their best friends.
There are so many great reasons for taking your pet on a trip. It can save money on boarding or sitting fees if you would otherwise need to leave your pet somewhere while you’re away—and you can feel more comfortable that your pet is being well cared for by someone who loves them.
If you’re traveling with a dog, they can be a great way to meet people and make new friends! It’s easy to strike up a conversation with someone when they see your dog, and it gives you an immediate shared interest with another person.
Finally, the more experiences you share with your pet, the stronger your bond will be. From road trips to adventures abroad, traveling with your pet is a great way to make sure that they never forget how much they mean to you.
3. Baby Boomers are the most likely generation to take their dogs with them when they travel.
Among dog owners between the ages of 55 to 64, 42% regularly take their pets with them during vacations. Even when they leave their dog at home, a quarter of them prepare homemade treats for their dog to enjoy while they’re away, and an astounding 75% leave behind a piece of their clothing so their dogs won’t miss them too much.
4. Females are more likely to bring their dogs on vacations compared to males.
While 25% of women take their dogs with them when they travel, only 14% of males do the same. This is probably because, according to research, women are more inclined than men to miss their pets when they’re away on vacation.
5. Dogs make up 58% of transported pets worldwide.
(PBS Pet Travel)
40% of households have at least one dog in the US alone. They’re the most popular pets worldwide, so it would only make sense that they make up the biggest chunk of transported pets.
Cats come next, making up 22% of transported pets each year. Thirty-four percent of American households have at least one cat.
6. 42.9% of pet owners love hiking with their pets.
When respondents in a survey by GoPetFriendly.com were asked what type of vacations they usually enjoy with their animal companion, hiking and going somewhere with fresh air made it to the top of the list.
Other activities included going to dog-friendly beaches (15.4%), going to national parks (18.3%), and booking a hotel in a pet-friendly city (12.5%).
7. Pet-friendly hotels are the top choice of pet-friendly accommodations.
47.9% of surveyed pet parents prefer staying in pet-friendly hotels when traveling with pets. Otherwise, 35.4% want to stay in RV parks or campgrounds, and 11.3% prefer vacation rentals.
To accommodate this preference, a survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association has found that 60% of hotels in the US allow entry to our four-pawed friends.
8. 7% of people will only consider vacations where their pets can come, too.
Going on vacation with your pets is becoming more and more common. A recent survey found that 7% of pet owners will only travel to destinations where they can bring their pets, and it’s clear why—why should you have to leave your furry family members behind just because you want to get away?
In-home pet care is an option, but some people don’t trust it. Others have found that when their pets are left alone or with a sitter for too long, the pets can become depressed or even sick. No matter how good a pet sitter is, it’s not the same as being home with you.
And some pets just don’t like being around other animals. So if your dog’s favorite place to be curled up at your feet while you watch TV, why should she have to spend her vacation being walked by strangers at the kennel? If your cat likes to snuggle on your lap when you read at night, why should he be stuck in a room full of other animals?
As the number of travelers who want to bring their dogs on vacation increases, so does the number of dog-friendly hotels and restaurants. Soon there will be even more places for people to visit—all without having to worry about leaving their favorite pets alone.
9. The US has emerged as the most popular travel destination for pets.
Nothing puts a smile on your face like your pet’s wagging tail, except maybe that gleam in their eye when you say it’s time for a car ride. Whether it’s a trip to the vet, the groomer, or just a quick ride to the park, pets love being with you—and when it comes to travel, pets love the United States as much as tourists do.
According to a survey of pet owners, 61 percent of respondents ranked the U.S. as the country their pets most enjoy visiting. Canada came in a close second, and the U.K. came in third.
Traveling with Pets by Car Statistics
10. 63.8% of pet owners prefer to travel with their pets by car or pick-up.
Additionally, 28.3% choose an RV or motorhome as their preferred mode of transportation. Unsurprisingly, with all the restrictions, risks, and high fees for air travel, only 6.3% of surveyed pet owners would even consider traveling with their pets on a plane.
11. 56% of dog owners state that they take their dogs on car rides at least once per month.
According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Kurgo, almost six out of ten respondents report traveling with their dogs by car at least once per month.
Additionally, a survey by Go Pet Friendly stated that 54.6% of dog owners bring their dogs on car rides more than six times per month.
12. 65% of dog owners admit that they engage in a distracting activity while driving with their pup.
While 29% of surveyed dog owners admit that their dog is a distraction for them when they’re driving, 65% actually engage in distracting activities while driving with their dog. The most common one, which 52% of respondents admit to, is petting their dog.
Others are distracted from driving by restricting their dog’s movement, preventing them from coming into the front seat, giving them food or treats, playing with them, or snapping a picture of them.
13. More than four out of five dog owners agree that it is unsafe for a dog to be unrestrained inside a moving car.
It’s not only unsafe for the owner; it’s dangerous for the dog as well. When a dog is unrestrained, the owner is more likely to be distracted by it, and it takes only two seconds of not paying attention to the road to double your risk of getting in a car crash. Most dog owners, particularly 83% of them, agree that having an unrestrained dog in a moving vehicle can be unsafe.
14. 84% of dog owners don’t use restraints when driving in a car with their dogs.
As you can see in the previous statistic, the majority of surveyed dog owners agree that it’s unsafe for dogs to be unrestrained in a moving vehicle. However, a lot of them still don’t take the proper measures to restrain them. Many dog owners state that they believe their pet to be calm and docile, and do not need restraining while in a car.
15. 7% of dog owners believe that restraining their dogs during car cards is too complicated or causes too much trouble.
Dog owners have varied reasons why they don’t restrain their dogs on car rides. It ranges from not believing their dog needs it to wanting to hold their dog. Some dog parents want their pets to be able to enjoy the car ride and put their heads out the window. However, a small percentage doesn’t do it simply for the reason that it’s too complicated.
Traveling with Pets by Plane
16. More than two million live animals and pets travel by plane each year in the US.
(US Department of Transportation)
There are restrictions in place on a state and federal level when it comes to transporting live animals. Moreover, every airline has its own policy for the appropriate handling of the animals they transport. However, ultimately, it is the owner’s responsibility to take proper measures to ensure the safety of their pets and animals upon transport.
17. In 2020, Alaska Airlines transported the most pets out of any airline in the US.
From January 2015 to December 2020, Alaska Airlines transported over 730,000 pets and live animals. In 2020 alone, the airline transported more pets than any of its competitors, with a total of 107,042 transported pets and live animals, without any reported incident of pet loss, death, or injury.
Additionally, Horizon Air, Envoy Air, and Skywest Airlines transported over 10,000 animals in 2020 without any incidents as well.
18. At 0.26, Alaska Airlines had the lowest average incident rate of pet loss, injury, or death from 2015 to 2020.
Incident rates are driven by the loss, injury, or death of a pet during transportation and are calculated per 10,000 pets and animals transported. From 2015 to 2020, Alaska Airlines managed to maintain an average rate of 0.26, which is one of the reasons why it’s the best airline for pet travel.
19. Between 2015 and 2020, Hawaiian Airlines had the highest average incident rate of pet loss, injury, or death.
Out of 55,906 animals and pets transported from January 2015 to December 2020, Hawaiian Airlines had an average incident rate of 2.03. This means that out of 10,000 animals transported, an average of 2.03 were either lost, injured, or had died.
United Airlines came next, with an average incident rate of 1.6 out of 448,654 transported animals and pets during that period.
20. In 2020, 311,149 pets were transported by airlines in the US.
The number of pets transported by airlines in the US has been gradually decreasing since 2015 when more than 530,000 pets were transported. In 2016, that number dropped to 520,000 pets, and it has been consistently dropping before reaching only 404,556 pets transported in 2019. Then, this figure dropped by another 24% in 2020, with 311,149 pets boarding US flights.
21. Between 2015 to 2020, the number of deaths reported by US airlines to the DOT reached 112.
Among all carriers in the US, United Airlines reported the most pet deaths, with a total of 45 during that period. Delta Air Lines came next, with 27 pets dying on their commercial flights. Lastly, 16 pets died on American Airlines flights. It’s mind-boggling to think about so many incidents of death among pets in airplanes in such a short time.
22. There were 81 reported pet injuries in US airlines between 2015 to 2020.
Once again, United Airlines made the top of the list with the highest number of pet injuries during this period. A total of 42 pets were injured on United Airlines flights. Additionally, American Airlines reported 14 incidents of pet injuries, and Delta Air Lines reported 11.
23. Four pets were lost between 2015 to 2020 during flights in the US.
Delta Air Lines topped the list this time, with two pets lost from January 2015 to December 2020. Both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines reported to the DOT that they lost one pet during the same period. Thankfully, United Airlines didn’t appear on the list of American carriers who lost pets during their commercial flights.
How Far Do Pet Parents Go to Travel with Their Dogs?
24. 38% of pet owners have driven to their destination with pets instead of flying there without them.
Some dogs are just not fit for air travel, such as those with health issues, snub-nosed breeds like pugs and Boston terriers, or bully breeds like pit bulls. Other times, airlines charge way too much to be able to travel with pets; this is especially true if you have a larger breed of dog. In these cases, pet parents would rather take the time to drive to their destination rather than fly.
25. One in ten pet parents has stashed their pooches in their luggage to get them into a hotel.
Although most hotels are already pet-friendly, some owners are still faced with the dilemma of choosing between bringing their dog and checking into the hotel they like. As a solution, pet parents have often found themselves sneaking their dogs into a hotel by hiding them in their luggage.
26. Around 7% of pet owners have dressed their dogs as service animals, even if they’re not, just to be able to travel together.
Service animals are trained animals that perform tasks to assist differently-abled individuals. They can either be service dogs, emotional support dogs, or therapy dogs.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs can access public places, such as restaurants, stores, and buses. They can even fly in an airplane’s cabin if they meet the airline’s requirements.
What percentage of pet owners travel with their pets?
In the US nowadays, approximately 78% of pet parents travel with them every year. It comes as no surprise that, as a result, the travel industry adjusted to accommodate this trend. For example, more hotels, restaurants, and airlines are now dog-friendly.
How many people travel with their pets each year?
More than 2 million pets and live animals are transported by plane each year in the United States alone, as stated by the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. Worldwide, this number goes up to 4 million each year.
How much does it cost to fly a dog internationally?
The cost varies by the dog’s weight, the airline, and your destination. The minimum cost would be around $800 on the cheaper side and a maximum of around $7,000. Some countries might also need you to hire a third-party pet transportation service, which will add to the bill.
Which country is the most dog-friendly?
According to the dog-friendly country index, Italy is the most dog-friendly country. It ranks well on animal protection, has sufficient veterinarians (525 per million population), has laws on animal rights, has a low risk for rabies, and most importantly, has no known dog meat consumption.
Which airline is the most pet-friendly?
In the US, Alaska Airlines has been deemed the most pet-friendly airline. Aside from having one of the lowest fees and the most flexible pet policies, the airline transported the most number of pets in 2020 with no reported incidents of loss, injury, or death of a pet.
There are lots more pet travel stats out there, but we don’t want to overwhelm you. And so, that’s all for now!
No matter how you slice it, traveling with pets is a growing trend and one that pet owners have shown they’re not willing to give up any time soon.
We hope this collection of statistics helps you better understand the pet travel industry, your own customers and clients, and what opportunities exist for your business.
Thank you for reading this blog post, and please feel free to share this with your friends and family! It’s been a treat having you along our journey.