This blog post appears in “Chloe’s Cozy Collection” *
In 2020 we all pretty much stayed home and not a lot of traveling was done, with or without our pets. It was a year of lockdowns and keeping separate and keeping safe.
But 2021 is shaping up to get us all on the road again. Covid vaccinations are just about available for anyone now and the world is opening up again. Hoorah!
This summer could break all records for travel as we’re all so ready to get out and see each other and the big wide world again.
And we’ll want to take our pets with us. Over the last year, we’ve spent more time with them than ever and formed even closer bonds. When we set off on our vacations, getaways, and road trips this summer we’ll want them along for the ride.
Yes, summer travel with your dog is going to be big this year as we can’t imagine doing anything without them now!
Chloe loves to travel and she and sister Laci know how special it is to go with mom and dad wherever they go. Because of this, she wants us to know about some of the dos and don’ts for traveling with pets in summer…she wants us all to have a great time together but most of all she wants us to keep all the pets out there safe as they venture out with us. Thanks, Chloe!
It can all be done in haute couture, too! Chloe has some great suggestions for what she’d take with her. And her store is bursting with everything you need for your little one. Check out her Spring Collection just for starters!
So here it is! Chloe’s checklist for a super, stylish, and safe summer of travel…
1. Get Your Dog Vet-Checked Before You Leave
Before you even think about traveling with your baby, especially if he’s a senior pet, take him to his vet for a check-up and bloodwork. You don’t need a health issue while you’re away from home. If he’s not up to journeying with you this gives you time to make arrangements to leave him at home and rethink the whole idea.
The vet can also administer any out-of-date shots. Some hotels, motels, and most dog-friendly vacation resorts require proof of vaccinations before they allow a pet to check-in. So do doggie daycares and boarding facilities – if you need to drop your little guy off at one while you explore places he can’t go, you’ll need those records.
You might want to ask your vet for a prescription for car sickness while you’re at it. If you haven’t taken your dog in the car on a long journey before do you know if he’ll feel nauseous or not? As almost half of all dog owners say their dog experiences some kind of motion sickness you’d better be prepared.
Note down what to watch out for, too. Before a dog vomits he will probably start licking his lips, drooling, and even shaking. If you see any of that body language you better act fast!
2. Checklist For Summer Travel With Your Dog
Probably the best thing you can do to make sure nothing gets forgotten is to make a list! You’ve no doubt already got one for you and the kids so just extend it to include all the things you’ll need for your pet. Here are some ideas for the list:
- Car seat – Chloe’s got some great new choices. See below!
- Bed – here’s a great one for him that would be easy to pack and make him feel like a prince while he’s away! He never has to stop feeling special. The pink and black one is one of Princess Chloe’s favorites and one that she would definitely want on a trip.
- Favorite blanket
- Cuddle toys and chew toys – Chloe has many cuddly toys to choose from. She says she’d like to take these along because of the travel theme! And why not!
- Food – pack extra in case you are delayed getting back home.
- Water (and add to the note here that you need to make some available in the car in case he gets a little dehydrated on the journey).
- Bowls – this food and water set is splash and spill-proof so a great option for when you’re in a hotel room or friend’s house and you don’t want your pup to make a mess!
- Travel crate and/or carrier – this is Chloe’s favorite.
- Poop bags – these Earth Rated ones are good for the environment as the plastic has an additive in it that helps it to break down!
- Pee pads
- Collar with ID tags, leash, harness. Why not get him a new set for the vacation? This one is Dior-inspired! It’s gorgeous!
- Thundershirt or calming supplements (if he’s scared of summer thunderstorms or if he’ll hear fireworks).
- A selection of all-weather clothes for windy or rainy days. This windbreaker set is perfect for riding in the car with the top down or a quick pee break in the rain.
- Shot records
- Recent photos of your pet (to help people find him in case he gets lost).
- Medications – even if he isn’t on meds he made need something for anxiety (leaving his home environment), car sickness, and diarrhea.
- First aid kits such as this one suggested by the AKC. There are also several ready-made kits that you can buy from Amazon, such as this one.
3. Never Leave Your Dog Alone In The Car
Chloe wanted this point to be high on the list because it is soooo important. It’s imperative that you don’t leave your dog in a hot car in the summer – even if you park in the shade or have your windows cracked open. It’s a complete no-no.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) says that: “On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Even if you’re certain of your timing, you can get held up and in just 30 minutes you could return to a 120-degree car and a pet suffering irreversible organ damage or death.”
If you have two sets of keys and can leave your AC running you might be ok for a short while but even that is fraught with danger. What if your AC failed? What if someone saw your pet in the car and called the police because they couldn’t tell the AC was running? What if they broke the window to get him out? What if they broke the window and stole him? Is it worth it? Chloe says: “No, don’t do it!” I think we all have to agree.
HSUS has this great information, too. If you see a pet left inside a hot car take these steps to help them. They also want you to spread the word about the dangers of leaving pets in a hot car by printing their Hot Car Flyer, posting it in public places, and sharing it with your friends, family, and coworkers. Now that’s a GREAT idea!
4. ID Tags And Microchips Need To Be Current
Even though you’ll always keep him close by your side while you’re out and about, accidents can happen, especially getting in and out of the car. If your baby got loose and you lost track of him having a collar with up-to-date ID tags and a microchip makes the chances of getting him back a whole lot better. Tips:
- The phone number connected to them should be the cell phone you have with you.
- If you’re vacationing in one place you can even attach a temporary ID tag, too, with the contact details of where you’re staying.
- If his old ID tags are faded and scratched, make new ones before you go.
- Microchips are good in case his collar comes off. Most people who find a dog without tags will take it to a vet to see if it has a chip. Make sure your subscription is current and that the phone number is your cell.
5. Safe Not Sorry
Dog seats, safety harnesses, or crates keep your pet safe in your car while you travel. Yet only 16% of pet parents use them! Chloe says don’t be one of the 84% that don’t. She’s pretty serious about this and is excited to share the fact that she has two fabulous new designer-inspired dog seats in her collection. Nothing wrong with riding in style! The Louis Vuitton-inspired seat also comes in pink and the red one is Gucci-inspired.
Taking these safety measures if you suddenly had to slam on your brakes or you were hit by another car your baby would stay in place – it could most definitely save his life.
And there’s a bonus. When he’s nicely strapped into his seat he can’t stick his head out of the car if the window is down. Lots of dogs love to do this but the ASPCA wants you to know that this could cause damage to a dog’s ears, his eyes could be hurt by flying debris, he could get a lung infection, or he could even fall out of the car. Yikes, no one wants any of that!
Pets will also feel safer in their seat, harness, or crate as they’re not being moved around by the motion of the car. And more likely to fall asleep while the miles fly by.
If you’ve not used restraints before, make an effort to take a couple of small trips with him in the car using your preferred method of protection. If he’s experienced it once or twice on short trips, he won’t be so scared or suspicious of it right at the moment you’re ready to set out. Use his favorite treats to reward him for being a good boy in the new set-up.
Let’s keep summer travel with your dog as safe as we possibly can.
6. Be Prepared For Pet Emergencies
In addition to carrying a copy of your dog’s shot records and a list of his medications, if he’s taking any, make a note of where you can find animal hospitals or emergency clinics along your route of travel and at your final destination. You’ll be in a panic if he gets sick or hurt and having this information will take some of the stress out.
Do you have pet insurance? It might be good to get some before you go if you don’t. Accidents and illnesses are expensive to treat and he may be more prone to them out of his normal environment and having new adventures. It will serve you for the rest of the year, too, of course.
7. Where Can I Go On Vacation With My Dog?
Whether you’ll be staying in hotels, motels, campsites, RV parks, or resorts, don’t get caught out at check-in when they tell you they don’t allow pets! Your dog might be dressed and ready to go (like this one in his Gucci travel outfit) but will he be welcome? The following websites will help you get going:
On top of those, most accommodation-booking sites have filters that allow you to search for pet-friendly digs. It just takes a bit of planning but there are some great options out there. A big part of the fun of taking your best friend with you on vacation is perusing these sites and getting excited about where you can stay, restaurants you can eat at, and what you can all do together. When can we go?
Four more points on accommodation and go or no-go places for dogs…
Firstly, if you’re going to be staying with family or friends on the trip, make sure it’s ok with them if you bring Fido along. You never know…they might not like dogs, they might have someone in the family who’s allergic to them, or they might have an aggressive dog or cat in their home. Always ask!
Secondly, for those times such as going out to dinner when you’ll be leaving your dog alone in your room, make sure to unpack his crate or playpen for him to rest in while you’re absent. And try not to leave him for too long as he might get anxious in a new place when he’s left. If he’s in his safe space he can’t have a potty accident, he’s less likely to bark and annoy neighbors, and he can’t chew or damage anything. Make sure to exercise him before you go so he can potty and be tired enough to settle down and sleep.
Thirdly, be aware of local rules on where you can and can’t take your dog. Look up local dog parks for exercise and fun but if you want to take him to the beach is he allowed on it? Some towns and cities are much pet-friendlier than others. Look for places where restaurants, cafes, and parks welcome both you AND your pet.
And lastly, if you want to follow the call of the wild and camp in national and state parks, know what their rules are for pets ahead of booking. They are bound to require that he’s leashed for hiking but there could be other rules you need to be aware of. A little planning goes a long way. Don’t forget a collapsible water bowl and water for hydration. He needs it as much as you.
8. Natural Help For Nervous Nellies
Many pets can get anxious in cars. If your dog isn’t used to road trips take him out for some short drives before you take him on the big one. If he doesn’t do well you should consider natural calming remedies to make him feel more comfortable.
A Thundershirt is an excellent way to quell nerves, you might want to put one on him right at the start of the journey to get him off on the right note. Yes, they are better known for helping with storm fears and fireworks, but they also help ease most other types of anxiety.
In addition, good quality, natural calming supplements abound. Try a few different ones to see if one brand works better than another. Zesty Paws and Springtime are companies that put out great products. There are so many more.
But the mack daddy of all has to be CBD oil. That subject is a whole blog post in itself but a few reputable companies include Source, Nuleaf Naturals, and CTFO. And Honest Paws just brought out a product called Calm Peanut Butter. If you have trouble medicating your dog this might be a great answer.
9. A Tired Dog Is A Happy One
Unless you have a senior pet that doesn’t need a lot of exercise you’ll need to plan plenty of stops on your journey, not just so he can go potty but also so he can stretch his legs and get some romp and playtime in. Have his favorite ball and a couple of toys on hand in the car with you to get the games going quickly. He’ll love every minute of it!
Having fun with Fido is what your trip is all about so look for rest stops for you that might be near a dog park for him. Check out local parks with walking trails that you can visit along the way. You’ll be slower getting to your destination but you’ll find some beautiful places that you’d have missed otherwise. Summer travel with your dog is not all about how fast you get there that’s for sure!
A well-exercised dog is a much-more content one. After each walk or play break, he’ll be calm and ready to settle down for the next leg of the journey. Remember to ALWAYS keep your dog on a leash no matter where you stop. And that is non-negotiable says Chloe!
10. Does Your Dog Need A Diaper?
As with people, dogs often get incontinent as they age. Puppies sometimes get so excited they pee themselves! And you don’t need any of that in the car. Even with all the stops you’ve got planned accidents can still happen.
If you’ve never thought of it before, there are such things as doggie diapers for girls and belly bands for boys that prevent those mishaps from happening. They’re also a great idea for while you’re in someone else’s house or hotel-type accommodation. They certainly offer peace of mind and are well worth considering.
11. Planes, Trains, And Anything But Automobiles…
Most of us would only ever consider taking our precious babies with us on vacation in a car. And for good reason. Other modes of transport present us with a lot more challenges and much less freedom for our four-legged friends. Let’s take a quick look at why.
Can Dogs Fly In The Summer? Yes…But It’s Not Recommended
Air travel is dangerous for pets at any time but especially in summer. Chloe would like to say this about taking your dog on a plane…unless they are small enough to fit in a carrier that goes under your seat don’t do it! If they can’t go inside the cabin they go in the cargo hold. They can be exposed to very hot or cold temperatures, given very poor ventilation, subjected to rough handling, and even lost. It’s highly stressful for them and many die in the process.
Dogs have even died inside the cabin – a French Bulldog puppy once suffocated after a flight attendant ordered the dog’s owner to put the puppy’s carrier in an overhead bin.
It’s not worth the risk when we can so easily plan great trips in the car.
All At Sea…Or Not!
Few cruise lines and ships will allow your pet onboard unless it’s a service dog. Some pets are allowed on ocean crossings, but they’re mostly confined to kennels for the whole journey. Doesn’t sound like a vacation to Chloe so we’re taking boats off our list of great pet vacations, too. Now, if you know someone who owns a boat and welcomes pets…that could be fun!
There used to be one great exception but the QE2 luxury liner has now retired from service. The magnificent ship named after Queen Elizabeth II used to sail across the Atlantic from New York to England and provided special lodging and food for its canine passengers. As those days are gone, so is any hope of taking your pets out to sea!
What About Trains and Buses?
Amtrak now allows small dogs and cats up to 20lb to ride with their moms and dads but they have to remain in their carrier under their seat for the entire journey. See this Amtrak blog post for details. All service dogs are allowed. For smaller railroad companies you need to call to check.
Buses are even more challenging. Greyhound and similar interstate companies do not allow pets of any kind except for service dogs. Again, smaller bus companies need to be contacted individually.
Yep, folks, for summer travel with your dog, cars are the only really good option for you and your bestie!
12. Home Sweet Home
We also have to consider when is it best to simply leave a pet at home? If your dog won’t enjoy his vacation as much as you will maybe he shouldn’t be along for the ride? Not all dogs are up for adventure. They thrive on routine and being home. These wouldn’t make the best travel mates.
What if he’s old? What if he’s not in great health? What if he hates cars or gets carsick? Don’t take him along just to keep you happy, think about his needs and if necessary arrange to leave him with a family member, trusted friend, professional pet-sitter, or trusted boarding facility. Your dog will miss you terribly but if one of you is miserable what kind of vacation is that?
An alternative would be to plan a “stay-cation” and do something fun daily with him that’s close to home. You could spend some prep time looking in your area to see what he might like to do. That way you can spend quality time with your furbaby but then if you want to go shopping or visit a museum he can be left at home where he feels safe and comfortable.
Remember that dogs love routine. Even when you travel with him you should feed him at the same time every day, walk him at the same time, and give him lots of attention. If this can’t be achieved, and especially if he’ll be inside your hotel room most of the time on his own, think again.
13. Summer Travel Done In Style
Yes, some babies are better kept at home but if yours would love to go with you, and you’ve taken all the safety precautions, there’s nothing to stop you from driving off into the sunset with your furbaby by your side. Get out there and have some summer fun!
And as you venture into the world together spoil him with some new duds. How about a bandana? A Chanel-inspired harness jacket? A Fendi-inspired backpack?
Some cool booties for hot pavements and thorns? Or a new outfit for taking photos in (Chloe has taken several selfies in this one already)?
In Chloe’s Cozy Collection you’ll find other great accessories for travel, too. Look for hats, comfy coats or Ts, and toys galore to make him feel special – and most definitely the best-dressed dog on the road!
P.S. Chloe says don’t forget to share this post with your friends so they can benefit from it, too. And she would LOVE to see photos of all her fans out and about with their families this summer. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and you never know, later this year she might just pick out a favorite or two and reward some lucky dogs with a surprise gift! Better still, get a friend to email one of their photos in as well and both get a prize!
Wendy Hollandsworth, Dog Copywriter
- *Chloe’s Cozy Collection recently closed its doors. So sad.