Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Packing To Make Your Dog More Comfortable on Your Next Trip

One of our goals is to make Take Paws a showcase for people having fun with their pets, and sharing YOUR pet travel adventures is part of the fun! Today we’re excited to have a guest post from Dr. Eloise Bright, a veterinarian from Sydney, Australia, who is devoted to her little dog, Duster.


Traveling with pets is a very individual experience, depending on your style of travel and the personality of your companion. In many ways, traveling with my little Pomeranian, Duster, is a little different to traveling with more rowdy pets. For starters, Duster is pretty old with a number of chronic health conditions and 3 bum legs. Nowadays he’s is pretty happy to be carried most places and tends to spend a great deal of time sleeping.

I thought he was about 13, over 5 years ago when he was brought into the Vet clinic where I worked by the dog catcher. Like a movie star, Duster hasn’t really aged since then, and I still think of him as 13 years young. But, suffice to say, he is getting on a bit. A lot of those outdoorsy, dog friendly activities like hiking and going to the beach are out of the question. For Duster going for a walk, is more like going for a “carry.”

Dr. Eloise Bright and Duster

Duster and his preferred mode of transport.

Opportunities Abound

Just like in the US, many hotels and holiday houses in Australia are happy to take small, cute, and relatively harmless little dogs if you ask – even if they aren’t advertised as pet friendly. It certainly never hurts to email them a picture and written reference from a previous hotel owner. I always aim to ensure that we are on our best behaviour, in the hope that we can make it easier for future furry travellers who may come after us.

Correspondence and Documents

There is nothing worse than making an arrangement to bring your dog on holiday, then being told when you check in that pets aren’t allowed. I always keep copies of all emails exchanged with hotel owners, because the person at the desk may not be aware of the arrangements.  Also, it’s important to bring medical records, vaccination certificates, and any prescriptions for medications you may need – just in case.

Business Cards

Getting some personalized business cards made up is a great idea when traveling. Add a little photo of your pet and include some text to tell people a little about him. For example: “My name is Duster. I’m a bit old and deaf and like to go everywhere with my mum – please let her know if I’m being naughty.”  These are incredibly useful to give to other guests, so they can contact you directly if they have any concerns.


Who could have a concern with this little face?

Crate, Bed or Something From Home

Crate training your dog is an excellent way to make sure they are comfortable and safe in a new environment. Some hotel owners require pets to be crated while in the room, and a crate can become a comforting, familiar zone for your dog. I always take Duster’s crate so he can sleep comfortably in the hotel room if we need to head out for a non-dog friendly activity. Having a favorite toy, familiar blanket, and things that smell of home also help.

Regular Food and Treats

This sounds obvious, but make sure you have enough of your pet’s regular food with you. Sudden diet changes and unfamiliar foods can lead to an upset stomach in any pet, and we all know what that could mean for the hotel’s beautiful clean carpet. Also make sure you bring lots of your pet’s normal treats and chews for when you might need to leave them alone. I also always pack the portable water bowl that we’ve had forever from Hot Dog Collars. A bowl made specifically for traveling is perfect for keeping the water in the bowl!

Leave-in Conditioner or Spritz

Like us, dogs can sometimes get a bit whiffy when traveling. I have a great leave-in oatmeal conditioner I run through Duster’s coat when he gets a bit stinky and I don’t have time to bathe him. There are also many pet-safe spritzes and oils that can be used to freshen up your doggy friend.

Be Realistic

Most importantly, when you travel with your pet, bring reasonable expectations. In Australia, we don’t allow our pets into national parks and travel on most public transport is restricted. Be aware that you may not be able to take your pet to some of your sight-seeing destinations. Finding activities that your dog can enjoy with you may take a little more planning – but it will be well worth the effort!

Dr. Eloise BrightAbout the Author: With 7 years of small animal practice, Dr. Eloise Bright came to Love That Pet as animal lover and advocate for all animals from baby birds to stray kittens. With two sons in tow and hubby, Eloise mainly practices in Sydney, Australia. Chat with her and the dog, Duster and cat, Jimmy on Google+.


Big thanks to Dr. Eloise for sharing her insights with us! Traveling with an elderly dog surly must present some challenges of it’s own, and we applaud your dedication to Duster! Readers, do you have any tips you can share for traveling with an elderly dog?

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities

  • Great Advice Eloise. I might take my teacup chiwawa on my next holiday and leave my kids at home.

  • Great article! Thanks for some very useful suggestions. My twelve year old ChihuaWHAT (not quite a purebred!), Connie, will benefit from the tips I received here!

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