What could be more fun than traveling with your furry best friend? Dogs can make great travel companions whether you’re planning a solo trip, or with family or friends. To avoid any headaches, read up on what to do before, during, and after your vacation so traveling with your dog goes as smoothly as possible.
Before you leave for vacation
- Get your dog a collar with updated contact information and your latest address. In the event that your dog gets lost, having the most up-to-date information readily available on their collar will help you find them more quickly. If your dog does not currently have a microchip, consider getting one. This will be helpful in the event that your dog loses their collar. A microchip is a radio-frequency identification transponder that has an identification number for your dog, carrying all contact info. It is the size of a grain of rice.
- Visit the vet before you leave for your trip. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are all up-to-date and keep a copy of your vet records. If you are planning to travel by plane, you will need shot records and any relevant health certifications. You also want to make sure your dog is healthy enough to make the trip, especially if there is air travel, hiking, or other physical activities involved.
- If you're traveling by plane or by car, make sure to have all of the necessary carriers and products so that your dog has a safe and comfortable trip. Check out our guide on traveling by car or plane with your dog for all of the tips, tricks, and things to keep in mind for stress-free travel.
- Pack enough of your dog’s food for your journey. Traveling can be stressful for your pet, so keeping their food the same will help prevent gastrointestinal issues that can arise from stress or diet change.
- Find the number of an emergency vet clinic close to where you will be staying. In the event that your dog gets sick or injured, you’ll know where to go.
- Book dog-friendly accommodations. An important aspect of planning a vacation with your dog is making sure they have somewhere to sleep! Only book hotels or AirBnBs that accept dogs. Don’t plan on having your dog sleep in the car – that can be dangerous! Cars can get hot quickly, even if you leave a window open.
The day you travel
- Have enough food and water ready to keep your dog healthy and hydrated on your journey. Some people enjoy using ice cubes as a way to hydrate their dogs without all the splashing.
- Take consistent bathroom breaks. You want your dog to be as comfortable as possible on your trip, so make frequent stops to let your dog stretch their legs and use the bathroom. Don’t withhold water from your dog in order to avoid making stops, as they can become dehydrated. It's always better to make a quick stop than to clean up your car if your dog has an accident!
- Keep plenty of toys and treats on hand to keep your dog occupied. Long trips can be boring, and it’s no different for your dog! Chewing on a bully stick or their favorite toy will keep them from getting agitated and stir crazy while you travel.
- Always have clean-up supplies on hand. Accidents happen, so it’s best to be prepared for anything that can happen on your journey.
After your vacation
- Monitor your dog for the week after you return from vacation, especially if they might have come into contact with other animals, bodies of water, or insects. If they begin to act stressed, sick, or strange, make an appointment with your vet.
- Think about what to change for next time. Did you run out of clean-up bags? Was a squeaky toy on a five-hour car ride a bad idea? It’s hard to be perfectly prepared for every situation, so use this experience to help make your next vacation even better.
Does your trip involve hiking? Read our complete guide to hiking with your dog. And if you want safe dog treats to stock in your kitchen, browse a selection of dog chews and bully sticks on our website.