When planning a trip, there is already so much that goes into the preparation. If you add a dog to the mix, more logistics and prep are required. Traveling with your furry companion may sound fun, however, it may be difficult at times navigating the journey with your pet. If you follow these guidelines you should be fully prepared to travel with your beloved pup.

Preparation for traveling with dog

Traveling with a can be very stressful at times, but with the right preparation, it should be nothing to worry about. You are bringing your animal away from their calm environment into an entirely new world. They might be unsure, curious, scared and have even more emotions before during and after the trip. The best way to ensure a safe and fun trip for you and your pet is to prepare! We can’t stress preparation enough when it comes to a big event in your pet’s life that could potentially make them uncomfortable, anxious or unhappy. Explore some of the most important tips we have for traveling with pets.

  • Prep: Make sure to pack a first aid kit and any other necessary emergency supplies. Pets are much more likely to get into an accident in a new and strange place, so keep a closer eye on your little friend than normally. Also, have the Animal Poison Control Center emergency number (888-426-4435) on hand.
  • Talk to your vet: Get a copy of your pet’s medical records on file while traveling. In case you must make an emergency vet trip, this will be very beneficial.
  • Plan accordingly: Before your trip, create a schedule to help ensure your pet is going to the bathroom, eating and drinking on a routine schedule. This will not only make your life easier but will keep your little guy healthy and happy.
  • Research: Rent Berry provides a list of the most dog-friendly cities. Consider these locations and decide if they would make sense for your trip. There may be dangerous situations, animals, environment, or vegetation that could harm your pet in whatever location you are traveling to. Prepare for the worst to guarantee their complete well-being.
  • ID your buddy: It’s a necessity to microchip your pet before going on any type of trip. We recommend all dogs be microchipped to safeguard any situation where your pet may get loose. Make sure their collar and tag are up to do date as well. Most microchips do not track a lost dog, but they will provide a means of identifying the pet’s owner.

These simple guidelines can be used to secure the safety of your friend while traveling. In addition to these steps and research, its imperative to lock down your housing and figure out the restaurants you will be frequenting on your trip.

Pet-Friendly Hotels and Lodging

One of the first steps of preparing to travel with your pets should concern where you’ll be staying. How disappointed would everyone be if you got to the end location and your lodging was not pet-friendly? That could possibly ruin a trip! When searching for housing, it’s easy to select filters to find pet-friendly places to stay. There are different websites available such as Pet-Friendly Hotels and Pets Welcome that will help you discover pet-friendly lodging. Even Airbnb and VRBO have filters where you can select housing which accepts pets. There are so many resources available there should be no excuse for not finding the proper accommodations for you and your fluffball to enjoy.


Dog and cat lying on the bed together

Dog sitting under the table at restaurant

Pet-Friendly Restaurants

Scouting out restaurants you’ll encounter on your journey is also another important precaution to take while preparing to travel with a pet. Research which restaurants are dog-friendly. You don’t want to leave your pet in the car while you eat, so you might as well have pet-friendly restaurant options for their safety and for your peace of mind. Bring Fido is a great resource to utilize for finding appropriate eateries. They cover almost every major city and will help you find the best spots for you and your pet.


Driving with your Dog

Dog sticking his face from car window

If you’re traveling with your pet via car, it’s important to dedicate a sizable space for them to be able to move around, relax and have access to water and food. Keep their window down when you can to provide your pet with fresh air and all the wonderful smells they love.

One important thing to keep in mind is interstate traveling. If you are planning to travel between states, you may need an interstate health certificate. Consult with your vet about the certificate.  If you follow the guidelines above, in addition to our tips below specific to driving, your trip with your pet should have little to no complications.

  • NEVER leave your pet in a parked car alone
  • Pet-proof every new location you visit
  • Think about their comfort
  • Buckle them up – Chewy has some great seat belts for pets
  • Plan for bathroom and meal breaks
  • Ensure your pet stays happy!

Flying with your Dog

Puppy in a travel bag

If you are flying rather than driving, there are additional precautionary steps you must take to fly safely with your pet. Small pets (right) can travel in a pet-friendly carrier in the cabin with you. They can fit into your lap or below your seat. If they are larger than they must travel in a crate in the cargo space. This can be very stressful for your dog so if they do not well in similar situations, then maybe flying with your companion isn’t the best idea. While flying with your pets is typically safe, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals actually advises to not fly with pets because of the amount of stress it induces and the unknown dangers your doggo might encounter – such as an unknown environment, unsafe environment, or getting lost.

  • Do not book any connecting flights
  • Inquire about the environment of the cargo to supply them with any necessary items they may need like blankets, water, or comfort items like toys
  • Talk to the airline staff to confirm your pet has been boarded safely
  • Acclimate your pet to their crate/hand-held carrier the days leading up to the trip

Pets and Airline Companies

Before choosing an airline, make sure to research and determine which airline would be best suited for you and your pet. Look at some of the major airlines’ official guidelines for flying with pets.

Emotional Support Animals

When you’re flying, you may notice dogs or other pets at the airport or on a flight with their humans. Those pets seem to have priority. TSA guidelines state all pets must always be in a hand-held travel carrier. What gives? Well, these special pets are actually emotional support animals (ESA). ESA’s are animals that bring comfort to many diverse people suffering from different conditions. These conditions include, but are not limited to, mental health and depression, veterans, autism, and PTSD. While their pets may seem to be receiving bonus perks while flying, it is important to understand these animals are helping their owners not only travel but live more comfortably.

Do you think your little buddy could qualify for an emotional support animal? You must first register your pet with the official ESA Registration of America. Next, you must complete an ESA Evaluation letter. To obtain the ESA status, the ESA letter is required from a licensed mental health professional stating the animal alleviates mental or emotional disabilities.


Dog and girl in a wheel chair hugging

Below are suggested tips for flying with an emotional support animal:

  • Avoid TSA K9’s so your dog doesn’t misbehave or distract the K9 from doing their job
  • Understand the temperament of your pet and ensure you can put them through uncomfortable experiences they may experience
  • Familiarize yourself with the designated ‘pet relief’ areas
  • Pet restrictions vary by airline, so make sure to check with your air carrier before arriving at the airport

CBD Oils and Traveling

CDB extract oil for dogs

Like we said before, traveling with pets is not only stressful for you but can also be stressful for your animal. If your pet suffers from anxiety, try researching CBD oils and see if they could be your pet’s solution. CBD oils do not get your pet high since the oil is extracted from hemp, not marijuana. The oils simply calm the animal down and reduce their anxiety. The oils could help with persistent whining, chewing, and aggression and assure your pet’s safe journey.

Traveling with pets can be taxing, however, with a little advanced preparation, you can set yourself up for a fun and memorable trip with your loving fluffy fluffball! If you’re not just traveling for a trip, but are actually traveling for a move, check out our Moving with Pets post.

If you want to guarantee total safety for your pet on your trip and future endeavors, why not secure a Prudent Pet insurance policy to ensure your buddy’s wellbeing. Having a cat or dog insurance policy will give you peace of mind and protect your perfect pet for life.

The information provided on this website is made available for educational purposes only. It should in no way be substituted for professional veterinary assessment of each individual patient by a suitably qualified veterinary surgeon or veterinarian.