6 Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling with Your Dog
Whether hopping into a plane, train or automobile, you and your dog want an enjoyable experience. After packing your bags, it's time to think about Fido — safety (and comfort) first! Avoid these common travel trip-ups next time you book your doggo-friendly getaway.
1. Don't Let Your Dog Roam the Cabin
This tip refers to the cabin of a car, sightseeing bus, ferry, train car or any other vehicle. It's safest for your pet to be on a leash or in a crate as you enter and exit.
And while you're cruising along, keep your fluffy friend cozy and contained in a dog car seat, like the K&H Bucket Booster Pet Seat, which comes in heated and unheated options. Have a boisterous puppy? The K&H Travel Safety Carrier is enclosed on all sides with mesh windows so they can see you easily. While it may look cute, it can be dangerous to let your dog stick their head out the window or roam around inside the vehicle.1
2. Don't Overlook Airline Pet Policies
You may love having your pet in your lap at home, but when flying with a dog, you have to abide by the airline's rules. This usually involves crating or containing the dog in a mesh travel bag. Each airline has stipulations you can find on its website or by contacting its customer service for details. For example, here's information about traveling with your dog on American Airlines, United and Delta.
Pro Tip: Start shopping for a dog crate or kennel that meets your airline's size guidelines. Then, line it with a K&H Deluxe Bolster Crate Pad.
3. Don't Forget a Pre-Travel Vet Visit
It's also a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian before you travel. Why? Some destinations require vaccines for both you — and your pet! You might need to get your furry BFF a rabies or kennel cough booster or proof of recent vaccines before the airline or train allows your pup onboard.
And is your pet a bit nervous? Your veterinarian may recommend some options to help calm your pup based on your pet's size and health.
4. Don't Assume They Can Do As Much As You
If you're planning a long nature hike on your trip, remember your four-legged buddy might need more rest than you, especially if they're older or have a health issue. Before you go, experiment with offering rest breaks to your pet on local walks via a K&H Travel Backpack for Pet. When you're itching to get a few more miles in, your furry friend can rest their paws in the pack as you push on. If your pup is too large for a backpack, be sure to plan several water breaks with a few minutes to pause and enjoy the scenery, allowing your doggo to catch his breath too.
5. Don't Forget to Pack Pet Essentials
While you might be looking forward to stopping at your favorite out-of-town diner, it's best to keep your pet on her usual diet when mealtime rolls around. Fill up a travel container with her kibble. And don't forget to include a small stash of dog treats, serving bowls and any medicines or supplements your pet takes daily. Pack bottled water, too. Bringing water along is the best way to avoid tummy discomforts while traveling.2 Want to be the dog parent of the year? Pack your pup a new dog chew toy to help her pass the downtime.
6. Don't Skip Exercise and Potty Times
Sometimes it's easiest to take your pet along when you need to travel last minute to help out a friend or family member. Be sure to take your dog for a nice long walk to both tire and empty him out before being cooped up inside a vehicle for a while. If you're flying, take a moment to browse the airport website for a map showing where the pet relief stations are so your best buddy can have a potty break between connecting flights.
When you reach your destination, don't forget your furry BFF! Remember to walk your dog, initiate playtime and offer regular potty breaks. After all, they are out of their usual routine and environment and depend on you to help them with their basic needs, including movement and bathroom time. If your pup's an adult, plan on 30 minutes to two hours of exercise each day (depending on age and breed).3 And puppies? They do best with several short bursts of playtime each day to burn off all that extra energy.
Before you fuel up the car, check in for your flight or get that boarding pass out, learn more about prepping for your getaway with your best canine buddy in "Safe Travels With Your Dog."
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Ways to keep people and pets safe during travel," 21 June 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/keeping-pets-and-people-healthy/people-and-pet-safe-during-travel.html
2. American Kennel Club, "The Complete Guide to Traveling With Your Dog," 21 July 2021 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/complete-guide-to-traveling-with-your-dog/
3. Berkeley Veterinary Center, "Pupercise: How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?" 8 September 2021, https://www.berkeleyvetcenter.com/blog/pupercise-how-much-exercise-do-dogs-need/