We love taking our dogs along with us wherever possible, but long trips pose a particular challenge as they test the limits of our dog’s patience, and self-control abilities. Being able to take your dog along with you on vacation will make the time away from home even more fun and exciting, and also help you avoid worrying about how your dog is doing in someone else’s care. But traveling with a dog is no easy task, so it is best to be prepared when taking your pooch on vacation.

The goal is to make your dog’s trip as comfortable as possible, while at the same time preparing him to lay back and relax for an extended period. To best prepare for this, make sure that your dog is well exercised, and ideally tried before a long trip. This will result in your dog resting for most if not all of your drive (or flight).

If you will be using a crate, and it is highly recommended that you do, make sure that the crate or any toys or accessories do not pose a danger to your dog. For example, a leash can be mortal hazard as it can result in strangulation. Additionally, make sure that the crate is an inviting place, and avoid pushing your dog into the crate and shutting the door (making it feel like a prison). Give your dog time to get acclimated, and get into the crate on his own, and only close the door when he is comfortable, and resting in the crate.

When traveling in a car, it is important to use a well-fastened crate, even if you pooch is a lapdog, as it will be less of a distraction, and reduce the chances of injury (to both you and your dog) in case of an accident or sudden deceleration.

Dogs are prone to motion sickness, so don’t feed your dog a full meal before hitting (or while on) the road. Plan stops and have some high protein snacks ready to keep him happy until you arrive at your destination.

Most importantly, do not leave your dog in your car unattended, as the temperature inside of a car can quickly rise to be life-threatening.

if you are traveling by plane, then it is almost always a good idea to have your dog travel in a crate, and not in the main cabin. This will not only help him be less anxious, it will also make it easy on you. It is crucial that you check with the airline to inquire about their rules and regulations for traveling pets, and make sure that you are fully prepared.

The Hotel (or Rental Property)

Once at your destination and checking in at your accommodations (which is more often than not going to be a hotel room), make sure that your dog is not allowed to roam around. He should stay in one spot, until you have unpacked and settled in. It can also be helpful to establish your presence in the new environment by walking around the entire room or property to leave your scent so that your dog knows the area is your territory, and he is still under home rules. It should also go without saying that you should make sure that the hotel or rental property at which you will be staying accepts pets.

A Few Don’ts

  • Do not have your dog travel in the bed of your truck.
  • Do not open a car window unless your dog is well restrained.
  • Do not let your dog let his ears flap in the breeze (by hanging his head out the window).