Traveling with Your Dog

traveling with your dog

Traveling with your dog may be as simple as around the town, or as complex as across the country.  Whether you’re in a car or taking a plane, there are things you can do to ensure everyone’s comfort and safety.  What is a very typical way of travel for many may actually be putting your pup in danger.

Going on a Long Journey?

If you and your pup are traveling long and far, there is a lot of prep work to do. We’re hoping this list will make traveling with your dog a little easier.

traveling with your dog
  • Whether traveling by car, airplane, or other mode of transportation, train your pup to travel in a crate.  Believe it or not, this makes the traveling experience less stressful for your pet. 
  • When using a crate, be sure that it is large enough for your furry friend to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.  No one (pet or human) wants to be in a place too small for them.  To relate, think of being in a clown car with no leg room for hours at a time. Stock the crate with a comfy absorbent material, a favorite toy, and an easy to access water bottle.
  • Be sure that Fido is properly identified. There are a couple of ways to do that.  A dog tag is a good place to start.  Even better is a microchip.  Consider marking the crate with your name and address, and even your destination address.  This last tip is especially helpful if traveling by plane or train.
  • Traveling by car?  Keep your pet on their usual potty schedule.  Dogs love routine.  Of course, if you have kiddos, you may have to stop more frequently to work around their potty breaks.
  • It probably goes without saying, but never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle.  Also, stay with your pet’s crate at an airport or train station.
  • Travel with copies of vaccination records.  You never know when you might need them.  In addition, these records are usually required for Fido to board an airplane.
  • Remember to pack enough dog food for the time you’ll be traveling.
  • Finally, look into the regulations in the states you’ll be traveling to or through.  Some have strict regulations on traveling with pets.  Also, if needed, know that boarding kennels fill quickly.  This is especially true during holiday seasons where many are traveling.  Planning months ahead is ideal.

Of course, as with most things pet related, check with your veterinarian.  Knowing your pup is up for the journey is a good place to start.  This is especially true for a plane ride, which can be quite stressful for animals.

Just Driving Around Town?

Are you and Fido just taking a quick trip into town?  Does traveling with your dog mean 20 minutes on the highway?  Even then, it’s good to be mindful of keeping your pup happy and safe.  Here are our top tips for doing both.

  • If this is your pet’s first time in a car, allow them time to get used to the vehicle.  First, let them sit in the car with you without driving away from home.  Slowly start taking short rides (around the block) and come right back home.  This is helping your dog in being less anxious on their first real ride.
  • Just like children, some dogs get car sick.  With your pet, however, try letting them travel on an empty stomach. 
  • If it is very hot outside (like here in the South), or will be longer than an hour, having plenty of water available for them is important.
  • Many pet owners allow their dogs to hang out an open window with ears flapping in the wind.  We all know that dogs just love it.  However, did you know that in a fast-moving car, your dog could experience eye injuries?  Yep.  If Fido will wear safety goggles, consider getting him a pair.  If not (and probably not), open the window only enough for him to get in some super good sniffing. 
  • Even if you’re just going around the corner, train your pup to enjoy riding in their crate.  You’ll want to be sure that in your vehicle the crate gets plenty of air flow. 
  • If your dog won’t travel by crate, consider getting a doggie harness seat belt.
  • Never ever let your dog ride in the back of an open truck.  It is very dangerous.  It can sometimes lead to serious injury or death of your pet. 
  • If it’s a short ride, you may not need to stop for a potty break.  However, if your dog is older, you may need to plan for a stop or two.  And, you know, always pick up after your pet.
  • If you have passengers with you, remind them not to tease or annoy Fido.
  • Finally, never ever leave your dog alone in the car.  Especially in the summer heat.  Even with the air conditioning on, if your dog is upset you’ve left them, you may return to chewed seats or soiled floorboards.

We hope these tips make traveling with your dog a great time for you both.  Fun fact, did you know that some car manufacturers are making traveling with your dog even better?  They are building in safety, storage, and comfort features for Fido.  Check out this list of cars that will coddle your canine.

For more information about this subject or general questions you can contact:

Christi Knight, CPDT with Posh Paws Pet Care, LLC
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Or send us a note from our contact page here.