How To Travel With Your Pet: The Ultimate Guide For Dog Owners

travel with your pet
travel with your pet

Do you love traveling but hate the thought of leaving your furry friend behind? Well, we have good news! Pets are now allowed in many overseas destinations, making travel with your pet much easier than ever before. In this article, we will teach you everything you need to know about travel with your pet and keep them safe and happy during your trip. We will also give you tips on how to prepare for a pet-friendly trip and ensure that everything goes smoothly. So if you’re looking to go on a holiday with your best friend by your side, read on!

The very first rule of travel with your pet is to have an ID tag or other means of identification securely affixed to the dog.   Thousands of dogs end up in shelters simply because the owners never dreamed the dog would get loose or become lost while on a trip.  There are few disasters in a person’s life that are worse than having to drive off without a pet because all means of locating and recovery have failed.  This kind of tragedy will haunt you for the rest of your life; don’t let it happen.  Get an ID tag!
    Before you leave make sure you consider the option of leaving your dog in a hometown kennel.  Most dogs love being in a kennel; there’s lots of activity, they get special attention and in most cases consider a stay in the kennel like we would a stay at the beach. Visit the local kennel and see what goes on.  Also there may be a Pet Sitter in your area who would tend your pets in your own home.   With a Pet Sitter you can even call home and tell your dog how much fun you’re having… Oh, and also how much you miss the rascal. In this section we’ll sample a few ideas that will help to facilitate a safe and enjoyable road trip.  Make sure you know how your dog reacts to trips by taking a number of local short trips, then if you need to take an “all-dayer” you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.   Any “all-dayer” is just a bunch of short trips anyway.  So, before you set off on that cross country trip be sure that you are confident that you can predict how your pet will behave.

Travel With Your Pet

Motion Sickness

Travel with your pet

Vomit happens.  Sometimes even humans get carsick.  Most dogs can overcome motion sickness through desensitizing them by using the same training sequences of steps as described above in the puppy training.  Gradually accustom the dog to spending time in the car with the engine off, then with the engine on, then short trips, then the cross-country adventure.  Prior to a trip be sure the dog has been fed at least three hours before you set off.  You can also use anti-motion sickness medications to help settle the stomach and prevent the sometimes prolific drooling that occurs in a nauseous dog.  Most medications are very safe antihistamines and many dogs eventually can travel without the aid of medical assistance.  Just in case, bring a roll of paper towels.

Note:  Motion sickness or hyperactivity?   Here’s the difference… dogs with motion sickness are generally quiet and even a little depressed because they feel awful.  They will drool all over the place, maybe even pass stool, and eventually start vomiting.  Even with an empty stomach the vomiting reflex can be very strong.  These dogs will greatly benefit from anti-motion sickness medication if it is given long enough in advance of the trip to be working before the dog suspects that a ride in the car is imminent.

The dog that goes bonkers when in a vehicle demonstrates hyperactivity.  These dogs aren’t sick, they’re possessed!   Salivating, panting, whining, jumping from front seat to back, barking at butterflies and trying to sit on the steering wheel are common characteristics of the hyperactive canine traveler.  If you must bring the hyperactive dog with you, medication to sedate the dog will surely make the trip safer and easier and less stressful for both the dog and the human.

This Dog’s Hyper!

What do you do with the dog that simply cannot control itself once that engine starts and HYPER!! Naw…just having fun at a NYC Paws Walk Festival sponsored by the wheels begin to roll?  If you have really tried to train the dog to do as it is told but the motion and noise of traveling are simply overpowering and turn your dog into a slathering, panting, barking demonstration of a Tae Bo exercise, there’s hope!   Call your veterinarian and describe the demonstration.  Then request medication that will “take the Tae out of the Bo”.  There are a number of safe medications that will allow your dog to travel without all that stress, noise and confusion.  It will be a safer trip for both of you, not to mention less stressful.
    The key to successful use of pretrip medication is to administer it well before the trip starts.  Some dogs start their Tae Bo routine as soon as they HEAR the word car!  Be nonchalant, sneak a little medication in a treat, and don’t mention the  c  a  r  anywhere near the dog prior to your trip.   If you believe your dog may be a candidate for medication, be sure to do a leisurely pretrip trial well ahead of the time you REALLY need it.  About one dog out of ten will not respond in the common way to a particular medication or a particular dose.   You do not want to find this out the morning of an eight-hour, midwinter trip through the Rockies to accept that national writing award you won for the article on Logical Steps To Effective Planning.


Yours should always be on the traffic, not on the dog.  If your traveling pal is a little dog, they usually will curl up next to you on the seat and catch up on some sleep.   Do not ever allow them to go near the driver side floor where the brake and gas pedals are located.  Big dogs may be best situated in the back seat and then you can legally refer to the dog as your navigator.  If you choose not to use a seat restraint a gate type barrier between the front and the back seats is a good idea to prevent an unexpected visit from your traveling companion.  

Travel Crates

Little rascals feel right at home in these “see through” travel crates.These inventions are very handy.  Your dog, if happy and comfortable in a crate, will be safer and you will have the peace of mind knowing it is secure when you must leave your dog alone for short periods.  If you do use a crate, be certain that the dog is totally accustomed to it well prior to the trip.

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead… well ahead.  If you know you will be staying overnight somewhere, be sure to have reservations at an establishment that welcomes pets.  A handy list of “Pet Friendly” motels/hotels can be found if you do a little searching..  Don’t even think about it if you hope to hide your dog in your room or think you will launch a successful appeal to the motel owner’s sense of sympathy if you show up with an unannounced Great Pyrenees.  And don’t forget to bring along some disposable “pooper-pickeruppers”; you must be socially conscious about where your dog chooses to relieve itself.  Be prepared!

Rest Areas

Make your timetable consistent with occasional stops along a side road where your leashed dog can find relief.  Many veterinarians do not think the Rest Stations along the Interstates are a particularly sanitary area for your dog.  Not that you have to be fussy but why not select an area that avoids conditions where dozens of dogs have already baptized the environment?  And be sure to have some “Pooper Pick-Ups” with you so that in the event of an unexpected deposit in a public area, you can perform the courteous cleanup immediately.

Food and Water

It wouldn’t hurt to pamper your pal… bring along your dog’s own food and drinking water from home and you will be better off.  Not that you’re fussy, right?  And a few old towels or rags will make good cleanup devices if the dog happens to discover a mud puddle or contacts something nasty like spilled ice cream sundaes!  Emergency first aid kits are very handy for you and the dog if a sudden cut, sliver or rash intrudes upon your day.  Anti-itch medication, bandages, and antibiotic ointments may save the day when you least expect something will go wrong.   It is a good idea to have your veterinarian give you a copy of the dog’s medical history to take with you just in case a visit to a veterinarian along the way becomes necessary.


Here’s a safety tip… Bring two leashes.  That way you’ll have a spare when you misplace one.  Your dog MUST be on a leash whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings.  All it takes is a split second for a disaster to start its fateful chain of events.  There are hundreds of reasons why your dog has to be on a leash whenever you are not in your own back yard.  Travel crates, human versions of dens, make great containment devices and many dogs enjoy hiding out in them while traveling; bring one if your dog likes the security of a crate.

Heat strokes can occur while travel with your pet

Barriers are great when travelling with large dogs.Leaving a dog alone in a car has a number of potential risks.  Always be conscious of the effects of heat buildup in a parked car.  It only takes a few minutes for the internal heat to build up forty degrees above the outside air temperature especially if direct sunlight bakes the car.  Even the dog’s body heat (expired air in the dog’s breath is 100 degrees!) will act like a heater inside the car.  Leaving windows open slightly at the top surely helps IF there is a breeze.  However, that opening also invites children to poke their fingers in or unkind folks to tease the dog with sticks.   Be very cautious about leaving dogs unattended in parked cars. Heat stroke is a dire emergency and one from which many pets do not recover.  And you’d be shocked to find out just how fast it can happen. HAVE FUN!
Don’t forget to bring along some fun toys such as rawhide chewies or hard treats.   These will keep the dog contented for hours while you enjoy your trip.  Don’t forget the camera!

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post on how to travel with your pet! In it, we detailed the entire process of how to pick the right pet carrier and how to prepare for your trip. We also included a comprehensive guide on how to travel with your pet and answered some common questions. Do you have any questions that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below! We would love to help out as much as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest way to travel with a dog?

Travel with your pet in a carrier that has been secured to the seat with a seatbelt or other anchor is the safest option. Make sure your dog can stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably in the carrier. You can also use a pet seatbelt, but these have not been shown to keep animals safe in the event of a car accident.

Are long car rides bad for dogs?

Taking your dogs or cats on a road vacation is a terrific way to avoid the stress and expense of boarding them. Traveling lengthy distances in a car, on the other hand, is not easy for all animals. Experts recommend starting with shorter excursions to acclimate your pets to travelling in a car.

Is it hard to travel with your pet?

No, it is not hard to travel with your pet. In fact, it can be a lot of fun! When you are planning your trip, make sure to include specific details about your pet’s travel needs. This will help ensure that everything goes smoothly on your trip. Additionally, be sure to take along plenty of food and water for your pet, as well as a leash, collar, and ID tag. And last but not least, don’t forget to pack a lot of love!

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