How to Safely Travel With Your Dog During the Holidays

If you are planning a trip during the holidays and wish to safely travel with your dog, we’ve done the homework for you. Though holiday travel can be stressful, especially when traveling with children and pets, it does not have to be. Planning ahead will lessen your stress and make your trip more enjoyable and safer for everybody.

Dogs make terrific travel companions. Simply consider your pup’s travel needs before heading out. If you are going on a road trip, always use a carrier or harness to ensure your dog’s safety while riding in the car. Stopping frequently, every two to four hours for potty breaks, is wise. If your dog has a tendency to become carsick, plan a visit to your veterinarian beforehand to discuss possible solutions. Do not leave your dog unattended in a parked car under any conditions. When taking a road trip with your pup, follow this travel checklist:

  • Plenty of food and water for entire trip
  • Treats for good behavior
  • Dog poop bags
  • Safe leash
  • Blanket or towel
  • Favorite toy
  • Current photograph of your dog
  • Updated tags with current contact information
  • Sunscreen for tropical destinations

If you are going camping with your dog, follow this travel checklist:

  • Everything on road trip checklist
  • First aid kit
  • Proof of up to date vaccinations
  • Extra leash and collar
  • Soap and water for disinfectant in the event your dog sustains a cut or wound
  • Towel for keeping your dog clean and dry
  • Tweezers for tick removal
  • Dog bed
  • Dog lifejacket if plans include boat travel


If your travel plans include flying, always call the airline to confirm their pet travel policy. Every airline is different. It is important to understand the regulations for pet travel so there are no surprises. Determine beforehand whether your dog will travel with you in the cabin of the plane or elsewhere.

It is important not only to understand the airline’s travel policy for pets, but also to educate yourself on the policies for pet travel for each airport you will pass through. Consider specifics such as whether your dog can be removed from her carrier inside the airport. Are there “pet relief” sites available in the airport so your dog can go potty and stretch?

Before traveling by air with your dog, a visit to your veterinarian is recommended to ensure all required vaccinations are up to date. If you are traveling internationally, check the requirements for pet travel for those countries you will be visiting. Some countries require pets be quarantined for a certain period of time. Determine whether this is the case before departure. The United States Department of Agriculture maintains an up-to-date list of travel requirements for other countries. Be aware countries can change travel restrictions or policies at anytime due to a current health concern. It is important to be prepared for any contingency.

Individual airlines usually offer a checklist detailing their specific policies for pet travel. Check each airline’s website for a detailed list. Here is a general checklist of items for safe air travel with your dog:

  • Vaccination paperwork
  • ID tags
  • Pet license
  • Approved pet carrier
  • Snacks/treats


In the event your dog will not be riding in the cabin with you, be sure you bring plenty of water and some food for his kennel. Also bring along a favorite toy or blanket to help him feel comfortable and less anxious during the flight.

Traveling with your dog can be fun. Simply by doing your research, planning ahead, and organizing all necessary items your dog will need, stress levels will be reduced. Upon reaching your destination, you and your pet will be able to safely enjoy the holiday.

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