Tips for traveling with dogs

Traveling with dogs has its own set of challenges. For us, these are offset by the fun of having our four-footed friends with us. If you are new to traveling with your dog(s), here are some tips we’ve learned that may help make it even more enjoyable.

Plan for dog-friendly hotels ahead of time

Not all hotels allow dogs. And, there was a time when I thought only less-desirable hotels allowed them. Things have changed; you can find hotels that allow dogs most anywhere you go. But, allowing dogs, and being dog-friendly, are not necessarily the same thing.

When selecting a hotel, do a Google Maps satellite view to check the surrounding area. Are there good places to walk your pet? We’ve had some stays where we had to walk the dogs along busy roads, there just weren’t options for us. But, taking your dog out will be much more pleasant if there are.

What is the flooring in the rooms? Yes, all our dogs are angels and never have accidents…not. Newer, or recently refurbished hotels, tend to have a vinyl or faux wood tile floor. This makes it easier to clean up if Fido can’t hold it.

Check for extra fees to have a dog stay with you. Many hotels will show as “Pet Friendly” but aren’t always clear about the extra ‘cleaning’ fees. Almost all have them, so just be ready.

Don’t Forget the Dog’s Meds

You don’t have this issue if you’re lucky, but we do. Just like you’d plan for your own prescriptions, you’ll need to do the same for dogs. Depending on how long you travel, you may not need to worry about getting a bit extra filled, but just check to be sure.

Water & Food on the road

If you are traveling with dogs in the US, you’ll likely have access to water. But, it doesn’t hurt to have a jug of water in the car in addition to your dog’s food. We also use collapsible rubber bowls that take up very little space. This is more convenient than large plastic or metal bowls.

Collapsable Travel Crates

For many dogs, crates are their “secure place.” Our dogs sleep in theirs, and having something while we travel seems to help them feel more at ease. You can find collapsable travel crates at your local pet stores or online. We’ve seen some feedback about crates where dogs scratch through the material from which travel crates are made. If your dog is not crate trained, do not attempt to train them on the road. There is way too much stress on them to be able to train them effectively.

If the travel crates are new to your dog, use them for a week or so prior to your trip. Having the dogs sleep in them overnight in your bedroom will give them (and you) a feel for doing so on the road.

Bring a Doggie Bag

Your pet probably has some toys, bones, chewies, etc. Perhaps they have a small blanket or some other comfort item. Put together a doggie bag with these items and extra leashes and treats that you can keep in easy reach in the car.

Beware the stranger

We think the world of our dogs. But, we know there are many people who are not dog lovers and plenty who are truly afraid of dogs. As you travel, you will expose your pet to many people. Or another way to say it is that you will expose many more people to your pet. Be respectful. Keep your leash short and give people space. Your dog may be friendly, but that matters little to someone who has had a bad experience with a dog in the past.

Take dog pictures & have fun

Traveling with dogs and traveling in general should be fun and memorable. Take the time to enjoy your trip and travel partners, snap plenty of pics, and find “down time” when both you and your dog can relax. Make the most of your travel!


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