Dog travel can be a challenge. We treat our dogs like family and love to take them along with us when we go places, run errands around town, and go on vacation. Traveling with dogs can be fun and it helps us to not have to leave them behind.
Despite the adventures when traveling with dogs, it can also be difficult if we are not prepared, especially those first few trips as new dog owners. You do not want your trip to become frustrating as you are unprepared. That’s why we’ve come up with the following tips to help you get prepared for your next trip with your beloved pet.
5 Best Dog Travel Tips – Hassle-Free Traveling With Dogs
1. Pack your dog travel essentials
This is going to be the most important thing to do. You always want to be prepared and have everything your dog may need for the trip. Of course, there may be places to stop along the way to buy supplies, but it is better to know what you need and not have emergency stops. List down what your dog needs and bring them along. Be sure you bring enough for the time you’ll be away.
Some dog travel essentials you need to bring:
- Dog food & water – Very Essential!
- Medications & Supplements – important if your dog takes any
- Travel dog bowl – great for giving them a drink along the way
- Airline approved dog carrier if traveling by air
- Safety harness and/or car seat if traveling by vehicle
- Dog seat cover – really helpful to keep you vehicle clean
- Blankets – keeps your pooch cozy and warm
- Food bag or containter- great for storing your dog food during your trip
- Dog bed – a must have if staying overnight somewhere
- Dog leash – Yes, you will need this for your breaks
- Poop bags – please be responsible and clean up after your dog
- First aid kit – best to be prepared
- Dog clothes – especially important for traveling during winter
No matter how short of a trip you are taking, even if it is just around town, always make sure to have a dog leash and water. You never know when you will need to stop or an emergency happens. For any of your dog travel needs from vehicle to air, check out Cross Peak Products. For all natural dog supplements, visit K9 Nature supplements.
2. Take frequent breaks
Take frequent breaks when traveling with dogs, especially when driving for long distances in the car. Just as it is unhealthy to sit for a long time for us, it is also important to have your dog move around as well. Take a break at a place that is dog friendly, allowing you to get your dog out of the vehicle. It is also best if the area has a grassy spot.
When you stop to take a break:
- Walk your dog. Let them stretch out their muscles and move around.
- Give them water to drink.
- Take your dog to a grassy area so they can use the bathroom. Please be polite and clean up after your dog.
Taking breaks is healthy for both you and your dog. Just remember, if you stop for a break, give your dog a break too. This helps your dog from getting bored and anxious as well. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG INSIDE THE CAR, especially when it is hot outside. Cars heat up fast and dogs can die from heatstroke.
3. Look for pet-friendly accommodations and modes of transportation
Not all establishments and accommodations allow pet guests. It would be a hassle to arrive at your destination and find out that your dog is not welcome. Make sure you do your research before hand. Book a pet friendly accommodation and research the area where you and your dog can explore and chill.
Times have changed and there are now over 40,000 hotels that are pet-friendly. Visit BringFido.com to find a dog-friendly hotel, as well as activities to do with your dog in the area. Some chain hotels, such as La Quinta and Red Roof Inn accept pets without a surcharge. Others charge an additional fee. There are also amazing programs at some hotels that cater to pets, such as offering pet salons, pet sitters, and pet walking. Check out the Top 10 Dog-Friendly Hotels in the US for more information.
If you don’t like traveling by car, you can now travel by train with your dog. Amtrak now allows dogs and cats up to 20 pounds for trips of up to seven hours on most routes. Of course, some restrictions do apply so be sure to contact them first before booking your trip.
4. Visit your vet
Before traveling with your dog, be sure to visit your vet. Depending on the type and place of dog travel, you may need a health certificate, a proof of an updated rabies vaccine and proof of the Kennel Cough vaccine. Some places are very strict with their policies regarding traveling with dogs. Pets traveling internationally, such as to Canada, Mexico, or beyond, may require more legal documentation and sometimes a quarantine period. You can find out more information from the US Department of State.
You also want to make sure that your dog is fit to travel. Some dogs get nervous during the trip. A sedative or a calming supplement is recommended if this is the case.
5. Keep your dog safe with an appropriate Air Carrier, Crate, or Car Seat
A top priority when traveling with dogs is to always make sure you are keeping your dog safe. Each type of dog travel requires a specific type of crate or carrier. For example, when traveling by air, most airlines allow a small dog to travel via an airline approved carrier but require an airline approved crate for large dogs. When traveling by car, small dogs can fit into a car seat while bigger breeds must either ride on the seat or in a dog crate. Large or extra large dog crates work well in the bed of a truck. SUV dog crates are an excellent option if you are traveling with 2 dogs, as they fit side by side in the rear.
Using a dog crate is a safe and smart way to travel with your dog. If there was ever an accident, a dog crate keeps your dog from flying throughout the vehicle, making a serious injury less likely. Not only that, it keeps your vehicle cleaner and prevents your dog from moving/jumping around inside the vehicle unexpectedly. If traveling by air, there are airline approved dog carriers for traveling by plane.
Choose a crate or carrier that’s large enough to allow your dog to stand, move around and lie down. Choose crates that have good ventilation and a leak-proof bottom. You also want them to be strong and durable, while allowing easy handling.
It may not always be easy to go on trips with your dog. Travel comfortably and safely by planning ahead. Be prepared to ensure that your next travel and adventure is dog gone fun!