How to travel with a dog

Household 4 min read

Want to include your best friend but unsure how to travel with your dog? Check out these helpful tips on traveling with your dog on a plane, in a car on a boat, RV, or motorcycle, and staying in a pet-friendly hotel.

Tips for flying with your dog

Before you fly with your dog, most U.S. airlines will typically require a pet health certificate, which you can get from your vet, at most ten days old, according to the U.S. State Department. Check with your airline for specific requirements. Your options for bringing your pet on the plane include buying a seat for them if your airline allows it and “shipping” your pet, which means they will ride in their airline-approved carrier in the cargo hold with the luggage.

There’s typically a limited number of seats for pets per flight, so check with your airline about available seats and the cost of flying with your dog. Pack all your dog’s supplies in their bag and give them time to practice being closed up in the crate for as many hours as the flight will be.

Traveling with your dog in the car

You want to ensure your dog will be happy and safe in a car for long stretches. Try to respect your dog’s temperament. Some dogs hate car rides or get antsy if they are in the car too long.

Once you’re ready to hit the road, give your dog frequent potty breaks and keep a feeding routine. Find out how to keep your dog safe in the car and see a survey of pet owners to learn safety tips for driving with pets.

Traveling with your dog on a boat

When traveling with your dog on a boat, ensure your dog is comfortable on your vessel. Gradually introduce them to the boat and the feeling of being rocked about by water.

Next, get your dog a life jacket that fits. Dog life jackets come with durable handles, so you can easily scoop them out of the water. A life jacket keeps them from tiring out too quickly while doggy paddling.

Lastly, consider potty breaks for your dog and potential dangers on deck. Slick surfaces can cause dogs to slip, and hot surfaces can burn paw pads. Learn more tips on boating with your dog and keeping your dog safe in the heat.

Traveling with your dog in an RV

It might seem strange, but not every campsite welcomes pets. To take your dog everywhere in an RV, confirm that the campground is dog-friendly and bring a copy of your dog’s vaccination records.

Pack your dog’s leash, food, bowls, toys, and important records. Learn more about RVing with your dog.

Traveling with your dog on a motorcycle

There’s nothing better than hitting the open road with your best buddy. But before starting your adventure, make sure it’s legal for your dog to accompany you on your motorcycle and that you use the proper safety harness or equipment.

Next, when traveling with your dog on a motorcycle, it’s essential to consider your pup’s size and temperament. You must ensure you have the appropriate protective safety gear for your pup when traveling on a motorcycle. Protective gear includes goggles, a helmet, a jacket, and a carrier. Learn more about traveling with your dog on a motorcycle.

Tips for staying in a hotel with your dog

Bringing your dog with you to a hotel is an option, as long as you confirm beforehand that it’s pet friendly. Hotels that allow pets will typically advertise this fact on their website, but always double check by calling the hotel directly and confirming their pet policy, including whatever restrictions about what kinds of animals, sizes, and breeds they will accept and the maximum number of pets they allow to stay in a room. Ask the hotel for the pet fee and try to get a room on the first floor to make coming in and out for potty breaks easier. Ideally, it’s better to bring your pet’s bed so they have a familiar place to sleep in a strange place. Pack their favorite food and drinking bowls along with their toys.

Don’t leave your dog alone in the room unattended and use the “do not disturb” sign so that housekeeping won’t startle your pup and set them off barking. Your hotel’s concierge can help you find local dog daycare facilities or dog walking services so you can feel free to visit places where dogs aren’t allowed. Bring Fido has a list of pet-friendly hotel chains to help you find a place where your furry friend will feel welcome.

What to do if you can’t take your dog with you

The worst part of a long vacation is leaving your dog, but sometimes you cannot avoid it. If you’re traveling and can’t take your dog, you’ll have to arrange for their care while you’re away. Your first choice might be to ask a close friend or family member to stay at your home while you’re away to care for your pet. Enlisting a family member or friend might be your most cost-effective option, where your pet can maintain its routine and be in its familiar environment. Other options for finding care for your dog while traveling include hiring a pet sitter or boarding your dog in a kennel.

You’ll find many options for choosing a pet sitter using websites such as Trusted House Sitters and

If you’re looking for a boarding kennel, ask your vet, groomer, and local dog parent friends about which local kennels they have tried and can recommend. The American Kennel Club has a dog boarding checklist to help you find the safest accommodations for your furry friend.

When traveling everywhere with your dog, find out how dog insurance can cover your dog while out on the road.

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