Thinking about traveling with your dogs? Taking your dog with you on your next trek can make the trip more fun whilst also reducing your worries about leaving them with a sitter or at a kennel. All you need to do is be prepared and plan carefully. Keep these expert tips in mind before you head off on your next adventure with your dog!
Traveling with your Dogs Packing List
Food and Water:Pack up enough dog food for the duration of the trip plus a few days extra in case of delays. It can be difficult for dogs to suddenly switch food. Do some research before you leave to see if their regular food will be available at your destination or take their food with you. We also recommend taking a few bottles of water to ensure your dog is hydrated throughout the trip and doesn’t get an upset stomach from drinking from an unfamiliar water source.
Treats: Taking treats with you is always a good idea no matter how comfortable your dog is with traveling. A range of value level treats will do the trick but also providing high-value treats after/during the most stressful parts of the trip can help calm your dog. A treat bag such as the Good Dog Treat Pouch from DOOG is a great way to store them.
Food and Water Dishes: If you have room in your luggage or vehicle, take your dog’s regular food and water dishes but pop-up dishes such as the Double Elevated Feeder from Dexas are perfect for traveling especially if space is tight. An all-in-one food and water bowl/container such as My Pet Pail is another great option for your pup.
Crate and/or Carrier: We highly recommend taking a crate or carrier with you to make traveling with your dog better. When you and your dog are traveling by car keep your dog safely secure in the back seat of the car with a crate or carrier. When you are travelling by plane, a carrier will be necessary whether travelling in the cabin or below the plane. A crate or carrier will also make it easier once you get to your final destination and if you take overnight or longer stops during the journey as it can double as a sleeping place. We love the Revol Crate from Diggs, it assembles and collapses in minutes and features wheels to make transporting a breeze.
Toys: Don't forget toys when traveling with your dog it is a necessity! Not only will they keep them distracted but playtime can help wear them out to ease stress and your dog's anxiety. Chew and puzzle toys (such as a Kong or Soft Cube Feeder by Kruuse) are great for distracting during travel while toys such as Mammoth Tire Biter Chew Toy are perfect for tiring your dog out during play time pit stops before the journey continues.
Blankets and Dog Bed: Keep your dog's bed in the back of the car or in their crate with a few of their blankets. The familiar scent will comfort and calm them. Blankets will also help keep your pup warm, this is especially important if travelling with your dog by plane.
Collar, Leash and Harness plus ID tags: Take your usual collar and leash/harness and make sure they have ID tags and an extra tag with info on your final destination complete with the best contact number for you while travelling. Pack a spare collar with ID tags and leash if you have space.
Grooming Products: Pack a brush and if you are going for a long trip and/or plan to be doing a lot of outdoor activities also pack shampoo or dry shampoo. A Mud Mitt can also come in handy to keep the car and your accommodation clean after adventures. Try our easy D.I.Y Mud Mitt here.
Cleaning and other supplies: Traveling with dogs can get messy. Pack a pet-friendly stain remover, lint brush, and paper towels. Seat covers are also a good idea!
Medication and/or supplements:Don't forget your pet's medicine and ensure you have enough for the trip duration plus a few days extra.
Health Certificate and Medical Records: Always take your dog's medical records and vet card when traveling. A health certificate and proof of certain vaccinations will be required if traveling out of the country. It’s a good idea to get the number of an emergency vet at your final destination, just in case!
Tips for Traveling with your Dog by Car
Practice being in the car before the long trip:If your dog is accustomed to car rides, this shouldn’t be necessary but if not, make sure you slowly get them used to being in the car before traveling with your dog. Start by letting them explore the car when it isn’t moving then move to turning the engine on so they get used to the sound before finally taking them on a short trip, extending the length of time in the car each time. Make sure they have something familiar in the car such as a favourite blanket or toy, reward them with treats after each trip and make sure the end destination is something fun for your dog such as the dog park (no vet trips or being left alone in the car)!
Create an awesome dog friendly area in the back of the car:When traveling with your dog by car, ensure they are secure in the back seats and set up the ultimate dog chill out area. Secure their well ventilated carrier/crate or secure the whole back seat area by placing screens between the front seats and trunk ( like best-selling Jumbl Pet Dog Barrier). Complete your dog car oasis with their favourite blankets, bed (if there is space), and toys from home. A distracting chew toy, bully stick, or bone can be a good addition as long as you keep checking on them.
Keep supplies in the front of the car:Don’t pack food, water, treats, or toys in the trunk of the car. Keep them upfront so you can easily get them to your dog as needed.
Be aware of Car Sickness in Dogs: Dogs like people can get queasy when in the car. Talk to your vet before the trip about car sickness prevention methods, especially if you’ve noticed your dog feeling sick during practice journeys.
Keep your car clean: Travelling with your dog for long distances can result in some mess. Minimize this by using seat covers such as the Premium Rear Seat Cover from 4Knines, keep a lint roller/ pet hair remover on hand and paper towels and pet safe cleaning spray for cleaning up any accidents.
Tips for Traveling with your Dog by Plane
Make a vet appointment: There are many rules on traveling with a dog by plane, especially if you are traveling internationally. Before you start making travel plans, get them checked out by a vet to ensure they are healthy enough to travel and meet all the requirements of your destination country. Get your dog's vaccinations up to date (travel into most other countries will require this at a minimum, an up-to-date rabies vaccination).
Find a pet friendly airline:More and more airlines are allowing pets on board (hooray) but call or email your airline before you book to make sure your best friend isn't left behind. Some airlines allow you to add a pet to your booking online while others require you call. There will be a fee for bringing your pet and you will need to find out the airline’s weight/size requirements to see if you can bring them into the cabin or if they have to be in the hold. If allowed in the cabin, they will count as one of your pieces of carry-on luggage and usually only one pet is allowed per passenger. We recommend booking as early as possible, booking a flight that departs at night when your dog is used to sleeping, and flying direct whenever possible.
Find an airline approved carrier:You may need to buy a new carrier to meet airline standards. The sizing for in cabin and below plane carriers will vary so always check with your airline but the standard is 19 x 10 x 12 for in cabin, carriers cannot have wheels and must include a tag with owner contact info. In cabin carriers will also need to be soft sided and below the plane carriers will need to be hard cased.To reduce stress, always get your dog used to their carrier before travelling, ensure blankets and soft toys (hard toys are not allowed if the dog is being placed in the hold) from home are placed in the carrier with them and consider lining with pee pads or shredded newspaper (this is a requirement for some airlines if travelling in hold).
Select your seats with care: If your dog can travel in the cabin with you, consider putting more thought into your seat selection. Your dog will have to be under the seat so if you enjoy your leg room, considering upgrading to seats with extra leg room or even to business or first class if budget allows (again, always check with the airline that dogs can be accommodated in all classes). Make sure not to choose exit row seats as pets are not allowed in these sections and window seats are the best choice so that you don’t have to move your dog or stress him out when your neighbor passengers need to move past him from their seat.
Prepare your dog pre-flight:It’s time to prep your pup for their flight! Make sure to feed your dog well before flying and provide lots of water but take food and water away 2 – 4 hours before your flight. You’ll also need to wear them out with a long walk and/or playtime session.
Be prepared for check in and security:When traveling with your dog by plane, you will need to arrive at the airport a little earlier than if you were traveling alone (allow for around an extra hour) and you will have to check in at the desk. You will also need to be prepared for security as you will have to remove your dog from their carrier which will go through the scanner and walk through the metal detector with your dog. Ensure they have their leash/harness and collar with ID tags on at all times.
Know where you can and can’t go with your dog and find airport dog zones:Many airports now have special dog zones with relief areas. Research before if the airport you will be flying from has dog zones and where they are in the terminal you are departing from.
Make your dog comfortable in flight: If your dog is traveling in the cabin, board the plane as soon as you can to make sure you have time and space to set up your dog’s spot. Place their carrier under the seat in front and make sure you have any treats and toys they may want in flight with you. You won’t be able to take your dog out during the flight but reassure them by talking to them and slightly opening the carrier to pet them or provide treats.
General Advice and Tips for Travelling with your Dog
Research dog friendly places ahead of the trip:Before traveling with your dog, become familiar with dog friendly hotels, restaurants, stores, attractions and accommodation at your final destination and stops on the way. Our city guides have some great dog friendly recommendations!
Consider where you are going: Consider your environment when you arrive at the final destination. Will you need products for an environment that is colder or hotter than home? Will your dog need extra flea and tick treatments? Will they be spending a lot of time outdoors or more time inside? Then pack and plan accordingly.
Know your dog:Some dogs just aren’t made for traveling long distances no matter how well prepared you are. Is your dog’s personality suitable for travelling by car for a long distance, being on a plane (and being alone if not allowed in the cabin), and being in a brand-new environment around different people? If you are having second thoughts, find a recommended dog sitter, friend, or family member that you and your dog are comfortable with to take care of your pet.
Do you have any other tips for making traveling with dogs easy? Let us know in the comments!
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