Is it a good idea to travel with your dog? Here are 4 things to consider before traveling

Traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences a human can have. For dogs, this experience can also be enriching and it can strengthen the bond between human and canines.

Going on a voyage with your pup can take many forms, perhaps a car ride to the countryside where you can kayak on a lake, or a ferry ride to a nearby island for a sunny holiday.

As the world becomes more pet friendly, it’s getting even easier to take your dog with you on an adventure.

But one of the questions that dog parents should ask themselves before taking their dog with them on a trip is ‘should I take my dog traveling?’

Before you decide to take your dog traveling, consider some factors and think about whether it’s a good idea to bring them along. Is your dog healthy? Is your dog trained and socialized?

Let’s have a closer look at some of these factors.

1. Is your dog sick or injured?

 While this shouldn’t automatically discourage you from traveling, it can definitely be an influential issue.

If your dog suffers from a chronic illness and you want to take them on a trip somewhere, it’s important to visit a vet beforehand and see if they are able to do so without worsening their condition.

It’s understandable that you want to give your dog the best life and share an experience with them, but do make sure that if they do have a condition that they are receiving treatment for it and they would be able to manage their condition while away.

If your dog has a chronic injury, and you decide to bring them on a trip somewhere, you should ensure that you bring along all of their necessary medicines to help alleviate their pain and make sure they are as comfortable as possible. This includes bringing any special bedding they may require, braces, pads or other tools that you may have for their well-being.

For example, Rocky is now nearing 15 years old and suffers from osteoarthritis, so we do not travel as before. However, recently we did a 3-day trip to Key West in Florida and drove down. I made sure to bring all his medicines, supplements and his wagon in case he was struggling to move. Overall, he seemed to really enjoy all the sniffs, meeting chickens and cats while on this holiday.

You would be the best judge to gauge whether or not your dog would be up for a little adventure if they suffer from a chronic condition.

Now if your dog has an acute injury or illness, it’s probably best to wait until they are recovered to go on that trip. Both of you would enjoy it much better once the dog is healed.

If your dog is sick or injured, hikes are out of the question until they can heal or their pain is managed (image: Pexels)

2. Is your dog socialised?

Taking a dog on a trip somewhere likely means you will run into people, as well as potentially other animals. How well does your dog behave around other people, including children, babies, older people and disabled people?

If your dog doesn’t behave well around people in general, then ensure they are well trained before taking them somewhere public. Before going on an adventures, visit your local shopping plazas, parks or a public square and see how they react to people.

If your dog jumps or barks at children or babies, or misbehaves around disabled or elderly people,  then it’s probably not a good idea to take them to a big bustling city where a situation like this can happen.

Now, if your dog is not quite well socialised yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t take them traveling, it just means you might have to take them somewhere more remote, or you have to have them under extreme close watch to prevent any incidents from happening.

What about other dogs and any animals? It’s a bit easier to avoid situations if your dog is reactive toward dogs and animals than it is if your dog is reactive toward people.

For a while, Rocky was not friendly toward other dogs. He loves people and was always friendly and happy around children and babies. But dogs were an entirely different story, so when I travelled I was always aware of my surroundings and if I saw a dog, we kept our distance.

But funny enough, traveling helped solve this dog reactive behaviour for us. We temporarily lived in Barcelona, a city full of dogs. Everywhere we went he was around dogs and eventually he warmed up to them and started to play with them, completely changing his behaviour. Prior to this, we tried training, which didn’t really work.

Of course, all dogs are different, so it’s better to see a specialist if this behaviour holds you and your dog back from traveling.

But overall, it’s a good idea to be sure your dog is socialised with people and other dogs (and animals) before embarking on your travels. You will enjoy it more and be less stressed and of course, be sure that your dog is on a leash, unless it’s a leash-free park.

 3. Is your dog toilet trained?

If your dog is house trained then that’s a good first step in ticking off the checklist to make sure your canine pal is ready for travel. I should have probably put this first on the list.

Taking a dog traveling will expose them to numerous different environments. They could be traveling in a car, ferry, plane, subway or a campervan. But the last thing anyone wants is an unfortunate accident. Of course, accidents do happen, but if your dog has a habit of doing their business inside and not outside due to not being trained, then you should reconsider taking them traveling until they learn how.

Imagine how difficult it would be for the both of you if you have to constantly worry about your dog doing their business if you’re traveling and manage to visit a dog friendly shop, café or restaurant. So it’s best to hold off if these are concerns until you can figure out how to manage their toilet business together.

Outdoor adventures may work better for some dogs rather than city escapes (image: Pexels)
  1. Is your dog an anxious dog?

Another question that you should ask yourself is if your dog is too anxious to travel or has other types of behavioural issues that can make it difficult. Again, you can always attempt an adventure to a nearby outdoors location and see how they behave, but if they do have some sort of anxiety or another issue, then it’s best to consult a vet and see what they can do to help.

The top things to consider before traveling is whether your dog would be safe and comfortable and would they cause issues to the people around you when you are out and about.

Only you can answer that question and ultimately it’s up to you whether you think you can take your dog traveling. The last thing you want to do is drag them along when they would prefer to be at home.


  1. As you know I cannot even take my dog on the bus. Not allowed, this is affecting my mental health , my husband had had a stroke she is my only companion.

    1. Sorry to hear, I hope you can figure out a way to take your dog on a bus and hope everything gets better

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