8 Ways to Prepare to Travel with Your Dog Long-Term

If you want to travel with your dog long-term, preparing them for the trip can help reduce stress and anxiety. Preparation can nip potential problems in the bud, ensuring a hiccup-free journey for both you and your furry friend.

Have you ever dreamt of hitting the open road or flying to exotic destinations with your loyal canine companion? Imagine the two of you enjoying stress-free adventures without car sickness, plane anxiety, or behavioral problems. The secret? Adequate planning and preparing to travel with your dog. Let’s explore how to ensure a smooth and delightful journey for you and your pup.

1. Take Your Dog on More Frequent Car Rides

If you don’t normally travel with your dog in the car, a long road trip could be overwhelming. Start with short, frequent rides to help them acclimate. This will familiarize them with the motion and environment of a vehicle. These rides also offer an excellent opportunity to spot and rectify behavioral issues like anxiety, reactivity, or bad manners. And if you’re traveling in an RV or a trailer, the same principle applies.

Here’s a helpful tip: to desensitize them from the excitement of stops, practice several stop-and-go trips without necessarily letting them out. This helps reduce their stress levels whenever you slow down or park.

2. Take a Weekend Trip

Before setting out on a long journey, consider a short weekend getaway. Book a local hotel and see how your dog reacts to this new setting. This short trip can provide insights into potential challenges and give you a chance to address them. For instance, some dogs might be anxious because of the unfamiliar sounds and smells of a new place.

3. Pack the Essentials

When it comes to essentials, always keep a checklist. This becomes especially handy if you’re using the weekend trip as a rehearsal for long-term travel with your dog. If you miss out on anything, update your list so that the same oversight doesn’t happen on the main trip.

4. Scope Out Pet Stores Along Your Route

Planning is crucial when you’re on the move. Knowing where pet stores are along your route can be a lifesaver in case you need food, medication, or other necessities. Additionally, being able to get supplies on the road means you don’t need to overpack.

5. Ensure Your Dog is Up to Date on All Necessary Vaccinations

Traveling often means exposing your dog to new environments and potential health risks. Different states or countries might have specific vaccination requirements. Research these well and ensure your dog is up to date.

6. Crate Train Your Dog

The crate is more than just a confinement tool for some dogs—it can be a sanctuary. When crate-trained properly, dogs view it as their safe space, especially in unfamiliar settings like during travel. If your dog is new to one, start the training process. What’s more, crates are vital in ensuring safety when you travel with your dog, whether on the road or catching a flight.

7. Book a Short Flight

Air travel is unlike anything your dog will have experienced, and being in an airplane — the sounds, the sensations, and the environment — can be overwhelming. Consider starting with a shorter journey instead of diving straight into a long-haul flight. This allows your dog to gradually adjust to the experience of flying.

8. Brush up on Your Obedience Training

A well-behaved pup is a pleasure at home and a boon when you travel with your dog. Basic obedience can make a huge difference, ensuring smoother interactions at rest stops, hotels, and other public places. Depending on your dog’s needs, consider various training methods, such as group sessions or personalized private lessons.


Ashley is a dog blogger with over a decade of professional experience working with dogs. She enjoys writing articles for her blog, Meraki Dogs, to help educate pet parents and participates in dog sports in her free time.

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