Dog and bags and other luggage in the trunk of the car on the back yard ready to go for vacation

Bringing your dog on vacation with you just adds to the fun and alleviates the worry of not knowing what’s happening with your dog while you’re on the road. You need to do your homework on pet travel though. Planes and cars aren’t designed with animals in mind, and you need to know what to expect when you reach your final destination. By planning your dog travel ahead of time, you can make the vacation a truly relaxing time for you and your dog. Here are our favorite travel tips to help make that happen:

Driving With Your Pet

It’s usually a good idea to crate your pet when riding in the car. You’ll be less distracted while driving which is safer for both of you. It also prevents your pet from becoming a projectile if you have to stop fast, also reducing the chance of injury for both of you. Speaking of projectiles, don’t feed your pet a lot before the trip as they are prone to motion sickness. Don’t feed them while you’re moving either. It’s also good to spend a little time playing or walking during the break to get rid of some pent-up energy. And of course, never leave your pet in a parked car, especially when it’s warm out. Even with the window cracked open, the car can quickly turn into an oven, and your pet will get dehydrated.

Flying With Your Pet

The first thing you need to do is check with the airline for their rules regarding pet travel. Many require a health certificate and may have other rules you haven’t thought of that you don’t want to be surprised with at the airport. It will probably make everyone’s lives easier if you crate your pet before you enter the chaos of the airport as well.

As with car travel, it’s smart not to start the trip on a full stomach or bladder (dogs should fast for at least 6 hours before the trip) and to make a pit stop as close to the departure time as possible. However, make sure your dog has access to water—enough to keep hydrated but not full.

If your pet isn’t flying with you in the main cabin, don’t have a big goodbye scene. You’ll only upset your pet. If you’re calm, they’ll be calm.

Staying in a Hotel:

Cat and Dog together resting on bed of hotel room.

As with flying, a little preemptive research is in order. Does the hotel you’re considering even allow pets? Better to find out before you arrive. Pet-welcoming hotels like Best Western will be prepared for your visit, and can even recommend parks, hikes, and other pet-friendly activities. Be aware that your pet may be nervous or uneasy in the new room. Don’t inadvertently encourage the barking with affection. Stay calm and assertive and remember that a tired pet is a happy pet!