When it comes to going on vacation, it’s only natural that you want to take the most treasured family members with you.

In this vein, taking a dog on holiday is the most realistic option for many pet owners. However, it’s not all plain sailing.

While dogs can add a layer of fun, warmth, and comfort to your travels, they can also be a restrictive force and often add additional expense to a trip.

Travelling as a Dog Owner - Scottish Blogger

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the most important things to consider when travelling with your dog.

Where to go

The first thing to consider is the fact that is staying reasonably local, as in within the same country, can make things a lot easier.

Second, not all climates will be ideal for your furry friend, particularly if you’re going somewhere extremely cold or hot.

Of course, you can purchase accessories to help your dog adapt. Small shoes, for example, can help your dog avoid getting burnt pads from walking on hot ground.

dogTravelling as a Dog Owner

It’s important to bear in mind your dog’s personality too, as some dogs love adventure and change, whereas others get anxious and like to stay in familiar surroundings.

This is similar to humans, so consider your pet’s emotional needs when considering where to go.

In a nutshell, think about where you are heading in terms of the effect on your dog – rather than where you want to go.

Navigation and Instructions

Once you’ve figured out your destination, the next step is to look at the baggage regulations and restrictions that might affect your trip.

For instance, if you are travelling abroad, some countries have particularly stringent rules in place, such as the UK.

Your pet will most likely need to be microchipped and have proof of a rabies vaccination. However, if you are travelling to the UK or Ireland, for instance, an additional tapeworm treatment is required.

Travelling as a Dog Owner

Although the prevalence of rabies has declined in recent years, countries like Australia still have a quarantine in place, meaning your dog will have to be locked up for at least ten days without you being able to see them.

This can be scary for both the pet and the owner, especially if your dog is too big to fly in the cabin with you.

It’s, therefore wise to look at destinations with regulations that aren’t too strict so that you and your dog have an easy transition.


Regarding “how to travel” this depends on where you are going. Of course, the car is the most convenient and comfortable option for both dog and owner. Yet, opportunities exist for almost all types of public transport, including planes.

Travelling as a Dog Owner

Each different type of transport has a different type of challenge. Let’s take a look at a transatlantic flight, for instance.

About the options, the best option is to bring your dog with you in the cabin. The alternative is to include your dog on the same flight as you, but in the hold (usually, there’s a size restriction on animals that can travel in the cabin with you). Finally, you could transport your dog separately on a cargo flight.

Most airlines have regulations regarding the size of your dog, in terms of bringing him or her into the cabin (46 cm length x 28 cm width x 24 cm height) and a maximum weight of 8kg.

Unfortunately, if your dog is in the cabin with you, you’re not allowed to take him or her out of their carry case, as they will be treated as carry on luggage, meaning you can’t walk them up or down the aisle or have them cuddle up on your lap. This can be very upsetting and stressful, especially if your dog is in trouble.

If your dog is too big to fly in the cabin, the next option is to transport your dog as “checked baggage.”

So the pressure and temperature are regulated within the hold, so it’s not quite as grim as it sounds, but it has risks in that you leave your dog completely unattended, and there’s no access during flight.

Travelling as a Dog Owner

Perhaps the most pleasant option, yet also the most expensive option is to arrange for your dog to fly on a specialist cargo plane, where a team of employees will look after your dog.

The only downside is that your dog will not arrive at the same time as you, but given the enhanced comfort of a cargo plane, i.e., a bigger cage, it might be a better option.

Due to strict rabies regulations, the only option you will have is to use a professional cargo company when flying into some countries, such as the UK.

It might be cheaper to fly into a nearby country, such as France or Belgium, and cross the channel via the Euro tunnel or ferry.

Some boat companies have kennels on the boat, whilst others insist your dog remain in the car.

Travelling as a Dog Owner - Scottish Blogger

Where to stay

When it comes to finding vacation rentals that allow dogs, more and more hotels, hostels, and even restaurants are changing their policies to be more dog-friendly.

There seems to be a paradigm shift, particularly in rural communities, where dogs are viewed in a similar light to children—in that well-behaved dogs are welcomed and treated very positively.

For instance, bringing your dog to a hotel has never been more convenient. Some hotels request an additional charge to cover the enhanced need for cleaning (i.e., to get dog hair out of the carpet), and there are websites such as Bring Fido that can help work out where you can travel with your dog.

Travelling as a Dog Owner - Scottish Blogger

It might be worth confirming with the venue that their pet policy hasn’t changed, as the last thing you want is to turn up at a nice hotel to be told, disgustingly, that you can’t bring your dog with you.

Another option is to look at Airbnb; you can filter for pet-friendly properties. Just be aware that not all dogs will get on with each other, so it’s something to consider in terms of your dog’s personality; if they are friendly and relaxed, then it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you have a nervous or aggressive dog, it could be a bit more of an issue.

Travelling as a Dog Owner

A brilliant option for many people is the more traditional path of camping.

The benefit of camping is that almost all campsites are dog-friendly, and your dog is going to be in a very engaging environment that is truly going to feel like a vacation for them too-consider the difference between staying in a fancy hotel versus in a field or forest next to a river they can swim in!

If you love nature, then camping can be one of the best ways to travel with your dog, as, whilst it might not be “easy,” it is “relaxed” in the sense that you don’t have to worry about your dog being on his or her best behaviour.

It can be helpful, however, to set up your tent in the backyard and get your dog used to the concept of camping so they understand the boundaries and can settle into a tent.

This way, you will not be stressed out in the middle of nowhere if they cannot settle into the tent.

Travelling as a Dog Owner - Scottish Blogger

In short, you need to consider your travel plans from both your and your dog’s points of view.

While you might like the idea of a trip to the Bahamas, chances are your dog will not- the heat will be too high, the transportation will be too stressful, and the environment itself could be stressful, too, if there are territorial packs in the neighbourhood. Similarly, whilst you might appreciate a posh hotel, your dog will likely feel trapped.

In contrast, jumping in the car and heading somewhere in nature, sleeping under the stars with plenty of activities and freedom for your dog to explore can be a much more enriching experience for your dog… and it can be a huge value add to you.

Travelling as a Dog Owner - Scottish Blogger

There’s something about camping with a dog that significantly improves the experience.

If you don’t like the idea of camping in a tent, you could always try glamping or renting a little cabin somewhere – that provides you with the home comforts you need while providing your dog with the value and excitement of staying somewhere in nature.

You need to think about things from your dog’s perspective and your own, particularly when considering long-haul travel by aeroplane.


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