8 Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

Although we are still experiencing some cold winter days here in the Northeast, I’m getting spring fever and want to explore new terrains with my dog.

Be prepared before heading out with your dog. By: malias

Here in the Northeast, Mother Nature is teasing us with beautiful days of spring.

Although we are still experiencing the cold and sometimes snowy winter days, I know I am getting spring fever!

One of my favorite things to do as the days are warming is going on vacation with my canine friend. With a little preparation, you can bring your dog with you when you leave town instead of boarding her. Some planning is essential to ensure an enjoyable time for both you and your dog.

8 Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. When you cross state lines with your dog, you should always have a health certificate ensuring your dog is up to date on shots and is healthy to travel. Airlines require this certificate — so if you are flying with your dog, check with the airline regarding their specific requirements. If you are simply driving, at least keep your dog’s health records with you. (See also: 10 Air Travel Tips for Dogs)
  2. Your dog should be microchipped and have a collar with updated information available. In the terrible event that your dog is separated from you, you should have your dog well labeled as yours.
  3. When you are packing your own bag, make sure you pack all needed items for your dog. I like to have a separate “doggie suitcase” with plenty of food (I use an OXO Good Grips Container to carry my dog food), toys, a collapsible water and food bowl, treats, a couple of leashes, a harness and a blanket.
  4. Consider the location in which you’ll be vacationing. If you plan to allow your dog to swim or go boating, bring a doggie life jacket. If the climate is cooler, you may want to bring a sweater, rain jacket or booties for your dog. If you have a small dog that gets very cold like mine, bring a couple of “outfits” to make sure your dog is always comfortable. Finally, if you have a dog that does not fit traditional sizes of canine outer wear, Holly at Spoiled Bratzwear can custom-make something for your dog.
  5. When you’re choosing a hotel, research dog-friendly places and let them know you are bringing your pup. I always like to look up local hikes, dog parks and doggie hotspots when I’m in a new place. Check out Bring Fido for ideas on where to bring your dog when you are out and about.
  6. Plan frequent breaks. Dogs need to stretch their legs just like we do! Many highway rest stops have areas designated where you can potty your dog. Have poo bags ready. This is also a good time to give your dog a drink of water.
  7. If your dog is prone to motion sickness, talk with your vet beforehand about medication you can give your dog to help him feel better while traveling. You might try something like Vet’s Best Comfort Calm (affiliate link) to help settle him. Try offering your dog small amounts of water during the trip or ice cubes to lick. Also, limit the amount of food you give before you depart to minimize stomach upset.
  8. Finally, make sure your dog is safe in the car. Either crating your dog while driving or locking him into a doggie seat belt ensures your safety as well as your dog’s. If you stop short, your dog becomes a missile if he isn’t secured into the car.

If you ever have a question about your pet’s comfort level while traveling, just ask yourself how you would feel in a similar situation. By just putting yourself in the dog’s situation, you can solve a lot of dilemmas when traveling.

With proper planning and preparation, you can make sure that everyone involved will have an enjoyable and safe time on their spring vacation.

Clarissa Fallis

View posts by Clarissa Fallis
Clarissa Fallis is a canine behaviorist and trainer from Upstate New York. She has attended Bergin University of Canine Studies, State University of New York at Cobleskill and Animal Behavior College. She is competent in training all breeds and ages of dogs, though she prefers hounds because of the challenge they present.

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