Traveling With Your Dog – Tips and Advice

Travel with a dog

The time for your long-planned vacation has finally arrived. You’re about to start packing, but you’re still struggling with a huge question: Should I take my dog or not? Unless your dog is sick, pregnant or has recently been injured, there is no need to leave him at a friend’s place or pay for someone to take care of him while you’re on vacation. Don’t forget: your pet does miss you when you’re away.

Making the decision

Before you decide in favor of taking your dog with you, make sure he is healthy – take him to the vet. The vet is also the only person who can issue a health certificate. That certificate, and proof of an updated rabies vaccine, is necessary if you board your pet at your destination. Inform your vet about your travel plans, because your dog may need to get an additional vaccine, depending on where you’re heading. Pets traveling to Canada, Mexico or beyond, require more legal documentation and sometimes, a quarantine period.

Preparations and packingDog.Travel

1. Bring along a supply of the food your dog regularly eats and some local, bottled water.
2. Make sure you bring any medications he needs.
3. Get a sturdy leash or collar for your dog.
4. Bring a recent photo of your dog along with you.
5. Bring the dog’s bedding, toys, brush and dishes. Traveling, just like for humans, can be stressful for dogs in the sense that they will miss the comforts of their home. If you can, bring the familiar things with you.

Transportation and safety

Traveling by car

1. Prevent car sickness.
Just like humans, animals can get car sick too. In order to prevent car sickness, give your dog a light meal a few hours before you leave and feed him minimally during the drive. Give him small amounts of water periodically. If you can, take along ice cubes, which are easier for your dog than gulping large amounts of water. In this way, you’ll also have something to keep him busy.

2. No dog on the window
Dogs absolutely love to stick their heads through the window. Though they obviously find it enjoyable, many dogs are injured when road debris or insects fly into their eyes, nostrils or windpipe. Do not let your dog stick his neck too far out into the wind stream. If you want to allow your dog to enjoy the car window experience, be sure to get the dog goggles for it.

3. Seating
Use a kennel or restrain your dog with a canine seat belt. Also be sure to use a protective cover for your car seat.

4. Do not drive your dog in the truck.
Dogs love trucks, but it is estimated that more than 100,000 dogs die from falls from pickup trucks each year. If it becomes too hot, dogs might want to jump out and the leash can strangle the dog if he’s thrown. The best option is to let your dog stay in the car.
Never leave your dog alone in the car.
Dogs can suffer and die when left inside parked cars, even on mildly warm days. On a 78°F day, the temperature inside a shaded car is 90°F, and the inside of a car parked in the sun can reach 160°F in minutes. Animals can succumb to heatstroke within just 15 minutes.

Traveling by Plane

Each airline has its own set of rules for canine air travel. You should call for information and make arrangements well in advance of your trip.
• All airlines require health certifications and proof of vaccinations.
• Some airlines will not transport animals when it is extremely hot or cold.
• Dogs must be in an airline-approved crate when transported as cargo. Small dogs may ride under the seat in a crate or in a dog carrier.

Traveling by Boat

Taking your dog on a cruise trip can also be an option. However, you should check the policies of the cruise line or ship you will be traveling on before making plans to take your dog on a cruise with you. However, on boats, safety might arise as an additional issue. Do not forget to put a life vest on your dog. Even though dogs are natural swimmers, they tire easily and may drown.


Double-check that the hotel or other location where you’ll be staying is prepared to welcome your dog.
When traveling with your dog, be considerate of other guests and passengers. One bad experience with a dog guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs. Make sure you leave the rooms or other places where you and your dog spend time in good condition.

Do not forget to always clean up after your dog.

Dogs share our lives in a way that most other animals can’t. They are capable of endless love and loyalty and they are happy to go wherever you go, but it is you who has to make sure they remain safe and healthy. And with the two of you on the road, adventure is inevitable.

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Posted by
Lenka Laskova

Lenka usually spends her time reading and writing. She loves animals and nature. In spare time, she translates poetry.