7 Tips for traveling with a dog

 In Travel Tips

Traveling with a dog may not always be the most desirable option, but there are times when it is not only necessary, but preferred.

I never planned to travel with pets but shortly after my family adopted a puppy from the pound, my husband was offered a position traveling with his job and the kids and I planned to join him. It was long term so we couldn’t kennel our dog and none of us wanted to give him away or place him in a temporary home. We considered our options and decided that he would go with us.

I admit when our adventure began I didn’t know anything about traveling with pets, but I learned a thing or two over the next few years.

1. Schedule a visit to the veterinarian.

If you plan to travel with your dog, make an appointment with your veterinarian before you hit the road. You’ll want documentation that your dog is up to date on all their shots. You should also ask your vet for a health certificate stating that your dog is free from disease if you plan to travel out of state.

2. Make sure all I.D.’s are up to date.

Make sure that your pet has I.D. tags on his collar and that they contain current contact information. In addition to I.D. tags, you may consider having your dog implanted with a microchip that contains your current contact information as well and improves the chances of finding him if he gets lost.

3. Gather names of veterinarians in the area you plan to travel to and through.

You never know when your pet will need to see a medical professional. While your home may be pet friendly, things in a hotel room may not. Our dog once found a bottle of ibuprofen left on a bedside stand and ate the contents. Let’s just say that was a long night.

4. Pack a few of your dog’s favorite things along with necessities.  

Our dog has a bag that we use for special occasions. When it comes out of the closet he knows he’s doing more than going for a ride.

Inside his bag is his washable bed, a blanket, a retractable leash, doggie bags to clean-up after him, wipes incase he gets into something messy, calming pills that help him with anxiety (just incase), Benadryl (for allergies), a portable water and food bowl with, food, treats and two of his favorite toys.

5. Make sure your dog is welcome at your hotel.

Not all hotels are pet friendly and those that are may have size and breed restrictions. Before reserving accommodations, it’s a good idea to call and talk to hotel personnel. Some hotels also charge a cleaning fee. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to money, I don’t like surprises so I always ask about the cleaning fee when booking our room.

6. Keep your pet safe in and out of the car with a crate or portable kennel.

It’s hard to drive with a dog trying to sit on your lap. If your dog won’t remain in his seat, it may be necessary to keep him in a crate. If you plan to leave your pet unattended at the hotel, you should travel with a crate to keep your pet safe and secure while you’re away from the room.

7. Allow extra time in your schedule when traveling with your dog.

When you travel with your dog you should plan to stop every 2-3 hours so they can stretch their legs, go to the bathroom and get a drink of water.

traveling with a dog

Tonya is the wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of two teens, a young adult and a rescued pound puppy.  The six of them enjoyed several years on the road with her husband’s job before settling back down in their home state of Ohio. Tonya shares their travel adventures, tips they’ve learned and helpful resources at, The Traveling Praters

Photo credit: Dog in car was created by Brian-Smithson on Flickr.com. Words were added to a cropped version of this image via Canva by Walking On Travels.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Brittany @ Paws for Beer

    Great tips. I travel mostly with my dog and find it to be quite rewarding even with it’s challenges. I love finding places that allows my dog to join me while on our trips so he is not stuck in doggy day-care of the car.

  • Cascadian Nomads Bethany

    Excellent tips: so glad you recommend a travel crate. That’s definitely the safest way for dogs to travel. Mine even sleep in thier crates when we are camping. It should be noted that health certificates are only valid for a very short time (usually one month.) Since our road trips are often longer, it’s acceptable to travel by car through the states and even into Canada without one. Always, always have copies of vaccination records, some sort of proof of ownership, though, like your local dog license receipt or adoption records and a current photo of your dog. Also, be sure to research what type of microchip you implant or what your dog has. Not all microchips can be read by all machines so having a microchip that is compatible with machines in Canada and Europe may be important for your type of travel.

  • Katie

    Love it! Wish I could travel more with my pooch..she is by far the best travel companion I have! I used to think it would be impossible to bring her abroad with me, but after 3 months of travel in Central America. I saw quite a few people traveling with their dogs! Crossing borders didn’t seem to be too difficult for them either, they just needed to make sure they had all of the paperwork. I met one couple who gave their dog a rawhide or chew toy every time they crossed a border and he just laid on the floor chewing, cruising through the border unnoticed!

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