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 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…
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?
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…
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!
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
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!
Jeannine @ Small & Chic 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!
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!
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…
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!
Amanda Wright 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.
A Kong (filled with peanut butter) and Nylabone in the crate keeps my dog busy for hours!
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.
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.
Oh! And we also give our fur baby Children’s Benadryl before we hop on a plane. Check with your vet for additional sedative options.
David W says
I love this post. Thanks. My dog Jasper thinks the youngsters rock!
Aw thanks David! Burger sends Jasper one nervous sniff and two semi-enthusiastic licks.
s (& b)
your videos are great! just wanted to let you know…
Thanks so much Christi! Your new site is great, and we’re loving all the inspirational sayings and posters!
Amy @Renovation Innovation 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!
Cute video. We travel often (roadtrips) with our 3 dogs! We use the majority of your tips, except crating our dogs, they are fine being not crated, Thank goodness! We have traveled to Canada twice with them and its no problem, we just did the research and met the requirments, which included having an up to date medical report and rabie shots, brought along the paper work (which they didnt even ask for) and we were good to go! Now might be harder though, a lot more restrictions since june 2009.
Oh to have such an easily portable pooch! Angus does very well on the road and loves to travel, but hauling the crate for a Great Dane is a serious endeavor. Especially in a KIA. I think it would be hella awesome if you could rent a crate once you got to your destination — like from a PetSmart or something.
If there are any enterprising entreprenuers out there reading this — get on it!
In the meantime, Angus has an extra crate at my folks’ house for when we visit, folded up under the guest bed. Anywhere else we go, the crate has to come along. He’s still too young to not be in a crate when he’s alone (especially when it’s other people’s stuff he might wreck).
I’m so jealous that Burger gets to go to Ikea!
We travel via plane and car with our pug Maizy a few times a month- she too is a champ!
When staying in hotels we also bring a baby gate. Many hotels have that narrow hallway to the door/bathroom/closet. We find that if we can set up the baby gate so Maizy can’t get to the door then she is less likely to scratch and bark at it if she hears people.
Its easy to pack in the car and its also great if you are visiting friends that have White Carpet!! wink wink
We too have not had any problems on an airplane other than yes tickets for the dog are usually more expensive than for us! Even my seat mates never know I have a dog in my carryone– I usually pack a special bone for chewing during take off and then she sleeps!! I have found that some airports even have fenced in gated doggie walk areas! (MIAMI)
- Sarah :-) says
Well, our beloved furry son is WAY to enormous for plane rides, but he does so well in the car, and for the same reasons – acclimting him early and often. We drove from MD to MN with him in the back seat of a Beamer… now THAT was interesting! But now that we have a small SUV, it’s MUCH more convenient and now he loves it!
April in CT says
What a great post. Burger is yet another reminder of how I should have crate trained our little one when we first got him! Living away from home means a lot of traveling to visit family so he always goes with us. He does fantastic in the car (thanks to lots of rides as a wee pup) and has made a 21 hour drive totally zonked out the whole time…well, except for the smell of fries just like Burger. We have successfully left him in a hotel room a few times in the past by making sure his bed was at a window he could see out of just like at home. It seems to be his comfort zone to keep an eye on everything that’s happening. With all our moving around though and his huge aversion to any change in routine we’ve had a few “surprises” (hello $1200 in damage that led to new flooring in our last house) we can’t leave him alone in a new place any more. It took us two years in our current home to work him into being alone without damage. He absolutely hates/freaks out being crated so people, if you have a new puppy crate train that baby, please! LOL I love him like he’s my kid though and can’t imagine traveling without him.
Christine Grammier says
Love the tips! We travel with our labradoodle Bermuda all over the place. I have taken her on two cross country roadrtips. She LOVES riding in the car now that she has her spot and I think she might actually like the hotels better than home.
I have used all those tricks before…except specifically putting her between the two beds.
Fantastic tips guys! Thanks so much. We’ve traveled a lot with our Mocha, and we always stay in La Quinta after we discovered they are all dog-friendly. Unfortunately, Mocha barks at any strange noise, so we got a “note” after we left her in the room during dinner once. So she usually gets left in the car. But your suggestions look like they’d really work; would love to try them sometime. Mocha was crate-trained as a puppy, but hasn’t been in one for a couple years now, so I don’t know how she’d do with one anymore! Worth a try sometime.
Hey ya’ll! Love your site, love your house! :)
I haven’t traveled internationally with a dog, but I have traveled with a cat (who is probably twice… maybe three times Burger’s size – he’s a fatty!), and here’s what I learned on our trip home from Japan:
As you mentioned, you will have to quarantine them in several countries (check ahead of time!), so it may not be worth it unless you’re moving to that country. I think that includes Hawaii too. However, the (mainland) US allows animals from most countries to come in to the country without a quarantine period (our cat wasn’t quaratined). Also, on international flights animals aren’t allowed in the main cabin, they must be checked with the luggage in a hard carrier. The airlines will not allow pets to fly for over a certain length of time without an opportunity to have food or water. I think it’s 13 hours or so. So you may have to change planes to shorten the length of time he or she without food and water at a time. I brought some cat food with me on the plane, but had to dispose of it before entering the US. Luckily, they allowed my cat to eat what he could before they trashed it. Also, we had to make some last minute adjustments to our trip because Dallas (our destination) was too cold (December) to land with a cat in the luggage area. They based it off the lowest projected temperature of the day, so even though we landed at 3:00 pm and it was 75F, 45 was the overnight low, so we had to fly through LAX, go through customs and back through security (which included a second screening of the cat), transfer him to a soft carrier, and bring him on the plane with us to Dallas. It was a crazy trip! The travel charge was relatively low, I think we paid $100.
I hope this sheds some light on international travel with your furry children! :)
Kimpton Hotels, located throughout the US are uber pet friendly. Pets stay FREE, with a complimentary pet amenity. This boutique chain is making strides to lead hotels in the environmentally friendly category AND they love our furry friends.
Check it out!
So good to know! Thanks for the tip.
Thanks for the cute and helpful video! I have a stupid question, though, that I wasn’t sure from the video. Do you leave Burger locked in his crate, or is he able to walk around the room while you’re gone? Also, does Burger sleep in a crate at home? My dogs haven’t been in crates in years, so I wonder if putting them in one now when traveling would totally freak them out? Thanks!!
Good question! Burger sleeps in bed with us each night but when we leave the house he happily hangs out in his crate with the door locked (it keeps him safe and it’s how we’ve trained him since we got him). That’s also what we do in hotels when we leave (ask him to “park it” and he goes into his crate with his tail wagging) so it really seems to work for us. I’m not sure how dogs would take to it when they aren’t crate trained at home though, we try not to change his routine much when we travel to keep him comfortable. Hope it helps!
Molly travels pretty well. She’s a rescue, and I got her at about 2 years old. But since I’ve crated her the whole time she’s been with me, it works out well.
One thing, be sure your prefered brand of food is available at your destination, or bring enough from home. I also bring water jugs from home if it’s just a weekend driving trip. Tummy upsets due to water/diet are no more fun for your pet than Montezuma’s Revenge is for you.
Molly is an Austrialian Shepherd cross, so a lint roller is an ‘always pack’ item, too. (Aussies shed something fierce.)
Do you watch Mad Men? John reminds me of Kenneth Cosgrove- http://thepreppyprincess.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/ken_s2_517x307.jpg
I can totally see that Tran! He’s never gotten that before. We did watch Mad Men at the beginning but sadly it just hit too close to home after working in advertising in NYC so we had to lay off (the client pitches literally stressed us out!). Maybe we’ll get back into it so I can watch John’s brother from another mother. Too funny!
We actually had a family emergency trip last summer which required approx 8 hours in a rented SUV with a dog, 2 cats and a bird (luckily has a smaller travel cage) all in the respective crates and cages. Good to know measurements off these before trying to rent a vehicle!
Our only problem was that the dog (a rescued Jack Russell with serious anxiety when it comes to cars after finding him in the middle of rush hour traffic!) barked the ENTIRE trip. No kidding. 8 hours, give or take, of him barking his head off. Plus one of the two cats wasn’t thrilled with it either and he cried most of the trip. My mother had to travel back without me and she had it worse with not having me to talk them down. We have since found out about some t-r-e-a-t-s (in case Burger’s reading this) that have a sedative in them to relieve some anxiety.
They have them for cats and dogs. It took a few for the dog to get slightly calmed down. He was still anxious. But they did work really well on the cat! They’re available at major pet stores.
Wouldn’t wish that on anyone…but if you do then they are an option!
I take my 60lb Goldendoodle (Gizmo) with me on all road trips (work and pleasure) and he’s great. We haven’t tried any flying trips, but we roadtripped 18 hours to Texas last year with my Mom, Grandmother, and my mom’s dog, Tigger (a mini goldendoodle). We talked the vet ahead of time and got them sedatives, but never ended up using thme. Both dogs were really good in the car. We did scout dog parks ahead of time and made a stop about midway thru the trip. And we took them to Millie Bush dog park in Houston and I’m pretty sure they thought they were in Dog Disney World.
I crate trained Gizmo when I first got him. Now he’s never crated at home, but I have no problems getting him to “crate up” in hotels. He’s more prone to bark if I’m in the room (to warm me there are people) but makes no noise if he’s there alone.