Travel Nurse Tips to Bringing Your Pets on Assignment

Cooper, dark-haired dog with colorful bandana and leash

Many travel nurses bring their pets to adventure with them and help make each assignment feel more like home. While traveling with your pet in tow may seem intimidating, I have seamlessly integrated my two pups into my travel lifestyle and can help you with the process. Having your four-legged companion may be just what you need to combat feelings of loneliness as you move across the country every 13 weeks. Pets can give you support, companionship, and make travel nursing a more enjoyable experience. Plus, you get to bring a piece of your home with you wherever you go! Here’s how you can prepare to bring your pets on your travel nurse assignments.

What To Do Before Traveling With Pets

Get a Vet Check-up Before Moving

Get one last vet check-up before you head off to your new adventure. This way, you can make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and get copies of your pet’s health records, including spay/neuter certifications and any medication that your pet needs.

Don’t forget to ask your vet for some medications if you have a pet that suffers from car sickness. Your four-legged friend will appreciate you for this! I also recommend getting your pet microchipped if you haven’t already, so you have a better chance of reconnecting if they get lost.

Build Up Your Savings to Prepare For Pet Expenses

In my blog post about preparing for a career as a travel nurse, I highly stress the importance of having a decent savings built up before traveling. I can almost guarantee that you will have some expenses come up involving animals, such as a pet deposit, cleaning fees, dog walking, and sitter services. I’ve had a lot of success with networking with other travelers and staff for referrals to see who they’ve used to care for their pets. I have also used Rover.com and Care.com after reading reviews and personally interviewing sitters.

Decide How You Will Travel With Your Pet

Next, how will you be traveling to your assignment? Regardless of your mechanism of travel, it’s important to make a plan well in advance of your trip. Make sure you have a method to keep your pets safely restrained while traveling, too. Once you decide on a restraint method, acclimate your dog to both the restraint style and to riding in the car with it. This will make a longer trip less stressful.

If you’re road tripping with your pet, make sure to map out your travel plans to allow for extra stops and pet-friendly lodging along the way. Don’t forget your pet’s food, water, and favorite toys. For those travel nurses who are flying, flight reservations are necessary for pets, both in the cabin and in the hold. Make the reservation early and at the same time you make your own reservation to avoid any conflicts.

Travel Nurse Mentor Tips for Finding Pet-friendly Housing

  • Consider taking company housing. Many travel nurse agencies have a housing department dedicated to helping you find housing, and many times, this department specializes in finding pet-friendly options for you.
  • Make sure to get a letter of reference for your pets from former landlords, dog sitters, etc. You could use it as leverage if needed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask even if the listing doesn’t say it is pet-friendly housing. I have had some landlords who have agreed to housing my pet after meeting me and understanding the circumstances. Reassuring them that your pet will be in a crate and/or have a pet walker may help.
  • If you have the option, allow the landlord to meet you and your well-behaved pet. 
  • Know your limitations ahead of time. Some housing options have breed restrictions, limit the number of pets you can have, and may only allow domesticated animals.
  • Join local social media groups to network with locals to see who they use for pet services. This could also be a way to find pet-friendly housing options.
  • Airbnb, Furnished Finder, and extended-stay hotels could also be an option. If you use a hotel, make sure to ask if they offer a discounted rate for long-term stays or for healthcare professionals in general.

Making Your New Place a Home For You and Your Pet

You made it! Take some extra time to help your pets get acclimated to their new environment and help establish a routine for them while you are away at work for long shifts. Schedule a dog walker or pet sitter for them while you’re away. An added amenity I love is having a camera to check on your pups from your phone while you are on your work breaks. I love Furbo because it alerts me if my dogs are barking and gives me an overview of their activity for the day. There are also less expensive cameras on Amazon. Make sure to plan some fun adventures with your pet during your off time as well. They want to spend time with you! You can check out Dogpark.com and BringFido.com for pet-friendly places to stay, play, and eat with your pet.

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