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Planes, Cars, Vacations & Dogs – Vacationing with Your Dog!

dog-travelThat last strain of summer sometimes means the last family vacation for the summer. For many of us, taking a vacation just wouldn’t be a vacation without our four-legged members of the family!

There are many considerations when adding the family dog to the trip. So before you pack up the car, the kids and the dog, the following are some things to remember when bringing Spot on vacation.

Crates, Cars, Planes & Dogs


A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car, and is required for airline travel. It can also keep your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host’s home. Crates are available from most pet supply stores. Look for these features when purchasing:

  • Large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down.
  • Strong, with handles and grips, and free of interior protrusions.
  • Leak-proof bottom covered with absorbent material.
  • Ventilation on opposing sides, with exterior rims or knobs to prevent blocked airflow.
  • “Live Animal” label, arrows upright, with owner’s name, address and phone number.
  • Stock the crate with a comfortable mat, your dog’s favorite toy, and a water bottle, and your dog is ready to go.

Traveling by Car

  • If you are driving longer distances with your dog, consider him one of your kids (you probably already do).  Remember to provide food and water, stop every couple of hours for potty breaks and look into purchasing a pet harness to keep him secure in the car.
  • Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure he has plenty of water at all times.
  • Keep the car well-ventilated. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air can flow into the crate.
  • Do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to eye injuries.
  • Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks. Be sure to clean up after your dog.
  • Teasing is not fun for anyone, including our dogs. If you are traveling with both the dogs and children, give simple instructions not to tease or annoy the dog in the car.
  • Never, ever leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, particularly in the summer. If you must leave the car, designate a member of the family to stay with the dog.

By Plane

  • Each airline has its own set of rules for canine air travel. You should call for information and make arrangements well in advance of your trip.
  • All airlines require health certifications and proof of vaccinations.
  • Some airlines will not transport animals when it is extremely hot or cold.
  • Dogs must be in an airline-approved crate when transported as cargo. Small dogs may ride under the seat in a crate or carrier. 

Doggie Docs

  • Bring along a current photo of your pet. Should he or she get lost during the trip, a photograph may be useful.
  • If your pet is not flying with you in the cabin, remember to remove his/her leash and place it in your carry-on. This will help reduce the risk of accidental choking during the flight. 

If you know you want to bring Fido and don’t know where to go, the Fido Friendly people at Bring Fido help you decide. Bring Fido’s dog friendly city guides rank more than 10,000 cities worldwide for their popularity among dog owners and general “dog friendliness.” They also dig in to see the most popular destinations worldwide, or in your own neck of the woods.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a particular city, make sure to visit a K9 Fit Club in the area, even while on vacation, you still keep the schedule and fun of working out with your best friend!


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