Traveling with Dogs


Learn Joel’s tips for taking pets on the road.

As a movie-animal trainer, Joel is always traveling with dogs, both throughout the United States as well as around the world. Here are his tips and reminders for a more comfortable and enjoyable trip.

There are several things you should consider prior to your trip, and they are:

  • Crate or harness?
  • Will you have time for your dog?
  • Where is the dog going to stay when you are at your destination?
  • Planning out rest stops
  • Food
  • Water

If you plan on going on a vacation, have a dog that likes to go in the car, are staying in a place where the dog will be safe, and you feel the dog will not be an imposition on your vacation, taking the dog with you can actually be a really rewarding experience. Dogs are a huge part of our lives, and depending where you are traveling, and how far the ride is, bringing the dog may actually add a lot to your retreat!


Begin by planning out your trip. How long is the trip? If it is only a few hours, you most likely will not need to stop for a break. But if the trip is over three or four hours, and you’re traveling with dogs, you will need to stop to give the dog a chance to “take a break.” Examine the route to look for rest stops. They normally have a lot of grass and are away from the freeway, traffic, and noise. For safety, you also want to be sure always to keep your dog on the leash as you are walking him in these rest stops—no matter how well trained he is.

Crate or Harness

Joel & SunnyWhen you’re traveling with your dog, you need to ensure his safety and security. You can do this by using one of two different tools, either a crate or a harness that is attached to the seat belt. If you use a crate, make sure that the pad at the crate’s bottom is secure.

A mistake that people make is putting a pad in there that slides around every time they go around a curve or stop. This could be very inconvenient and unsafe for a dog that simply wants to relax. Harnesses come in a variety for purchase. Even most harnesses that you might have to walk your dog can attach nicely to the seat belt.

Your Dog’s Food

Make sure that you bring your dog’s food. Don’t assume you can buy food in your destination—you never know for sure whether stores will stock what you need.

Your Dog’s Water

You also need to remember that some dog’s systems are very sensitive to changes in the water. Bring water to give the dog on the trip as you travel in the car. Also, the dog should get bottled water once you get to your destination, and continue to get it the entire trip.