Dog Vacation: How to Travel with Your Dog

Dog Vacation: How to Travel with Your Dog

A family vacation does not have to be limited to human family members only. It takes some advance planning and preparation, but bringing your dog on vacation can make the trip more rewarding for everyone. Read on to learn tips for traveling with dogs to make a low-stress experience for you and your puppy travelers.

How to Travel with Your Dog

Traveling with pets may seem like a big undertaking, but the experience for you and your furry family is worth it. Some common concerns that owners experience when traveling with their dog include what to pack, accommodations and activities, and of course, the actual traveling to your destination. We’ve broken out tips for every concern below:

Packing Smart for Your Pup

Below are some essentials that you will want to remember when you bring your dog on a trip. 

  • Crate - A crate will keep your dog safe during car travel, and it is required for airline travel. The American Kennel Club website has a useful list of features to look for when shopping for your first crate
  • Identification - Be sure that your pet’s identification tags are up to date before you leave town. Double check that their collar, harness, and leashes are in good shape and do not need replacing. 
  • Food and Water - This may sound obvious, but packing enough food and water in case of emergency is key. Consider bringing at least a few days extra food supply for your pet.
  • Games and Toys -  Long trips, especially in the car, can be boring for humans and pets alike. Bring along some of your pups favorite toys to keep them occupied. Plan for several bathroom and play breaks, depending on your mode of transportation, to keep your dog stimulated throughout travel. 
  • Pee Pads and Doggie Bags - Being prepared for messes and picking up after your dog is recommended. Depending on your method of travel, long trips may not allow for outdoor potty breaks. Though your puppy traveler may be potty trained, new environments can disrupt their routine and may cause accidents. 
  • Supplements and Medications - If your dog is prescribed any medications, make sure you are prepared with enough supply for the duration of your trip. Additionally, if your dog could use additional support keeping a calm, balanced mood, bringing along calming chews with CBD for dogs can help.

Choosing Accomodations

While planning your vacation with your dog, you want to ensure a comfortable lodging experience for all travelers. Depending on your destination and the weather, you may wish to choose a location with easy access to outdoors and enough space for your dog’s crate or bed. 

Do your research to make sure that your desired lodgings and campgrounds are dog friendly. There are tons of dog-friendly vacation destinations and accommodations across the United States. However, destinations such as National Parks have strict regulations about dogs. Many lodgings that are dog friendly may also have restrictions on size.

In short, plan ahead and book accommodations prior to setting out on your travels to ensure a safe, fun experience for all. 

Planning Activities for the Whole Family

Getting out and exploring is a chance for your dog to experience new smells, scenery, and possibly even new friends. There are tons of designated places like beaches, hikes, and dog parks that are guaranteed safe spaces for you and your pet. There are also great online resources that will help you find off-leash dog parks across the United States and Canada. Many restaurants are also getting on board with dog-friendly patios so you can bring your pup along while you dine.

As mentioned in the previous section, not everywhere you want to visit during your trip will be dog friendly. If you and your family do plan an activity where your dog is not allowed, you can always consider boarding your pet for the day.

Methods of Travel

Depending on your destination, the best way to travel with your dog may vary. Whether you are heading out on a day trip or traveling internationally with your dog, you’ll need to be adequately prepared for the journey. Traveling can be an overwhelming experience to some, so keeping your dog calm, comfortable, and safe is crucial.

Check out our tips below to learn how to travel with your dog in a car, airplane, boat, or train.

How to Travel with Your Dog in the Car

Road trips are a popular way to travel and many dogs love a good car ride. However, long car rides can become monotonous and cause boredom in your pet. In addition to plenty of bathroom breaks, make sure to plan activity breaks for your pup.

To ensure a safe ride, it is recommended that you not allow your dog to ride with its head out the window. Dogs also should not roam free in the car, so you may need to outfit your ride with a dog guard, safety harness, or transport your puppy travelers in their crate or carrier.

How to Travel with Your Dog by Plane

For far-off destinations, flying with your dog may be the most suitable travel method. It may require a little more preparation than car rides, as air travel requires documentation and, oftentimes, added cost.

If your pooch is small you may be able to bring your dog into the cabin with you. A small, comfortable carrier is recommended for the ride, and a leash is usually needed if you plan on walking them through the airport.

Many airlines require large pets to be crated in the cargo hold. Food, water, and potty breaks may not be available during the flight so be sure to plan ahead.

How to Travel with Your Dog on a Boat

Whether you are headed out for a day on the lake or several days at sea, bringing your puppy travelers along on a boat, big or small, is certainly possible. As with the previous methods, safety and comfort are important, so bringing along your carrier or crate and leash are recommended.

Though most dogs can swim, any water travel should be accompanied by a life vest for your dog. Any toys you bring along should float, and though surrounded by water, fresh drinking water is recommended.

For cruise ships, dogs—not including service animals— are welcome on a few cruise lines. Most likely your pet will have to be in the ship’s kennel. Check ahead of time about dog policies to see if you may be able to have your dog in a private cabin. 

How to Travel with Your Dog by Train

Train travel may be ideal long-haul journeys if you prefer not to fly or drive with your dog. A carrier or crate and leash will be needed, and some train services may require identification and vaccination records.

For a successful train trip with your dog, you’ll need to coordinate the train stops with potty breaks so you should familiarize yourself with the train’s schedule.

Though traveling by train is not as common in the United States, Amtrak does allow service animals and some non-service animals on board. If you are traveling internationally with your dog, many trains in other countries allow animals.

CBD to Support Calm During Travel

No matter how well you prepare for a trip, any disruption to your dog’s routine can cause stress. Some dogs may experience restlessness in the car, airplane, or when in a new, unfamiliar environment. To ensure a seamless experience traveling with your dog, CBD can help.

Charlotte’s Web™ has options to support a calm, balanced mood in your pup. Consider bringing calming chews on your trip to potentially help ease the upheavals of new environments and support a sense of calm for your furry traveling companion.

To learn more about why Charlotte’s Web™ CBD for dogs should be on your travel packing list, read How to Comfort a Restless Dog Using CBD, check out our full line of CBD for dogs, or contact our team directly.