Planning a Trip with Your Dog

Planning a Trip with Your Dog

While taking a trip or family vacation can be the highlight of your year, the prospect of taking a trip may be less-appealing for dog owners. Dog owners are often doubtful when it comes to leaving home due to the fact that they are hesitant to leave their dog in the care of a sitter or boarding kennel. However, the truth is that it is not as difficult to travel with your canine companion as it once was. With a little forethought and preparation, your pet can easily enjoy getting away from home with you.

Taking your dog with you family trip or vacation can be fun and easy, as long as you make a few basic considerations when planning your trip.


Travel Options

Whenever you are planning a trip with your dog, the first consideration you must make is how you will be traveling. While you may choose to travel by train, bus or boat, these transportation options often have restrictions and limitations for pets. If you do choose one of these options, then you should first check with the organization to see what regulations they have that may apply to your pet.
For people who prefer to travel with their dog, the two most commonly chosen modes of transportation are by air and by car. While flying with your pet does include some restrictions it is the next best choice, aside from taking your own personal vehicle.

By Air

Whenever you are planning a trip that is too far to travel by car, going by air is the next best choice. However, traveling by air with your dog does require some forethought and considerations. First, you should plan a routine visit to your dog’s veterinarian for a checkup and to ensure that their vaccinations are up-to-date. All airlines require that traveling dogs have health certifications and proof of vaccinations.

You should also contact the airline that you will be using for your travels ahead of time to find out all regulations regarding the transport of pets. For example, small dogs may be allowed to ride in a dog carrier on-board, if it is small enough to fit under your seat. While larger dogs must usually ride in a dog carrier in the cargo hold, some airlines may have restrictions on transporting dogs during very hot or cold weather. Each individual airline has their own rules and regulations regarding the transport and travel of dogs, therefore you should always check with the airline that you plan on using to find out any information that you need to be prepared beforehand.

By Car

The #1 choice for traveling with your dog is by taking your own personal vehicle. Unfortunately, if you are limited by time and distance this may not be the best choice. However, if you are not limited by time, then traveling by car is a great choice.

One of the first things you should do before taking a road trip with your dog is get them used to riding in the vehicle. Some dogs may experience car sickness on their first few rides, so it is best to avoid feeding them right before travelling. However, you may want to bring a few treats along to reward them for good behavior whenever they follow directions.

It is extremely important to remember that you should never leave your dog alone in a vehicle. Unlike humans, they cannot open doors or roll down a window, or even turn on the heater if they get too hot or too cold. Leaving your dog unattended in a vehicle can lead to serious injury or death. Not to mention, leaving your dog alone in a vehicle could result in being charged with animal neglect or abuse.

When you are traveling by car with your dog, you should never allow them to hang their head out of an open window as this may lead to eye injuries. You should also take special considerations if you are considering allowing your dog to ride in the back of an open pickup truck. Due to the risks of the dog becoming injured by trying to jump out of a moving vehicle, you should properly secure your dog to the center of the truck bed and make sure that the tie-down is short enough so as not to allow the dog to jump over the side and strangle themselves.

Preparing for a Trip with your Dog


In order to make traveling with your dog as easy as possible, there are a few essential items that you should pack for them. For starters, you should bring your dog’s regular food and water bowls, as well as their regular food. Switching your dog to a new food and traveling can both be upsetting to them, by bringing their regular bowls and food you can help make traveling less stressful for them.

In addition to your dog’s regular food and bowls, you should make sure to bring any medications that they need (especially any medications for car or motion sickness.) You should also make sure that before leaving home your dog is wearing an appropriate collar with an ID tag showing the dog’s name, your name and your contact information. Your dog’s collar should also have a tag showing that they have had their rabies shots. You may also wish to consider bringing your dog’s pet bed, depending on the type of lodging that you plan on using.

Research Your Travel Destination


In order to avoid any last minute complications, you should research your destination thoroughly. A few things that you will probably want to check beforehand include the hotel or lodgings that you plan on using, parks or dog walking destinations, veterinary hospitals and dog-friendly attractions.

Hotels & Lodgings

Before heading out, you should make sure that the hotel or lodgings that you plan on using are dog-friendly. If your dog is not people-friendly or shows aggression towards strangers, then you should make sure that you always keep them under firm control. If you must leave your dog alone in a hotel room, then you should make sure that they are securely kenneled to prevent destruction of the room and protect any unsuspecting visitors, such as a maid.


Regardless of traveling, your dog still needs to be walked on a regular basis. If you are not located near a dog friendly park, then you may consider asking the hotel staff if there is an appropriate place nearby walking your dog. You should also remember to be considerate of any local leash laws and bring doggie bags to clean up behind them.

Veterinary Hospitals

Before taking your trip, you should make a list of veterinary hospitals in the cities or towns that you will be visiting. In addition to this, you should also keep a copy of your dog’s medical records with you in case of a sudden emergency.

Taking a trip with your dog can be a fun and exciting adventure for the both of you. With the proper planning and preparation, you can avoid most crisis situations that arise during travelling and have a wonderful time with your canine companion. .

Authored by: DogLoveIt

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