Traveling with Your Dog

Travel Tips | Traveling With Your Dog

[caption id="attachment_820" align="alignnone" width="300"] dog riding road trip[/caption]

Travel tips that can make your road trip much more enjoyable.

I often road trip with my dog.  She’s an easy traveler, in part because she did many trips with me starting at about 8 weeks old. This summer, I took a foster dog to a workshop in PA, and it was miserable. He was carsick about 9 times in the first 3-4 hours of our trip. How is it possible to expel that much yuck from one dog!

There are a number of things you need to think about before you hit the road with your dog.   

Consider the following safety measures:

  • Car Safety Harness

  • Crate secured in your car

  • Microchip your dog at least have two contacts – one not travelling with you listed. Update your service with medications, current pictures, contact information, etc.

  • A collar embroidered with your mobile phone # -- don’t rely on dog tags, they do fall off.

  • Keep a picture of your dog on your phone and in your luggage.

  • Slip Lead in your car at all times.

  • If your dog has not learned to wait to exit your car – start teaching him long before your trip. If you are at all concerned about this – keep on a chain leash (he can’t chew through it) on your dog tethered to the car in case he attempts to bolt

  • Use a Martingale collar – properly fitted that will not slip easily over his head, allowing him to escape his collar.

  • If you are using a prong collar – don’t forget your carabine as secondary safety backup (connected to both the prong and regular collar).

  • Kong, Antler, Chew toy for the crate in your hotel or grandma’s house.

What to pack for your dog

  • Medication your dog needs.

  • Poop bags! Lots of them

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Water

  • Travel Bowls

  • Food for your trip.

  • Paper towels

  • Plastic grocery bags to use as trash bags

  • Standard Leash

  • Long line so he can really stretch his legs and even play a bit

  • NO FLEXI-Leashes.

  • First Aid Kit – See our suggested kit on the blog

  • Put the phone number for Poison Control in your phone: (888) 426-4435 (there is a fee)

Does he get car sick?:

  • Take a few short trips to the store or the park before the big road trip. See Riding in Cars with Dogs on our blog.

  • I prefer to use essential oils for helping ease mild car sickness. Ginger is a good one. Lavender and others can help with anxiety. You can also discuss prescription options with your vet.

  • You can at least use some Dramamine if you’re in a predicament.


When you stop for a rest

  • Check your surrounds for traffic and other dogs

  • Make sure your dog is securely leashed! Don’t untether from the car or open the crate door until you have leash on your dog

  • Give the dog time to stretch his legs and go potty

  • Do a little bit of training or game play to create mental stimulation

  • Give him a bit of water

  • If you’re going into the rest-stop yourself – what’s your plan for your dog if you are traveling alone?

When you travel alone

  • It’s definitely harder to get your own potty breaks when you travel alone with a dog.

  • In the summer, I take a secondary set of keys, crack the windows (just in case), and leave the car running with air on full blast.

  • And rush like crazy to the bathroom

  • I get all meals, snacks, and beverages at the drive through, even if it’s an additional stop.

  • If you are leaving your car running (during summer months) and locking the door while you run inside for your own break – can you dog roll down the windows with the automated buttons – Mine dachsunds do when they look out the window! -- so now what? Yep, they go in a crate or harnessed in.

Can he be left in the hotel room without barking or breaking out of his crate?

  • Work on these issues before you travel. You don’t want to come back to your room to find your dog stressed out or has done some significant damage to the room.

  • Provide a kong or antler, something for him to chew while you’re out.

  • Leave the TV on.

  • If you have left him loose in the hotel (not recommended), be sure he can’t get into your luggage, medications, candy, food, etc.

  • Does your dog have any reactivity or aggression issues that may be problematic at a pet friendly hotel? In the elevator? In the stairwell? In the common potty area? At the rest stop?

  • There is no shame in muzzle conditioning your dog. It is a far better option that other outcomes.

 What else you should think about?

  • You may have to do more drive throughs than sit down dinners if there are no pet friendly places to eat.

  • Research Pet Friendly Hotels before you go so that you can find one along your route. is a good resource to help you get started.

  • A mistake I made often on a recent summer trip was waiting for the next Rest Stop -- only to find that my interstate turn came before that rest stop and we were many miles before the next one. Look at your route before you begin driving.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Other people are often traveling with pets too and may not be as careful with their own dogs.

Do you have other favorite travel tips?   Share with us so we can help others learn from our experiences. 

Dana Brigman