Traveling With Dogs: Tricks and Tips for a Smooth Journey

Rico in car travel

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Bringing your dog along for a vacation can make the experience even more enjoyable for the whole family. But before you hit the road and start traveling with dogs, it’s essential to consider the extra planning and preparation that is necessary for their health and safety during the trip. 

Keep in mind, not all dogs enjoy traveling, and some may not be in the right mental or physical shape for it. It’s necessary to have a plan in place to ensure that your dog is comfortable and safe throughout the journey.

From finding the right travel crate to ensuring your dog has proper identification, to planning out your hotel stays, I’ll walk you through all the necessary steps to make your vacation with your dog a truly memorable and enjoyable one.

Schedule a Pre-Trip Vet Checkup

Before embarking on an adventure with your dog, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit to the vet to ensure that they are in good health and ready for travel.

This visit not only allows you to ensure that all vaccinations are up-to-date and that your dog is in good physical shape, and gives you an opportunity to discuss any concerns or special needs your dog may have when it comes to traveling. 

For example, your dog may have a fear of flying or may have a medical condition that makes flying unsafe, so your best bet would be a road trip with your dog instead, If you are flying with your dog, the airlines will require a health inspection, generally within 10 days of travel, so make sure you time things correctly! 

Your vet will be able to advise you on how to handle these situations and give you peace of mind that you and your dog are ready for the journey. They can review if anxiety medication would be a good idea for your dog if they struggle with car rides.

By having a pre-trip vet check-up, you will be able to be proactive in case your dog has any health issues that may arise during the trip. This will allow you to take action immediately, avoiding potential complications and making sure that your dog receives the best care possible.

Plan For Medical Emergencies

When traveling with your dog, be prepared for any emergency or health-related issues that may arise. First, make sure you have your pet’s medical records with you. This includes their vaccinations, medication and any other relevant information that a veterinary professional might need to know.

Have the contact information of at least one veterinarian in the area where you will be staying so you can get help quickly if needed. You can research the location of the nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital at your destination and save the number in your phone or screenshot their phone number so you aren’t scrambling in an actual emergency.

Pack a doggy first aid kit that includes items such as bandages and antiseptic ointment. Bring any medications that your pet is currently taking and make sure they are properly labeled in case there are any mix-ups.

Having a plan in place is not only about being prepared for the worst-case scenario, it’s also about being able to enjoy your vacation without stressing about your dog’s well-being if they get into something they shouldn’t!

You can have peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for any situation that may arise, and you can focus on enjoying the journey with your dog. In case of an emergency, your dog will receive the best care possible, and you will be able to act quickly and efficiently thanks to the information and resources you have at hand.

Prep With The Right Travel Essentials 

When traveling with your dog, bring along all the essentials to ensure their comfort and well-being during the trip. This includes bringing along a supply of their regular food, plenty of water, as well as any medications they may require. 

You’ll need to consider the type of travel you will be doing and bring any necessary items such as a crate for air travel or a dog seatbelt for car travel.

Bringing along your dog’s favorite toy or their comfortable bed can help them feel more at home and reduce anxiety in unfamiliar surroundings. Bring extra poop bags for accidents and potty breaks. Traveling can be rough on all of our tummies, including our dogs, who often have no idea what’s going on!

Remember that traveling with a dog is not just about bringing the essentials, it’s also about making sure your pup is comfy and happy throughout the journey. By bringing their favorite toy or a comfortable mat, you can create a sense of familiarity and make the trip less stressful for them.

Using Crates for Safe Travel

dog crates for traveling with dogs

The Advantages of Using a Crate For Travel

When traveling with your dog, a crate can provide a number of benefits to ensure their safety and comfort. For air travel, a crate is often a mandatory requirement, and it can be used as a safe space for your dog while in a hotel or at a host’s home.

 Crates can also be used during car travel, providing a safe and secure environment for your dog while in transit. After flying Roxy and Rico from Alaska to Colorado, we started taking them on tons of road trips.

Using a crate makes life easier as they’re used to them, it keeps them a bit more safe in case of an accident, and helps reduce their reactivity to situations like when our car was completely surrounded by mountain sheep at Mount Evans! 

traveling with dogs - image of mountain sheep

Using a crate allows you to have peace of mind knowing that your dog is safe and secure. In case of an emergency, the crate can act as a barrier and protect them from any potential hazards.

Crates provide a familiar space for your dog, reducing their anxiety and stress while traveling. It’s a place where they can retreat to and feel safe and secure. Roxy and Rico are so much calmer in their crates than when we travel without them.

Dog crates can a helpful training tool for your dog. By gradually getting them used to the crate before the trip, it can make the transition to travel smoother and less stressful for them.

How To Pick The Right Dog Crate

When selecting a crate for travel with your dog, consider certain criteria to ensure safety, comfort, and compliance with travel regulations. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand, turn, and lie down comfortably, and be made of strong materials and free of any interior protrusions that could harm your dog.

A leak-proof bottom covered with absorbent material and ventilation on opposing sides is also important for your dog’s well-being. When we travel with Roxy and Rico, we use a crate mattress like this one for them to be comfortable.

When purchasing a crate for air travel, make sure that it complies with airline requirements to ensure that your dog can travel safely and comfortably.

Identification and Recovery Measures

Identifying your dog while traveling is essential in case they get lost or separated from you. A sturdy leash and collar with identification tags are a must-have when traveling with your dog.

The collar should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your phone number and address. Some places require a rabies tag on there as well, so be mindful of that if it’s required at your home or your destination.

Remember that collars and leashes not only serve as a means of identification but also as a means of control and safety. A sturdy leash and collar can prevent your dog from running away or getting into dangerous situations.

Practice using the leash and collar before your trip. By getting your dog used to wearing it and walking on a leash, you can make the transition to traveling smoother and less stressful for them.

By having proper identification on your dog and getting them used to their collar and leash, you can greatly increase the chances of recovery in case of separation and ensure their safety while traveling.

Permanent Identification – Microchips

While collars and leashes can provide temporary identification for your dog, permanent forms of identification can offer added peace of mind and increase the chances of recovery in case of separation.

Microchipping is a safe and permanent method of identification that involves inserting a small chip under your dog’s skin. This chip contains a unique identification number that can be scanned by veterinarians and animal shelters, making it easier to reunite lost pets with their owners.

Furthermore, microchipping is a one-time procedure that doesn’t require any maintenance and it can last the entire life of your pet. It provides a layer of protection against theft and lost as well as offering an additional way to prove ownership.

Update your contact information with the microchip registry as soon as possible after any changes in your contact information. This way, if your dog is ever lost and found, they can be quickly and easily returned to you.

By microchipping, you can greatly increase the chances of recovery in case of separation and ensure the safety of your pet.

Photo and Health Records

When traveling with your dog, it’s essential to have a recent photo of your pet and their health records on hand. A clear and current photo of your dog can greatly assist in identifying them in case they get lost or separated from you. This will help shelters and rescue organizations to identify your dog and reunite them with you as soon as possible.

Having a copy of your dog’s health records can be extremely helpful in case of an emergency. This includes vaccinations, medications, and any known health conditions. This information can be used to make sure that your dog is in compliance with any travel regulations and can provide vital information to veterinarians in case of an emergency.

Keep a copy of these records in a safe place, such as your email, a cloud-based storage, or with a trusted friend or family member, so that you have access to them even if you lose your original copies.

Our Dog Health & Wellness Journal has everything you need to keep your dog happy, healthy, and safe. It’s perfect for bringing along when you travel, so you have all your dog’s vital information handy. Grab it on Amazon here!

C. Crate Preparation

Preparing your dog’s crate for travel is just as important as selecting the right crate. By stocking the crate with familiar items such as a comfortable mat, your dog’s favorite toy, and a water bottle, you can create a sense of familiarity and comfort for your dog. This can greatly reduce their anxiety and stress while traveling.

Make sure the crate is clean and free of any debris or odors. This can help prevent any potential health issues and ensure that your dog has a clean and comfortable environment while traveling.

Get your dog used to the crate before the trip. By gradually introducing them to the crate and allowing them to explore it at their own pace, you can help them become more comfortable with it. This can make the transition to traveling smoother and less stressful for them.

Overall, by properly preparing the crate and getting your dog used to it, you can create a sense of familiarity and comfort for them during travel. This can greatly reduce their stress and anxiety, making the trip more enjoyable for everyone.

Traveling by Car

Familiarization with the Car

When it comes to traveling with your dog by car, prepare them for the experience in advance. One of the best ways to do this is by familiarizing your dog with the car. This can be done by letting them sit in the car with you without leaving the driveway, and then going for short rides.

By doing this, your dog can become accustomed to the sights, sounds, and smells of the car, reducing their stress levels when it comes time for the actual trip. This process can be beneficial for dogs with car sickness, as they can get used to the motion of the car before the longer trip.

Make sure that your dog is comfortable in the car. You can do this by providing them with a comfortable mat or blanket, and their favorite toy. This will help create a familiar and safe space for your dog and make the trip more pleasant for them.

Overall, by familiarizing your dog with the car and making sure they’re comfortable, you can greatly reduce their stress levels and make the trip more enjoyable for both you and your pup.

Carsickness Prevention

Carsickness is a common issue that can affect dogs, just as it can affect humans. It can cause them to feel nauseous and can make the car ride an unpleasant experience for both you and your dog. To prevent carsickness, take steps to make the car ride as comfortable as possible for your dog.

One way to do this is by feeding your dog a light meal before the trip, this way they will not have a full stomach and it will reduce the chances of them getting carsick. Providing plenty of fresh water for your dog during the trip will help them stay hydrated.

Make sure that the car is well-ventilated, this way your dog can breathe fresh air, which can help reduce the chances of carsickness. If your dog is traveling in a crate, make sure that the crate is well-ventilated, this way fresh air can flow in and out.

If your dog is prone to carsickness, you may want to consider consulting with your veterinarian to see if there are any medications that can help prevent carsickness.

Overall, by taking steps to prevent carsickness, you can make the car ride a more comfortable experience for your dog and ensure that both you and your dog enjoy the trip.

Car Safety

Keeping your dog safe while traveling by car is crucial for a successful and enjoyable trip. One of the most important things to consider is using a crate or a dog seat belt to keep your dog secure. This not only protects your dog in the event of an accident, and prevents them from distracting you while driving.

Another safety measure is to never let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to eye injuries and other accidents. Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death.

Make frequent stops for exercise and potty breaks. This will not only keep your dog happy and healthy, and give you a chance to stretch your legs. Be sure to clean up after your dog and always supervise them during these breaks.

Lastly, never leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, particularly in the summer. The temperature inside a closed car can quickly become dangerous for your dog.

Overall, by following these safety measures, you can ensure that your dog is protected and secure during the car ride and make the trip a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Safety Tips

In addition to using a crate or seat belt, and avoiding open windows and truck beds, there are other safety tips to keep in mind when traveling with your dog in the car.

One of the most important tips is to make sure that your dog is well-trained and obedient. This way, they will follow your commands and stay calm during the car ride.

Another tip is to instruct your children not to tease or annoy the dog in the car. Car rides can be boring for everyone, and a frustrated dog can become a safety hazard.

Be aware of the weather conditions and plan accordingly. If it’s hot outside, be sure to bring plenty of water for your dog and make frequent stops to let them cool down. If it’s cold, make sure your dog is properly insulated and protected from the cold.

Be aware of the laws and regulations regarding traveling with dogs in your destination state or country. This will help you to avoid any legal issues and ensure that your dog is safe and comfortable during the trip.

Overall, by keeping these safety tips in mind, you can ensure that your dog is safe and secure during the car ride and make the trip a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling With Dogs

How Do I Know If A Hotel Is Truly Pet Friendly?

Traveling with your pet can be a great experience for both of you, but make sure that the places you’re staying are actually pet friendly. After all, you don’t want to end up in a situation where your pet is not welcome. So, how do you know if a hotel is truly pet friendly?

The first step is to check the hotel’s website or call ahead to confirm their policies. Most hotels will have information on their website regarding whether pets are allowed, and any fees associated with bringing a pet along.

They may have restrictions on the size and type of animal that they allow, so be sure to read through these carefully. It’s worth inquiring if there are any nearby parks or green spaces that would be suitable for walking your dog or letting them exercise.

In addition to checking the hotel’s policies, you should consider other travelers’ experiences with the hotel. Look for reviews online from people who have stayed at the hotel with their pets and find out what their overall experience was like.

This could give you an idea of how accommodating the staff were and whether there were any issues during their stay. It may help you identify potential problems before booking a room at the hotel; such as noisy rooms and lack of amenities specifically tailored for pets.

Should I Bring My Dog’s Own Food And Water Bowls?

If you’re planning to travel with your pup, consider what pet supplies you should bring. One essential item is a food and water bowl for your dog. Having their own bowls ensures that your pup is eating and drinking from a container that is clean and bacteria-free. Plus, their own bowls can be comforting and familiar for them in unfamiliar places.

When choosing the right food and water bowl for your pet, there are several factors to consider. The size of the bowl should be appropriate for the size of your dog so they can comfortably eat without spilling or making a mess. Look for bowls that are easy to clean and durable enough to withstand daily use. For convenience when traveling, collapsible bowls are a great option as they take up less space in your bag or backpack.

When selecting a food and water bowl for your pooch, think about their nutritional needs while on the road. Remember to bring along enough food and treats that will last throughout the duration of your trip – plus some extra just in case! Bring along bottled water or store-bought filtered water so that your pup stays hydrated during long days of sightseeing or hiking.

What Should I Do If My Dog Becomes Lost While Traveling?

When traveling with your dog, be prepared for any situation. One of the most stressful situations you may encounter is if your pup becomes lost while away from home. The first step in this situation should be to remain as calm as possible and begin searching for your pet immediately. Start by asking people nearby if they have seen your dog, and then start widening the search area. If you don’t find your four-legged friend right away, try to stay in the same spot so that you can become a point of reference for them.

Have contact information on hand just in case someone finds your pup before you do. Make sure their collar has up-to-date contact info and any applicable medical information. You may even want to consider having a temporary ID tag made before leaving home with emergency contact info just in case they become lost while on vacation. Microchipping is recommended as another form of backup identification in the event that they wander off without their collar or tags.

If all else fails, reach out to local animal shelters, vets or rescue groups who can help reunite you with your dog. Check online lost and found pet listings such as Craigslist or Facebook groups for people who may have spotted your dog along the way.

With these steps taken beforehand, you can hopefully increase the odds of safely finding your pup and continuing on with a safe and enjoyable travel experience!

Sign up for our list and get a FREE printable pet identification sheet! It’s super helpful for pet sitters or if your dog wanders away for home!

How Do I Find Reliable Pet Sitters Or Dog Walkers Near My Destination?

Traveling with your pet can be a great experience, and having reliable help while you’re away in case you want to explore non-pet-friendly spaces makes it even better. A good way to find pet sitters or dog walkers near your destination is to do some research.

Start by searching online for services in the area that provide temporary care for pets, such as Rover. Check out reviews from others who have used them before. This will give you an idea of what kind of quality and reliability they offer. Make sure to read through the policies and procedures carefully before making your decision.

Another option is to ask friends or family if they know of any reputable pet sitting and dog walking services in the area. They may be able to provide information about experiences they’ve had with particular companies or people who offer these services.

Ask them questions such as how long have they been in business, what kind of training do their employees receive, and whether the company has insurance.

Once you’ve identified a few possible options, contact each one and ask questions about their rates, availability, and any special needs your pet might have.


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