Traveling With a Dog: Do I Take Him With Me or Leave Him at Home?

To Take or Not to Take? That is the question!

When you are planning a trip out of town there is a myriad of choices to make. Where to go, how to get there, where will you stay, and what sights and activities you will incorporate into your trip. Pet parents who are traveling out of town have an additional consideration as well. Do you take your canine companion along with you, or do you leave them at home?

For some people, this is a no-brainer. Those with portable, easy-going dogs that are into the adventure of traveling are likely to be able to easily bring them along, while those who have dogs that are very young, very old, ill, or just overly anxious are likely to be more reluctant about the idea. The majority of pets, however, tend to fall somewhere in between these two extremes, and whether or not you want to bring your doggo along with you will depend very much on the details of your trip.

Where are you going?

This is one of the first questions that most people consider when taking a trip. People who are planning an adventurous camping trip or a leisurely visit with family may find that taking their pet along is well worth the small amount of extra effort that is required. Those who are looking to take in the bright lights of the big city, however, may run into a few more hurdles. Not only is your pet likely to interfere with your ability to visit interesting stores and eat at posh restaurants, but they are also likely to be stressed out by the unusual and fast-paced environment of the city.

You may also want to take into consideration the state that you are traveling to. While some states, including Oregon, Maine, and Colorado, tend to be pet-friendly and have activities and amenities to accommodate your dog, others, including Iowa, New York, and Utah, tend to be less accepting of canine tourists.

How are you getting there?       

There are many different ways to reach your destination, by car, plane, train, or even bus, but not all of these transportation methods may be suitable for your canine companion. While very small dogs, those under twenty pounds or otherwise small enough to fit under an airline seat, can often be taken on planes and trains, larger dogs are relegated to the status of luggage. They are required to ride with the other cargo, typically unattended, and most long-distance bus lines do not allow them at all.


Unless your dog is a very small breed or you have the time to travel by car, it may be safer and less stressful to leave them at home, in the care of a pet-sitting professional, like Space Coast Pet Services. If you are driving, the safest place for your dog is secured in a crate in the back seat, and the least safe spot for them to ride is in the front seat. Placing your dog in the front seat when traveling allows your dog to be more of a distraction when you are driving, and more importantly, puts them at risk of injury from the airbag if you get in an accident. 

Where are you staying?

Staying in a pet-friendly hotel or bed and breakfast is fine if your pet is well-behaved, but most dogs become anxious or uncomfortable when left alone in unfamiliar surroundings, particularly with the strange sounds and smells that are characteristic of most hotels and motels. Unless you are comfortable leaving your dog at a doggie daycare center, this may limit your ability to enjoy your vacation, particularly if it is a longer trip of a week or more.

Bringing your canine companion may be feasible if you are staying with friends and family, but you will want to be sure to get your host’s permission before springing an additional guest on them. Many of the listings on sites like Airbnb offer rental options that allow pets as well, which may make your trip a little more comfortable for both of you, and dogs tend to make good tentmates for those who prefer more rustic adventures. Pet parents who travel by RV usually have the most flexibility and ease when it comes to traveling with their pups.

What sights and activities will be included?

If your itinerary for the trip is made up of hikes, hunting, and watching wildlife, your dog may be the perfect companion for your trip. Social pooches will also relish the opportunity to meet your friends and family if it is a more social vacation, especially if your friends and family are as fond of pets as you are. Well-behaved canines may even enjoy soaking up the attention when they visit new pet-friendly stores, dog parks, or open-air malls. However, if your itinerary is made up of visits to museums and art galleries, shopping for clothes, or exploring antique buildings, your pet may end up bored, and possibly even depressed.

Vacations and trips often end up being highlights to look back on in our lives, full of new sights and experiences. In many cases, our dogs make fun and friendly traveling companions, especially in places where they are welcomed. While many pet parents would like to share all of their adventures with their canine companions, in some cases this simply isn’t kind to the animal, particularly in the case of nervous or anxious dogs. For these animals, they are likely to be much happier staying in the more familiar environment at home, in the care of an attentive and caring pet sitting service like Space Coast Pet Services.

Call us today to discuss the best pet care option for your pup the next time you need to travel or be away for an extended period of time. We are happy to help!

Melanie Haynes



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