Dos and Don’ts of Traveling with Dogs

Many of us consider our dog to be our best friend. Unfortunately, this can throw a wrench into things when it comes to travel. If you don’t want to leave your pet behind, consider these dos and don’ts for traveling with Fido or Fifi in the U.S.

Do: Prepare

Airline travel requires health certifications, but even for a road trip, it’s important to be sure your dog is healthy. Take him or her to the vet for a checkup and make sure all vaccinations are up to date.

If your dog is on any medications, be sure to bring enough for the entire trip. If your dog isn’t used to riding in the car, take him or her on short rides before going on an extended adventure.

Does your dog have identification? Sometimes a dog can get nervous on a trip in unfamiliar areas. Dogs may jump out of the car when you open the door or slip out of the hotel room or venture into another area when you aren’t looking.

Make sure your pets can be properly identified with tags that have their name, a telephone number and proof of rabies shots. You may also want to consider getting a permanent form of identification like a microchip.

Do: Bring Something to Keep Pets Entertained

Just like you would for children, it’s important to bring something to occupy your beloved pet. If you think kids are challenging on road trips, consider that traveling with a dog can be just as difficult.

Your dog may want to feel the wind in his fur by hanging out the window one moment and the next decide to jump onto your lap while you’re driving on the freeway. That is obviously a scenario that is best avoided.

Provide a chew toy; you might purchase a few before you leave and introduce a new one when your dog becomes especially bored. If you’re traveling with other humans, ask them to sit in back with your dog for a while, at least until she settles down.

Do: Use a Doggie Restraint if Necessary

If your dog is the especially hyper type that tends to jump all over the place or ignore you, car travel can be very dangerous for you and your pet. Don’t risk your lives by leaving your pet unrestrained.

In addition to possibly jumping onto your lap and causing an accident, pets might try and sneak out of the car window. A sudden stop can cause injury as well.

Fortunately, these days there are many different types of doggy car seats and restraints that will keep your best friend comfortable and safe. Put it near the window so he or she can feel that nice breeze and you’ll both be happy and secure.

Don’t: Fail to Plan for Your Accommodations

If you don’t travel often, you might be surprised to find that many hotels and other lodgings do not take as kindly to your dog as you do. Be sure to do your research in advance to find out which will allow your dog to lodge with you on the route you plan to take.

Ask hotel staff if there are any size or breed restrictions if you think there may be an issue. Consider that some establishments charge a pet fee or deposit. Ask ahead to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Upon check-in, ask where your dog should be walked. Be sure to clean up any messes and never leave your dog unattended. If your dog causes damage, you’ll be held responsible.

When looking for accommodations for you and your dog, remember that Expedia is home to some of the best deals on flights, hotels, activities and even travel insurance. Be sure to check it out before planning your trip:


Dos and Don’ts during the Trip

As you’re about to leave, double-check that you have everything you need for your pet. Dogs should have enough food and water to get through the trip and make it to your final destination comfortably.

Bring extra funds in case of unforeseen emergencies or forgotten items.

Like humans, pets need some time to get out and stretch as well as to visit the nearest tree. Make regular, frequent rest stops for exercise and potty breaks and make sure the car is well ventilated.

If possible, find a dog park or a beach and let your dog get out to run and play awhile. Take advantage of the time outdoors in a new area—grab your camera and take lots of pictures.

Don’t let pets travel on an empty stomach, but don’t feed them right before you leave as it could lead to car sickness and a big mess. It’s best to feed a few hours before taking off. Giving new foods on the trip could cause an upset stomach and is also a no-no.

Do remember to have fun and give your dog as many opportunities to enjoy the vacation as possible. Getting frustrated with his or her antics will make things worse. Just take a deep breath and remember why we love our dogs so much: They love us back unconditionally and offer incomparable companionship.