Traveling with your Dog or Puppy
TRAVELING BY CAR
Taking your dog on a car trip can be quite enjoyable if you prepare
properly in advance. Most dogs love to travel in cars, especially when
they begin as a puppy. Before you start your trip, make sure you begin
weeks in advance to introduce your pet to a variety of situations in order
to reduce stress.
First, let you dog get accustomed to meeting a lot of different people,
young and old with all kinds of different looks and personalities. The
more people the dog meets, the more comfortable they will be as you all
travel together. Also, let your dog be around other animals and get
comfortable with that concept as well.
As you travel, there will be a variety of sounds and surfaces that are
different. Take your pet around to pet stores that allow animals to get
the feel of a busy commercial area. Take the dog out walking in parks,
hillsides or busy city sidewalks where there will be a lot of traffic
noises. When you take the dog in the car, open the windows enough to let
the sounds in.
When you are ready to travel, make sure you bring along the familiar
foods your pet is used to. Changing the diet on a road trip could cause
queasiness or diarrhea. Bring along water as well and begin mixing it
with water in the area you are traveling. Sometimes a change in water can
cause stomach problems as well. Be aware that some dogs can feel sick from
motion sickness. Take time to pull off the road and let your dog walk
around for a while and begin to feel better before moving on.
Prepare your car for traveling with a dog as well. You can use a
plastic tablecloth to protect your backseat if you aren’t sure how your
dog will react to traveling. Use the tablecloths that have a cloth
backing. This will help keep it in place on the seat, but the plastic
will be an easy clean up if you dog should happen to get sick.
Many people with smaller pets will simply put their dog in a crate. If
your dog has been crate-trained, it will be an easy way to travel. Crates
also make traveling safer for the pet if you should have to stop quickly
or are involved in an accident. You may also want to try a Kyjen Dog Car
Booster Seat safety and security.
Many dogs will get sick out of anxiety. There may be more going on
around the dog than they can handle if they haven’t been adequately
prepared to travel. The more often you take the dog on short trips –
around the block, to a store, to a park – the easier traveling will
become. To avoid carsickness, refrain from feeding your dog for at least
eight hours before traveling. Avoid giving your pet water for at least
two hours before traveling. When you stop, give the dog a few sips of
water or ice cubes. If these strategies don’t work, your vet can
prescribe medication for carsickness.
Stop every four to six hours to let your dog have a bathroom break and
to stretch his legs. Make sure you keep him on a leash to avoid his
curiosity taking him too far away from the car or being in danger. Your
dog will enjoy the time to romp and play and get out of the car for a
Make sure to take several pet items along when you travel. Take a
water and food bowl, collar and leash, any medication your pet may need, a
crate or cloth to cover your seat, your dog’s favorite bed, blanket or
toys, a can opener for food, a good supply of your dog’s regular food and
treats, water, plastic bags to clean up after him and identification
tags. If you plan to be on water for any period of time, make sure your
pet has their own life jacket.
It would be a good idea to look up vets or emergency animal hospitals
in the cities you will be traveling to, just in case an emergency arises.
Before you leave on your trip, take phone numbers and addresses of
potential vets to have on hand. Websites can give you this information,
If you plan to stay in hotels as you travel, be sure to check ahead of
time to see which hotels are pet-friendly. There are several websites
that will give you pet-friendly hotels, including
Traveling by Plane:
Several airlines will allow small pets to travel on the flight with the
owner, as long as the pet is in a crate that can be stored under a seat.
All airlines that allow for this type of travel also now charge a fee for
your pet to fly with you, usually between $50-$100, depending on the
flight and the airline. Check your airline for their rules before you
take your pet.
Make sure your dog is accustomed to traveling in a crate. Airlines
will allow some pet food to go on the plane, but water will not be allowed
through the security lines. You can obtain water after going through
security or on the flight. Make sure your dog can comfortably stand up,
turn around and lay down in the crate and that the crate has a lot of air
All airlines will require a vet health certificate that has been
obtained within 30 days of flying domestically and 10 days for
international flights. For international destinations, contact the
country consulate to see what types of inoculations your dog will need, or
if the dog may be quarantined before entering that particular country.
Many dogs will fly comfortably, but others may be nervous or scared to
fly. If this is the case for your pet, consider a mild sedative from your
vet to help your pet relax during the flight.
Larger pets will have to fly in the cargo area. Again, you must check
with individual airlines for their particular rules. Most airlines have
several months of the summer in the United States when dogs cannot be
shipped to southern states because of the heat. Temperatures must range
between 45-85 degrees at all times for pets to be shipped, including the
waiting time for shipment, flight times and arrival waiting periods to be
picked up. This is for the protection of your dog’s health and
well-being. Recommendations are to withhold food from your dog for
several hours before flying and nothing to drink for about two hours in
advance of flying. Give your dog a comfortable blanket or familiar
bedding and perhaps a favorite toy. Make sure you have the crate clearly
labeled with your name, address, phone number and destination
information. Make sure your pet has identification labels as well.
Buses and Trains:
At the time of this writing, pets are not allowed to travel on US
buses or Amtrack trains, other than service dogs. Check your local
services for updated information.
Your trip with your pet will be successful if you follow these simple
principles and plan ahead.
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