When you travel, there’s a lot of things to take into consideration — from where to go to how long you’ll be gone to if you’ll travel solo or with others. And if you have a small pet — like a cat or dog — that you want to bring along, you’ll need to plan accordingly for them, too, making sure that your destination will be pet-friendly. But if your pet’s not that little, you may wonder how people travel with big dogs.
“One of the biggest challenges owners often experience when traveling with a large dog concerns exercise,” Ben Team, senior content editor for K9ofMine.com, tells Bustle. “Dogs — particularly big dogs — will often get a touch of cabin fever when kept in a vehicle for long periods of time.” He says the same goes for other contained spaces, such as an RV or boat. “So be sure to make time for frequent stops, and let your pup get out and stretch their legs,” he says. “Just be sure that you keep your dog leashed unless you are in an enclosed area.” He also suggests reviewing your intended route and looking for good places for these leg-stretching sessions, such as public parks and rest areas.
Preparation Is Key
Team also says to make sure you’re prepared for the trip as much as possible. “It’s obviously important to bring along plenty of water, food, snacks, and a favorite toy or two, but it is also important to make sure your dog has ID tags (with current contact info),” he says. “In fact, the best option is to fit your dog with a GPS tracking collar, so that you can find your pooch again if you become separated while traveling.”
As far as flying with your big dog, Team says it’s tough, and many airlines have size restrictions in place, so you’ll need to purchase an approved crate for your dog. “Accordingly, it is generally much easier to travel via vehicle when bringing a dog along for the journey,” he says. Speaking of which, using a dog harness and keeping your dog buckled in — or secured in a crash-tested crate — is recommended. And, with the sunny weather, dogs become sick or die each year when left in hot cars, he adds. “Owners must be sure to keep their canine’s comfort in mind when setting off to travel,” he says. “There are a variety of products that can help keep dogs safe and cool while traveling, such as window shades and cooling mats.” If you’re looking for more tips on how to travel with a big dog — whether it’s by vehicle, plane, or even by boat — below, 17 pet owners share how they do it.