Checklist: Traveling With Your Dog

Traveling with a dog presents unique challenges and requires some planning ahead. By ensuring you have all the items on this checklist, you can relieve travel worries and help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for all.

[ ] Food. It’s important not to disrupt or change a dog’s diet while traveling, which can cause intestinal distress or upset. If your dog eats canned food, consider purchasing smaller cans if refrigeration of leftovers will be an issue. Collapsible food and water bowls can also be good for when you have to pack light.

[ ] Carrier. If you’re traveling by air, you’ll likely need to have an airline-approved, specifically sized crate to contain your dog during the flight. Check with the airline beforehand. You have more flexibility when traveling by car as far as choosing a crate size, but remember that crates are not as safe as car harnesses for dogs. Many options for car harnesses are commercially available.

[ ] Collar and leash. Make sure your dog’s collar has ID information on it to ensure that you can be contacted if you and your dog become separated. Don’t forget waste bags to the leash for cleanup during walks as well.

[ ] Documents. Some hotels and airlines require that you provide documentation of your pet’s vaccination and general health. It’s also useful to have a photo of your dog with you so that if you do become separated, anyone who you might enlist for help can make an easy visual identification.

[ ] Any medications your pet takes. Replacing these while traveling can be very difficult.

[ ] A blanket or toy from home. While this isn’t necessarily a requirement, something that has a familiar smell can help comfort your dog during travel. Dogs who are accustomed to a strict routine might find this especially comforting when their routine is disrupted — even if it’s for something fun like a trip to the beach.

[ ] A calming aid. If your dog gets particularly nervous in the car or on other forms of transportation, you might ask your vet for a medication that could help keep your dog calm.

Following this checklist will help you to remember all the essentials before you head out on your travels. Print a copy to include with your own pack list, and ensure your dog has as good a travel experience as you do.

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