Nine Things No One Ever Tells You About Traveling With Dogs

french bulldog traveling
Photo by Dr. Patty Khuly
Vincent, the French Bulldog, all tuckered out from traveling.

As a veterinarian with 20-plus years of experience roaming the States with pets in tow, you’d think I’d have the traveling thing down. Yet every single time I take my pets anywhere outside my hometown in South Florida, I’m forced to confront some new (and often annoying) aspect of pet travel I’d somehow missed during the 50-plus trips that preceded it. My last expedition serves as a perfect example:

I flew from Miami to Arizona with my French Bulldog, Vincent, for a speaking engagement.

After spending the night at a fancy pet-friendly resort, we flew to Washington, D.C., where Vincent and I met up with my significant other and our Belgian Malinois pup, Violet. They’d just driven up from Miami to help me enjoy three days of BlogPaws, a social media conference for the pet set. There we spent our nights in a ninth-floor hotel room (near the elevator, thank God) and our days in a conference booth promoting my Fat Dog Diet iPhone app.

After the conference, we shared a leisurely drive back to Miami with Vincent and Violet sleeping peacefully (mostly, anyway) in the back of my SUV.

As a mixed media marathon experience in pet travel, this particular trip was extra-illuminating on the things-I-never-knew-about-pet-travel front. After all, it’s only fair for you to learn about the things no one ever talks about in all those supremely unhelpful pet travel websites.

A Few Tips From the Road Weary

So here it is, fodder for your upcoming summer travels:

1. The first time is always the worst. So always plan a short trip first. I know plenty of people who refuse to travel with their pets after having suffered a stressful time their first time out. But that’s only to be expected. As long as it wasn’t a complete fiasco and your dog has a generally sound temperament, it’s probably a good idea to try again. Just be sure to make it a shorter trip the next time out, and stop somewhere fun, like the dog park.

2. Traveling with a puppy is a double-edged sword. As you might expect, puppies can make for some tough traveling experiences. Consider: separation anxiety, housebreaking issues and all that chewing! Despite the drawbacks, traveling with a pup offers plenty to recommend it. After all, how best to socialize a pet to the rigors of travel than to expose her to them early?

(Just be sure to bring along a powerful array of floor cleaners!)


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