Tips For Traveling With Your Dog

Bringing your dog on vacation adds to the fun and eliminates the worry of not knowing what’s happening with your pet while you’re away. Planes and cars were not designed with your pets in mind, and you need to know what to expect when you reach your final destination. By planning ahead, you can make your vacation more relaxing for the whole family.

Crating your dog for travel

It’s natural to feel a little bad about putting your dog in a crate. After all, humans wouldn’t want to travel in a crate. Many dogs however don’t mind the crate and some may actually feel safer in one.

Some important things to remember include:

  • Make sure your dog has received lots of exercise before he goes in the crate – that way he will be more inclined to rest.
  • Make sure the crate is free from harmful objects.  Even leashes and loose collars can present a strangling hazard.
  • Maintain positive energy. Don’t make the crate seem like a prison. Show the dog the crate and open the door. Try to allow the dog to go into the crate on his own. When he’s inside and comfortable, you can close the door. Walk away from the crate with good energy and body language.


It’s usually a good idea to secure your dog when riding in the car – either by crating or using a harness. Securing your dog will prevent them from distracting your and prevent your dog from becoming a projectile in the event of an accident. Dogs are sometimes prone to motion sickness – don’t feed your dog while you’re moving or right before leaving for your trip. Wait until there’s a break, then give your pet a small high protein snack. Play with or take your dog on a quick walk when you stop for a break.

NEVER leave your dog in a parked car.  Even with the window cracked open, the car can quickly turn into an oven.

Taking your dog on an airplane

Most airlines have very specific rules about traveling with pets. Check with the airline well in advance to avoid a last minute disaster. You may need to show a health certificate for your dog. Your dog will almost certainly be traveling in a crate and it is easier on everyone if you crate your dog before you enter the chaos of the airport.

As with car travel, it’s smart not to start the trip on a full stomach or bladder (dogs should fast for a few hours before the trip) and to make a pit stop as close to the departure time as possible. However, make sure your dog has access to water—enough to keep hydrated but not full.

Keeping your dog calm during travel

Make sure you bring your dog’s blankie or his favorite stuffed animal, toy, bone—any item which is familiar to your dog and will comfort and relax him. For a little extra calm, giving your pet a massage at the beginning of your dog’s spine or base of her head.

Staying in a hotel with your dog

As with flying, you will need to research ahead of time. Does the hotel you’re considering even allow pets? Better to find out before you arrive. Pet-welcoming hotels will be prepared for your visit, and can even recommend parks, hikes, and other dog-friendly activities. Don’t inadvertently encourage barking. Stay calm and assertive and take him out for some exercise to calm him.

Exploring a new place

There are going to be lots of new sights and smells around, especially in the area of things your dogs could ingest. Also, especially around the holidays there may be a lot of lights, decorations, and snout-level treats that can be distracting or dangerous. Keep an eye on him and the new place.

Happy travels!

Traveling with a dog can be a fun experience for both of you. Just remember to be as prepared as possible wherever you go. The more homework you do, the fewer surprises there will be.

Tips For Travel Adapted from

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Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center of Brevard is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays. Our doors NEVER close.

If you and your pet experience an emergency, call us at 321-725-5365.  We are ready to help.

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