Five Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

It sure has been a strange winter here! We have already reached temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit here, and it’s only the second week of February. All of this toastiness has got me thinking about some warm-weather activities to do with my dog. I’ll bet some of my fellow dog owners are on the same page!

Before you go on your spring and summer vacations and bring Fido along, there are a few things you should look into. Below is a list of things that should be on your travel checklist with your dog.


This is a HUGE factor for any traveling that is done with any pet. Rabies is of course required by law in all 50 states and your dog should always be up to date on that. Another vaccine that is extremely important to your dog’s health, and definitely when traveling is the distemper-parvo vaccine.

Distemper-parvo is a combination vaccine that helps protect dogs against a number of deadly diseases, namely distemper and parvovirus. Other diseases it helps fight are hepatitis, canine adenovirus, and parainfluenza. When written on your dog’s vaccine records, it will look like DAPP or similar letters depending on the combination vaccine used. I would highly recommend this vaccine whether you are traveling or not as it could be lifesaving for your dog.


The final vaccine your dog will need, especially if you will be boarding him or staying in a hotel that allows dogs, is bordatella. This vaccine protects against bordatella bronchiseptica, or more commonly known as, canine/kennel cough. Kennel cough is extremely contagious and can be picked up simply by a dog sniffing your clothes. Therefore, if you know your pup is going to be somewhere where other dogs have been, get him vaccinated! Most boarding facilities will require this shot, so you should expect it when inquiring about a facility.

I can’t stress the importance of dog vaccinations when traveling. I understand some dogs are exempt due to health reasons or age and that is okay. Just know your dog may be at a higher risk of sickness if you decide to take them on a trip. Otherwise, do your best to prepare your pup for a healthy vacation! It would also be wise to bring a copy of your dog’s shot records with you, even if you request them to be emailed or faxed over to your destination ahead of time.

Proper Packing

I’m sure your pet will thank you for keeping their favorite food, snacks, and toys in a “doggie” bag (wink wink). In fact, it will definitely benefit your dog’s health if you pack their regular food. Make sure you pack enough to last your whole trip as you don’t want to have to buy a bag of food on the road. You never know where you’ll end up and you may have to buy a food that your dog isn’t use to or allergic to.


Keeping your dog on his regular kibble will help avoid upset stomach or allergic reactions. Always be sure to keep plenty of water too. They make many devices that make keeping water and food on hand super convenient while on the go. If you are worried about boredom, pre-pack some busy toys such as Kongs or bully sticks to keep your dog preoccupied. Stuffed toys are probably not the best choice as there is a high chance they will just get destroyed on your voyage!

If your dog has a bed they are used to sleeping on, be sure to tag it along. Many companies now make beds specifically made for travel. They fold up into a smaller size that make it easy to pack in the car or to fit in a boarding kennel. Some dog crates are even transportable as well. Whatever it takes to keep him nice and cozy.


Weather Consciousness

Where are you going for your holiday? If you are traveling somewhere that may still have snow, do you have boots and/or a vest for your dog? High altitudes can bring more trying weather for trips so make sure your dog is protected against the elements.

Perhaps you are venturing somewhere hot and dry? Shade is an absolute must for your pet. Dogs cannot sweat and if they get too hot it can turn into heatstroke and your dog could die. If you are planning on hiking or being outdoors most of the time, only do so when the temperatures are cooler, such as in the early morning or late afternoon.


Check the forecast before you leave on your trip so you are well prepared!

Pet Friendly Accommodations

A new trend across the nation is luxury pet boarding. I personally work at one of these and it’s amazing! In these boarding facilities, there are roomy suites, options for playtime and activities, and usually high quality staff. Some even have special things such as pools, healthy snacks, and bedtime stories.


This is a great option if you can’t take your dog to the place you are staying. It’s like a personal, mini-vacation for your best friend! Trust me, they will have just as much fun there as if they were with you.

Other places that offer boarding are veterinary clinics and some people that have dog sitting businesses in their homes.

If you are centering your trip around having your dog with you, check into pet friendly hotels and accommodation. If you are needing some ideas, check out my other article “2017 Spring Break Ideas with Your Dog”. There is a hotel out there for every family! From the rustic, adventure seekers to the dogs living the lush life, you won’t be lack for choices.

Some hotels even have special packages that offer grooming services, clothing boutiques, dog walking services, and even room service for your pampered pooch.


Always be sure to be courteous and call ahead to the place you are interested in keeping your dog. That way they can prepare the place and be ready when you arrive. Some facilities will not allow drop ins, so you need to be sure your dog can even stay.

Expect the Unexpected

Everyone who has ever gone on a vacation knows that plans can change in an instant. Always be prepared for the changes…even if they never happen.

Pack a first aid kit for your dog. This should include bandages, wrap, and common medicines such as an acid reducer, Benadryl for allergic reactions, and pepto for upset tummies. Something else to consider is hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting if necessary.


Always have an overabundance of paperwork; it is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared for sure! Keep a copy of your dog’s up-to-date shot records, his pet passport if leaving the country, travel tickets, and any necessary veterinary notes that may be needed. If you are traveling with a service dog, don’t forget their vest and any doctor’s notes that explain the need for your service dog. This will be necessary when flying for sure.

I recommend finding the closest veterinary clinic to where you will be staying so that if something happens you know where to go.

There you have it! Five simple travel tips to keep you prepared for the season’s adventures. Above all of the cautionary “tails” and rules; have fun! That is what your dog will enjoy the most.