Tips for going away with your dog

Dogs have become such a huge part of our lives that most people wouldn’t even dream of leaving their dog at home while they go on vacation.  Leaving your dog behind at home means that you need to find someone to care for them or leave them with a kennel.  The kennel option can be expensive for daily costs because of the requirement of having all shots up to date.  Here are some tips for going away with your dog.

Transportation Options

Flying on a plane?

  1. Check with the airline in advance to determine any excess baggage fees, requirements and breed restrictions.
  2. Make sure that your crate meets guidelines and put a familiar blanket and toy inside for your dog.
  3. You may want to speak to your veterinarian about a sedative to give to your dog before you check him into cargo.  Medicating your dog is not recommended, unless your dog is extremely anxious.
  4. Some airlines will not fly an animal in their cargo in extreme hot or cold weather because the temperature in the cargo hold is extreme too.

Driving in a car?

  • It is important to take plenty of rest stops to allow your dog to have bathroom breaks.
  • Stop at green spaces if you are going for a long drive so that you and your pooch can stretch and exercise.  Bring your dog’s favourite toys to play fetch with or take a walk together.
  • Pack the necessary items you will need along the way including poop bags, a collar and leash and any vaccination and ID tags that should be affixed to the collar.
  • There won’t always be water readily available where you need to stop, so bring a container full of water and something to pour it into.
  • Purchase a seat cover or place a blanket on the seat if you want to protect your car seats.  If your dog is going to be in the back of your car, install an approved safety barrier to keep the dog in the back.
  • Bring your dog’s bedding so that they always have the familiar smell home with them when they travel to new places.
  • Bring your pet insurance information with you (if you have some) in case you need to visit a veterinarian on your travels.
  • Pack your dog’s water and food dishes and bring enough food for the trip, particularly if your dog enjoys a specialized diet and you cannot purchase the food anywhere else.
  • If you plan on taking a long trip in a car and your dog has not had much experience riding in a car, it is a good idea to get them acclimatized.  Take several short trips around your local area and get your dog used to the idea of riding in the back of the car.
  • If your dog gets car sick easily, you will want to refrain from feeding them before your trip.  Ensure that you have a decent amount of time (overnight) out of the vehicle and feed your dog then.
  • Never leave your dog inside a hot vehicle.  In the summertime the heat inside of your car can reach astronomical levels that will kill your dog.  If you have to go somewhere where you can’t take your dog to a local pet sitter if possible.  Some accommodations offer this type of service, so it is a good idea to find out in advance.

Driving a truck?

  • If your dog will be in the back of your truck they should be in a crate that is protected from the wind and weather.  If the weather is hot, make sure that there is shade that the dog can lie in.  Never place a crate in direct sunlight.
  • Be sure that the crate is secured inside the box of the truck.   There should be ventilation holes on the sides of the crate.
  • Never leave a dog in the box of a truck loose (not in a crate).  It is dangerous for a dog to not be secured because he can jump out of the box and hurt himself.

Other Tips

  • Bring a squeegee to remove dog hair from carpets.   If your dog sheds a lot the hotel carpet is going to be caked in hair.
  • Keep your dog in a crate while you move around the hotel room.  Your scent should be all over the room before your dog comes into it.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a hotel room or anywhere.  Dogs bark and become anxious and can disturb other guests.   A bad experience such as this can turn a dog-friendly hotel into a non-dog-friendly hotel.
  • Walk your dog and run him if possible so that he will be played out and ready to sleep once you get into your hotel room.
  • Take your dog for a health check before a long trip to ensure that he is fit for the trip.  If your dog takes medication, be sure to bring it along so that you have it on hand to give to him on a regular basis.
  • If your dog is not crate-trained, put him inside the crate for short periods of time and don’t use a negative tone or make it seem like it is a punishment.  Put blankets and a treat inside so that your dog will look forward to going into the crate.
  • Consider a permanent means of identification such as a microchip.  If your dog runs off it may be difficult to recover him, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • A dog crate should be sturdy, with adequate ventilation and should be clearly labelled with stickers that say “live animals”.

Travelling with your dog can be an amazing experience, but it takes some preparation.  Make certain that you have all of the things that your dog needs before you leave home.  Your dog needs a lot of exercise, so don’t keep him cooped up in a hotel room or a car without regular walks.  If you make the trip fun your dog will enjoy himself as much as you do.

Reproduced with permission from

Author: Charlotte Bryan

 I have been training dogs and studying their behaviour for over 10 years. I have a Certificate in Dog Psychology, Behaviour & Training. I have a particular passion for helping other dog owners. You can follow my talented Border Collie Frankie on Instagram (@BorderCollieFrankie) and on Facebook (@TheK9Superstars)

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