If you want to bring your dog along on your vacation travels, the best advice is to plan ahead. Contact your destination and make sure your dog is welcome. Find a pet-friendly hotel, or even better, a whole pet-friendly city! Make sure all your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that he is in good enough health to travel.
Smart Dog Travel - What to Pack
When your dog travels with you, bring his own bowls, leash, toys, crate, any medicines and grooming equipment. But you may also want to consider some other options to keep him safe and healthy: A recent color photo of your dog to help identify him if he gets lost and pet ID tags with your contact info at your destination or your cell phone number. You’ll need your dog’s health and rabies certificates (mandatory when traveling internationally.) And be sure to bring a supply of your dog’s regular food, because sudden dietary changes could upset his stomach.
Traveling By Car
Ah, the sights, the smells, the feel of one’s tongue as it flaps in the breeze at 55 miles per hour! Dogs can get pretty excited at the chance for a car trip. It’s best to have a crate or carrier in the back of your vehicle. If you don’t, make sure your dog is buckled up. Special harnesses are available for this—don’t use a leash! In a sudden stop, a leash could cause serious injury.
Do not feed your dog for at least three hours before leaving, and be sure to make frequent stops for potty breaks. You’ll also want to provide fresh drinking water—and maybe a reward for his being such a good dog traveler. For obvious reasons, never leave your dog sitting in the car with the windows up.
Dog Travel by Air
If you’re planning on flying, ask yourself if it makes sense to bring your dog. Will he enjoy himself? Would it be easier and more fun for him to stay with a friend or in a boarding facility?
If you fly, your dog can travel in one of three ways: in the cabin with you, as checked baggage, or as unaccompanied cargo. (Avoid the last option, if possible). Plan your trip with as few stops and transfers as possible, and avoid peak travel periods, because delays and stop-overs may be longer. The less time your pet spends cooped up, the better.
Check with your airline well in advance. Get all the doggy details so there are no surprises when you bring your dog to the airport. Here are some of the more common requirements for domestic flights:
- Reservations are mandatory, and you must check in at the ticket counter.
- Your dog must be at least eight weeks old.
- Most airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel.
- Expect a $100 charge for small to medium kennels, $200 for intermediate to extra large.
Many hotel chains allow dogs, but only those weighing between 25 and 50 lbs. Some hotel chains are more pet-friendly and allow well-behaved dogs of all types as long as they are trained and appropriately restrained. You can expect to pay fees of $10 to $50 per pet, depending on the hotel.
There are also some Pet-Friendly, Dog-Loving Hotels & Inns that go above and beyond, providing helpful pet services and pampering. For example, Loews Hotels, (1-800-23-LOEWS) offers the “Loews Loves Pets” program, including special dog-walking routes, pet sitters, dog bedding, complimentary toys and treats, and even a pet room service menu. Kimpton Hotels (1-800-KIMPTON) also offers pet packages, including dog food, walking services, chew toys, and bottled water.
Check out PetTravel.com for a comprehensive list of pet-friendly chains, or DogFriendly.com for pet-friendly destinations and hotels.