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Dog Tip: Travel with Pets -- Packing, Preparation and Other Trip Tips

By Robin Tierney

NOTE: The content on this website cannot be used in connection with any profit-seeking activity due to agreements with the writers, editors and sources contributing to the content. These articles may NOT be reproduced in any form without author permission. To contact the author, email Robin at Tierneydog@yahoo.com.

* Whether you are taking your pet or boarding her, make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Kennels typically require a bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine to be given at least two weeks in advance of boarding. Even if you are taking your dog on your trip, you may have to board her unexpectedly. So that's another reason to keep your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations.

* Some areas have a higher incidence of Lyme disease-carrying ticks than others. Especially if you're camping and hiking with your dog, get a Lyme vaccination well in advance of your trip.

* Bring a copy of medical records, including rabies certificate.

* Apply flea and tick preventative to your dog.

* Pack any medications needed, including heartworm and other preventives.

* Be sure your pet always wears a well-fitted collar and ID tag with accurate contact information. It is important that the i.d. tag include an easily accessible number, such as your cell phone. When lodging out of town, prepare a temporary tag with the address and number of your travel quarters. Use waterproof tape and a waterproof marker to change your phone number as you travel.

* Pack several gallons of bottled water for you and your dog. This will help you avoid bacterial contamination while traveling, since water quality varies from place to place. If you run down to the last half gallon, begin mixing in equal parts with the water supply at your destination. If your pet is especially sensitive, use distilled water. Keep water in the car to prevent dehydration.

* Also bring water bottles that you can use when you hike or walk around town with your dog.

* Food. If you are not sure your brand of food will be available at your destination and along the way, or if you feed a special diet, bring enough food for the whole trip. If you feed canned food, bring a can opener and spoon.

* Take familiar things from your home that will comfort your pet. Bring along favorite chewies, toys, even the pet's bedding.

* Bring photos of your pet in case he escapes and you need to make "lost pet" posters. Store the pictures in resealable plastic bags. Also, pack a photo of family members with the pet in case you need additional proof that the pet is yours.

* Pack a sturdy leash and an extra collar. Whether or not your destination has a leash law, always keep your dog on leash for his safety and your peace of mind.

* Food and water bowls. Plus a portable water bowl or bottle for use when away from your lodging.

* Label pet belongings with destination information such as hotel name and phone number.

* Some dogs sunburn around their nose, ears and other areas. So pack sun protection cream for the dog.

* Brush or comb.

* Baby wipes or moist towelettes to wipe off paws. Also useful for cleaning ears and other body parts.

* Tweezers to remove ticks from skin and foreign objects from fur or paws.

* Poop bags.

* Towels, carpet cleaner, disinfectant spray, and trash bags for accidents.

* Keep a first aid kit close to the driver's seat. Include rolled gauze and tape to use as a muzzle in case you need to treat a wound or injury. Also use gauze to stabilize the joint above and below a possibly injured joint, and to stem any bleeding. You can also use a towel.

* Flashlight for walking at night.

* Lint and hair remover.

* Spread a blanket or sheet on the back seat of your car or beneath the pet carrier to make clean-up easier.

* Bring old sheets or bedspreads to cover bedding and furniture at your destination.

* Bring a roomy fanny pack or other hands-free pack or pouch to hold your keys, wallet, baggies and from which you can clip water bottles. This helps you keep your hands free to hold the dog's leash securely.

* Bag Balm or Vaseline. These are good for soothing dog paws after hiking in the country or on city streets. Beware of hot pavement, which can injure your dog's paws.

* Bring a crate. Folding crates are most convenient, although some folks prefer airline crates for certain situations. Even if your dog behaves beautifully at home, he may be nervous in a new place and cause damage. Another advantage of a crate is that the dog typically will feel more secure in it. If you have not used a crate before, gradually accustom your dog to the crate at home, well before your trip. See the Tips on the PAW website about using crates. For cats, use carriers.

* Practice crating your dog before leaving on your trip. Crate at family member's house, then at a friend's house, then other places, so your dog learns to be calm when you're visiting other places.

* A few cities and counties in the U.S. have dog breed restrictions, such as those aimed at pit bulls, Rottweilers and other breeds, so check before you visit a destination. Usually, you can do this by doing a web search with a combination of key words such as the breed name and city or county.

* If you are traveling across the nation's borders, you typically need a health certificate, so make plans in advance of your trip. A few places may require proof of a rabies vaccination within the past 12 months, so check with the health department at your destination city. You can usually get the info by doing a web search.

* When traveling, bring along Rescue Remedy, which is a Bach flower essence available in most health food stores. This gentle, natural stress reducing liquid can often help both people and animals recover from injury, fright, illness, travel fatigue and irritation. Put a drop in your water bottle and in their water. To help prevent travel sickness, a common dosage is four drops in the mouth about ten hours before the trip, repeating every four hours as needed. For stressed or injured animals, rub a drop on their ear or put a drop on the towel in their crate or carrier. Flower essences can be used along with conventional medicines. Another safe, nontoxic Rescue Remedy-like product is Animal Emergency Trauma Solution, available from www.greenhopeessences.com, where you can also get Flee Free to combat fleas nontoxically. Other flower essence sources include anaflora.com and perelandra-ltd.com.

On the Road:

* Pack ice chips or cubes when driving or walking. This makes a tasty treat for your dog, plus it melts down into water along the way.

* Driving with your dog? Be sure to see the important and handy car tips at http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_CarSafety.html

* Let your dog relieve himself before you visit public places and events...and do not bring your dog to places unless you know dogs are allowed. Many resorts do not allow dogs on the beaches at all during tourist season, so look for posted signs. And remember to carry poop bags at all times -- nature will call more frequently when on the road and in unfamiliar places.

* Warning: Public and hotel fountains often contain antifreeze, which is poisonous to pets.

* Looking for a local petsitter or boarding kennel in your travel destination, so that you can spend the day sight-seeing pet-free? Sources include:

National Association of Professional Petsitters

Pet Sitters International

...or the most of the websites listed below under web resources.

Hotels, Motels and Lodging with Pets:

Web resources for traveling with pets, including pet-friendly lodging, campgrounds and parks, local vets and animal hospitals, local boarding kennels, and more:


Lodging worldwide and free Bone Voyage newsletter

Europe lodging that allows pets

DogGone bimonthly newsletter

Print publications:
Vacationing With Your Pet by Eileen Barish
AAA's Traveling With Your Pet
Mobil's On the Road With Your Pet


Hiking, Camping and Swimming with your Dog:

Car Trips and Car Safety:

ASPCA and Animal Planet Trip Tips:

Petsitters and Boarding Kennels:

Air Travel with Pets:

Companion Air
Companion Air is a new airline that is pet-friendly. Animals travel in the cabin in a special section in secure kennels, and their people can visit them during the flight. Check out: http://www.companionAir.com

Pro Pet Transports
Nationwide door to door ground transport of pets

ASPCA Air Travel Tips

Air Transport Association

USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

First Aid Kit and Guidance:
Keep a pet First Aid Kit in your home and car. Take the one you keep in your car with you on trips with your pet. This webpage lists items to include:

When traveling, you can find a nearby veterinarian using AAHA's Animal Hospital Locator:

For emergencies, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP


For more of Robin's Dog Tips, see the index at:  www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/dog_tips.php

Partnership for Animal Welfare
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768

FOR NONPROFIT USE ONLY. These articles may NOT be reproduced or circulated without author permission.

Last Updated: April 26, 2018 (LET) PawSupport