Travels With Fido

Take your dog on vacationSari Reis offers tips on traveling with your dog this summer

Considering taking your dog on summer vacation with you this year? Great idea! However, you need to ask yourself some important questions before you start planning the trip.

First, is he healthy enough for travel? What kind of vacation would be fun for him? Is he adventurous? Does he like new situations? Does he get along well with people and other dogs? The answers to these questions will determine whether you want to go somewhere bustling with activity or a quiet cabin by a lake.

Once the general location is determined, make inquiries as to whether the place is dog-friendly. Some hotels permit dogs, but do not allow them to roam the grounds and they are not permitted at local attractions, restaurants, etc. Inquire if they have any size or breed restrictions. Dog-friendly spots invite Fido to join you just about anywhere you want to go and often have special dog trails, dog parks, dog beaches etc. Ensuring the location you choose will meet the needs of your pet, will be vital to your enjoyment and his.

Plan to have your dog with you at all times. Do not leave them alone at a hotel, campsite and certainly never, ever in a parked car while you are out enjoying the local color. If you must leave your dog for a period of time, look into kennels, doggie daycares and pet sitters in the area. If you make arrangements ahead of time, you won’t have the last minute concerns about what to do about the dog while you are at a “no dogs allowed” function.

Now that you have determined where you are going, you have to determine “how” you’re going to get there. Car? Plane?

If you are driving, make sure you have a secure means of containing the dog. That means using a crate, a special car seat, or a harness designed for vehicular travel. If your dog gets carsick, he should travel on an empty stomach. Keep the car well ventilated and always have plenty of water for him. Take frequent breaks for him to exercise and go potty and be sure to clean up after him. Although dogs love to stick their heads out the window, many dogs have sustained serious eye injuries from flying debris, so keep the windows only slightly cracked and never let a dog ride in the back of an open truck.

Considering flying? This is a good option if your dog is small enough to fit under your seat. Too many things can go wrong if the dog is crated in the cargo bay. An alternative for a larger dog is “Pet Airways”. They let all of the dogs travel in the cabin.

In either case, packing for your pet should include: medications, identification, medical records, toys, blankets, bed, food, treats, water, bowls, crate, sun screen, insect repellent, collar, leash, harness, life jacket, sweater, and a recent photo.

Only through proper planning and preparation can you ensure an enjoyable vacation for both you and your pooch. Safe travels!

Guest article written by Sari Reis, a Certified Humane Education Specialist and the Owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services, a San Diego dog walker and pet care company. For more information you can reach her at 760-644-0289 or at

Photo: Flickr