Traveling with Your Dog During the Holidays

Deciding What to Do with Your Furry Family Member When You Travel

By Madison Guthrie

As the Holiday season approaches, many traveling pet parents are finding themselves in somewhat of a pickle.

Should they bring their fur babies along for the journey or would it be easier and less stressful for everyone to leave their precious pooches at home?

If you find yourself struggling with this very predicament, you’re not alone. Thousands of pet parents across the country are trying to decide what to do with their pets while they travel this season.

But you’re in luck. My Dog Spot wants to make the season a little brighter by offering you tips and tricks on how to travel, or not to travel, with your pet during the holiday.

Let’s get started!

First and Foremost, Is Traveling Safe for My Dog?

My Dog Spot knows there is nothing more important to dog owners than the health and happiness of our pet.

Many of our clients want to travel with their pets but worry about their dog’s physical and emotional health.

The good news is that, for the most part, traveling with your pet is relatively safe. Still, it is always important to visit your veterinarian about a week or so before your trip to ensure your pet is in ship shape to travel.

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog:

Before traveling with your dog, you’ll want to prepare.

• Visit the Vet

Ensure your dog is healthy for travel and make sure his vaccinations are up to date. You will also want to collect a copy of his vaccination records in case of an emergency and especially if you are flying, as updated vaccination records, as well as an updated health certificate, are required when flying with a dog.

• Prepare for Emergencies

Chances are your trip will be uneventful, but just in case there is an emergency, you will want to be prepared. Make sure to list the nearest emergency vets along your route and log them into your cell phone.

You may also want to buy a doggy first aid kit. Basic doggy first aid kits are available at most pet outlets. Of course, you can also order them online if you have the time.

• Make Sure Your Dog Has Updated Identification

Along with a strong harness and leash, you will want to ensure your dog’s tag is updated and has the most relevant phone numbers listed clearly in case he gets away from you.

We also highly recommend getting your dog chipped and registered in case he somehow loses his collar or tags.

• Bring a Crate

Traveling with a crate is required on flights, but it may also make a road trip easier and safer for your dog.

Make sure the crate is large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in, and that it is properly ventilated and has a waterproof bottom layered with absorbent materials like blankets.

If you are flying, make sure your dog’s crate has clearly labeled with LIVE ANIMAL indicators and arrows showing which side is up and which side is down.

• Keep Food and Water Consistent

Like humans, dogs can get anxious while traveling and anxiety can upset their tummies. The best way to keep your dog’s belly happy is to keep his diet and eating schedule as normal as possible.

Bring along his normal foods and treats and keep bottled water on hand so that he is never without a drink if he needs one.

Traveling by Car with Your Dog

If you are planning on hitting the road with your pooch then here are a few things to note:

  1. The safest place for your dog is in the back seat.
  2. Secured crates or doggy seat belts will help ensure your dog is safe should there be an accident. If your dog rides in a crate, make sure the crate is well ventilated.
  3. Frequent potty breaks and brisk walks or jogs are a must and will help alleviate anxiety as well as reduce bathroom mishaps.
  4. Do not let your dog ride in the back of an open truck bed or let his head hang out an open window. As cute or fun as this may seem for your dog, it is incredibly dangerous.
  5. Always make sure your dog has plenty of access to fresh water

Traveling by Plane with Your Dog

We here at My Dog Spot know that traveling with a pet on a plane can be nerve-wracking, especially because you are not always allowed to travel alongside your furry friend.

There are also a lot of rules when it comes to flying with your dog:

  1. Your dog must be older than eight weeks and completely weaned from his mother.
  2. Make sure you talk to the airline when you book your ticket and make reservations for your dog as well to ensure you can travel with him, as most airlines have restrictions on how many animals can travel on their flight at a time.
  3. Make sure your dog’s crate is up to the airline’s weight and size specifications.
  4. Your dog must have a certificate that proves his vaccinations are updated and a certification of health provided by a veterinarian before the flight. The certification must have been given within the last ten days.
  5. Ask questions of both your vet and the airline. Make sure you understand what is too hot and too cold for your dog, and if it is safe for your dog to fly in those conditions. Typically, being exposed to temperatures under 45 degrees Fahrenheit or over 85 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours or more is dangerous to your dog’s health.
  6. If your dog is an anxious traveler, consult with your vet about medications or tranquilizers.

Never medicate your dog without consulting your veterinarian first.

For those in the Pasadena area, we recommend TLC South Pasadena Pet Medical Center.

Phone Number:  (626) 441-8555

Address:  1412 Huntington Drive South Pasadena, CA 91030

Leaving My Dog at Home – Should I Feel Guilty?

If the above seems scary or stressful, we get it. Most of us at My Dog Spot are dog parents as well, and while traveling with our dogs seems ideal on paper, it’s just not realistic for everyone.

Not to mention that many dogs can suffer a great deal of anxiety when it is time to travel.

If you are forced to leave Fido at home this holiday season, don’t worry. There are a number of options for you and your four-legged friend that will help put both of your hearts at ease.

Doggy Daycare Vs Dog Sitters – Which is Better?

Deciding between doggy daycare and pet sitters may seem like a challenge, but really the choice will be up to your dog.

Your dog will do well in doggy daycare if he:

• Is up to date on all of his vaccines

• Is social and friendly

• Is very energetic and excitable

• Loves being around people and other dogs

Your dog will do best with a pet sitter if he:

• Is not completely up to date on his vaccines

• Does best with one on one attention

• Has special needs or is on a certain schedule

• Does not get along well with other dogs or certain people

• Has separation anxiety

• Prefers to be in his own environment

If you are thinking of hiring a pet sitter and if you are in the Los Angeles area, then My Dog Spot is your one-stop shop.

We offer pet stop-ins up to three times a day and provide overnight pet sitting for the pet who does not want to spend the night alone.

Your dog won’t even realize you’re away with his My Dog Spot caregiver keeping him busy.

We offer your dog love, exercise, and training in the comfort of his own home without disrupting his schedule.

To reserve your My Dog Spot caregiver today, email

And to keep your dog happy and busy this holiday season with tons of toys, treats, and other wonderful pet products, visit My Pet Garden, Pasadena’s best place to shop, play and have a spa day!


Deborah L. Wells, PhD, Aromatherapy for Travel-Induced Excitement in Dogs, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Michael J. Dotson, Eva M. Hyatt, J. Dana Clark, Traveling with the Family Dog: Targeting an Emerging Segment, Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management

Renee Bergeron, Shannon L. Scott, Jean-Pierre Emond, Florent Mercier, Nigel J. Cook, Al L. Schaefer, Physiology and Behavior of Dogs During Air Transport, Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research

Jason Michael Smith, Is the Kennel Cough Vaccine Safe for my Dog,

The American Kennel Club, the Complete Guide to Traveling With your Dog,



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