Traveling With Your Dog: Some things to consider.

Traveling With Your Dog: Some things to consider.

Everybody has to travel. Whether it’s from place to place within your city, city to city, or country to country. For work or pleasure, traveling is all around us. And when we’re away from home, we like where we are staying to have all the comforts of home. And, if you’re lucky enough to be able to take your pet with you, the same is true for them. They want all the familiar comforts of home.

Is It Necessary to Travel With Your Dog?

First and foremost, you need to ask yourself if it is really necessary to travel with your dog. People who travel and who have assistance animals are accorded special privileges to allow for their accommodation, but what about your furry family member?

Traveling with a dog is different from traveling alone and is much more difficult than traveling with children. That is why one of the first things you need to ask yourself is; Is it necessary for my dog to be with me?

If you choose to leave your pet at home, you have a few choices before you. You can have a dog sitter come and stay at your house with your dog while you are away. You can hire someone to look in on your pet and let him out, or walk him, a few times a day. Or you can board them at a state-of-the-art dog kennel facility, like Barks and Recreation, in Carseland, Alberta.

Health is a Priority

No matter what your means of transport or how you are going to travel, the health of your dog is always a top priority that can never be overlooked or taken for granted. All airports and seaports will usually require a current health certificate (among other things) to be presented for your pet.

A visit to your dog’s veterinarian, before travel, is required to obtain a health certificate.

Ensure ALL Vaccinations are up to Date

If you are traveling out of your country, be sure to contact the destination country to obtain a list of all the requirements they require for the importing of your pet. At the top of this list will be vaccinations. Vaccinations are the most important thing that you should ensure are current.  Vaccinations keep your dog safe from diseases and threats. They should be kept up to date from the time the dog was a puppy.

However, if any of the vaccinations are missing, we suggest you complete them before traveling. Pets who are missing vaccines or who are missing paperwork for vaccines will more than likely be subjected to an extensive quarantine period before being released back to you. You will also incur the cost of boarding your pet for the quarantine period as well.

Traveling By Air

Dog owners dread traveling by air, and for good reason!

Many airlines don’t allow animals (except service animals) in the passenger area of their planes. Depending on the size of your pet they may require your pet to travel in the cargo hold. You will have to make accommodations that follow the airline’s requirements for the transportation of animals if you want your pet to go with you on your travels.

If you have a small dog, you’re lucky! You may get to keep your dog with you as a carry-on. You can keep the dog under the seat or at your feet and you’ll be able to talk to your dog, reassuring them that they are safe.

Identification Tags

The best way to track and identify your pet is via a microchip that is inserted just under their skin. Several records can be linked to the microchip and this information becomes available when the animal is scanned. When traveling a physical identification tag can be very important. Normally this tag contains your pet’s name and your contact information, and it is usually attached to your pet’s collar.

Choose Your Airlines Wisely

You need to do your research before you travel. Read the dog shipping policies of the airlines you have chosen and align your needs with them. Many airlines are dog-friendly. Be sure to ask lots of questions to satisfy yourself that your pet’s health and welfare are their primary concern when they transport animals.

Arrive At The Airport Early

Reach the airport earlier than usual to ensure that everything is going to go as planned and try to keep traveling stresses to a minimum. Keep small dishes for water and food in your carry-on and some toys in the kennel to occupy your pet.

Pick Up Your Dog ASAP

Once the airplane lands, pick up your dog as soon as possible. Your pet has been in an unfamiliar environment, and you will want to see and reassure your pet that it’s safe. Your pet may seem a little out of sorts as it will have gone through the trauma of traveling in an unfamiliar environment with flashing lights and luggage and very loud noises. They will most likely also want to go outside to do their business by this point as well.

Traveling By Bus or Train

Is traveling on a bus the same as traveling on a car? Definitely not!

Traveling on a bus or a train is a bit trickier than traveling in a personal car. You will have to follow the rules and regulations of the company you are traveling with. Again, we recommend reading the company’s pet shipping policies and familiarizing yourself with all the requirements.

Know The Weight Limit

Many of the travel providers will have a maximum weight restriction. This is for safety reasons as well as practical reasons. Make sure that your dog falls within the regulated weight range so there are no surprises upon check-in.

Choosing a Kennel or Crate for Transportation

Most train and bus stations require your dog to be transported in a kennel or crate. Whichever you choose, ensure that you choose the appropriate size for your dog’s comfort and security.

Before Arriving at Your Destination

Make sure your pet is permitted to stay with you before arriving at your destination. You should make contact and communicate with the hotel when booking your accommodation, that you will have your dog with you. And be sure to read the hotel rules for having your dog stay with you. This will help you avoid any possible inconveniences and also prevents cleaning staff from accidentally letting your dog get out when they go to clean the room.

Traveling by Car

When you compare all the travel methods for your dog, traveling in a car is the easiest. Why? Because you can keep your dog with you and you can relax and enjoy your ride at the same time. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:

Safety First
Does your dog get over-excited about travel? You don't want that when you have a long way to go. Try investing in a kennel or a crate for your dog. They are not only the safer option, but they can also provide your dog more comfort as they can lay down and sleep in it.
Small Frequent Potty & Exercise Breaks
Long car rides are boring for everyone, especially when you have kids or pets with you. Both with kids and pets, you need to take small and frequent breaks so that they can walk it out and go when nature calls.
Pack Food & Water
Pack food and water beforehand because you don't know where or when you'll need them. Worst case scenario is that your dog will be hungry, and you will find no place to buy dog food. Better safe than sorry after all!
Pack your lunch box or keep some dog food with you so you can feed your pet whenever it is hungry, and it will make your travel a lot easier.
Hydration is necessary for you and your dog. So don't forget to keep plenty of water with you.
Bring A Toy With You
We stated it once, and we will mention it again; care rides are boring! (At least for your dog) What you need is a distraction for your dog if the ride is long enough. Keep a toy or two with you so you can give it to your dog whenever it starts to feel upset.
Train Your Dog
Train your dog for travel before you travel. This way, you won't need a kennel or cage for traveling. You can seat your dog in the car seat and travel all you want. But first, train your dog with small trips to ensure that you can travel in the long run.
Travelling is never difficult if you do it the right way and with the right equipment. And it can be best if you have trained your dog. You need not worry as you can travel the world with your dog!
Ventilation Is Necessary
If you are moving with your dog and your dog is in a kennel or a cage, keep the windows open and make sure that air is passing through it. It will keep a pleasant environment, and your dog will feel comfortable.


This article by no means covers everything you need to go or can do to make traveling with your pet safe and enjoyable. Be sure to ask lots of questions and know the regulations before you leave.

We are Barks and Recreation Dog Kennel, dog boarding, and daycare. We have been in business for over 20 years. We are not breed-biased. We take in all breeds based on each dog. If you reside in the Calgary area and need to travel, consider boarding your pet at our state-of-the-art facility. Further information and pricing can be found on our website at If you don’t live in the Calgary area, consider our facility an example of what you should look for in a kennel when you are considering boarding your pet.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

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  • Christine Hampton
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