Top Tips for Traveling With Dogs


Summer is in full effect and it’s finally time to take a family vacation. If you plan on taking the four-legged members of your family there are some things you need to know and do before your trip. The two most important are planning ahead and being prepared.

Traveling by Car

Traveling by car is the safest way to transport your dog on a trip, provided that you take certain precautions and plan ahead. Here are a few trips tips for planning a road trip with your pup:

  • Call the hotel or other location where you will be staying and make sure they allow companion animals. Many do not, or have size or breed restrictions. Pet-friendly lodgings have different rules so you need to call ahead plan accordingly. For example, some hotels do not permit pets to be left unattended in the room. If that’s the case, you may decide boarding your pet or finding a sitter is a better option. Check out PETA’s list of animal-friendly hotels, emergency vets, campgrounds, beaches, and other places.
  • Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and a collar with identification tags that include your dog’s name, your name, your number, and proof of rabies shots. You may also consider getting your dog microchipped. Take a recent picture of your dog as well. As a responsible pet owner, you need to make sure that your dog can be properly identified should he get away from you in a trip.
  • Keep your dog securely fastened or confined to a crate during road trips. You can restrain your dog with a dog seat belt or car barrier. If you use a seat belt, make sure the dog is placed in the back seat. Dogs should never ride in the front seat. If you use a crate, make sure it is large enough for the dog to stand, turn and lie down. There must be sufficient ventilation and a leak –proof bottom. Stock the crate with a comfortable absorbent mat and your dog’s favorite toy.


Pet harness purchase here

  • Don’t feed your dog too much before the trip as this may cause motion sickness and nausea.
  • Be sure to take enough dog food, treats, bottled water, and ice.
  • During the trip, its best to feed your dog small high-protein snacks rather than a full meal.
  • Stop frequently for potty breaks and short walks.
  • Use a window shade for the back and side windows of your car.
  • Bring a few of your dog’s favorite toys. This can ease any anxiety your dog may be having about an unfamiliar place.
  • Try to maintain your dog’s normal routine. Be sure to exercise your dog regularly and provide them access to fresh water at all times.


Traveling By Plane

The Human Society recommends that you do not transport your pet by airplane unless absolutely necessary. If you have no other alternatives, you will need to call the airlines for information about their rules regarding canine travel. Every airline will have its own guidelines, but all airlines require health certifications and proof of vaccinations.

Most airlines permit small dogs under a certain weight to stay up front in the cabin. This is the safest way to transport a pet on the plane. Transporting a pet in the cargo hold on other hand can be very dangerous, particularly for dogs with pushed in faces like bulldogs and pugs. Every year thousands of pets have been killed, injured, or lost while traveling in the cargo hold. Extreme temperatures, rough handing, and poor ventilation are the biggest concerns.


Traveling by Train or Bus

With the exception of service dogs, interstate bus companies like Greyhound and Amtrak trains do not permit dogs. In addition, local rail and bus companies prohibit dogs as well.

Traveling by Ship

Pets are welcome on only a few cruise lines.  Some luxury lines permit pets in cabins but most confine pets to kennels. If your pet will be placed in the ship’s kennel it may be better to board your dog or find a responsible sitter. This is especially true if your dog suffers from motion sickness or becomes distraught when his or her routine is disrupted.

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