Taking Your Dog on Holiday – 11 Must-know Tips

Taking Your Dog on Holiday

Nothing says “dream holiday” than travelling with someone you love the most – your dog. You can make travelling with your dog a memorable experience or a miserable one, depending on how much you prepare and your overall attitude toward taking your pet along.

For the best time when taking your dog on holiday, pick a pet-friendly hotel, travel sites that welcome dogs, and reputable airlines or public transportation modes. Choose activities you and your dog can enjoy, check for restrictions, and ensure your dog is prepared health and behaviour-wise. 

Keep reading to learn the best tips for going on holiday with your dog.

1.   Research dog-friendly destinations

As much as you want to visit any top travel sites for a holiday, you may be limited by how pet-friendly these places can be.

Before finalising your plans, consider factors impacting your dog’s safety and overall comfort. These include the weather and season and the types of activities you can do with your dog in your travel destination.

In most cases, the countryside can be more dog-friendly than the bustling city. It’s less crowded, has plenty of greens, and relatively safer.

2.   Plan for safe travel

One of the most critical parts of planning a holiday with your dog is getting to your destination. Aside from its logistical nature, you also have to consider how your dog may feel about the mode of transportation.


Travelling via car is the easiest way to bring your dog along for a getaway. For one, your fur baby is closer, easier to monitor, and you’re in control of the stops. However, you must also ensure your dog is comfortable and safe in the car.

Make sure you have items like a dog car seatbelt or harness. Consider putting your dog in a crate or carrier if it can’t sit still. Know more about how to prepare your dog for a road trip when you read our safety tips when travelling with a dog in a car.[1] 


Air travel can be trickier for you and your dog. For one, you’ll need to prepare documents such as a health certificate. Then, you have to ensure your dog feels okay in a dog case or carrier. You also have to prepare food and water, especially if the journey is long.

Before booking a flight, check the airline’s policies on transporting live animals. Check any related reviews about their services as well. The last thing you want is for your dog to be mishandled in the cargo.

Public transportation

Riding a train or bus can be a breeze with smaller dogs since you can put them in a handy carrier. You can even carry the tiny ones in a purse. However, if you’re bringing a large dog, such as a Labrador Retriever, you must ensure that your pet is well-trained. If that’s not the case, consider renting a private car.

3.   Form your itinerary around your dog

Choose activities you can share with your dog as much as possible. Some of the common ones include:

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Camping
  • Visiting national parks
  • Going to vineyards
  • Scenic train rides

If you plan to go to a theme park, check on their website if they have policies concerning bringing pets. The same goes for local tourist spots, restaurants, and store stalls.

4.   Book a hotel or place suitable for dogs

Not all hotels and motels cater to dogs. One of your priorities before taking your dog on holiday is to find a place that welcomes and provides accommodation to pets. Check out amenities like dog-walking areas or the availability of doggie pick-up bags.

If you have the budget and the desire to spoil your dog during a holiday, you can consider hotels with specialised bedding, pet-sitting services, leashes and collars, playrooms, and grooming options.

Pro Tip: Take advantage of apps like Booking.com to find the right hotel when you take your dog on holiday. They provide crucial information, such as whether the hotel is pet-friendly or offers additional services for pet owners.

5.   Check for breed restrictions

Some travel destinations follow strict breed restriction laws. For example, suppose you’re travelling to US states like Florida or Texas. In that case, you will have to follow their breed-specific legislation (BSL) implemented statewide, which regulates public exposure of dog breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Mastiffs, and American Bulldogs.

The BSL was put in place to prevent dog attacks toward humans. But even if your dog’s breed is not restricted, ensure your fur baby is not aggressive or easily riled up. Otherwise, you’ll become stressed instead of relaxed during your time off.

6.   Make sure your dog is trained

Whether it’s doing potty, leash walking, or behaving in public, ensure your dog has been adequately trained. This will make it easier for you to execute your itinerary and keep everyone safe, especially when going to a crowded place.

Pro Tip: Train your pup as early as eight weeks and try to make it a part of their routine. Trained dogs are ideal travel companions. So, if you’ve already known you like to take your dog on holiday, your planning should have already started long before booking everything.

7.   Talk to your vet and prepare health documents

Your dog’s health is a crucial thing to consider before embarking on a trip. Talk to your vet and ensure your dog has no critical conditions that can be aggravated by long travels or a change in environment.

On top of that, secure the necessary vaccinations, especially anti-rabies. Many travel destinations and airlines strictly require a health certificate indicating the said vaccination for dogs. This is also why you should think twice about taking a puppy on holiday, especially unvaccinated ones.

8.   Know the nearest vet in your holiday destination

Even if your dog has pristine health, be extra prepared for untoward illnesses or health concerns by knowing the nearest veterinary clinic in your hotel. You can do this using Google Maps or simply searching online about the nearest vet facility in your travel destination.

9.   Pack essential things your dog needs

Although dog outfits and costumes are always fun to bring around on holiday, don’t sleep on the essential things your dog needs. Bring portable bowls, a carrier or crate, a leash and collar, dog poop bags, a toy or blanket, food, and other pet supplies when going on a trip. Prepare a separate bag or baggage for your dog as if travelling with another person.

10.     Consider getting pet travel insurance

Pet travel insurance, also known as pet taxi or transport insurance, covers any injury, loss, or death of your dog when travelling from one place to another. It’s highly recommended for air travel or via ship, and you can’t check on your dog during the flight or trip.

If your dog gets sick during travel or when there is a mishandling incident, you can rely on your pet travel insurance to cover the vet bills. The best pet travel insurance should cover the basics for the premiums and also offer preventive care at an affordable cost.

Pro Tip: If you’re living in the US, you can go for pet insurance offered by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). In New Zealand, its counterpart SCPA also has tailored premiums for travelling with pets.

11.     Ensure your dog has proper identification

Conventional dog identification tags are a must when you travel. It should contain your mobile number so people can reach you when they find your do.

But also consider microchipping your dog aside from the ID tag. In doing so, a microchip is injected into your dog’s spine, located between the shoulder blades. Scanning the microchip makes identification swifter if your dog gets lost and found.

Talk to your vet about implanting a microchip in your dog. While it’s generally safe, there’s a slight health risk, such as inflammation around the injection site. Nonetheless, it usually goes away on its own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do dogs think of holidays?

Like humans, dogs enjoy holidays too. While they don’t have a clear concept of what it is, they can pick up and mirror their owners’ excitement and relaxed demeanour. Likewise, the quality time you actively spend with them during a holiday is far different from that you do at home.

Do dogs like to travel or stay home?

There’s no exact way to tell whether dogs prefer travelling or staying home. However, most dogs feel more comfortable and less stressed at home because it’s familiar and they’re cared for there. That being said, while taking your dog on holiday is a fantastic idea, don’t undermine the importance of spending time together at home.

Is travelling stressful for dogs?

How your dogs perceive travel depends on factors such as mode of transportation, length of travel, whether they received crate training, etc. For example, some dogs travelling via car do well, but others may exhibit signs of stress like shaking, vomiting, and barking. Travelling via plane can be even worse. That’s why you have to prepare your

Takeaway: Taking your dog on holiday

It’s easy to imagine a fun holiday with your dog the same way they do in movies. But, in reality, it’s much more than basking in the sun near the beach or going on a road trip in an open convertible. For you and your dog to get the most out of your holiday, make sure you plan everything from all the necessary documents, accommodation, itinerary, and transportation.

Elizabeth Dodd

I have a passion for animals and the arts, and I live in the footsteps of the beautiful Waitakere ranges in Auckland, New Zealand. We had animals for as long as I can remember, and I find an endless source of inspiration in them and our beautiful surroundings. Visit my store to see my latest work: https://elizabethannedodd.com/

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