Pet · Travel

How To Take Your Dog On Vacation

dog-vacation-768x576It is mid-July and those “dog days” of summer are fully upon us. With temperatures soaring in most parts of the country a vacation or weekend getaway to the beach or mountain lake is a popular travel destination. If you share your life with a dog it is not as easy as jumping in the car and taking off.

When you have pets, summer vacations require careful planning. If you are not taking your four-legged family member along you need to make arrangements for their care in your absence. If you are taking them, it will require even more planning. Depending on your destination, traveling with your pets does not have to be a hassle.

I write from experience having traveled from New York to Florida with a husband, two babies and two puppies on board. Our drive down consisted of a one-night stay at a hotel in North Carolina, a three-day stay in Atlanta, Georgia and a one-week stay in a condo right on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. On our return trip home, we spent one-night at a hotel in South Carolina.

We had a very pleasant experience which was a direct result of the careful planning I did weeks in advance of our trip. If you plan to stay at hotels or rental properties, you will need to search for pet-friendly ones. If you are driving make sure your vehicle will comfortably fit your family, pets, luggage and pet supplies. If you do not have a large enough vehicle, consider renting something larger.

dog in car

You will want to bring a dog carrier or crate so that your dog has a familiar place to rest. This is especially important if you will be leaving your dog alone for any period of time in the hotel or rental property. A good crate will also prevent the dogs from damaging anything when you are gone. Some properties will make you pay a pet security deposit that will be given back to you upon check-out provided there is no damage caused by your pet.

There are many styles of pet crates to choose from. If your dog will not be riding in the crate in the car, a good choice is one that is easy to fold. Having a crate that can fold or be disassembled easily will save room in your vehicle. One of my top picks is the Midwest Canine Camper available at

midwest canine camper

Your pooch will be very comfortable laying on the sheepskin pad and you will love the foldable frame that makes take down and set up a snap. If you are purchasing a new crate, get it as soon as possible so you can start using it at home. Travel can be stressful for our pets, the comfort of having their familiar crate can really put your dog at ease.

Travel food and water dishes are essential, these take up less room when packing and are very convenient. The Double Food & Water Bowl for dogs and owners on the go is more than functional. It is made with long-lasting seat belt material and features a double ply, waterproof interior. This set is made to last for years and collapses to less than 1 in. and stores in a mini cd size case. This great set can be purchased online from The Home Depot. Remember to pack your dog’s normal food because changing their diet with the stress they experience during travel could cause them to get sick.

pet bowls and pouch


It is very important that your dogs have secure collars with pet identification tags. If your dog gets lost, you need to have a way someone can contact you. Make sure you have your cell number on the tag since you will not be home. If your pet tags have your landline on them, order new ones for your trip with your cell number.

There are many different kinds of pet tags you can order right on One of my favorites is the Wag Avenue Driver’s License Tags. These stainless steel tags have a fade-resistant, durable design on both front and back that looks like your state’s driver’s license. Don’t worry, although they look authentic, these tags do not make it legal for your dog to drive.  wagavenue tags large

Another option I really like and purchased for my own dog, is a collar that doubles as the tag! Yellow Dog Design’s Personalized Collars can be customized with your cell phone number and dog’s name. With these collars, also available on Amazon, you never have to worry about a lost tag.

personalized dog collars

Don’t forget their leashes, you don’t’ want to let your dog roam in an unsecured or unfamiliar place. If the yard of a rental property is adequately fenced, your dog can be let out without a leash but if you are going to take him out, always have his leash on for safety. Retractable leashes are a good choice when traveling since they are so compact and can fit in your purse or backpack when not in use.

Take it from someone who has been there and done that, traveling with pets can be a great experience.  I felt much better having our small puppies with us and I know they were happier too!

dog surf