Your dog will love to come along for the ride.

Traveling with your dog is very doable. If you have sticker shock from kennel costs and just don’t like parting with your furry best friend, don’t let boarding your pet stand in the way of enjoying your vacation. With a little advance planning, you can take your dog and enjoy your vacation.  Here’s a few tips to follow.

Traveling with your dog advice

1. Flying with pets

Figure out how you are traveling with your dog. Are you flying or driving? Flying commercially requires researching airlines’ rules for dogs. Small dogs under certain weights can fly in the cabin, but bigger dogs will have to fly in cargo. This can be an issue, especially if you are not comfortable with that, or if you have an anxious animal. Some people might sedate their dog during the flight. Overseas flights can add another layer complexity that you don’t want to deal with. Overall, if you don’t like the idea of sending your pet off to the cargo hull, then flying may not be the best option. If you are OK with it and that’s the way to go, figure out what carrier or crate your dog will fit in to fly and make sure you buy it early. You want to make sure the dog is comfortable in their area for an extended time because airlines can refuse to board disruptive pets.

Can you take a hint? Your dog wants to come with you! Just maybe not in the suitcase.

2. Get identification ready

Make sure you have copies of all your pet-related documents if flying internationally, such as their vaccines. Make sure their doggy ID is secure or if you do not have one, I would purchase one. Also, carry around a recent/current photo of your dog

Travel buddy: Taking your dog on vacation means you have a built-in hiking partner!

3. Traveling with your dog in a car

Practice Runs

If you decide to drive with your dog, do practice runs with them. For instance, familiarize them with riding in a car. Have motion sickness medication for your dog on hand just in case they get carsick. Get a crate, harness or dog carrier that straps into the car via seatbelt to keep them safe. There are a lot of options out there for this, I have one that connects to their harness and then buckles into the seatbelt from Amazon. If you are willing to pay more for your dog, I highly recommend from a brand called Sleepypod. It is crash tested. Harness seatbelts are the safest way to go for your dog. If you want a carrier with a bed, I would make sure that there is an area that you can hook the dog to on as well. This will prevent them from jumbling around if there is a sudden stop. But anything to keep your dog more secure in the car is better than nothing!

Make lots of stops

Also, remember to make stops with them so they can go to the bathroom and stretch. When I drove with one of my dogs, I made sure to walk them for about 15 minutes each stop to help him get a little energy out. Before leaving for the trip it also helps to exercise the dog. Expending most of their energy will help them relax for the long drive ahead. Plan and map out where your stops are going to be, but also be prepared to make extra stops if you need to.

4. Line up vets just in case

For both flying or driving, have a plan for emergencies. Research where the nearest emergency vet is at your destination and along your driving route. Also, make sure your dog is up on their flea and tick prevention and bring flea treatment. Just like flying you want to bring all the pup’s paperwork and make sure their ID tag is up to date and secure.

Packing lots of healthy snacks and especially water is key for traveling with your dog. OK, the Crispy Fruit is for the human!

5. Snacks and water

You’ll want to pack plenty of food, water, and treats for your dog. And make sure to reward them along the route. This will train them to remember traveling as a  positive experience on future trips. Think about the environment you are going to be in. For instance, if you’re headed to a lake house, do you need to pack a dog life jacket? Will it be cold? Maybe a dog jacket and hiking booties are in order. No matter the weather, remember to bring their favorite bed, leash, toys, blankets, etc. This will make them more comfortable in the new area that they will be staying in. Always pack a collapsible crate so it can be set up at the hotel you’re staying at. Speaking of which, make sure you research the hotel. Not all hotels accept pets and those that do have rules, such as not allowing you to leave the dog alone in the room.

As you set off on your next travel adventure, make sure to pack Fido’s travel bag, too! You can bring your furry best friend with you.

— Grace Zehnder

Grace is an avid traveler. Read her story 5 Solo Travel Tips. 

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