Tips for traveling with your dog

Travelling with your dog has never been easier. From airlines to hotels, there is an ever-increasing awareness and accommodation for animals that extends beyond service animals. With some proper planning, there is no reason to exclude your furry family member from travelling with the rest of your family.

Here are some tips for traveling with your dog as well as some things to do to prepare for medical emergencies:

Traveling with your dog on an airplane

When traveling with your dog on a plane, it is important to know that every airline has a different pet policy. Doing some preliminary research upfront on the various airlines can help you narrow down which one will work best for your trip. Depending on the airline, you may need to wait to ‘check’ your dog until the week prior to your flight, while others need the pet information up front. In general, it is best to avoid flying with your dog during holidays and other high-travel times in order to ensure they receive the most care and attention from the flight staff.

Traveling with your dog on an airplane

Most airlines will allow small dogs up to 20lbs to accompany you as a carry-on. You will need to keep them in a dog carrier and they must remain inside the carrier during the flight.

An alternative for dogs that may not be as well-behaved for cabin flights, or for those that are over 20lbs, is traveling as a ‘checked’ bag. Within the plane, there is a pressurized cargo container that is also temperature controlled which is designed to transport animals. This cargo container is much like the standard cabin, and your dog(s) can travel with relative ease.

In both kinds of transport, your dog will need to be kept in a dog carrier. It is recommended to purchase a carrier in advance and spend time with your dog getting them used to it. If you are searching for a new carrier, check out the top 10 here:

It is important to note that dogs with ‘pushed in’ faces, such as Boxers, Bulldogs or Boston Terriers, should not travel via plane. Breathing at such high altitudes can be quite difficult, or downright impossible, and the risk is too great. If you have any concerns, it is important to check with your vet prior to setting up the flight. Additionally, some airlines require a certificate of veterinary inspection prior to allowing a dog on a flight.

Staying with your dog at a hotel

Much like airlines, pet policies vary based on hotel. In order to get the best result for you and your furry friend, verify the pet policy and alert the hotel ahead of time that you are bringing your dog. Keep in mind that most hotels charge an additional pet fee and there will be additional fees if your dog(s) damage the room.

Generally, hotels allow 1-2 dogs per room. They can roam freely within the room, but most policies will require that they be on a leash or kept in their carrier when they are outside of the room. Additionally, pets are generally not be permitted near the dining area(s) or the pool. A helpful tip when staying with dog(s) is to request a first-floor room in order to avoid using an elevator. This also allows you and your dog(s) to roam freely throughout the room without disturbing other guests with the noise of pet feet.

If you are staying across several days, you will need to coordinate with the housekeeping as they only clean when your dog(s) are not present

Staying with your dog at a hotel

How to ease your dog’s anxiety before and during travel

Traveling can be stressful for your dog, but it isn’t impossible. There are a few things that you can do to help ease any potential anxiety for your dog leading up to, and during, travel.

When you are going to have your dog travel by plane, you will need to let them get used to the carrier well in advance. Starting a month or more in advance and getting your dog(s) used to staying inside for several hours at a time will be the best way to prevent the most anxiety.

When flying, make sure to avoid feeding your dog 4-6 hours before the trip. This will reduce their nausea and they will be able to eat during the flight which can give them some semblance of normalcy.

One thing to avoid is sedating your dog before travel. Some airlines won’t even accept pets who have been sedated and it can put your dog at risk for breathing and blood problems during the flight.

Things to pack when traveling with your dog

Here is a short checklist of items to pack when traveling with your dog(s)

For Flights:

– Freeze water the night before the flight so it won’t spill during transport, but will thaw while your dog is on the plane

– Tape a picture of your dog to the top of the carrier in case he/she escapes

– Attach a baggie of food to the side of the carrier – a must if you have a layover during your flight – so that airline workers can feed him/her if necessary

Road Trips/General Travel:

– Their soft bed and favorite toys/blankets

– Snacks to reward good behavior

– Extra food and water

– Their collar/leash/harness

– Updated dog tags

– First aid kit

What do to in case of an emergency when traveling with your dog

While we all hope that nothing bad ever happens, it is always best to prepare for the worst case scenario. First and foremost, you should always travel with your pets up-to-date medical records, including a list of medications your dog is taking.

In addition to the medical records, it is a good idea to also have your veterinarian’s number on hand. As a final precaution, you can look up a few veterinarians in the city you are traveling to, just in case there is anything needed once you arrive at your destination.


Traveling with your dog doesn’t have to be stressful for your or your furry family member. With some pre-planning, your travel itinerary can be navigated with ease. The most important thing is to trust your instinct and stay calm. Happy pet owner = happy pet.

Author Bio: Paige Jirsa– I work with Top10.Today, a shopping comparison site, where we strive to help consumers find the best quality and priced products.

Dogs, regardless of the breed is one of the greatest human stress relievers of all time. You deserve to know the most important dog facts so you can handle your pooch better and avoid major accidents too! You’ll never know when they are useful.