The holiday season often means traveling and who wants to leave such an important part of their family at home? If you already know that your dog is okay with traveling (and not all dogs are), we’re here to help with some of the details.
These tips for traveling with your dog don’t apply to every dog, of course. Always remember that your dog is a unique being and treat them accordingly. For example, maybe your dog is okay with a two hour car drive but no longer. Or maybe there is no way your dog is going to tolerate everything that flying entails. Or perhaps you know that your dog can’t not bark in a hotel thanks to all the weird smells. There’s lots to consider when traveling with these four leggeds.
That said, let’s look at different ways we can make traveling with dogs easier for us and most importantly, easier, safer, healthier, and happier for them. Because what’s the point of taking them out of their comfort zones and routines if it’s not going to be fun? (Same could be said for us humans… ha!)
Basic tips to prepare for traveling with your dog
- Is your dog generally healthy? Do they need a quick trip to the vet before you travel?
- If they take meds, do you need to get refills?
- Is their microchip or ID up to date with contact information?
- If you’re going far or for long, make sure to have copies of their medical and vaccine records.
- Speaking of, are their vaccines up to date?
- Make sure you think ahead about their potty and exercise breaks.
- Travel with their favorite food and treats.
- Pack their favorite toy and blanket to bring the smell of home along.
- Take a travel bowl and water for regular hydration.
- And even if your dog is well trained, stay on leash. New places can cause erratic and unexpected behavior.
- If you have an extra anxious dog but really need them to travel with you, talk about options with your vet.
Tips for traveling by car
- Always secure your dog in the back seat. It can seem like fun to have them roaming about and sitting in your lap but it’s not safe for anyone.
- Here are three different options for securing your dog in a car.
- Please don’t let your dog hang his head out the window. Again, this seems like fun, but a better and safer option is to just have the window cracked for some fresh air.
- Stop more frequently than you normally would if you were just driving with humans. More breaks = happier, healthier dog. And again, always use a leash.
- Stopping more frequently will also help to keep them a bit tired and more prone to simply sleeping.
- Remember to never ever leave your dog in a car in even slightly warm or cold weather. (Just don’t leave them in the car, period.)
- If you don’t already have one, consider a cover for your backseat. It will protect your car in case of sickness and it can make things cozier for your dog. Here are some comfy covers.
- Make sure your dog has something to do in the car. This could simply be a fun chew toy. Check out our recent blog about just that!
Tips for traveling with your dog by plane
- Let us repeat something we’ve already said: Really think about traveling with your dog by plane… is it necessary? Do they have a personality that is flexible and curious enough to deal with all the strangeness of this?
- Research thoroughly. Airlines are often adjusting their rules around pet travel.
- Find an airline that allows for in-cabin travel for your dog.
- Make sure you prepare your carrier/crate for accidents, with plenty of pee pads and poop bags.
- Try to find the most direct route possible. Avoid layovers as much as you can.
- Think about that travel that will be necessary once you’re at your location. Do you need to take a car seat for your dog to be able to travel around?
- Think about weather: will it be extra cold or extra hot where you’re arriving?
Again, if you have any questions about traveling with your pet, please feel free to email us or comment here so we can help! And we’d love to hear things you’ve learned yourself from traveling with your dog.