Anytime we travel we try to make arrangements to take our dogs with us. One of our missions is to never leave the dogs behind which, honestly, is as much for us as for them. The companionship of our dogs is good for our mental health and anxiety and they love being able to explore new areas with us. There are great pet-sitting sites out there but we feel more comfortable having them with us.
Traveling with dogs can be difficult and tiresome at first but if you apply our travel tips for traveling with dogs you’ll find that it’s really not so bad. In fact, you’ll probably love having your best pal with you during your trip.
Top tips for traveling with dogs
- Inform your vet about your travel plans and ask for suggestions for your pet. Your vet knows your dog best and may be able to warn you about anxiety or other behaviors to watch out for while on the road.
- Protect your car with the Kurgo Bench Seat Cover and secure your pets with a travel harness.
- Pack your dog’s favorite blankets so the smell of home follows them on the road.
- Pack a collapsible indoor dog pen. It’s easy to transport and provides your dog with a defined space. We use this one and it’s the best thing ever.
- Call ahead to the pet-friendly hotel and ask if they offer dog-walking services. If not, make arrangements with a local dog-walking service (check Rover.com for recommendations) to walk your dogs at the hotel while you’re out.
- Make sure the hotel staff has your best contact information in case of an emergency while you’re out and notify housekeeping that a pet is in the room.
- Find pet-friendly restaurants for dinner so the dogs can join you. I recommend using BringFido.com but I recommend still calling ahead to confirm and ask about any restrictions they may have.
The one thing that used to bring us the most stress was transporting the dogs in the car. We used to put them in their crate in the back seat and stop frequently to let them stretch their legs, eat, and go to the bathroom. It wasn’t a pleasant way to travel. It would add hours to the drive and they would sometimes get upset stomachs from the road.
After a few drives, we decided to set up the backseat as a dog travel-zone. The first thing we did was invest in a Kurgo Bench Seat Cover (it’s only $36 so it’s not a huge investment). I settled on the Kurgo car seat cover for a few main reasons:
- It’s the right size, seemed sturdy, and was waterproof (bonus!)
- Two large pockets for extra storage (for food, treats, toys, etc)
- Velcro openings for seatbelt use
It was the fact that it was waterproof and had openings for seatbelt use that were the deciding factors. The Kurgo Bench Seat Cover was way more sturdy on our bench seat than I expected it would be. It latches over the headrests, under the seat, and behind the seat (through the trunk) for maximum attachment. I had been concerned my wiggly little dogs would knock it off the seat but they don’t stand a chance.
I also bought harnesses for the dogs to wear while traveling. At first, I was concerned that the dogs would hate them because I couldn’t imagine them loving being attached to the seatbelt but since they are accustomed to wearing harnesses while being on the leash they didn’t seem bothered by it. The seatbelt goes through a loop (like a leash) attached to the harness and when you get to your location, the loop comes detached and you can attach the leash for a walk. Worth it!
It has made traveling with the pups, even just a quick trip to PetSmart, so much easier! My car stays clean, the dogs are safe, and everyone is happier out of the crate.