Tips for traveling with a dog

Traveling with your pet can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to be prepared for the challenges that come along with it. If you’re planning on taking your dog on a trip, here are some tips to make things go more smoothly. By following these tips, you and your furry friend can have a safe and enjoyable journey.

Before you travel with your dog

Make sure your pet is up to date on shots

Before traveling with your dog, make sure they are up to date on all shots and vaccinations. This is important for both their safety and the safety of other animals they may come in contact with.

Bring enough dog food and sufficient water

Be sure to pack enough pet food and water for the journey, as well as bowls for feeding and drinking. It’s also a good idea to pack some snacks for your pet in case they get hungry between meals.

Bring pet toys and a leash

Pet toys and a leash will help your pet stay entertained and safe while on the road. Dogs love routine, so bringing their favorite toy or two will help make them feel more comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. In addition, it’s a good idea to bring a pet first-aid kit in case of any accidents or injuries.

Pack pet medication if needed

Check with your veterinarian to see if your pet needs any special care before travel, such as motion sickness medication.

Get tips from other pet owners

If you know anyone who has traveled with their pet before, ask for tips and advice. They may have helpful insights that you didn’t think of.

Extra credit: Find a good dog park along the way

If you’re going on a road trip, do some research ahead of time to find dog-friendly parks and attractions where your pet can run and play. This will help break up the monotony of the long trip and give you both a chance to stretch your legs.

Tips for taking your dog on a long road trip

Buy and install a seat protector

A dog car seat protector is an important accessory for any dog owner who frequently travels with their pet. First, it helps to keep the seats clean and prevent damage to the seats from nails. A dog car seat protector can help to prevent the dog from sliding around in the seat, which can be dangerous if the car makes a sudden stop. Also, a dog car seat protector can provide a measure of comfort for the dog by cushioning the hard surface of the seat. Our favorite seat protector is the Active Pets Car Seat Cover for Dogs.

Active Pets Car Seat Cover for Dogs

Acclimate them to car rides

Get your pet used to the car before you leave by taking them on short trips around town. Pack some of their toys in the car to make the experience more enjoyable for them. If you’re traveling with a puppy or dog who is not used to long car rides, it’s important to introduce them to the car slowly. Many dogs will quickly growth to love car rides quickly, while others may take a bit more time. If they experience car sickness or an upset stomach (see also ‘Why Does My Dog Keep Gagging But Not Throwing Up?‘), speak with your regular veterinarian for tips of making the car rides more comfortable.

Bring food and water

Bring along food and water (and poop bags!), and try to stick to their normal feeding schedule as much as possible. If you’re traveling with a puppy, make sure to pack food and water since they will need to eat and drink more often.

Bring a favorite blanket or toy for the car ride

Again, the goal is to make your pet as comfortable as possible. A favorite blanket or toy can help reduce a dog’s anxiety and will help them feel more at home in the car. Our favorite blanket for long car rides is listed below.

KROSER Pet Blanket Super Soft Throw Dog Blanket

Make frequent stops

When you’re on the road, be sure to make frequent stops so your pet can stretch their legs (see also ‘Can a Dog’s Leg Fall Asleep?‘)  and use the bathroom. If possible, try to plan your route so you can make stops at pet-friendly rest areas or parks.

Keep them cool

In warm weather, it’s important to keep your pet cool and comfortable. Never leave them in the car alone, and be sure to provide plenty of water (see also ‘How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?‘) for them to drink. If possible, open the windows or use air conditioning to keep the car cool.

Pack stain remover

No matter how well you plan, accidents happen. Be sure to pack pet-safe stain remover in case your pet has an accident in the car.  Here’s our favorite choice for pet stain and odor remover:

Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator for Strong Odor

Plan ahead for emergencies like flat tires or pet-friendly hotels

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for emergencies when traveling with your pet. If you have a flat tire, you’ll need to find pet friendly accommodations for the night. And if your pet gets sick or injured, you’ll need to know where the nearest animal hospital is just in case your dog needs medical attention. Finally, include identification tags and a spare collar (see also our favorite dog-friendly hiking gear) just in case!

Tips for flying with your pet

If you’re flying with your pet, there are a few extra things to keep in mind.

Check the airline’s pet policy

Before booking your flight, check with the airline to find out their pet policy (including size restrictions) and what paperwork is required (as well as if there are any extra fees!).

Some airlines will only accept certain types of pets, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time. Also, if you’re traveling internationally the airline can often help with destination country regulations.

Book a direct flight if possible

Non-stop flights are less stressful for dogs than layovers or connecting flights. If possible, book a direct flight to minimize your dog’s time in the airport and in the air.

Get a health certificate

Most airlines will require a health certificate from your vet before you can fly with your dog. Be sure to get this well in advance of your trip.

Choose the right carrier

Your dog will need to travel in an approved pet carrier while on the airplane. Make sure the carrier is large enough for them to stand up and turn around. Make absolutely sure to include your home address on the carrier! Our favorite pet carrier for airplanes rides is the Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier.

Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier

Managing Anxiety

To help manage their anxiety, you can put a piece of your clothing or a favorite toy or blanket in the carrier with them. This will help them feel more comfortable and secure. The last thing you want is for your pet to be overly anxious on their flight. Our favorite dog blanket for airplane rides is the furrybaby Premium Fluffy Fleece Dog Blanket.

furrybaby Premium Fluffy Fleece Dog Blanket

On the plane

Once you’re on the plane, try to keep your pet calm and quiet during takeoff and landing. This is often the most stressful part of the flight for them. Once you land, be sure to take them for a walk as soon as possible so they can relieve themselves.


With a little planning and preparation, you can make traveling with your furry friends a fun and stress-free experience. By following these tips, you can ensure that both you and your furry friend have a safe and enjoyable trip. Bon voyage!

John Lowery

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