Tips For Travelling With Your Dog
What do I need to travel with my dog?
Every great journey starts with packing, and when you are bringing your dog, this step is extra important! Just like you, your dog needs a few of their things to ensure the trip is an enjoyable one. We recommend the following to make sure you have everything your fur friend may need:
- Food and Water: You'll need enough dog food to cover the whole trip with a few days to be safe. We never recommend that you suddenly switch your dog's food, so packing extra covers you in case their regular food is not available at your destination. It is also important to pack a few water bottles, so your dog stays hydrated during the trip.
- Treats: Everyone loves road trip snacks, including your dog! Treats can be an important part of training your dog to be comfortable with traveling. High-value treats can be helpful during the more stressful parts of the trip to calm your dog.
- Food and Water Dishes: If you can pack your dog’s regular food and water dishes, great. If space is limited, pop-up dishes are perfect for traveling. An all-in-one food and water bowl can also conserve some space.
- A Carrier: Smaller or younger dogs can benefit from a carrier, keeping them safely secure in the back seat. If you are traveling by plane, a carrier is a must. Carriers can also double as a sleeping place spot while you are on your journey.
- Toys: Toys will keep your dog distracted on the road and can also ease their anxiety. Chew and puzzle toys give your dog something to do, and activity-based toys will wear them out during playtime on the pit stops.
- Blankets and Bed: If you can bring your dog's bed and some blankets with familiar scents, this will comfort and calm your pup while also keeping them warm.
- Collar, Leash and Harness and ID tags: You'll certainly need your dog's usual collar, leash and harness, but it's important to ensure they all contain up-to-date ID tags. We also recommend an extra tag with your final destination's contact info. Always pack a spare collar and tags if possible.
- Grooming Products: A brush will be handy on a long trip, as will some shampoo. Having fun outdoors often involves getting dirty, after all!
- Car cleaning supplies: A pet-friendly stain remover, paper towels, and lint brush will help keep your car clean. You may also like to invest in seat covers if you don't already have them.
- Medication: Always remember your pet's medication (if required) and pack enough for the trip duration plus extra.
- Medical Records: It may be helpful to take your dog's medical records when traveling. If traveling out of the country, this will often be a requirement
Tips for traveling with your dog by carIf your dog is used to (and loves) car rides, this will be a lot easier. If not, try to slowly get them accustomed to being in the car on shorter trips first. Let them explore the car when it is stationary and turn on the engine, so they get used to the sound.
Having something familiar in the car like a favourite blanket helps make the space more familiar and always reward them with treats when you arrive at your destination so they associate car rides with something delicious! Try to avoid trips to the vet as practice and never leave your dog in the car for extended periods.
Create a dog-friendly backseatMake the space where your dog will travel comfortable with their favourite blankets, bedding and toys. Food, water, and treats should be in an easily accessible space and talk to your vet about car sickness prevention methods just to be prepared.
For older or larger dogs who will not fit into a carrier, make sure you have a car-appropriate harness. These will often clip into the seatbelt buckle and secure your fur friend in the event of sudden braking. Most road laws state that it is illegal to travel with your dog if they are unsecured.
Tips for traveling with your dog by planeTraveling the world with a dog is possible; however, the rules on traveling with a dog by plane are much more stringent, especially if flying internationally. First, have your vet confirm your dog is healthy enough to fly and capable of meeting the requirements of your destination. Vaccinations should be up to date, and you'll need to confirm the airline’s weight and size requirements.
As your dog is most likely flying below the plane, carriers must be hard-cased. It is important to do whatever you can to reduce stress for your pet, so get them used to their carrier before traveling. Include blankets and soft toys (no hard toys) and line the carrier with pee pads or shredded newspaper.
Always feed your dog well before flying but avoid eating or drinking 2 - 4 hours before the flight. Wear them out with a long walk and arrive at the airport earlier than usual (add an extra hour).
General Advice for traveling with your dogYour trip will be much more enjoyable if you research ahead of time and plan dog-friendly places to visit. Look out for dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, stores, and attractions and remember that not all outdoor areas are dog-friendly. Most parks and recreation spots with wildlife ban dogs from entering or restrict them to being on the lead at all times. Avoid a nasty fine by understanding which of these are relevant to your trip.
Your environment, particularly the final destination, should be considered as well. Will it be colder or hotter than home? Will you require extra flea and tick treatments? Is your dog going to be spending more time outdoors or indoors than usual? Consider these situations and pack accordingly.
It is also important to consider that some dogs will not enjoy or tolerate long-distance travel. Understanding your dog's temperament and personality is very important, especially before putting them on a plane where there are other passengers to consider (and no way off until landing). Travel means a brand-new environment with different people, so if you are unsure, your best fur buddy may have to sit this one out. In this case, a dog sitter, friend, or family member may need to take care of your pet while you travel.