Traveling with a Puppy: Tips To Consider For Smooth Travel

Traveling with a Puppy  by Glenn Anderson 

So, you want to go on a thrilling adventure but can't bear the thought of leaving your puppy behind. So why not take the puppy along? Bringing a puppy on a trip may sound like a headache, but if you plan ahead of time, it can be a wonderful experience.

Puppies benefit significantly from regular outdoor outings. They simply love going to new places and doing new things. The most convenient choice is to take your dog on a road trip. Dogs often struggle during plane rides.

Moreover, you should think about your dog's age regardless of the kind of transportation you choose. In this article, we have shared some ideas to help you rest easy and enjoy the trip.

A small puppy is inside of a dog carrier next to a suitcaseTraveling with a Puppy: Tips and Considerations

Reasons for Travel with a Puppy

The most obvious reason to travel with a puppy is your desire to share your travel or holiday with your puppy.  But there are other reasons why people may need to travel with a puppy.

Moving or Relocating

Sadly, there are stories of people leaving their pets behind when they move, but as a responsible pet owner, you will want to bring your beloved puppy with you.  Whether you are moving across town, across the country, or crossing international lines, the traveling tips below will help make this an uneventful relocation.  

Remember, though, that the time frame may be different.  For a long distance move, you will need to consider the extra supplies you might need that wouldn't be needed on a shorter trip.  For example, you may want to add grooming supplies to your puppy's suitcase including extra towels and cleaning supplies should you need them.

Bringing Puppy Home from the Breeder

This could be your very first experience traveling with a puppy.  Many people travel long distances to find a reputable breeder which means a long car ride or flight for your new puppy.

This type of experience may be new for you and your puppy, so anticipating what might go wrong is the first step.  Luckily this article details all the important things you will need to pack as well as some tips to make this first travel adventure perfect for both you and your pup.

Basic Travel Supplies For a Puppy

The apparent essentials, such as dog food, and medicine, may appear simple. However, this is not all of it. There are many other questions that you need to figure out.

For instance, whether you should hire dog walkers while you enjoy some time on your own and so much more. But to start with, you should definitely make sure that you get the basics right. They include:


Get a sealable food box for the food, and use the extra space inside to store any medications. Put the food box, water bowl, and a collapsible travel bowl in a single Ziploc bag. 

Add a couple of treats that your puppy likes just in case his reguar food is unappealing.  Travel is stressful for puppies and often they will refuse food when stressed.

Toys and Comforts

Puppies can benefit from toys and treats that provide comfort or mental stimulation. Puppies grow rapidly and they need frequent feedings throughout the day. To tide you over the time between meals, bring along some treats.

Make sure to give your puppy a few safe things to chew on and a soft place to sleep. Some dogs may be pleased with a favorite toy or chewable object. However, you should still consider what will keep your dog occupied or diverted during a period of heavy traffic.

A Coat Or Sweater

It's essential to take into account the weather patterns of your destination. For instance, you need to make some special arrangements if it’s going to be cold.

Moreover, if your dog has thin hair, no undercoat, or little body fat, you should get a sweater or jacket in the winter. Airplanes can also feel cold to young puppies.

Medical Preparations

A man is signing paperworkWhen Traveling with a Puppy, Plan a Visit to The Vet before the big trip.

If you're traveling with your dog, ensure it's had all of its vaccinations, and you have the paperwork to prove it. Obtaining a health certificate from your veterinarian is also recommended.

It's a good idea to get a thorough physical exam. When you know your dog is healthy, you can relax and enjoy the trip.

If you are staying awhile in one location, check out the area for a local vet you could consult in the case of an emergency.  There is nothing worse than having a sick puppy and not know where to go to get help.

Bring any medications that your dog might need while traveling.  

Travel Practice

Get your dog used to car journeys gradually by starting with short ones. It's best to start with quick daily drives to and from the park or workplace.

Then you should start taking them on slightly longer journeys. Every major city has a beautiful mountain, river, or lake within an hour's drive. Make it a point to take your dog on at least two long journeys to get them used to long road trips.

Some puppies can get car sick due to stress or anxiety, so a few trips ahead of time may help prevent a problem or alert you to the possibility that you might need to consult your vet for something to reduce car sickness.

Clean Up Supplies

When on travel or holiday, no one wants to think about cleaning, but when you bring your puppy, those extra cleaning supplies will be needed and appreciated.  Consider bringing a small bag of supplies that include:

  • Extra towels and bedding should they become soiled
  • Paper towels, wet wipes for clean up, and plastic bags
  • Poop Bags
  • Puppy Pads if your dog uses them
  • Cleaning solution in case of accidents or if your dog gets sick

Everything Else For Traveling with a Puppy

Your dog will need a collar with an ID tag, along with a securely fitting harness and leash. If your puppy has a favorite bed, bring that too.  That extra security helps when sleeping in unfamiliar locations.

Tips To Follow When Puppy Travels In A Car

Car Seat/Carrier

Your dog shouldn't bounce about IN the car while you're driving. Your dog's excitement or fear may distract you while driving.

Pets should ride in the backseat. Your pet should travel with a seatbelt on or in an anchor-secured carrier. Ensure your dog can stand, turn, and lie in the carrier.

Never let your dog wander in the car while you are driving. This could spell disaster if the puppy should decide that they prefer to sleep near the brake or gas pedal.

You may also need to prepare your car to transport your dog. There are numerous dog-friendly car seats and floor covers on the market now which can help you on the car trip.  If you have a dog that is a heavy shedder consider seat covers for your car.

Light Meals

Before leaving, feed your pet a light dinner. Feed your dog while traveling, especially during stops. This will prevent motion or vehicle sickness.

Never leave a dog unattended in a car

This may be illegal in some locales, but more importantly, it is extremely dangerous.  

Traveling with a Puppy:  Health Reports

Make sure you have your pet's recent health reports including those involving the latest vaccinations.  Keep these records in a safe place while traveling.  

Traveling with a Puppy: Microchip and ID Collar

Your pet should have a microchip and an ID collar. Get a temporary tag with your destination's phone number for more extended travels and vacations. And make sure, not to use a collar that causes choking.

It goes without saying that a microchip is useless unless you have registered it in your name with all of your information, including your vet's name and number and at least one other person who is familiar with the dog.

Dogs Who Are Allowed to Hang Out of the Window May Be in For a Rude Surprise

A dog is hanging out the window of a carWhen Traveling with a Puppy, Don't allow them to hang their head out the window.

It might make for a cute picture of a dog whose sniffing the air as it hangs it's head out the window, but it's not safe. Don't allow your dog to hang his head out the window. If you have to apply the brakes or turn suddenly in an accident, your pet risks being hit by flying objects thrown out by others through the window.

Use Bottled Water or Pack Some from Home

Pack some for your dog if you don't want to buy water there. Some puppies experience gastrointestinal distress after consuming water from an unidentified source.  

Other Ways to Take Your Pet With You

In addition to traveling with your puppy by road, you can also take them on plane or train journeys. But you need to take certain preparations in that regard.

Traveling with a Puppy: Travel by Plane

A small dog is sitting on the steps to board a planeTraveling with a Puppy on an Airline may require a few more planning steps.

Bringing a pet on a plane trip can add extra hassle. For instance, puppies can suffer from air sickness for puppies, especially if they have narrow nasal passages.

Moreover, they're more vulnerable to issues like oxygen deprivation and heat stroke. Check to find out if your pets are allowed in the cabin with you if you really must take a flight.

Also, you need a health certificate from your vet taken no more than ten days before your trip. And be sure you have the correct type of carrier by contacting the airline in advance.

Each airline has specific rules and regulations for bring on a pet.  Check with the airline when you book your own flight.  There is usually an extra fee to bring your dog on as carry-on luggage and the carrier must fit comfortably under the seat in front of you.  Find out if the fee is due at the time you book or whether you will need to pay the fee at the gate.

You will also want to learn the rules for dogs entering the airport--where they are allowed to be, and areas where they may be allowed eliminate.  

If your puppy is too big to travel in the cabin, they may still be able to travel in cargo.  Contact the airlines for requirements.  Most brachycelphalic breeds are no longer allowed to travel in cargo.

Traveling with a Puppy:  Train Travel

Traveling with a dog may not be possible because train prohibits pets above 25 pounds in weight. Pets may be allowed on some smaller train companies. Getting on a train requires a few pieces of paperwork, so it's best to double-check with the railway service you plan to use.

Traveling with a Puppy: Travel By Boat

Two people and a small dog are sailing on a boatTraveling with a puppy on a sailboat or other private boat can be great fun.

Most cruise ships allow service dogs onboard, but may not allow pets. If you do intend to bring on a service dog, the cruise ship will make a general announcement encouraging other passengers to respect your dog and the fact that he/she is working.  Check with the cruise company to determine what rules are in place and which shore excursions might be available to you and your dog.

However, on some ocean trips, some cruise companies may allow pets. You should research whether or not your ship allows pets in passenger cabins before booking your trip and review their rules and regulations thoroughly.

In addition, you can consider sailing privately with your dog if you want to experience the sea with your beloved pet.

Traveling with a Puppy:
Final Words

Taking your dog on vacation can be a bit of a chore, but it's also a fantastic chance to spend quality time with your furry friend. So do all you need to do to ensure you and your puppy have a wonderful time.

Whether you're taking the puppy along for the ride on purpose or out of necessity, you'll want to ensure it has everything it needs to be comfortable.

Therefore, planning is essential before taking a dog on a car vacation, especially a long one. By following these tips, you and your puppy will be well-prepared for your journey and comfortable in any mode you travel.

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Author Bio

Glenn Anderson has been a freelance writer for years. A pet enthusiast and a flag-bearer of organic eating, a fitness freak, and obsessed with all things food, plants, and animals. He also loves writing and discussing things that make him happy.

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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