Traveling With Your Dog

Dog sitting in his transporter

Summer is just around the corner. Many of us are starting to plan our summer vacations – and of course your dog needs a vacation too – and she wants to go with you. If you want to travel with your dog, you don’t need to do a staycation or stay with friends. You can fly with your pet and stay with her in many hotels. Here are some tips about pet friend hotels and dog airline travel.

Pet Friendly Hotels

Many hotels around the US and Canada allow pets to stay with you.   The hotels range in what they offer and what they allow. Many have restrictions on the number of pets (often the maximum is 2) and on the weight of the pet. There is often an additional cost involved for bringing along a pet. For example, the Hyatt Century Plaza in Century City, California allows a maximum of 2 dogs under 50lbs per room and charges $30 per pet per night for their stay. The La Quinta Inn near LAX allows a maximum of 2 dogs of any size at no extra charge.

When choosing a hotel for you and your pet, amenities at the hotel and nearby should be considered. After a long car or plane trip, your dog will likely want to run around, so it’s important to find out about any nearby parks – especially dog parks – where your dog can roam around.

Upon arrival in your hotel room, be sure to have some of your dog’s favorite treats and toys readily available. This will help your dog acclimate quickly to the new environment.

It’s likely when you’re traveling you may want to leave your dog alone while you go sightseeing or do other activities however most hotels do not allow you to leave your dog in your room unattended. Therefore, it’s important to find out if the hotel offers doggie daycare or if there are places nearby your dog can stay while you are out and about.

For a list of hotels that allow your furry friend to stay with you throughout the US and Canada, check out sites like Pet Friendly Hotels, Official Pet Hotels, Bring Fido, and Go Pet Friendly.

Air Travel

Traveling by air is a quick way to bring your dog long distances– and many love to fly. Airlines have a variety of policies and procedures (and costs) to make that possible. Some allow small dogs to travel with you in the aircraft cabin while others require all dogs to travel in the cargo area. Fees can range greatly, from nothing to more than $500. Dogs, like humans, require a reservation. Most airlines only allow one or two dogs on each flight. Therefore, you should make sure there is room for your dog before you book your own ticket.

When choosing flight times, be mindful of the weather as extreme conditions can be harmful to pets. During the summer, choose early morning or evening flights to avoid the hottest parts of the day. During the winter, choose mid-day flights so that it’s as warm as possible. Try to book non-stop flights so pets don’t have to sit in limbo between flights.

Per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Airlines require dogs be in good health when flying. They must be over 8-weeks of age. Pets that cross state lines are required to have a rabies immunization and a valid health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of travel. If your pet is traveling via cargo, the health certificate must be issued within 10 days of travel.

Dogs must travel in a pet carrier when flying. The carrier must be an approved carrier for travel. Soft sided carriers are allowed for travel within the airline cabin. They must be small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of the passenger. Carriers used in the cargo must be made of hard plastic. The dog must be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably within the carrier.

Feed your dog approximately 4 hours before flight time so that the dog isn’t flying on a full stomach. You can give your dog water right up until flight time. Empty dishes should be left in the dog’s carrier so airlines can feed the dog in case of a delay.

More airline travel suggestions can be found here:

Most importantly when traveling with your dog, have fun and use good judgement to make the best and safest decisions for your pet.