Traveling with dogs requires advance planning

IRVINE—Each year millions of Americans travel with their dogs – and discover that bringing along Fluffy or Rover is not as simple as just jumping in the car or plane and heading off. Advance planning is a must for ensuring the family vacation is safe and enjoyable for all.

Following are seven important tips for traveling with your dog:

1. Visit Your Vet: Make sure your pet is in good enough health to travel. Get up to date on any necessary vaccinations. Ask for a referral to a veterinarian in the destination area, and keep this contact information with you.

2. Find Pet-Friendly Lodgings: Visit one of the many pet travel Web sites (such as or to find an appropriate hotel.

3. Purchase a Carrier for Air Travel: Be sure it is big enough so that your dog can stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. Spend several weeks before your vacation getting your dog accustomed to the carrier. And remember: Never sedate your dog for air travel, as high altitudes and sedatives are a dangerous combination.

4. Use a Harness in the Car: Dogs need “seatbelts,” too! To help prevent injury in case of an accident, always use a specially designed seatbelt-like harness.

5. Avoid Heatstroke: Don’t leave your dog in a hot car—even for a short time.

6. Pack for Your Pet: Your dog’s travel bag should include a leash and collar, food, food and water bowls, medication, toys, treats, waste removal bags, brush, and anything else you feel will make the trip more enjoyable for your pet.

7. Bring Water: Dogs need access to water at all times. A portable pet water bowl, such as the Water Rover (available at, is ideal for travel.

From the Nov. 16-22, 2005, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!