Travel Nursing With Pets: What You Need to Know in 2019

Medical Staffing Options

There’s no question that travel nursing offers a myriad of exciting opportunities for those willing to take the plunge. However, diving into a new city with few or no contacts can be intimidating. One way to alleviate that homesickness is to travel with your dog, cat, or both!

Walking your dog is a great way to explore a new city, and coming home to a purring cat can help you relax after a long shift. Caring for your furry friend can be complicated when you’re a travel nurse, however—but with careful planning and a little luck, your pet can typically follow you wherever your next assignment takes you. However, travel nursing with a dog or cat requires careful planning – we’ve compiled helpful tips to make transitioning to your next assignment with your pet as easy as possible.


If you’ve ever rented an apartment or house, you know that pet deposits and pet rent can be steep. Additionally, breed and size restrictions can limit your housing options.

You will unfortunately find these same hurdles on your travel nursing journey with pets. Work with your recruiter to ensure each transition into a new location is smooth for you and your furry friend. Pet-friendly travel nursing agencies like Medical Staffing Options can help find a solution for you and your pet pal.


Cats are great companions for nurses given that they are relatively low-maintenance pets.

However, many cats are not keen on traveling in vehicles, so simply getting to your new, temporary home may be a hurdle.

If you have time, try driving around the block with your cat to see how they handle car rides a few days before you depart to your assignment. Some cats may fall asleep, and some may react very negatively. Regardless of how your cat reacts, it’s a good idea to keep them in their carrier for the duration of your car trip. A cat that gets under your gas or brake pedals or scratches you at the wrong time could distract you and cause an accident.

Depending on your cat’s tolerance level, some Benadryl, calming treats, or perhaps something stronger from your vet may be in order, if you find your cat is not enjoying the car ride.

It’s a good idea to bring a disposable litterbox or two for the ride, depending on how long you’ll be in the car together. Set this on the floor of your car so that your cat can use it when you take breaks on your trip.

You’ll also want to make sure to confirm that any hotels you are staying in on your trip are cat-friendly.

Instead of traveling with stinky litter boxes, consider biodegradable litter boxes that you can throw away when your contract is over and it’s time to move to the next assignment.

Window cling cat beds can be a fantastic and portable way to ensure that your cat is entertained and comfortable while you’re away at work.

It’s never recommended to allow your cat outside, but just in case she or he escapes, be sure your cat is microchipped and the chip is registered to you, specifically. This will help with reunions in unfamiliar towns.

Travel nursing with a cat by your side may require a little extra planning, but it is certainly not out of the question—some travel agencies, like Medical Staffing Options, will even help you find cat-friendly housing options that best fit your needs.


Dogs can make great travel companions—they won’t take over the radio and they’ll go anywhere with you with a smile on their face!

Just like cats, it’s important to let dogs get comfortable with being in the car in short doses before taking them for long trips. Bring a few toys, both old and new, to give your pup something to play with while sitting in the car.

Bringing a crate for your dog with a comfortable mat and plenty of ventilation is recommended. Guidelines say that the ideal crate allows your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably within it.

Your dog is also less likely to get carsick if they travel on an empty stomach, plan for this by avoiding large meals in the morning. Taking breaks to exercise and go to the bathroom will also go a long way to improve your dog’s mood on your trip. And never leave your pooch unattended in the car!

Owning a dog and being a nurse can be a little tricky, since asking your dog to stay at home for around 14 hours by themselves presents a challenge. Thankfully, with doggy daycare and dog-walking websites popping up all over, it is easier than ever to begin travel nursing with dogs.

Just be sure to scope out the options before you agree to a new location. Google is your friend here to find individual doggy daycares, boarding, or dog-walking websites that will allow you to keep your pooch well-exercised and happy while you are working.

If you’ve never taken your pup to doggy daycare, they will require that she or he be up-to-date on vaccines and flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives, so make sure to grab that info from your vet before you embark on your new adventure.


If you’re ready to begin travel nursing and want to bring along your pet, your first, and most important, step in the process will be researching the area around your assigned medical facility. Some travel nursing agencies will help you find pet-friendly housing options that best fit the needs of both you and your pets.

While it’s important to understand that traveling with cat or dog will likely limit the scope of your search for accommodations, our team has experience finding housing that works well for everyone.

Have questions about travel nurse housing and your pet?

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