The Getaway
Tips for Your Next Vacation With Your Dog

Traveling with the family dog is becoming more common and, with careful planning, can be an awesome experience. Whether it be a road trip or by air, your pup may enjoy taking in the new scenery.

One massive to vacationing with your dog is taking pets along on trips saves money. If you stay for an extended period, pet travel costs less than a week or two at a kennel. However, dog owners need to consider a few things that'll make traveling easier for them and their doggie.


01 Find out if your lodging allows animals and, if so, up to what size?

woman walking with her pet dog in Rovinj old town, enjoying the seaside. lechatnoir / Getty Images

The good news is that more casual-dining restaurants, hotels, and motels are becoming dog-friendly. However, some lodgings have restrictions when it comes to weight and, possibly, breed. If the counterperson or operator doesn't ask, make a note to mention this before confirming the reservation.

While your Doberman might have the attitude of a small kitten, they can be intimidating to strangers. Certain dog breeds also tend to be more vocal than others. Some hotels or motels have limitations as to how many; there may be a limit on how many pets can stay in your room during your stay.


02 Take your dog to the vet

Veterinarian Examining Smiling Bulldog Puppy LWA / Getty Images

Most airlines require all pets to get checked within 7-10 days of departure. Your dog will also need a certificate issued and signed off by the veterinarian before boarding. The vet may also be able to determine whether your dog can withstand confinement during travel or should be left alone for a certain period. Often, if pets have been with a family for a short time or haven't been housebroken, the vet will strongly recommend leaving them behind. This is only to prevent problems and reduce anxiety most dogs experience when they don't travel often.


03 Try taking your dog for short trips first

Dog has her head out a car window MajaMitrovic / Getty Images

If this is your dog's first time leaving home, driving them around the neighborhood may familiarize them with riding in a vehicle. An extended ride that allows them to get used to relieving themselves somewhere else besides their lawn is ideal. This prepares them for longer road trips.

Short trips also let you see if any temperament changes arise or how they act amongst the general public. In many cases, your vet can recommend a remedy that reduces anxiety or confrontational behavior towards strangers. Thankfully, modern behavior treatments don't require tranquilizers nor cause sleepiness.


04 Make sure you pack enough games

Black labrador retriever puppy playing tug-of-war with a toy josephgruber / Getty Images

Whether your pooch likes to play catch or has a favorite toy, pack this and more, if possible. Many soft toys are compact and travel well if your dog gets bored easily. If you notice that your doggie likes certain songs, make a playlist that will have a calming effect while you're on the road or trying to sleep. Dogs that are regular walkers realize there's a certain time of day when they need to stretch their legs. Sometimes being active for a few minutes is all they need to remain calm in unfamiliar surroundings.


05 Find out if your transportation has weight restrictions

Dachshund dog with mini bags in front of cabin door damedeeso / Getty Images

According to American Kennel Club, weight restrictions on planes vary based on a number of factors. Most airlines also have a maximum capacity for animals that travel by cabin or cargo. While some dogs may travel in the cabin, you must ensure the carrier fits both the under-seat space and has enough room for your dog to move around. With the exception of Greyhound, most buses and trains also have their own set of rules based on individual factors. When most people take long-distance trips during the winter and summer months, dogs are likely to be placed in the cargo section.


06 Bring a picture and copies of medical records

Person holding picture frame of pet dog Koukichi Takahashi / EyeEm / Getty Images

Hard copies of medical records and a color printout of a recent picture are essential items to include when traveling. Just in case you and your doggie are temporarily separated, having a picture will help those in charge locate your friend faster. Also, if your dog needs to see a medical professional during the trip, having records on hand saves time until your dog's regular doctor is contacted.


07 Bring a leash and collar with ID tags

Man holding pet leash of dog Tara Gregg / EyeEm / Getty Images

Have a good leash and collar with a tag that has the dog's information before leaving the house. Again, this is in case you and your pooch become temporarily separated. If flying, the airline may advise that a tag be placed on the crate or carrier. A name tag with the owner's name, phone number, and important details like microchip status is usually enough. Some people include the owner's home address on the tag, but this is strictly optional.


08 Get the location of the nearest emergency pet hospital

Woman sitting in the car with her dog looking at a map LukaTDB / Getty Images

Some things can't wait until you all return home, so knowing where to go prevents further harm. You may also have immediate questions about your doggy's health if there's been a sudden change. If you're on the road, make a note of the major cities you'll be passing through and include their hospital information on your itinerary. If you have pet insurance, usually a call representative can provide assistance, even if a facility is outside of the network.


09 Pack plenty of supplies

Dog taking a drink from a portable water bowl SolStock / Getty Images

Bring plenty of litter bags, pee pads, and bottled water, especially on road trips where public trash might not be nearby. According to the AKC, dogs shouldn't eat about four hours before boarding a plane. In this case, it's best to give them a water bottle to quench their thirst and prevent dehydration. If your doggie becomes anxious during a flight, this may cause them to vomit mid-air. Besides pee pads for their carrier, you should also keep wipes and paper towels nearby during travel.


10 Ensure the safety of short muzzle breeds

Pug lying down in bed Evgenia Glinskaia / Getty Images

If your pet friend is a bulldog, pug, or another breed with a flat or wrinkled face, you need to be certain their breathing won't be compromised during travel. Besides constant airflow that's neither too cold nor hot, they need a well-ventilated carrier. When making hotel reservations, you may want to confirm your dog breed is permitted to stay on the premises. Sometimes extreme weather changes can affect this breed's respiratory system, and lodgings don't want to be held responsible if a health crisis arises.


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