How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Happy When Traveling

Traveling with your dog

Photo by TessDeGroot


We are proud to be a pet-friendly resort and want to make traveling with your pets as easy as possible. To help you ease your furry loved ones into travel, we’re sharing these tips from veterinarian, Janice Miller:

If you have a pet, chances are you think of them as a member of the family. So, when it comes time to hit the road for a family vacation, you’re probably reluctant to leave your pet behind. While traveling with a pet does require that you take a few extra precautions, it can certainly be done successfully and will allow you to keep the whole family together on your vacay. Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

Prep your pet for life on the road. If your pet isn’t a seasoned traveler, you’ll want to introduce the experiences they’ll have while traveling to them prior to your departure. For example, if they haven’t spent a lot of time in their carrier, help them get used to it by spending some time in it each day, increasing the increments of time with each test run. If your pet seems anxious in the car, take short driving trips with them–perhaps to the dog park and back–so that they can acclimate to riding in the car.

Consider what form of travel works best for your pet. Is your pet small enough to ride in the cabin of the plane? Are they ok with being in their carrier for long periods of time? If your answers to both of these questions are “yes,” then air travel could be an option for getting you and your family to your destination.

If your dog is too large to fly in the cabin of the plane, then you should drive. Flying in the cargo section can be very uncomfortable and possibly traumatizing for your pooch. And, of course, you may find when assessing travel options that it is best to leave your pet at home. If your dog is elderly, was recently ill, or is prone to anxiety, leaving them in the care of a trusted friend or neighbor may be the best option as that way your pet can stay in the comfort of their own home, and you’ll have someone looking after your house as well. You can always ask your sitter to send frequent updates so that you know your pooch is happy and well taken care of.

Avoid giving your pooch people food. Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, you’ll want to be sure to bring along food and water for your pet. It’s recommended that you feed your dog four hours prior to your flight. Avoid giving your pet any treats in the form of people food before or during your travel. Introducing unfamiliar foods could lead to an upset stomach and make your pet uncomfortable while traveling. And while you’re at airports or rest stops, keep a close eye on them and make sure they don’t chow down on something they find on the floor or ground.

Make time for exercise. The best way for you to ensure your pet stays calm during your travel time is to give them an opportunity to run out their energy whenever possible before, during, and after your trip. Be sure your pet gets plenty of exercise in the days leading up to your big trip. If you stop at a rest stop, spend a little extra time there so that your pet can run and play before getting back in the car. If you’re flying, know that many airports now offer pet relief areas. Though you may have to go back through security in order to use them, they do offer an opportunity to let your pet stretch their legs a bit if you have a layover or prior to getting in a car to get to your final destination.

Especially for first-timers, the idea of traveling with a pet can be intimidating. But when you take the right steps before and during your trip, you can ensure you and your pet get to your destination feeling happy and healthy.

This blog was written by Janice Miller* of Safety Today.

*Janice Miller is a veterinarian, and the founder of the Franklin Animal Rescue Society. She advocates on educating people on home and community safety.

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