How to Travel With Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Hitting the Road With Your Pup

By: ChewyUpdated:

how to travel with a dog
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How to Travel With Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Hitting the Road With Your...

Whether it’s reconnecting with family across the country or exploring an exotic new locale, there’s a good chance you’re dreaming of your next trip away from home. Here’s the good news: It’s never been easier to bring your dog along for the ride. From hotels and airlines to restaurants and tour companies, dog-friendliness is on the rise. So if you’re ready for a getaway with your pup by your side, read on—we’ve got everything you need to know about how to travel with a dog.

Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

how to travel with dog
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Yes, traveling with a dog is easier than ever, but there are still some important preparations you’ll need to make before you hit the road. How can you get ready to travel with your dog? Follow these 10 steps to make the experience of traveling with your dog safer, easier and more fun for you both.

1Talk to Your Veterinarian

Is your dog healthy enough to travel? Are they up to date on all their necessary vaccines? Is their microchip still in place and scannable? Check in with your veterinarian before finalizing your travel plans, and if your dog is due for a checkup, schedule it before you leave.

2Pack Your Pup’s Medical and Vaccine Records

These will come in handy if your dog needs medical care while you’re traveling, and if you’re planning to enter another country on your trip, you may need them to cross the border with your pup.

3Update ID Tags and Microchip

In new surroundings, it’s easy for dogs to get lost. We know you’ll take every precaution to keep your pup by your side, but just in case, make sure that their ID tags have your current contact information on them, and that the info is up to date with your microchip company, too.

4Carry Their Food, Treats and Medications With You

When it comes to essentials like food and medicine, it’s best to have a supply on your person in case your luggage goes missing. Having treats handy is helpful for a different reason: Encouraging your dog to behave in new, exciting surroundings!

5Pack Their Favorite Things

For dogs, traveling to a new place can be exciting—but also a little stressful. Familiar items from home can soothe their nerves, so toss some favorite toys, their bed, or a special blanket into your suitcase.

6Plan Their Potty and Exercise Breaks

Traveling with a dog is a lot like traveling with a small child: Both need frequent potty breaks and opportunities to run and play. If you’re driving, look for dog-friendly rest stops along your route. Before flying, find out where your dog can relieve themselves at your departure and arrival airports.

7Keep Them Hydrated

Dogs need access to water whether they’re traveling or not—and refusing water can lead to dehydration. Pack a travel bowl and let your pet drink during breaks.

8Consider Medication

Is your pet a nervous traveler? Talk to your veterinarian about safe medications to calm their nerves while you’re en route.

9Book Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Many hotels, resorts and vacation rentals have dog-friendly policies, but in some places, dogs aren’t allowed. Before you book your stay, make sure your pup is welcome, and ask about any additional fees you may be charged for bringing them along.

10Stay on Leash

New places can be exciting and distracting for dogs, even those who can be trusted to roam off-leash at home. Keep your dog on leash while you’re traveling to make sure they stay by your side.



Road Trips With Dogs

how to travel with dog
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Road tripping can be one of the easiest ways to travel with your dog. But there’s more to road trips with dogs than starting the ignition and zooming off into the sunset. While there are plenty of benefits to car travel with a dog—you get to map your own route, set your own schedule, and the price can’t be beat—a road trip with your pup will have its own challenges, too. Here’s how to make the most of your time behind the wheel.

1Take Practice Trips

If your dog isn’t used to car travel, start small. Before your long haul, take short practice drives with your dog. Make sure to end your drive someplace fun, like the dog park or a favorite store—that’ll teach them that spending time in the car is a good thing!

2Safety First

You rely on your seat belt to protect you in case of accidents. Doesn’t your dog deserve the same protection? Make sure your pup is secure whenever you’re driving, whether it’s in a car seat, using a seat belt, or some combination of the two.

3Fight the Fur

Dogs can be messy, so some advance backseat prep can save you hours of cleaning after your trip. A car seat cover can keep your dog’s fur, drool, potty accidents and more from putting a dent in your car’s resale value.

4Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

A tired dog is a happy dog, so make sure to give your pup lots of playtime before your trip, and stop often along the route so they can get their zoomies out. Physical activity can help dogs manage any anxiety they’re feeling about the trip—and just might result in a peaceful mid-drive nap.

5Pack the Necessities

At minimum, your dog will need water and a vessel to drink from on your journey, and if you’re traveling during their usual mealtimes, you’ll need to provide food as well.

A few favorite toys will help keep them busy during long stretches on the road.

And of course, don’t forget the poop bags—picking up after your pup at rest stops is the responsible thing to do.



Can Dogs Get Car Sick?
Unfortunately, yes—but there’s plenty you can do to help, from keeping your car’s temperature cool to using calming products.
Learn More

Road Trip Essentials

Frisco Silicone Collapsible Travel Bowl with Carabiner, Gray, 1.5 Cups

Frisco Silicone Collapsible Travel Bowl with Carabiner, Gray, 1.5 Cups

$6.22
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PetSafe Happy Ride Deluxe Booster Seat, Medium

PetSafe Happy Ride Deluxe Booster Seat, Medium

$24.95
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Frisco Dog Poop Bags + Dispenser, Scented, 15 count

Frisco Dog Poop Bags + Dispenser, Scented, 15 count

$3.89
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Now you’ve got the basics handled, but when it comes to car travel with your dog, you can’t be too prepared. Click the links below to find out more ways to make the most of your road trip together.

Flying With a Dog

how to travel with dog
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Planning to take flight with your pup? There’s a lot to consider, from your airline’s pet policies to keeping your pet calm throughout the process. Before you book your tickets, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the federal regulations that cover flying with a dog, as well as your airline’s unique rules for dog travel by plane.

Is My Dog Allowed on the Plane?

Here’s the good news: Many airlines have dog-friendly pet policies that allow you to bring your pup with you in the cabin of the plane. But the rules of each airline are different, so it’s important to find out the details of your unique flight in advance. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

Service Animals

Airlines are required to allow service animals to fly with their parent in the plane cabin, except in cases where the animal violates safety requirements, poses a threat to other passengers, causes significant disruption or violates health requirements. Remember: Service animals are not the same as emotional support animals. The U.S. Department of Transportation defines service animals as “a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability.”


How are service animals different from emotional support animals?
Service animals are dogs who are trained to work or perform tasks to help disabled individuals. Unlike emotional support animals, service animals and their parents are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Learn More

Required Paperwork

Some airlines require veterinary proof of vaccinations and an indemnification or waiver from the traveler. Ask your airline about the required documents you’ll have to provide, and when possible, fill out any necessary forms in advance to save yourself stress at check-in.

Size Restrictions

Most airlines specify maximum sizes and/or weights for dogs, carriers or both. Before booking, ask your airline about their size requirements and measure or weigh your pet and your carrier to ensure they fall within the allowed limits.

Pet Fees

Many airlines also charge an additional fee for flying with a dog. To avoid budget-breaking surprises at the airport, ask your airline about their pet fees in advance.

So what are your airline’s pet policies?

We’ve rounded up the rules of the top domestic airlines here. Regulations change frequently, so for the most up to date information, ask your airline directly.

how to travel with dog
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Airport and Flight Safety: What to Know

Planes and airports are built with human travelers in mind, which means they can be challenging environments for dogs. Follow these tips as you and your pup navigate from check-in to your final destination.

Dogs Fly in the Cabin

Though some airlines offer to ship pets in cargo, the part of the plane that carries checked baggage, dog experts advise against it. In cargo, your dog will have to endure loud engine noise and temperatures that can be very hot or very cold. The experience is stressful and overwhelming, even for dogs who are well trained to be comfortable in their crates.

Consider Your Dog’s Breed

Some veterinarians recommend against bringing brachycephalic, or flat-faced dogs, such as Boxers, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, on planes because of their sensitivity to pressure changes, recycled air and other environmental conditions. Ask your veterinarian if flying with your dog presents health risks.

Airport Safety

Airports can be hectic, overstimulating environments for dogs, which can bring out behaviors in them that you’d never expect in calmer, more familiar surroundings. Keep your dog on leash or in their carrier throughout the airport to protect them from getting lost or responding negatively to fellow passengers.

how to travel with dog
Flight experts share their tips for flying with dogs, from lining their crate with potty pads to calming them with their favorite blanket. Learn more.

Traveling With Dogs on Trains and Buses

how to travel with dog
iStock.com/Pekic
Don’t count out alternative means of transportation when you’re considering how to reach your destination. Traveling on trains and buses can be a more scenic, less stressful and less expensive way to travel—but each has its own guidelines about dogs on board. Here’s everything you need to know.

Dogs on Amtrak Trains

All aboard, train travelers—even furry ones. Amtrak trains allow dogs on most routes, with the following restrictions:

  • You must provide a pet carrier, which must be leak proof and well ventilated. The maximum size is 19" long x 14" wide x 10.5" high.
  • Your dog must be at least eight weeks old and odorless, harmless, not disruptive and require no attention during travel.
  • The combined weight of your dog and their carrier must be 20 pounds or less.
  • You must sign a Pet Release and Indemnification Agreement for each travel segment.
  • Your pet must remain inside their carrier while on the train and in train stations.
  • Dogs are not allowed in First class, non-Acela Business class, bedroom accommodations or food service cars.

Visit Amtrak.com/pets for the company’s full pet policy.

Frisco Basic Dog & Cat Carrier Bag, Black, Medium/Large, Teal Trim

Frisco Basic Dog & Cat Carrier Bag, Black, Medium/Large, Teal Trim

$29.99
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EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag, Purple, 19-in

EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag, Purple, 19-in

$29.99
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Frisco Premium Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Bag, Black, Large

Frisco Premium Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Bag, Black, Large

$44.99
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Dogs on Greyhound Buses

There are just two types of dogs you’ll see on a Greyhound bus. One is the dog in the Greyhound logo painted on the side of your vehicle. The other is a trained service dog who’s there to help a disabled passenger. That’s right—apart from service animals, no pets are allowed on Greyhound buses. (Remember: Service animals are different from emotional support animals and therapy animals.)

Different local and regional bus services have different pet policies. Ask your bus company about their policy for dogs on board.


Dog-Friendly Vacations

how to travel with dog
iStock.com/Anastasiia Shavshyna
Here’s the fun part: Choosing a dog-friendly travel destination! More hotels, restaurants, beaches, shops and other public spaces allow pets than ever before, which means you have a world of possibilities to explore. Start with our top picks for the best dog-friendly destinations of the year, and check out specific sites for hiking, camping, and more. Click the links below to learn more.
how to travel with dog
What's the best place to visit with your dog this year? We asked experts in pet travel to list their top picks. Learn more.

Dog Travel Accessories

how to travel with dog
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Whether you’re at home or on the road, there are some things you and your dog just can’t live without. Ready to pack your bags? Make sure to include these must-have dog travel accessories.

Travel Products We Love

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Download a shoppable version of our packing list here, and check out some top product picks below.
Chuckit! Travel Pillow Dog Bed

Chuckit! Travel Pillow Dog Bed

$28.93
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Frisco Pet Essentials Travel Bag

Frisco Pet Essentials Travel Bag

$33.37
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Traffic Signs  Dog Collar, XS - Neck: 8 – 12-in, Width: 5/8-in

Traffic Signs Dog Collar, XS - Neck: 8 – 12-in, Width: 5/8-in

$8.99
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Frisco Buffalo Plaid Dog & Cat Sweater, Medium

Frisco Buffalo Plaid Dog & Cat Sweater, Medium

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Looking for more great gear? Click the links below to explore our top picks for camping, hiking and beyond.

Traveling With Dogs: FAQs

Q:What is the best travel crate for dogs?

When choosing a travel dog crate, consider your dog’s preferences, the weight of the crate, and any airline or train requirements you’ll have to abide by while traveling. Here’s how to choose the best crate for your dog.

Q:Which airlines allow dogs?

All airlines are federally required to allow service dogs. For other dogs, the rules vary. Consult our guide to domestic airline pet policies, and confirm with your airline before booking your ticket.

Q:How can I help my anxious dog when we travel?

Products like calming sprays, herbal supplements, and compression vests can all ease dogs’ anxiety about traveling. Providing comforting items from home and engaging toys, such as treat dispensers, can also distract them from their stress. Find out more about travel anxiety in dogs.

Q:What are the most important things to pack when traveling with my dog?

Carry these items with you (not in your checked luggage) when you travel:

  • Dog food (a couple days’ supply) and water
  • Your dog’s medications
  • Your dog’s medical and vaccine records
  • A leash and well-fitted collar or harness
  • Treats and toys to entertain them and encourage good behavior
Congrats—now you’re fully prepared for traveling with your dog. Have a wonderful journey, and don’t forget to share your travel pics with us @Chewy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Happy trails (and wagging tails)!

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