How To Travel With Your Dog (s)

Traveling with my dogs is one of the best feelings in the world! In this pet-friendly travel guide, I share with you guys my tips and tricks for enjoying hassle-free adventures with your trusty doggy co-pilots by your side.

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One of the things I love most about road tripping is that I always get to bring my pups along with me. Traveling with my dogs is a non-negotiable. If they can’t come, we don’t go. Except to Kauai of course, then we get my family to watch them, but you know what I mean. I love traveling withe my road warriors and dog is always my co-pilot.

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Does my dog need to be ESA certified?

Roxy is our road dog and goes everywhere with me. From the grocery store to the trail and everything in between. Where I go, she goes. Now for this to be acceptable you’ll need to get your dog emotional support dog certified. Please do your own research on this as I’m only speaking of the laws for California. They are different for each state. Roxy is ESA certified and goes everywhere with me. Yes, even the nail salon. I can do this because I’m in therapy for anxiety and can obtain proof as to why I need an ESA dog. Not everyone qualifies for this so please do your own research on this.

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We recently adopted a rescue dog named Lincoln and is a German Shepherd puppy. He’s a ball of energy and is not quite ready to be ESA (emotional support animal) certified, but I may certify him when soon. Because of my therapy program and struggle with anxiety, I can get my dogs ESA certified. This of course does not apply to everyone though.

This blog post is all about road tripping with your pup and I’ve included some tips for flying with your pup as well! Let’s first talk puppy anxiety. You know how humans have it? Dogs have it too.

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Dog Anxiety: Our little dog Marilyn has the most trouble when traveling. She has super sensitive ears and had a hard time in the car due to the air pressure change. Thankfully, my father-in-law recommended we get her a Thunder Shirt and it works wonders! As soon as I put the shirt on Marilyn she instantly calms down. Think of the thunder shirt like a weighted blanket but for dogs. It goes by the dogs weight and adds a bit of pressure to their body. They wear the thunder shirt like a shirt. If it’s super warm outside, I’ll put the shirt on Marilyn while we are traveling in the car and then will remove it when we are at our destination. Think of the thunder shirt like a puppy Zanex but without all of the negative side affects. It works amazingly well!

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Another trick that I do to manage my pups anxiety is I use Rescue Remedy for Pet’s which I’ve linked here. This stuff is great because you add a small amount on a treat and give it to your pup before they get into the car. Usually the thunder shirt works so well that I only use that, but Rescue Remedy is great if you are flying with your pet.

What do I bring when traveling with my dogs?

There are a few basics that you will need when traveling with Fido.

  • Water

  • A collapsible water bowl (we really like these)

  • Dog treats they can munch on (I recommend dry dog treats as not to mess up their tummies while traveling, as traveling can be very stressful on dogs.)

  • A Harness (we really like the tactical ones for running, hiking, and traveling)

  • Tennis balls

  • A few blankets

  • Towels

Let’s go through the above list. Dogs need water. This may sound super obvious, but you’d be surprised at all of the dog owners I see while traveling that never bring additional water for their pets. Trust me, if you are thirsty your dog is ten-times more thirsty! Remember, their metabolisms are twice as fast as ours so they need double of what we need. This is especially important when taking them running and even on local excursions. Bring triple the water that you would normally need and even more in the warmer seasons. Lincoln drinks 3-full water bottles when we are done running. See what I mean about the water?

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Collapsible water bowls are great because you can clip them on to your dogs harness and fill them while you are walking with them and in the car. Plus, if you forget water, you can fill them up at a local coffee shop or water fountain. That way, your pup is never without hydration.

A tactical dog harness. This pertains to bigger dogs and to dogs that like to run and be by your side. We really like tactical dog harness for Roxy and Lincoln. You can clip water bowls onto them and carry a treat pack on them. Think of it like a cargo pack for your pup. They are never without the must-haves and bigger dogs can handle the additional weight.

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Rest stops are your best friend! Tennis balls are great for when you’ve been driving for long hours at a time and you and your pups need a leg-stretching break. Stop at a rest stop, take out the tennis balls and give you and Fido some much-needed exercise. Your legs and your pup will thank you.

Blankets, blankets, blankets. I cannot stress one enough. We own a Jeep and Lincoln tends to slide around the back when my seats are down due to the cars interior. Blankets immediately solve this problem! Lay a few blankets down and your pups won’t slide around. Problem solved!

Towels. Water, traveling, dogs, muddy paws, I keep towels in my car 365-days a year. Towels are necessary no matter kind of dog you have. I stash a bunch in a reusable burlap grocery bag. Cute and cheap.

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Dog food storage: I love Stasher bags for this one. They are reusable travel bags and they work great for keeping dry dog food in. I pack a bunch and put them in a designate doggie bag along with their dog treats and we are good to go.

A note on flying with your dog: Flying with your dog is never the best idea. Traveling is extremely stressful on animals, and flying is even more so. Dogs do not like to be copped up in small spaces up in the pressurized air for long periods of time. I know this may ruffle some feathers, but it’s worth writing. If you can avoid flying with your dog and have a way for a trusted family member to watch them, that is typically what I do. But, if you must fly with your dog, please make sure it’s a short flight and check with the airlines before booking your flight regarding their traveling with animals rules. Southwest is super good about dogs, but not all airlines are that nice. Flying with your pup is really something that should be avoided if at all possible.

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If you are flying with your puppy, the only way you can bring them on the plane with you is if they are ESA or therapy dog certified and you can show proof of your certifications. Again, please do your extensive research on this before you book your flight. Also, if the air pressure on the plane bothers your ears, imagine how awful it is for your dog. Think before you fly with your pet.

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Do you love traveling with your pups? Do you have reservations about it? If you do travel with your dog, what are your favorite things to bring?

We are planning road trips to Death Valley and Mount Rushmore this spring and summer and you know our fur-babies are coming along for the ride!

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