If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our time with our adorable little bully, it’s that traveling with dogs can be amazing fun.
That is if you DO IT RIGHT.
Traveling with dogs can be a total joy, yes. Especially traveling with dogs in cars. For one, you don’t constantly fret over what’s happening to your pup back at home.
Or whether the neighbor or other designated dog-sitter has checked in on her today or not. Or that she hasn’t torn your living room to shreds, perhaps while you’re cruising along on your vacation.
But taking your puppy along on trips can often be tricky. Not to mention, messy.
And if you’re really intent on having your pup accompany you on your travels, you need a bunch of prep.
That’s right. You need a good old checklist.
And pushing off without ticking all, or at least the most crucial stuff on it can turn a potentially happy journey into a hell ride.
Not that we mean to scare you. But, yeah…it could get unpleasant.
So what is this homework that you need to do before setting out? Honestly, it’s mostly basic stuff.
The everyday things your puppy uses and can’t do without, like his food, leash, or prescribed medication.
But then, there are also some extras that you really should include to make both of you comfortable all through the journey. Some of it may well be optional – even luxuries.
The basics, on the other hand, you must make sure you cover. So without further ado, let’s jump right into the hallowed “traveling with dogs checklist”:
Traveling with Dogs – A Doggy Checklist
1. Forgetting Documents Can Really Come Back and Bite You
A lot of owners who may be really meticulous with their own travel documents tend to miss out on some important ones needed when traveling with dogs.
Don’t be those owners.
Depending on your travel plans, you may need a bunch of different documents on hand if you’re planning to take your puppy along. And to a major extent – rightly so. Traveling with pets nowadays may be more of a hassle than before.
But the laws and regulations are generally well thought out. And in any case, you have to respect them. Or risk a major wrench in your travel plans.
It’s always a good idea to collect these documents as you’re planning your trip.
For instance, check whether the airlines and hotels you’re thinking of choosing are pet-friendly. Better yet, keep a copy of their “pet policy”, just in case you need it later.
Check very carefully what kind of certifications and records you might need for your trip. If you’re crossing any borders, you’re bound to need health certificates from your vet and up-to-date vaccination records.
Do the research on such requirements well ahead so your puppy can get the shots in time and you have the records ready.
2. Better Safe than Sorry
Carrying an extra set of collar and leash is often a very wise decision when traveling with dogs, many owners have found.
Traveling with dogs can spring some surprises – and you must be prepared for the unpleasant sorts. Make sure that your puppy’s tags are detailed, legible, and can withstand some wetness and a bit of rough treatment.
You should also write your contact number, address, and other details on the inside of her collar just to be safe. Basically, short of tattooing your contact info on your dog’s forehead, you can’t be too careful.
Also, check whether your pup might end up needing a coat, sweater, raincoat, safety vest, or other protective gear while you’re planning.
It’s also a good idea to know in advance the contact details of the local kennel, vet, and emergency rooms where you’re headed.
Have you checked whether seat belts are mandatory for dogs where you’re driving?
Yes, you read that right.
Seat belts rules now apply for dogs too in many places. Honestly, that’s not a bad development, now, is it? Traveling with dogs in cars may be tons of fun, but you can’t forget safety.
And why should you hold your puppy to different standards when it comes to that?
Think about it.
Is she especially immune to injuries in the unfortunate circumstance that you get into some accident?
Come to think of it, it’s also a good idea to have a harness or restraints for your dog. And if you want to be extra careful, a comfortable crate that fits in your car.
3. You Won’t Forget the Dog Food Would You?
Be sure to bring back your puppy’s regular food so you don’t have to risk her tummy with stuff she isn’t used to.
And, of course, a collapsible/travel feeding bowl. As to how much, keeping a couple of days’ worth of regular meals is a good idea.
Make sure you take a decent supply of healthy snacks or treats to feed her on the road. Sometimes some regions have strict import restrictions pertaining to certain foods, like specific meats.
So on the off chance you’re forced to dump your puppy’s precious rations on arrival, don’t forget to check up on that. And while one’s on food, don’t forget the water.
Drinking water from unknown sources could easily upset your puppy’s stomach. Some establishments tend to put a bit of antifreeze in their fountains and pools – and that’s toxic.
So pack that bottled water for your dog as well, especially portable dog water bottles will be convenient for you and your dog.
4. Avoiding Dog Messes
Traveling with your puppy can easily get a little messy. This pretty much every owner knows or at least expects.
Especially traveling with dogs in cars.
For one, there’s all the shedding. I mean, your poor pup certainly can’t help it. But that won’t save your precious back seats from getting all furry, would it? And if your puppy has a tendency to get motion sickness, that’s a whole other level of messiness.
The answer is simple – car seat covers for dogs.
They’re a good investment. Believe it.
And the second important rule of how to travel with a dog in a car is – stock up on cleaning/hygiene products. That means wipes, enzymatic solutions, paper towels, air fresheners, and whatever else you care to think of.
If you plan on crating your dog through the trip, spreading some quality puppy pee pads on the bottom is always a good idea. You don’t leakage, do you?
Oh, and see that you don’t fall short on poop bags mid-trip!
5. Don’t Let Your Pup Suffer Discomfort
And by that, we don’t just mean checking in on her regularly and comforting her through the trip. If you can, you should take her along in a good-sized, comfortable crate that makes her feel safe.
Also, don’t forget to pack her favorite blanket and toys. Often you’ll find those will calm her down more than anything else.
Driving may be the best way to travel with a dog for a number of you, but others aren’t so lucky. If you must travel by car with your dog, and she happens to not take it so well, there are other creative ways of smoothing things out.
Some owners turn to use soothing oils or even medication – such as mild sedatives.
While that in itself may sound dubious and even cautionary to many, sometimes it could well be justified. For instance, if a dog is a larger breed, doesn’t do so well in a car, and gets noisy. Or worse, a dog that is all of the above and also gets motion sickness and consequently nauseous.
Not a pretty combination.
However, do remember that if you plan to give your dog sedative pills on the ride, or other products, make absolutely sure that she has been duly prescribed them – as well as the dosage – by her vet.
And if you want to go the extra mile, you could even pack something like a small portable fan as well.
It can get a bit hot and stuffy if the air-con happens to fail…or even in a packed airplane. And one does not want to add a grumpy little puppy to that mix.
6. Be Prepared for Dog Sickness
A dog first aid kit is a must-have for folks that travel with their dog. Make sure your first aid kit has bandages, antiseptic, and gauze for treating cuts.
Other essentials include tweezers to remove ticks, eyewashes to flush wounds, adhesive tape, scissors, styptic powder to stop bleeding and antiseptic wet wipes.
And if your pooch has prescription medication, make doubly sure you’re stocked for the duration of the trip. In fact, having some extra stored away separately is not a bad idea in case the medication is crucial to her health.
Who knows what might happen to your baggage?
Remember – the more items your kit has, the better.
7. Pack in the Pet Grooming Necessaries – It WILL Help
You may not feel so at the outset, but grooming isn’t something worth dismissing so easily. Not even for a dog on a road trip.
Think about it.
Ticks, fleas, and other bugs won’t take a vacation from your puppy’s coat while you two are cruising. And her coat won’t stop collecting dust and grime. In fact, it may well be collecting more.
That’s not all.
If like ours, your puppy is a bulldog or similar breed, you’ll need to be regular with their facial wipes and wrinkle care. It’s not a question of looking nice alone. Everyone gets filthy on the road.
And hygiene is important, right?
Some industrious owners also take pains to pack in faucet adapters to be able to bathe their dogs conveniently, whatever kind of bathroom fixtures they’re confronted with.
And, of course, don’t forget your puppy’s towel. Even if you’re carrying her doggy hairdryer.
Plans for a trip or a vacation are rarely ever watertight, are they?
Come to think of it, when was the last time you HADN’T forgotten something – anything – while preparing to travel, only to realize it on the journey?
It happens. A lot.
So don’t worry too much about tying all loose ends and being prepared for every possible situation. Now that you know what’s essentially required as you plan for traveling with your dog, you can be content with ticking just the seven boxes.
Not hard at all.
And to make extra sure you’re not forgetting something, try to imagine the whole trip as a sort of roving dog sitting exercise – where your sole purpose is serving your esteemed canine companion as her highness travels around on her vacation.
It’s also a good idea to have the best dog travel bag for your trip, so you can organize and pack everything that you need for your dog in one bag.
You should get the important bits right that way.
If you travel with your dogs on a motorcycle, you can use motorcycle pet carrier for your own convenience.
Or you can bring dog strollers with you if you are planning to walk around a lot in the park or anywhere.
In addition, if you are still having a hard time fixing your puppy behavior, you want to learn more tips and tricks about how to train a puppy article here.
We hope you find this post useful for your future trips with your pup. And if you have more tips or suggestions of your own that we may have missed, do let us know in the comments below!