Tips for Traveling with Rover

From Arlington, Va to Portland, Or, and all points in between… the nation is becoming more and more dog friendly. With the opening of places to hang with your hound becoming more common, most proud pup owners are no longer afraid to pack a bag for their beagle and head out to cities or wide open spaces. We’re not talking about an overnight trip to Aunt Jenny’s, we’re talking about an actual “on the road again” week long vacation that requires planning, packing, and paying for all the things that make seeing the sights and living your time off right. The question is HOW do I best take road trip with Toto?

Car, boat, train or plane… #FreddieSez, it’s not hard if you plan ahead.

Where can I go with my Weimaraner?

As we mentioned, Dog Friendly is in style and growing wild across the country. You’ll find most cities have opened their borders to dogs and are passing ordinances and making efforts to draw traveling dog owners to their towns. Once a West Coast uprising, with places like San Francisco and San Diego leading the charge to welcome dogs of all breeds, you now see names like Madison Wis, Pittsburgh Pa, Chicago, and Cincinnati Oh, on the list of the most dog friendly spots for your four legged tots. Dog Friendly is big business and attracts humans and their money. Pet related commerce brings in the cash, so cities are getting wise to the prize of becoming dog friendly.

Here are links to two different sites that look at two different measurements:

SmartAsset (a company that advises on budgets and spending tips) surveyed the 97 largest cities in the country and found the 25 most dog friendly from that list. They based their findings on key indicators like the number of dog parks, dog friendly eateries, most locations to shop with your dog, and the pet stores/veterinarian locations.
Most Dog-Friendly Cities in America – 2022 Edition – SmartAsset

The Daily Paws created a list of the top 20 vacation spots for you and your dog. Their list is Nation-wide and full of destination locations that are heavy with dog friendly dining spots, hiking trails that allow wagging tails, campground that love hounds, parks that are open to barks, hotels that keep the light on for Bichon, and just overall fun places to hang out with your furry friend.
20 Top Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations (

That’s not to say that you can’t take your dog with you on most any trip these days. Just be sure to research the area and find those dog friendly spaces. How fun would it be for your dog to travel a long way just to stay in a hotel room while you were out having a blast without them?

How Do I Travel with my Dog?

The skies the limit, so to speak. Take a car, take a plane, take a boat, or take a bus, heck… in today’s pet friendly nation, you can even bike coast to coast with your fur buddy. The options are limitless, as long as you know and obey the rules to traveling with your pet. We’ve created this list of “you gotta know this” tips for all the major types of transportation modes…

Flying the Friendly Skies with Freddie

Let’s start by saying that choosing to take a plane can take an emotional, mental, and physical toll on your dog, so consider your dog and their temperament before you decide to take to the air with your four legged luggage. The airport is a weird place for humans, imagine the sights, smells and emotions that lurk in an airport terminal. Crowds of people, all of them WANTING TO TOUCH YOUR DOG! You’ve brought your dog’s dander and bathroom habits into a mega-crowded place, a place where everyone does not share the same love for your fur child that you have. Change in diet on a trip (more people food), stress, the strange sounds of the plane, the requirement to be caged or sit still for long periods, all these things can impact your dogs mood OR their digestive system. Here is a quick list of things to consider before you travel on a flight with Fido.

  • See your vet for a wellness exam – Schedule a wellness checkup 7 to 10 days in advance of the flight. Assure your vaccines and booster are up to date, and have the paperwork to prove it all. In the unlikely chance that your dog bites someone, having a proof of a recent rabies booster can save you time or save your dogs life.

  • Travel with your dogs meds – Take everything you’ll need in the area of medications for your dog. Pack it in your carry on, if possible, and make sure you have a picture of the Rx on your phone and that the bottles are well labeled. We also suggest taking a dose of your flea/tick/heartworm medications along, especially if you are hiking or planning on taking in a dog park or two once you land.

  • You might need to give a sedative – How does your dog handle stress? Will they need a calming collar, an anti-stress shirt, their favorite toy, or some medication to relax them. If you choose to give your dog a pill, you’ll need to do a test run using the med before you fly. Having a side effect or adverse reaction during a flight would be a disaster for everyone involved.

  • Consider the breed before your fly – short nosed breeds have breathing issues already, a sudden change in pressure, humidity, temperature, or surroundings can cause a bout of anxiety.

  • Don’t feed your dog for 6 to 8 hours before your flight – This keeps your dog from having “a live round in the chamber” during your flight. Also, used bottled water instead of tap. Changing water can bring on the loose stool, so use a filtered and reliable bottled source.

  • Consider a belly band, diapers or other method to contain the wee-wee – A dogs gotta go when a dogs gotta go. Make sure you’re pee ready with some form of control.

  • Make sure the carry on container for your dog meets airline regulations BEFORE you attempt to board – The bag would be no longer than 18” and not taller than 11” to meet most requirements. You also need to assure there is ample visibility of the outside world and more than one access point for you to get to your dog with pets and love.

Most airlines will allow a dog who weighs less than 20 lbs in the planes cabin. Over that weight limit may require your dog to fly as cargo. This opens a whole new set of issues and concerns. It’s a lonely and scary flight in the belly of the plane without your parents. The noises alone would be awful, but if you consider the smells and fear in the air from other animals, not to mention the changing pressures and temperatures, it’s a horrible shock to a dogs system.

Also consider your dogs temperament… are they ready to ride for a couple hours in a cabin with strangers… and maybe other dogs? Not every dog is a furry Charles Lindbergh, so don’t force it or everyone might be sorry. If you think a crying baby is bad, imagine an angry or out of control dog at cruising altitude.

Keep in mind that emotional support dog will likely NOT be able to fly in the cabin on a domestic flight. SERVICE DOGS are still welcomed, with the proper paperwork presented.

Here’s a list of 21 breeds that have clearance to fly in the cabin of a plane. If your dog is not on that list, call ahead… 21 Dog Breeds That Can Fly in Cabin [2023] – Pets That Travel

TRAINing your Dog to Travel by Rail

AmTrak say that your dog can ride the rail if they meet certain requirements…

  • Must be under 20 lbs (this weight includes the pet and the carrier)

  • Trip by rail must be under 7 hours travel time

  • Only 5 pets per train (so make your reservations in advance)

  • One dog per customer (you can’t bring the entire pack)

  • They can’t board without a ticket (expect a fee for your dog to travel by rail)

  • You’ll have to travel coach, as no dogs in first class or the dining area lounge

Many of the same considerations are in place for your dog to travel by train as are in place for air travel. Be as prepared as possible and consider those around you, the pet, and their health. AmTrack gives full details of the requirements, fees and process at this link; Pets on Amtrak

Cruising with a Canine

Did you know that some dogs can even go on a cruise with you. The rules are more strict and there are an entirely different set of considerations when your out at sea. Here is a short list of things to think about before you decide to boat with your barker;

  • The list of cruises is VERY limited. So be sure and plan well in advance of your vacation.

  • Have your shots up to date, along with a letter of good health from your vet stating such.

  • Be sure your dog is chipped and tagged.

  • Your dog can’t be younger than 6 months.

  • When out of your cabin, the dog MUST be on a non-retractable leash.

  • Non-aggressive dogs ONLY.

  • Consider where and how they will poop and pee. YOU are 100% accountable and responsible for cleanup.

  • Most cruise vessels will require the dog be a service animal with documentation proving their status as a such.

Here is a list of cruises and their stance on pets Are Dogs Allowed on Cruise Ships? – BringFido

Automobiling with your Airedale

It seems like a no brain-er. Dogs travel by car all the time, right? Well, taking  them on a longer trip, one that lasts several days and nights, is a bit more complicated than a trip to the local pet store. Here is a short list of things to consider…

Lock ‘em down – safety is job one for you on these long trips. Get an in car restraint system that works with your vehicles belt system, or a carrier that meets safety requirements for travel. Remember, if you slam on your breaks or are in an accident while traveling at 55mph, the space inside the cabin continues to travel at 55mph for a short time after the impact. A loose dog has no breaks, and becomes airborne quickly. This does not end well for the dog, so buckle them down while you drive.

  • Carry Extras of EVERYTHING – Extra harness, leash, collar, treats, poop bags, wipes, clothes (if your dog is a fashionista). Be OVER prepared, as accidents will happen along the way.

  • Have Medical Records – Keep a record of medications prescribed, shot record, vet name and number, and a written list of preexisting conditions… all of this on your phone or in an easy to access written form. If something happens, you’ll need to have this quickly.

  • Bottled Water – as we discussed earlier, a change in water can be disastrous for a dogs insides. Pure and filtered bottled water is the way to go. Have travel bowl, ladle, or some delivery method that is easy to access and use in the car.

  • Get Rover Road Ready – Take them on longer drives and reward their good behavior while out. If you prepare them for long sessions in the car by driving around your home base, you’ll know if they are prone to car sickness, hate being in the car, cry if restrained, or any other bug-a-boo’s about their travel habits.

  • Plan meal time and keep them on a schedule – feed on the stomach clock, not the time on your phone. Your dog will want to eat at their normal time, regardless what time it is where you are. DO NOT feed in a moving car, find a friendly place to feed, walk, and evacuate outside the vehicle. Also, look for warning signs of poop or pee ahead. You know that your dog sounds like if they have to go… don’t make them wait or they may surprise you with an unwanted gift.

  • Limit people food – nothing brings up the loose stool than an overload of people scraps. Don’t make the mistake of “treating” your dog to a fast food meal… it could mess up their guts for awhile.

  • Consider the heat in the car – dogs feel the heat differently. They will heat up faster, so keep an eye on the inside temp and DO NOT leave them in the car while you dine or shop. It’s not  fair or safe to just leave them in a hot car alone.

As a bonus, here are a couple links that might help you on your journey. We’ve included everything from hotels, restaurant chains, veterinarians, sites to see, and a quick locator for both PetSmart and Petco (in case you need supplies or just a place to walk around with your dog)

That’s a huge amount of information in our A.B.C. guide to traveling with your D-O-G. We certainly hope it included information that you’ll find valuable and useful in your travels on the road with Rover. Face it, the nation is going dog friendly… so why not take advantage of spots that welcome you and your dog from sea to shining sea?

That’s it for this week’s Dog Blog from Freddie Central. If you like what you read, be sure to check out our archive of past blogs that are filled with information and fun about pets and their owners. Till we meet next week… be safe, have fun, love each other, and above all, be Pet Friendly! #FreddieSez