If traveling with children is difficult, the prospect of traveling with dogs or other pets may seem even more daunting. You may be embarking on this voyage out of necessity—say if you are moving—or due to another life-changing event. On the other hand, you could just want to make special memories with your loved ones, so the most loyal family member deserves to come along.
There are many options for transportation, and not all are as welcoming to your pooch. For driving services such as Lyft, the policy to allow non-service animals in their car is left up to the drivers. Other local transit options can vary, but are usually dog-friendly, such as New York’s MTA. LA’s Department of Transportation loosely requires that dogs cannot be disruptive to other passengers. If your destination is further away but accessible by car, that would be a great option to contain any shenanigans to your own vehicle. If not, some airlines have strict pet policies.
As always, we recommend doing your own research for your particular situation, but we also wanted to provide some helpful tips for traveling with dogs to make your trip smoother. Browse them below and bon voyage!
Go for a Test Drive
Many dogs have a predisposition to motion sickness and claustrophobia, so it is best to be armed with that information before you head out, or else you may regret it every few hours. Take them out on a long drive to prepare them and to help yourself learn the nuances of their behavior.
Get a Check-Up Before Leaving
A trip to the vet is a great idea for preventative care. There may be an impending illness or hidden injury that our pooch can’t communicate with us; your pet’s usual doctor will be able to identify and treat conditions to ready them for travel.
Remember Their Necessities
When packing for yourself, essentials like medications and snacks are always a must. You have to remember to do the same when packing your dog’s suitcase too—medication, special diet, treats, and toys are all vitally important.
Find Pet-Friendly Accommodations
When booking your accommodations, don’t forget to ask about their policies for pets. At certain places, you will simply incur an extra fee to stay with your canine while other places will turn you away despite a paid-in-full reservation.
Choose Your Trip and Activities Carefully
If you decide to take the dog on a vacation, you have to make time to do what it wants too. That could mean outdoor activities like hiking and camping or simply jaunts on the town’s main street, which offers plenty of opportunities for sniffing.
Make Sure Their Collar Is Up to Date
If one was not provided for you when you adopted, invest in a dog tag to hook onto Fido’s collar. It should have all pertinent information including any medical conditions as well as your contact.
Plan Rest Stops Ahead
Driving long distances without stopping can do a number on the human body, so imagine how cramped your dog must feel. Plan your rest stops ahead of time to ensure that your pooch has plenty of opportunities to walk, drink, and do its business.
Keep Them Near at All Times
This seems like an obvious tip, but as a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t be far away from your dog at any point. Let them ride in the back seat rather than the rear pickup and avoid airlines that force animals into the cargo hold.
Always Carry Water
Dehydration is a serious issue for everyone, so always carry plenty of water. Collapsible water bowls are a convenient option, and you can find them anywhere you can buy pet accessories.
Make Sure They Have Proper Attire
Always be aware of how the weather changes might affect your dog. Bring a sweater if you think their fur coat won’t be thick enough, or pack life vests if you’re planning on going boating.
Think Twice Before Traveling With a Puppy
No matter how cute a puppy is, it is almost never wise to travel with them. Aside from the typical surprises you can expect from a pet on the road, other factors like teething and housebreaking can indicate whether they would be good vacation companions.
Don't Sedate Them
Medication can inhibit your dogs in ways that you can’t see and they won’t be able to express. Though it seems like a perfect option for anxious pups, sedation should be an absolute last resort.
Research Local Vets Ahead
Our final tip can be as easy as downloading an app. In the event of an emergency, you will want to be able to contact a local veterinary clinic and trust that they are reputable. Do your research ahead of time and have some options at the ready.