Traveling With Your Dog

dog with suitcaseIf you’re a dog owner then you’ve probably taken a trip with your dog at one time or another. It’s safe to say that some dogs enjoy traveling more than others. Many dogs love to travel and will actually bring you their leash when they see you packing or climb in your suitcase. You may have a hard time going out the door without taking your dog with you! But some dogs are not as happy about traveling. They can get carsick, for example. Planning ahead can make your trip with your dog go as smoothly as possible.

Practice when your dog is a puppy

It’s a good idea to get your dog used to traveling in a vehicle when he’s a puppy. Some puppies never have any trouble in the car but some of them get nervous. They may get carsick which is just like motion sickness in humans. They can vomit or have a case of diarrhea – even if you take a drive around the block. If your puppy is prone to carsickness there are a couple of things you can do to help him get over it.

  • Try giving him some ginger snaps or a spoonful of honey before getting in the car. These old-time remedies will often help settle his stomach.
  • You can use one of the flower remedies made from flower essences that is said to help with carsickness. Many people say these remedies are effective if given to the puppy or dog shortly before you go for a drive.
  • Spend some time playing with your puppy in the vehicle when it’s not moving. Let your puppy get used to the car as a fun place so he won’t feel nervous when you start to take him somewhere.
  • Try lowering the window so he gets some fresh air when you take him for a drive.
  • Take your puppy on short drives to help him get used to the motion of the vehicle – although some puppies can get sick even on a very short trip.
  • Use a crate for your puppy or dog. A crate not only protects your puppy or dog in case of an accident but it also minimizes the motion of the vehicle. Your puppy won’t be rocking from side to side every time you make a turn. Plus, if your puppy does get sick, it’s easier to clean the crate than your upholstery.
  • Provide your puppy with some toys and safe chews to keep him distracted while you drive.
  • Be sure to praise your puppy and offer him a treat when you stop the car. Let him know that taking a ride is fun.


Even if these strategies don’t help your puppy, most puppies do outgrow carsickness eventually, though they might not ever be thrilled about car rides.

Longer trips

If you are planning on taking a longer car trip with your dog, there are some things you should think about ahead of time. Most states require a health certificate for dogs crossing state lines. You might not ever be asked to show it, but you could be, especially if you are stopped by police for any reason. A health certificate is usually good for 30 days and can be obtained from your veterinarian. It will state that your dog is up-to-date on all of his vaccinations and is considered to be in good health. You should also be sure to have your dog’s rabies certificate with you (or a copy of it).

Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with his rabies tag and his other license tags. Your dog should also have a collar or tag with identification information such as your name and a contact phone number in case your dog escapes from the car while you are traveling.

If your dog should get loose while you are traveling, it’s easier for him to be returned to you if he is microchipped. Your vet can insert the microchip – which lets people contact an organization that can get in touch with you – for a small fee. You have to make sure that you keep the contact information up-to-date so if your phone number or address changes, you need to inform the organization that keeps track of your dog’s microchip.

If your dog takes any kind of special medication, make sure you take it with you on your trip. You will also want to take your dog’s food, feed bowls, bed, and special toys. Some people like to take some water from home to avoid upsetting their dog’s stomach. Or you can use distilled water or buy some bottled water for your dog.

Again, when you are taking a longer trip with your dog, it’s best if you use a crate so your dog will be safe in case of an accident.

With a little planning you and your dog can have a great time wherever you travel. Happy trails!

Image credit: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo