Traveling with your Dog: The Secrets to a Safe & Fun Trip

Are you ready for an adventure to remember with your pup?! There are a lot of horror stories out there about pet owners’ travel plans going horribly wrong. Here at LuxeMutt, we want to make sure you have all the information before you go on your trip. Whether you’ve traveled with your furry friend before or this will be your first time, we have all the tips, tricks, and secrets to help you decide the best way to travel, what to pack (like a bowtie dog collar for the photo ops), and have a safe and fun travel experience!

The Vet

Before you decide to travel with your pupper, you must go to the vet. Even if you already had your annual check-up, make sure you either take your pup in or make a phone call to specifically discuss travel. You want to make sure your dog is healthy enough for travel, that all of their vaccinations are up to date, and ask if your vet has any tips for your pup! If you are at the vet for the visit, you can ask them to test your dog’s microchip, just to make sure all is working! One last question for your doggy doctor: if your pupper is on any medications, even on an “as needed” basis, ask your vet which you should absolutely take and if you should pack any extra.

Choose Your Destination

Once your doggo is cleared to travel, you can choose your destination! Here are a few things to consider in determining your travel location:

  • Is this your dog’s first time traveling?
  • Do you feel confident and prepared your dog is ready for a long travel haul?
  • Would this trip be safe for your dog to take?
  • Are there things for your dog to do at the destination?
  • Is this a dog-friendly destination?
  • What would your dog like better: Would they rather see famous sights with you, posing for pictures in front of them in their bowtie dog collar? Or would your dog prefer to be more adventurous, hiking or run on the beach in their luxury dog harness?

Each of these questions is important and will help you figure out if you are ready to explore the country (or world!) with your pup, or if a week or weekend away is enough of an adventure! Each dog is different, that’s why we love them so much, so it’s important to keep your dog in mind – only you know what your dog can handle and how comfortable they are in new areas!

Safe Choices

If this is your first puppy travel experience, we recommend starting with a shorter trip. For example, put your dog in their luxury dog harness, and visit some relatives or friends that live a state away, maybe a four or six-hour drive. That way, you can test the travel waters with your pup to see if they have any issues or trepidations! This will give you time to resolve any problems that come up before you book your dog a ticket for a longer trip. For first-time dog travelers, we also recommend visiting a place you are familiar with, that way you know the area well enough to find a vet or pet hospital if needed. One less thing to worry about so you can focus on your pup! Already have a longer trip booked down the road? Definitely take the safe, shorter trip as a test run.

Ready to Roam!

Your pup is already the travel companion you always wanted. They are calm, adventurous, sit still for photo ops in their bowtie dog collar, and feel comfortable as long as you are with them. Then you have a lot of options! Here are a few places in the United States we recommend that are dog-friendly:

  • San Diego, CA
  • Austin, TX
  • Key West, FL (our luxury dog harness is perfect for walking on the dog beach!)
  • Portland, OR
  • Boston, MA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Washington, D.C. (how cute would your pup look in a bowtie dog collar in front of the White House lawn?!)

Each of these destinations has access to dog parks and dog beaches, an array of dog-friendly hotels, and sights that are dog-friendly! For example, in Boston, you and your pup can walk the Freedom Trail together. Just strap on their luxury dog harness and a leash, and take in the history of the city with your canine companion by your side!

International Travel

You’re ready to jet-set around the world, and international countries are waiting for you and your pup to explore!! Grab your puppy passport, a snazzy bowtie dog collar or luxury dog harness, and book that flight to Europe! Yes, your dog can fly internationally with you. Each airline has different rules and regulations, but there are so many international destinations that make the trip worth it, including:

  • Paris, France (small dogs are welcome at many hotels and restaurants!)
  • London, England
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Rome, Italy
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Caribbean Islands
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Tasmania, Australia
  • Auckland, New Zealand

There are so many destinations to choose from! One of the main factors in choosing your final travel location depends on the mode of transportation you are most comfortable taking with your pupper.

Mode of Transportation

When traveling with your pup, two choices will define your whole trip: the destination and the mode of transportation. There are pros and cons to both road-tripping with your dog and flying on an airplane with your dog, but we’re here to help you choose which is right for you, and tips for both options! No matter the one you choose, make sure you have a luxury dog harness on hand for quick control of your pup, in the car or on the plane.

Driving vs. Flying

There are a few things to consider when you are choosing your way to travel:

  • Does your dog have separation anxiety?
  • Does your dog rest well while traveling, or do they often pace?
  • Does your dog do well in new areas?
  • Does your dog mind strangers?
  • How well potty trained is your dog?

If your dog would rather be in your lap than in the backseat of a car, then flying might be the best option. On many airlines, your dog can travel with you in-cabin, so your pup can be at your feet or on your lap the whole time. However, if your pup’s potty habits are less timely and more sporadic, then driving might be the way to go! You can add more puppy potty pit stops that way, and avoid an embarrassing mess on the plane. Most rest areas have grassy areas for you to leash up your dog’s luxury dog harness so they can walk (and go to the bathroom) on the grass. On road trips, your dog also has the freedom to be a little more anxious, as they can move about the backseat (safely), and you can stop and walk them at rest-stops. At the end of the day, you have less control by plane, but faster travel, in cars you have more control but a longer time to travel. You know your pet better than anyone, so trust your instincts on which option is best for you both!

Road Trip Test Run

If you choose a car, then it’s time to hit the open road! No, we don’t mean for your trip, we mean for a test drive! Take your dog on a few car trips, each to an exciting place: the dog park, the pet store, or a friend’s house. Your dog probably only knows the car as the scary moving thing that takes them to the vet...that’s not always a positive experience! Be sure to take the extra time and make the car a positive place to travel, before you drive off for the long haul of your trip. Remember, your dog will be traveling with all their gear, so prepare the car as if they are going on the trip: toys and crate in the back seat, and their luxury dog harness or bowtie dog collar on.

Safety First & Map Your Route

The priority in your travel preparations if traveling by car should be making the back seat a safe place for your pup. Make sure you have a crate that fits in the back seat, without being too snug, keeping side airbags in mind. You can purchase a hammock for the back seat so your dog is contained, but has room to rearrange themselves! We recommend using a dog seat belt to attach to their sturdy luxury dog harness, so they keep their paws and tails inside the moving vehicle at all times! Add in some toys to chew on and blankets that smell like home for the ultimate puppy oasis! Once your backseat is secure, take a look at your route. Star all of the possible pit-stops and major cities along the way that are dog-friendly. Those major cities have pet hospitals, in case anything goes wrong on your trip!

Flying Tips

If you choose to fly, these are the steps you should take to make sure it is a stress-free experience:

  • Choose a non-stop flight, unless it is absolutely necessary to have a layover
  • Call the airline directly so you can ask questions specifically about their dog policy
  • If you are traveling internationally, you need to set time aside to extensively research all the documents you need to allow your dog into the country
  • You also need to look at all the regulations about bringing your dog back into the United States
  • Ask the airline specifically when and how they determine if a dog will be in the cargo section of the plane or in-cabin; some airlines decide at the last second, at check-in! You want to make sure your pup will travel in-cabin!

When you find an airline and flight that fits your needs, make your dog feel like their flying first class by giving them a bowtie dog collar or luxury dog harness to wear for the exciting trip!

Hotel Tips

When you choose a dog-friendly destination, chances are there will be plenty of dog-friendly hotels in that area! However, to be completely sure, do your research to find the best hotel to accommodate you. If you are traveling by car and it is more than a one day trip, choose the places you are stopping for the night early on in your planning, so you have plenty of time to find a proper place for your pupper to stay. Make your hotel reservations early, especially if you are traveling around the holidays or the summertime, because a lot of pet parents will make last-minute stops, and the pet-friendly rooms could all be taken!

Know What is Nearby

As previously mentioned, you want to know all the pit stops along the way that are safe for your furry friend. For your final destination, do your research to not only find the best hotel, but the best vets and animal hospitals in that area. In the midst of all the research, remember that this trip is so you and your furry friend can have fun and explore! Find restaurants, activities, and events that are all meant for dogs to join in. You can use websites like BringFido to make the search easy. You can even find fancier restaurants that are dog-friendly, so grab your pup a bowtie dog collar and enjoy together!

Emergency Tips

Dog emergencies: we don’t want to think about them, but we have to plan for them. Your dog is more than a pet, it’s your furry child. As much fun as you’re having traveling, roaming around with your pup, strutting their stuff in a bowtie dog collar around the world, you still want to make sure nothing threatens their safety or health. One of the best ways to prevent or fix any health accidents during travel is by packing a dog first aid kit. You also want to have your emergency numbers on hand: your vet, the vets you researched that are along your travel route, and the Animal Poison Control Center. But here is an emergency you may not have thought about: what if there is a situation where you and your dog need to be separated. You need to have a plan – will you put your dog in a kennel? You will need to research the kennels nearby. If only separated for a few hours, will you leave your dog at the hotel? You need to have a plan to feeding time, and a sturdy crate to hold them. Always, always, always have a leash and collar on hand. We recommend our luxury dog harness for total control in emergency situations. If you just want a sturdy collar that is going to make sure your dog tags won’t fall off, but still display the personality of your dog, then choose our bowtie dog collar! With nickel fixtures that will keep your dog’s tags in place, you can breathe easy knowing your dog can be identified if the worst happens and they get away from you.

Packing List

You’re almost ready to set off on your adventure! Here are some things you absolutely need to pack:

  • Food & treats, pack extra!
  • Your dog’s medications
  • Food and water bowls
  • Lots of chew toys
  • Pet bed, preferably one that smells like home!
  • Lots of poop bags!
  • At least two leashes, make sure they are strong and well-made
  • Extra collars, try a fun bowtie dog collar for photo ops and a more practical one, like our luxury dog harness

Travel Tips

Here at LuxeMutt, we want to make sure you have all the information you need for a safe time with your dog, whether you’re traveling, celebrating, or just having some bonding time. Here are some last-minute travel tips for you and your pup:

  • Spend some time acclimating your dog to the crate you use for your trip
  • Give your dog plenty of water during travel, airplanes can be dry and time can fly during road trips
  • Never leave your dog alone in a parked car, EVER!
  • If you’re road-tripping and your dog keeps climbing in the front seat, take a break and give them some attention. Don’t let them climb onto your lap while you drive.
  • Use your gut – if right before your trip you have doubts this would be a good experience for your dog (especially if they are anxious!) then stay home or have someone watch your dog while you travel. At the end of the day, your dog just wants to be with you, whether in France or just on your couch!

What will it be: car or plane? Beach or city? If you’re traveling with your pup and they are rocking a bowtie dog collar or luxury dog harness from LuxeMutt, we want to know about it! Tag us on Instagram in your photos so we can enjoy your vacay with you!