Traveling With Your Dog. Is It Possible to Bring Your Furry Companion?

Introduction: Travel Experiences for Canine Companions

With 70% of US households owning a pet according to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, our furry friends have become an integral part of the family. As a result, more pet owners are opting to bring Fido along on trips rather than leaving him behind, and the pet travel services industry is estimated to exceed $5 billion by 2030 according to Grand View Research.

For many pet parents, the idea of embarking on a vacation without their four-legged companion is unthinkable. Our pets provide companionship, emotional support, and unconditional love that makes every experience better. More accommodations, destinations and transport options are catering to travelers with pets, making it easier to plan an enjoyable getaway for the whole family.

Challenges of Traveling with Dogs

Traveling with a dog can be rewarding, but it does come with some unique challenges. According to Starwood Pet, one major consideration is the additional costs involved. This includes fees charged by airlines, hotels, and rental car companies to accommodate pets. There may also be expenses for health certificates, vaccinations, medication, pet sitters, and more.

Another difficulty is adhering to packing restrictions if flying or taking trains. Most airlines limit pets to one carry-on kennel that fits under the seat. This reduces how much you can bring for your dog. Rules on leashes, collapsible water bowls, waste bags, and food may also apply.

Finding pet-friendly transportation and lodging is key but can be tricky. As noted in Conde Nast Traveler, not all airlines allow pets in-cabin, especially large dogs. Calling ahead to verify policies is important. The same goes for reserving hotels, B&Bs, vacation rentals, and campsites that welcome pets.

Taking the time to understand and plan for these challenges is essential to smooth travels with dogs. With some preparation, you can work around packing limitations, budget for fees, and find accommodating providers.

Benefits of Bringing Your Dog

One of the biggest benefits of bringing your dog along on vacation is that you don’t have to board them in a kennel or leave them with a sitter. Boarding can be expensive, stressful for your dog, and leaves you worrying about them while you’re away.[1]

Dogs enjoy new sights, sounds, smells, and experiences just as much as humans do. Getting to explore a new destination together strengthens the bond you share with your pet. It creates fun memories that will last a lifetime for both of you.[2] Taking a trip as a “family” can be very rewarding.

Traveling together is a great chance to focus on your relationship with your dog. You’ll get to spend more quality time together, and your pet will appreciate the extra attention and playtime. Strengthening your bond through a shared adventure can make you both happier.[3]

Choosing the Right Destinations

When traveling with your dog, choosing the right destination is key to ensuring an enjoyable trip for all. Certain locations are more accommodating to dogs than others. Focusing your travels on beaches, parks, camping, road trips, and dog-friendly cities can help make your vacation with your pup a success.

Beaches that allow off-leash dogs, such as Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, California (, are ideal for dogs who love to swim and run on the sand. Just be aware of hot sand and limit sun exposure during peak hours. State and national parks also offer plenty of trails and outdoor space for dogs to explore. Check individual park regulations, as some may require leashes or prohibit dogs from certain areas.

A camping or road trip vacation allows you to bring all your dog’s favorite gear and stop wherever they need a break. Focus your route along pet-friendly hotels and campgrounds. Check sites like to find accommodations suited for traveling with dogs.

a happy dog running on the beach

Visiting a dog-friendly city opens up opportunities for outdoor dining, strolls through charming neighborhoods, and visits to local pet boutiques. Some popular dog-friendly urban destinations include Austin, Portland, San Diego, and Minneapolis.

Consider your dog’s needs and preferences when selecting a destination for your next trip together. Planning your travels around places suited for dogs will make for a stress-free and memorable vacation.

Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Finding a place to stay with your dog while traveling can be challenging, but there are many pet-friendly options available. Many major hotel chains like La Quinta, Red Roof Inn, and Best Western now offer pet-friendly rooms. There are also directories like BringFido and PetsWelcome that allow you to search for accommodations based on location, amenities, and pet policies.

For vacation rentals, websites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway allow you to filter your search by selecting “pets allowed.” This opens up options like pet-friendly cabins, beach houses, and condos. Be sure to communicate with the host about any size, breed, or number restrictions. Many vacation rentals require an additional pet deposit.

Campgrounds are another dog-friendly lodging option, with many offering off-leash play areas. National parks like Yosemite allow pets at campsites. Private campgrounds specifically catering to RVs with pets are also available across North America.

If you need to board your dog while traveling, research local kennels and pet sitters at your destination. Sites like Rover can connect you with options for in-home pet sitting where your dog stays at the sitter’s home.

Transportation Considerations

When traveling with dogs, you’ll need to plan the logistics of how you’ll get from Point A to Point B. Two main options for transportation with dogs are flying and road trips.

Flying with Dogs

Flying with dogs requires additional planning and preparation. Most airlines have restrictions on the number, size, and breed of dogs allowed on board. Booking flights early is important to reserve a dog spot. When flying, here are some tips to make the experience smooth for you and your pet:

  • Arrive at the airport early to allow time for check-in and security.
  • Ensure your dog’s crate meets airline guidelines.
  • Pack a bag with food, water, treats, medication, clean-up bags, and chew toys.
  • Consider anti-anxiety medication for nervous dogs.
  • a dog looking out airplane window

  • Choose direct flights to minimize connections and reduce travel time.
  • Request a bulkhead seat for more leg room.
  • Be sure your dog relieves itself before boarding the plane.

Overall, proper preparation and planning is key to a good flight experience for you and your furry companion.

Road Trips

For longer road trips, having your dog by your side can make the journey more fun. Here are some tips for smooth travels:

  • Use a secured crate or dog seatbelt in the car.
  • Plan regular stops for walks, exercise, and potty breaks.
  • Pack food, water, bowls, cleanup bags, toys, and medications.
  • Book pet-friendly hotels in advance.
  • Bring their bedding to help them settle in.
  • Never leave your dog alone in a hot parked vehicle.

With the right gear and preparation, a road trip can be a rewarding adventure for you and your dog!

Traveling Abroad with Dogs

Taking your dog abroad requires research and preparation ahead of time to ensure you have the proper documentation. According to the USDA, “Most countries require pets to arrive with a health certificate (also called an international health certificate, a veterinary health certificate, or pet passport)” (source). This certificate confirms your dog’s rabies vaccination is current and that your dog has been examined by a veterinarian right before traveling. Make sure to check the specific health certificate requirements for the destination country.

There are restrictions on which countries allow pet dogs to enter. For example, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have stringent regulations. According to the State Department, “Some countries, however, do not permit the import of dogs and cats at all” (source). Carefully research the destination country’s import regulations and be prepared to comply with quarantine periods or other protocols.

When booking flights, check the airline’s pet policies. The CDC notes, “If absolutely necessary for a dog or cat to travel in cargo, it must be in a sturdy container with enough room to stand and sit, to turn around normally while standing, to lie in a natural position, and to be protected from the direct sun, heat, cold, and precipitation” (source). Not all airlines permit pets in the cabin, so do your research.

With the proper preparation, you can safely travel abroad with your dog as long as you follow all regulations and restrictions.

dog's passport stamp

Activities for Dogs on Vacation

Vacations are a great time to enjoy a wide variety of fun activities with your furry companion. Getting out and exploring new places together is enriching for both you and your dog. There are many dog-friendly activities you can partake in while on vacation to keep your pup engaged and having fun.

Going on hikes is a top vacation activity to do with your dog. Let your dog experience new outdoor sights and smells as you trek through beautiful natural areas together. Just be sure to bring along dog hiking essentials like collapsible bowls, poop bags, and paw protection (

Swimming is a wonderful interactive activity for water-loving dogs. Dogs generally enjoy splashing around and cooling off in lakes, beaches, and pools while on vacation. Be sure your dog is comfortable swimming, provides proper supervision, and has a canine life jacket if needed.

Visiting dog parks allows your dog to play and socialize with other dogs while on the road. Scope out dog parks at your vacation destination to let your dog run, play, and release energy. Bring toys to facilitate playtime and be sure to follow dog park etiquette.

Sightseeing and exploring popular destinations can be more fun with your dog in tow. Many vacation spots like beach towns, mountain resorts, and major cities have pet-friendly sites and attractions you and your dog can enjoy together.

Bring along some of your dog’s favorite interactive toys to keep them engaged during downtime. Puzzle toys, balls, Frisbees, and chews can provide your dog with fun activities in your vacation accommodations.

With a little planning, vacations can provide quality time and exciting activities for both you and your four-legged travel buddy.

Travel Gear and Planning

Bringing your dog along on a trip requires more preparation and supplies than usual. Having the right gear will make travel safer and more comfortable for your furry friend.

For car travel, consider getting a dog-specific harness or restraint to keep your dog safely secured This prevents them from distracting you or getting injured if you need to brake suddenly. Bring toys and treats to keep them occupied during long rides. Consider getting a spill-proof water bowl and taking regular breaks to let them stretch their legs and relieve themselves.

When flying, your dog will need an airline-approved crate. Make sure to get one that is properly sized for your dog’s weight and allows them to stand up and turn around. Place a familiar blanket and toy inside for comfort. Affix current ID tags and a temporary travel ID with your contact information to your dog’s collar in case you get separated.

Don’t forget medications, prescription food, or supplements your dog normally takes. Bring extra in case your trip gets extended. Pack their regular food or buy some at your destination so their diet isn’t disrupted.

Having the right gear goes a long way towards making travel with your dog more enjoyable for both of you.

Making the Trip Enjoyable for All

For both you and your dog to have an enjoyable trip, it’s important to plan ahead and be mindful of your dog’s needs along the way. Here are some tips:

person hiking with their dog

Plan out your route and stops in advance. Look for pet-friendly hotels or campgrounds where your dog can relax in between adventures. Schedule regular breaks to let your dog stretch their legs and relieve themselves. Bring familiar toys and comfort items from home to ease anxiety.

Keep your dog’s routine as consistent as possible. Feed them at the same times each day and make sure they get plenty of sleep. Bring their same food and medications to avoid stomach issues.

Don’t overschedule activities. Go at your dog’s pace and limit hikes or outings on very hot days. Provide lots of water and shade breaks. If your dog seems stressed or overtired, take time to relax at your lodging.

Use a securing harness in the car and never leave your dog unattended. Take precautions to keep your dog safe in unfamiliar areas. Be vigilant near roads, trails, rivers and oceans where your dog could wander off.

Make time for fun! Bring toys and treats and play games along the way. Stop at dog-friendly cafes or outdoor restaurants with patio seating. Keep a happy, social atmosphere with lots of affection and praise.

With the proper preparation and awareness, you and your pup can make wonderful memories exploring the world together. Just be patient, go at their pace, and keep their comfort and safety a top priority.

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