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How to Travel With a Dog

How to Travel With a Dog

If you are going on any kind of trip or vacation with the family, you might be wondering whether or not you can bring your extended family too — in other words, your dog.

Your dog is part of your family, and for the most part we just don’t want to leave them at home. We especially don’t want to pay high boarding fees to have them stay in a kennel where they will probably end up getting neglected.

Going on a trip means bringing along the whole crew, but of course, there are some considerations that need to be kept in mind when traveling with a dog.

No, they aren’t humans and you can’t just strap them into their seat and hope for the best.

How to travel with a dog is what we will be discussing; we’ve got some important and some very handy tips, so let’s get right to it.

Traveling by Car

The first mode of transportation you might be choosing is the car. When traveling with your dog by car, there are a few big tips you need to follow.

These tips are designed to make your life easier and to keep Fido as comfortable as can be.

Never Let Them Roam

One of the most important things to keep in mind when traveling by car with your dog is never to let the dog roam freely around in the car. This is exceedingly dangerous and should never be allowed.

A dog that is allowed to roam freely can get seriously injured in the event of an accident, as they won’t be kept safe by seat belts like humans are.

Moreover, on that same note, a dog that is allowed to roam around can cause distractions for the driver, and may cause an accident to occur.

Legs, Head and Tail Inside the Ride

Something which you probably see all the time is when people allow their dogs to stick their heads out the window of a moving car. This is something you should never do, especially on a long drive.

Letting your dog stick its head out the window is very dangerous, as something that is flying through the air, or even a stationary object, may hit your dog in the head and injure it, so this needs to be avoided.

A Good Crate or Carrier

On the same note as the previous points, seeing as a dog should never be allowed to roam free in the car, you could put them in a carrier, which should be either in the rear or the backseat of the car, but there is more to it than that.

You can’t just jam your dog into any old crate or carrier.

One of the most important things is that the carrier is more than large enough to be comfortable for the dog.

Your dog should be able to stand up in the crate and it should have more than enough room to fully turn around. Also, make sure that the crate has plenty of openings for light and air.

Remember to Make Plenty of Pit Stops

Sure, you are in a rush to get to your destination, so you plan on driving as fast as legal and on taking as few pit stops as possible. This might be fine for humans, but not for dogs.

Dogs need to stretch their legs and they need plenty of pit stops too.

A dog really can’t tell you when it needs to go, or when driving you might just not notice. Therefore, you need to pull over every couple of hours to allow your pet to do its business.

Not only do pets need to go to the washroom, but for an anxious dog, a break from driving can go a long way in relieving some anxiety.

Something to keep in mind on this note is that it’s usually best to give your dog minimal food and water before a long drive, as this will minimize the need for pit stops, and will keep everyone much more comfortable for the duration of the trip.

Food, Water, Toys, and Blankets

You also need to remember that your dog will need to eat and drink, and therefore you need to bring along their favorite food, plenty of water, and the food and water dishes.

As mentioned above, you don’t want to feed them too much before a long drive, because the more you feed them, the more often they will need those pit stops.

However, you will obviously need to keep the dog alive, so food and water is necessary.

On that same note, dogs can get very anxious on long trips, even scared, so bringing along some tasty treats, a comforting blanket, and some of their favorite toys for comfort will go a long way too.

A Second Person Goes a Long Way

The other thing you might want to consider when traveling with your dog by car is that a second person does go a long way.

The driver should be focused on driving and nothing else. This means that it’s up to the passenger to take care of any issues that may arise with the dog during the drive.

It’s not only important during the drive, but also for when the driver needs to go to the restroom or run into a store to buy supplies.

Somebody needs to keep an eye on the dog while the other person is taking care of business.

Never Leave the Dog Alone in the Car

Finally, something you should never do when traveling by car with your dog is to leave them alone in the car.

Whether it is cold or hot outside, there are always certain dangers that come along with leaving a dog unattended in a car.

Extreme heat or cold can be deadly, and you never know, but people do steal dogs. So, be careful and never leave the dog unattended in a car.

How to Travel With a Dog

Traveling by Plane

You may also choose to bring your dog along for airline travel as well. Of course, there are some tips that you should follow here as well.

Beware of the Risks

First and foremost, airline travel can be extremely dangerous for certain dogs, especially ones with pushed-in faces, such as Pugs and Bulldogs.

Their nasal structure can make it very hard to breathe, which becomes an even bigger problem in airplanes.

So, if possible, consider an alternative to airline travel.

Even for dogs that don’t have these kinds of breathing issues, flying can cause great anxiety and stress for pets, especially when their containers are being handle by those baggage handlers that love to throw things around.

Choose the Cabin

Whenever possible, instead of having your pet crated up and stuffed into the cargo hold of a plane, it’s best to choose the cabin for them.

Now, of course, not all airlines allow dogs in the passenger cabin, and those that do usually have size restrictions.

No, you probably won’t be able to bring Duke the Great Dane into the cabin.

However, for smaller and medium-size dogs, for an additional fee, you can usually bring the dog in the cabin with you.

Remember that there might also be specific health and immunization requirements which your dog must meet if you wish to have it travel in the passenger cabin.

If the Dog Must be in the Cargo Hold

Ok, so you might not have any other choice but to have your dog travel in the cargo hold of the airplane, in which case you will want to follow these tips.

  • Always use direct flights and try to avoid layovers
  • Always travel on the same flight as your dog
  • Always inform the captain or an airline attendant that your dog is onboard
  • Animals with shortened snouts should never be allowed to travel in the cargo hold
  • If traveling in the winter or summer, be sure to travel at a time of day where temperatures are somewhat moderate
  • Always fit your dog with a collar that cannot get caught in the doors or openings of the crate
  • Never feed your dog or give it water within 6 hours of the flight
  • Get your dog accustomed to being in a carrier well before the flight
  • Always have a current photo of your pet with you, in case it gets lost in transit


The bottom line is that there are a lot of things that need to be considered when you are traveling with your dog, and this is true whether you are traveling by car or by airplane.

Remember, the safety, comfort, and sanity of your dog always come first. In any event, if you follow the tips outlined above, traveling with your dog should not be a problem.