How to Travel with a Dog

How to Travel With a Dog: Definitive Guide

For most pet owners, traveling with your pet can be an exciting experience. However, it requires careful consideration and a lot of planning before taking your dog for the next adventure. This article will guide you on how to travel with a dog as you plan for your next trip.

Health and Safety

Get a Veterinary Checkup

Before embarking on a journey with your pets, it is essential to take them to a vet for a checkup. After the checkup, you will receive a health certificate as proof of vaccination.

Most transportation services like planes and trains will require you to provide health certification before allowing you to board with your pet. Therefore, ensure that the necessary documents are up-to-date before the travel date. Your vet can also guide you on how to sedate a dog before travel.

Emergency Kit

To keep your dog healthy and safe as you travel, carry a small emergency kit that contains your dog’s medical supplies like bandages and hydrogen peroxide. Also, prepare a list of the nearest emergency veterinary hospitals in the country of your destination.


A microchip is a permanent form of identification that will offer extra security for your dog. An identification tag with your dog’s name and your contact information also helps increase the chances of finding your dog in the event that he gets lost. Carry a recent picture of your dog with you.


When planning to travel with your dog internationally, it is important to check the regulations of the country of your destination. Typically, each country has its own transportation regulations. The general rule is to research about the animal policies and transportation restrictions of that country in order to find out what you need to abide by.

Packing List

It is advisable to pack dog food and water depending on the mode of transportation and the length of your stay. Other things to include in your packing list include a leash, collapsible water bowl, treats, toys, dog bed, crate/kennel, dog car harness, grooming supplies, and pee pads or waste bag.

Find Pet-Friendly Hotels and Restaurants

If you haven’t packed adequate dog food which will last throughout your stay, consider researching pet-friendly restaurants in the area. Also, take time to research pet-friendly hotels, especially if you are traveling with larger dogs that require more attention.

Automobile Travel

Car travel is probably the safest way to travel with your dog as it puts less stress on them. If you are wondering how to travel with a dog in a car, see to it that you take all the necessary precautions. These include the following:

  • If your dog has anxiety driving in cars, try taking him for short rides in order to allow him to adapt to car travel before taking him for long road trips.
  • Make sure that your pup is secured under a dog car seatbelt to keep him from roaming around and obstructing your driving.
  • Have your dog undergo exercise several hours before leaving to make him rest more during the trip.
  • Prevent car sickness by restricting how much food your dog gets on the day of traveling. However, ensure that he gets adequate water to help him stay hydrated.
  • Never allow your dog to ride with his head sticking out the window as this can cause head or eye injuries.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in the car even with a cracked window. This is potentially dangerous as he can easily get dehydrated and die especially during hot weather conditions.
  • Make a stop at least every 3 hours. Use this time to take potty breaks, walk, feed, and exercise your canine friend.
  • While traveling with your dog, avoid keeping him in the passenger seat. Instead, keep them crated at the back seat of the car where he can be a lot safer.


Flying by plane may be a bit daunting because of the many regulations involved. It may also not be the safest option to transport your pet since he will need to be kept in the cargo. Here are some tips to guide you on how to travel with a dog on a plane:

  • If you plan to travel by plane, make sure that you visit your veterinarian and acquire the appropriate health certification. Submit the health certification 10 days before the travel and ensure that your pooch is at least 8 weeks old.
  • If you are flying, consult the airline you will be traveling with and inquire about the rules for animals from the veterinary border control. This is important because there are airlines that don’t accept transporting particular dog breeds.
  • Get a comfortable and IATA approved crate or carrier to safely transport your dog during air travel.
  • Some airlines have specific size requirements and only accept dogs with a weight limit of 20 pounds. However, you can transport them in cargo-approved crates if they exceed the airline’s weight limit restriction.
  • Make reservations for your dog early and call the airline 24-48 hours before your scheduled flight in order to confirm your dog’s travel. This is important because some airlines don’t transport pets in extreme weather conditions.
  • Once you board the plane, let the flight attendant know that your dog is in the cargo hold so that they can take special precautions.
  • If you are on a plane, you are probably asking yourself, “What can I give my dog for travel sickness?”. Apart from sedating your dog to calm him down, allow him to look down the window as this helps combat motion-sickness.

Traveling by Train, Boat, or Bus

If you plan to travel with your dog by train or bus, familiarize yourself with the policies of the trail or bus company. Generally, Amtrak trains allow transportation of dogs under 20 pounds. Only a few cruise lines accommodate and provide special lodging for dogs. Therefore, if you are planning to cruise, consider a cruise line with kettle facilities or private cabins and inquire about their policies.


When making travel decisions for your dog whether by car, plane, train, bus, or ship, a significant amount of planning is essential. The above tips will guide you on how to travel long distances with your dog.

Always opt for the safest and most comfortable transportation mode, and conduct adequate research on how to travel with a dog internationally. Nonetheless, if traveling makes them uncomfortable, get a reliable pet sitter to watch them while you are away.

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