Travel Nursing Jobs and Pets – How to Keep Everyone Happy

Let’s face it, they are family, they are our babies and we hate the thought of leaving them behind long- term. It’s so hard to just walk away from that sweet, trusting face and to worry about their welfare. Our pets need us and in our own crazy way,we need them. So when you take on a domestic travel nursing assignment, rest assured that you can take that precious little fur- bundle with you. There are several things to consider though, and some preparations to handle.

The Journey

If your job isn’t far from your home base, then driving is the best way to transport your pet. This allows them to be close to you, stop for potty breaks, and to even be fed and watered when necessary. Be sure to take a toy and plenty of food and dishes for water in the car with you. You may also think about keeping a towel and some clean-up items handy in case your pet has an accident or gets sick.

But if your travel nursing job takes you across country and you don’t want to search for pet-friendly hotels to stop in along the road, then know the ins-and -outs of flying with an animal. This is an area that your travel nursing agency may be able to help you with.

Many small animals can be placed under the airline seat in front of you if they are kept in a crate or carrying case. If you need to load a pet into cargo, then be prepared for the following:

  • It is not recommended that puppies, kittens, pregnant, sick or frail animals fly.
  • Many airlines won’t accept animals with “pushed in” faces like Pugs, Persian cats or Bulldogs so check with the airlines before booking.
  • Consider the time of year. It’s best not to fly with animals in cargo when it’s very cold or hot in your departure city, or even your arrival location. Delayed flights and pets left on the tarmac for loading are at risk for exposure or over-heating.

Be aware of the risks of flying with a pet in cargo. You can check the FAA website for information regarding government policies, screening, and flying with pets in the passenger cabin.

Location, Location, Location

Once you consider a domestic assignment, finding the right housing is the first challenge. Many apartments or other temporary housing locations won’t allow pets. This is one item where your travel nursing agency can be of assistance. Hopefully you are with a company that provides great support, including locating a suitable place for you to stay with your pet.

Factor in the likelihood that you will need to put down a separate deposit for having a pet. Next, remember that your pooch will want some outdoor time, so if possible, request housing near a park or other ‘green’ space so you have somewhere to take your dog for a walk. Side note – weigh the need to have a second floor apartment (is it a safe area?) with the convenience of a ground-floor unit for those necessary outings.

Making the Adjustment

New spaces can require some adjustment time, so avoid the temptation to let your pet run into your new, temporary home as soon as you arrive. Slowly acclimate them to the outdoor area, then familiarize them with the new place one room at a time. Be prepared for the nerves to take over – accidents can happen so have some cleaning supplies handy.

Some pets, like some people, adjust to new experiences well, and some don’t. Be on the lookout for behavioral changes and understand what’s happening.


Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is what to do with your pet when you’re working long shifts. While some larger dogs can go for long stretches without an outing, many dogs cannot. Ask your travel nursing agency if they can help arrange for walkers or pet sitters, or at least provide a contact at the hospital for inquiries about what other nurses do with their animals.

Don’t forget to research veterinary care in the area and look for a facility that has flexible hours. You may only be able to bring in your pet in the evening or on weekends.

A Happy Ending

While it may seem to be a lot of work to travel on assignment with your beloved pet, remember how much they can help alleviate the stress of the day. Imagine walking in from a long, hard shift to be greeted by a tail wagging or purring best friend!

If you’d like to work with a travel nursing agency that offers the support you need, then contact us. We can provide the best locations for you and your pet.