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How to travel with dogs (and not drive yourself crazy)

How to travel with dogs easier

For most people, boarding their dog while they travel just is not an option. If you find yourself in that situation, use these tips to easily and safely bring your dog with you in the car. In some cases, you can even travel together by train or boat. Here’s how to travel with dogs and not go bananas doing it!

Plan ahead

Make sure your cutie is comfortable as well as secure by planning ahead. Especially if you own a shorty bulldog, make sure you get him used to the movements and the sounds of travel before leaving.

At the time of leaving, be sure they have water, food, and any comfort things they need while you’re away from the homestead. You may also want to prepare lots of delicious and healthy treats and long-lasting dog chews, like jerkies and bully sticks, to keep your dog occupied throughout the trip. These treats and chews, along with your pooch’s favorite toys, may very well save you from a chaotic and troublesome car trip with your furry best friend.

With a little bit of planning, you can easily take the pet with you on a getaway, as you’ll see below.

Driving with the dog

How to travel with dogs? Do a short test drive first

Some dogs love the sights and sounds of going for a drive. Meanwhile, others get motion sick, nervous, and claustrophobic.

If it’s your first time traveling with your pooch by car, try to take a 10-15-minute drive with them. It’ll give you insight into how he feels before a longer trek.

Plan to have one other person in your car too for the vacation, if possible. That person can help calm your dog if they panic, so the driver doesn’t get derailed.

Take towels with you, as well. That’ll be handy for cleanup if your guy or gal gets carsick.

Pet-proof the car

Before you decide to pack up your furry friend, be sure that your vehicle is safe to use for the dog. Switch off all power window controls to make sure they cannot unintentionally step on them.

Take out any old foodstuff wrappers, cash, or anything else your pet could swallow or chew. Also, be sure that your interior heating and cooling system is efficient to keep the doggy comfortable during your trip.

A lockable pet carrier for the back seat

Letting the BowWow walk unhampered in your car can be quite a distraction and a risk as a driver. To help prevent a car accident, always keep your canine friend secure in the seat during your road trip.

For example, you might use a pet carrier or a restraining case such as a doggy car seat or car harness to keep your pal secure and safe. If you’re planning on using a carrier, try to find one that’s crash-rated, lock it, and strap it to the back seat.

Take breaks while driving

If you’re planning a long journey, make sure you take stops every 1-2 hours. Pull over to allow your pet to get free from the car, take a bathroom break, stretch his legs, and get some water and food.

Keep in mind that pushing your dog to keep going during long drives isn’t fair to them. Just like you, they need breaks.

Even if you can handle a 10 to 12-hour drive, don’t think that your dog can do so. So prepare yourself to take longer during the journey for the dog’s comfort and security.

That’s just one of the ways to help your buddy stay comfortable during the trip.


Dog travel list

How to travel with dogs on trains and boats

Make sure they allow domestic pets

Some ferry and train lines allow domestic pets. In most cases, there are usually greater constraints for bringing animals on trains and boats than when traveling on planes.

Consult with your carrier well ahead of time about the travel to check out their family pet policy. Ask specifically about things like:

  • Whether your dog will have to be stored with cargo and baggage
  • Breed regulations
  • Where and when you will be able to relieve your furry friend
  • Carrier restrictions and requirements

Tips for how to travel with dogs via the cruise line

The majority of cruise companies don’t let you take non-service pets onboard. A few, however, do offer crate services.

If in doubt, contact the cruise line to confirm if they have a crate or kennel service. If that’s the case, ensure you allow plenty of time to plan the journey for your fur baby and adhere to the cruise line policies.

Staying in a ship’s kennel could be nerve-racking for the dog, so make sure you visit there regularly. The more you’ll be able to communicate with and comfort your fur pal, the more comfortable they’ll feel during this scary time.

Make sure you pack the dog’s foods and goodies for use in the kennel too. If you don’t, they’ll receive the kennel’s regular foodstuff, which may possibly upset the stomach.

Give your doggy plenty of breaks

You won’t have the same control over a train or ship schedule that you’ll get in the car. However, you should still let your canine stretch his legs and take bathroom breaks as much as possible.

Discuss with staff the planned stops to organize breaks for the dog too. Check with the ASPCA for additional travel tips.

How to travel with dogs: What to pack?

Bring comfort items, food, and water for doggy

Just as you travel with luggage, your buddy also needs a bag. Be sure you have enough food for the duration of your journey.

If you’re traveling by vehicle, keep water and containers in the car for breaks in between stops. It’s also a good idea to pack the following things:

  • Plastic bags for cleaning up the poop right after bathroom breaks
  • Playthings
  • Your dog blankets
  • Doggie snacks
  • Their immunization details
  • Bath towels to clean up right after them
  • Dog collar/bandana

Pack enough medicine too

If your fur child is on prescription medication, be sure to bring it along. Take a pack of a couple extra doses, too, just in case you get delayed or decide to extend the trip.

Lastly, store the medication dry and safe while on a road trip. You’re looking after their health just as you would for yourself.

What are some other tips for how to travel with dogs to help them stay safe and comfortable?

8 thoughts on “How to travel with dogs (and not drive yourself crazy)”

  1. These are excellent tips Christy! As we all know, dog & cat personalities can vary so wildly. What works for one won’t work for another! (By the way, that shorty bulldog is just ridiculously cute!)

    We had a dog named Gizmo. He was a Lab/Rottweiler mix and was the biggest darn baby you’ve ever met in your entire life. What a handful! Any time he was to take a car ride for any period of time at all, he required Benadryl in large doses to knock his tail out! At the Vet’s recommendation, we tried it and it was a lifesaver! I think some pups might require some pharmaceutical assistance 🤣 (Some kitties too for that matter)

    Thanks for this great article. Oh by the way…in your info graphic, there is a slight typo where it says, “ presents.” Instead of inspire, it says “inspre.” I hope you know that I’m only mentioning this so that people can find you easily. I’m certainly not some grammar nazi, lol. Love ya, Christy. Sending you all the very best this day & always.

    1. Ohhhh thanks for pointing out the error and I’ll be sure to fix it today, Holly :) It’s the final touch on there I did so not surprised I did that lol. As for your Gizmo, it sounds like he was under good care between you and the vet. Big hugs coming your way!

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