Taking a Trip? Traveling Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe

If you are planning on taking your dog on your next family trip, there are some extra preparations you should consider before you depart. For example, visiting the vet to make sure your pup is in tip-top shape before you leave is a great first step. Also be sure the contact information on your dog’s collar, crate, and microchip are up to date. 

Whether you are voyaging by car, plane, or even boat, follow these tips to keep your pooch safe throughout your travels.

Taking Car Trips With Your Dog

Long road trips can be fun for humans, but stressful for dogs. These trip tips can help make the car ride enjoyable and safe for everyone.

  • Prep your pup by taking him on shorter car rides in advance to ensure he can tolerate the ride and get used to longer trips.
  • Protect your pooch by keeping him in his crate and don’t let him ride in the back of an open truck or with his head out the window—this could cause eye or other injuries, especially at faster speeds.
  • Make sure the car is well-ventilated and allow for proper airflow into your dog’s crate to ensure he doesn’t overheat.
  • Bring a travel kit that includes plenty of water, food and treats, toys, a leash, waste disposal bags, and anything else your dog may need to stay comfortable and happy during his travels.
  • Avoid nausea and car sickness by making sure your dog travels on an empty stomach.
  • Stop frequently to allow for bathroom breaks and exercise to keep him happy and healthy.
  • NEVER leave your dog alone in a parked car—cars can very quickly become dangerously hot or cold depending on the weather, which can be uncomfortable or even fatal for your pooch.

Tips for Flying With Your Dog

Air travel is stressful enough—make sure you are prepared to fly with your dog by following these air travel tips.

  • Visit your vet a couple of weeks before you fly—health and vaccination records are often required by airlines when you take your dog on the plane.
  • Try to book a direct flight to minimize stress and travel time for your pup, especially if he will be traveling in the cargo area, and don’t forget to make travel reservations for your pet, which are usually on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Make sure your dog’s crate meets the airline’s requirements, or better yet purchase a USDA-approved pet crate and make sure it is marked with up-to-date contact information.
  • Notify all airline and airport personnel that you are traveling with your dog in the cargo hold so they can provide additional attention to your dog in the case that your plane is delayed or other situations that may arise.

Boating With Your Dog

Even if you are just taking your dog out for a day out on the lake, it is important to keep him safe while out on the water, and these tips can help.

  • Purchase a proper-fitting life vest for your pooch—even if he is a strong swimmer the currents and other water conditions can make swimming difficult if he goes overboard.
  • Have a safety plan prepared in case your dog does go overboard, and never lift him out of the water by his collar.
  • Acclimate your dog to the boat’s movement by taking a few short trips beforehand.
  • Check local laws about having your dog on the boat, especially if you plan to enter foreign water or water across state lines.

By following these tips to help keep your pup safe and comfortable, taking a trip with your dog in tow can be a rewarding experience for both of you. So get out there and plan your next adventure!