Tips For Traveling With A Dog (Hotels, Flying, & More)

Alternate corny post title: Taking The Ooch Out Of Traveling With Your Pooch

Many curious readers ask us how we manage to bring Burger along on nearly every on-the-go adventure (from our Alaskan Honeymoon to our recent Dallas road trip) so we’re here to share some tips and tricks that works for us. When it comes to hotels, we whipped up this quick little video to explain how we find pet friendly ones… and how we make sure that Burger’s comfortable and mannerly when we leave him in the room to attend events like weddings that don’t include a puppy plus one. Check it out below on Vimeo or see it here on YouTube.

As for getting a pooch to relax and sleep while road tripping in a car (waking only for drive-thru french fries), our biggest tip would be to evaluate your pet’s personality and truly consider whether they would appreciate being on the road with you for that length of time. Some dogs get carsick or even suffer severe anxiety from being on the move for that long, while others (like Burger) looooove it to pieces. Part of the reason that he enjoys it so much is because ever since Burger was a baby we’ve been taking him on drives- first short ones to get him acclimated and then longer ones as he became more adjusted. Happily, we’ve trained him to be an amazing little car traveler so the good news is that with time you can hopefully do the same with your pup.

When it comes to flying with your fur baby, there’s a lot to consider. First of all, be sure to call the specific airline you’ll be using and talk to them about their pet policies, which vary from company to company. You’ll want the airline to officially recognize that you’ll be bringing a pet aboard since there are a limited number of pets that can be on a flight (usually one or two per plane) and you’ll want first dibs. Don’t forget to ask about their requirements while you’ve got them on the horn (you’ll probably need to get a health certificate from your vet to ensure that your dog is well enough to travel and you’ll need to know what size/type of travel container they allow on their flights).

You’ll also probably have to pay a fee that usually ranges from $50 – $100. Oh and there’s a weight limit for dogs that can travel in the cabin like Burger (we’ve heard that the cut off is usually 20 lbs) so bigger breeds have to travel underneath the cabin near the luggage. This is a bit more risky since it may not be a temperature controlled environment down there (especially when the plane isn’t in motion), so be sure to research whether it’s safe to fly into Texas in the summer with your pooch (many airlines simply won’t allow it if it’s a super hot or cold destination, but it’s good to check that they’re considering your pet’s safety before blindly booking the trip).

As for pets who are small enough to travel in the cabin like our fur baby, they must be contained and stored either under the seat in front of you or on your lap in an airline approved carrying case (we love a soft padded bag with breathable mesh on both ends which has always been airline approved). How does Burger react to takeoff, a few hours of flying, and landing? He sleeps the whole time- so much so that people don’t believe there’s actually a dog inside our little canvas bag. It’s miraculous.

Oh and taking dogs out of the country (other than driving over the border to Canada) can get a lot more complicated (often requiring that your dog be left in “quarantine” for several days) so we’re way too nervous to attempt that. Which is why we’re happy to stick to trips in the good ol’ USA & CA for now- which haven’t let us down yet. Hope it helps! And happy pooch travels…

Comments

  1. Erin says

    Hi guys! Thanks for sharing those tips. I just have one question regarding flying with Burger. What do you do with him while you wait to board or if you get delayed. Doesn’t he need to potty? Do airports have a place for puppies to relieve themselves?

    • says

      Hey Erin,

      Good question! Airports make you go outside to walk your dog (so you have to go back through security to get back in, which is a substantial delay). When we flew to Alaska we arranged to have a long-ish layover so we could take Burger outside to do his thing, but he can actually hold it over 8 hours when he’s sleeping so for most trips we go straight through and he’s perfectly happy to pee when we arrive at our final destination. No accidents in the bag yet! Hope it helps…

      xo,
      s

  2. Christina says

    This is a great video idea! We have our 4 month old puppy and since the day we got him we have been bringing him driving with us everywhere and we haven’t attempted anything too far yet but now you really helped me get an idea of what to do for him when we do! Thanks!

  3. says

    Just as an FYI to flying with dogs larger than 20 lbs – it’s absolutely possible AND safe for them, as long as you choose the right airline. I operate a small animal rescue group and we have flown several dogs across the country to amazing forever homes. I only use Continental for these trips as they are the only airline with pressurized cargo cabins that are also temperature controlled, too! If you’re an individual sending a dog on a journey alone you are able to literally track your dogs progress along the airline route and will know the exact time that the flight landed, the amount of time spent on the runway, on the tarmac in a air-controlled/pressurized cargo van, etc. If you’re flying with your pet, Continental goes above and beyond to accomodate both of you and your pet is never left unsupervised or in a hot cargo area. You can read more about traveling with small pets (in cabin) or large pets (as cargo) on Continental’s site here: http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/travel/animals/default.aspx

    Happy Flying!

  4. Elaine says

    My husband and I routinely travel with our 3 German Shepherds. It’s hard, but it’s no harder than a mom traveling with 3 little ones. Our dogs are a bit calmer than Burger seems to be (I guess they are confident in their size…), so hotels have been no problem at all. One time, we had to travel for work (it was a joint trip) and we took our 3 German Shepherds AND our 2 cats to the hotel. It cost quite a bit in a deposit, but we got it all back in the end!

  5. says

    At 11 weeks, I had to take Baxter with me on a drive to NJ, where my brother was undergoing an emergency surgery. He was such a little champ on that crazy drive. We stopped hourly and tried not to use the rest areas where other dogs were (he hadn’t had his third round of shots yet, so I was worried about him picking something up).

    I think having a fun destination also helps. I think I’ve commented about this before, but we try to stay at Kimpton Hotels. They’re not just dog friendly, but dog enthusiastic. Baxter loves all the attention he gets when we check in to one of those hotels!

  6. Laurie says

    bummerz young’uns, I’d love to read about how you find pet friendly hotels, but unfortunately watching video (and especially at work) is not a time conscious activity. While your new vids are fun please be sure to continue with the text and pics too!

    • says

      Hey Laurie,

      Sorry to rain on your parade! Due to popular demand we do our best to share a weekly video along with over 10+ text & photo posts per week- which we’ll definitely continue! Here’s hoping you can view the video after hours or something…

      xo,
      s

  7. says

    Thanks! I’m so excited you made a video and gave some great tips about traveling with your dog! I was especially worried about leaving Pixie in a hotel for too long… but if we bring her crate and leave the tv on I’m sure she would be fine. Thanks again!

  8. says

    We sleep with a small table top fan on to create white noise. So, when we travel with our dog we bring the fan along and put it right next to his crate to block out any noises he might bark at.

    It also helps to get a suite instead of a single room if possible. Then we can put his crate in the bedroom away from the main door to the hallway.

  9. says

    I travel with Ries pretty often and most major airlines (United, NW, etc) have now started charging $150 each way to take her on the plane with me- insanity, especially when I often buy a ticket for myself for less than that. Unfortunately, they don’t let me buy a seat for Ries!

    Ries travels just like Burger… loves the car and never makes a peep on the plane! She’s sleeping before we ever take-off. I expected her to be “fussy” on the plane since she’s a rescue dog and pretty skittish, but I’m pleasantly surprised. Glad to hear you have the same luck with Burger too.

  10. says

    Thanks for the tips on driving. We debated flying with our pup this holiday season again (he was perfect last year) but his ticket as a carryon was more than our roundtrip tickets! Southwest Airlines doesn’t allow any pets as carryons, and the cheapest we found pets allowable was $100 each way, but they were as much as $200…MUCH more than it would cost to just buy him a seat. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of booking flights before checking on the animal restrictions which resulted in flight changes and more expensive flights. Plan ahead! All the requirements are listed on each airlines’ website, typically under Baggage.

  11. says

    Great post guys. We’d love to travel more with our dogs, but I think 5 is just too many to handle at one time. Plus, our dogs aren’t crate trained – they’re totally spoiled and I’m not sure how they would react being contained in a crate when they are not used to it. Thanks for the website tip for dog friendly hotels! Keep the videos coming!