Thanksgiving Travel with Dogs: A Fun How-to Guide

By: Danielle Harris

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thanksgiving travel with dogs

Imagine this: you’re all set to hit the road for your long-awaited Thanksgiving getaway. The car is packed, the snacks are ready, and excitement fills the air. But there’s one important member of your family who can’t be left behind – your four-legged friend. Including your furry companion in your holiday trip can add an extra layer of joy and create lasting memories.

From finding pet-friendly accommodations like cabins or hotels to packing essential items for their comfort, we’ve got you covered. Plus, we’ll share tips on keeping them calm during the ride and managing any unexpected situations that may arise.

This year, as you head back home or embark on a new adventure with loved ones, don’t leave your furry friend behind! Join us as we guide you through the ins and outs of traveling with dogs during the holiday season.

Tips for Safe Pet Travel During the Holiday Season

Get expert tips on keeping your pet safe during holiday travel

It’s important to take extra precautions to ensure their safety and well-being. To make sure you’re prepared, here are some expert tips on how to keep your pet safe during holiday travel:

  1. Secure Your Pet: Make sure your dog is properly secured in a crate or carrier while traveling. This will not only prevent them from roaming around the car but also protect them in case of sudden stops or accidents.
  2. Buckle Up: If you’re taking a road trip, consider using a seat belt harness specifically designed for dogs. Just like humans, dogs should also be buckled up for their own safety.
  3. Pack Essentials: Don’t forget to pack all the necessary items for your dog’s comfort and well-being. This includes food, water, medications (if any), toys, blankets, and poop bags.
  4. Plan Frequent Stops: Dogs need bathroom breaks too! Plan frequent stops along your journey so that your furry companion can stretch their legs and relieve themselves.
  5. Avoid Overfeeding: While it may be tempting to spoil your pet with treats during the holidays, overfeeding can lead to an upset stomach or even more serious health issues. Stick to their regular diet and avoid feeding them table scraps.

LPF Recommended Crate

LPF Recommended Car Seats

Thanksgiving Travel with Dogs
Dog in the trunk of a car with dog bed and dog crate
Thanksgiving Travel with Dogs
Dog in Pupsaver Carseat

Learn about essential precautions to take when traveling with your dog during Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings and delicious feasts, but it can also present some unique challenges when traveling with dogs. Here are some essential precautions you should take when embarking on a Thanksgiving trip with your four-legged friend:

  1. Prepare in Advance: Before hitting the road, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork such as vaccination records and identification tags for your dog. It’s also a good idea to have a recent photo of your pet, just in case they get lost.
  2. Secure the Environment: If you’re staying at a friend or family member’s house, ensure that the environment is safe for your dog. Remove any potential hazards such as toxic plants, open trash cans, and small objects that could be swallowed.
  3. Create a Safe Space: Dogs can easily become overwhelmed in unfamiliar environments. Set up a designated area where your dog can retreat to if they need some alone time. This could be a quiet room or a crate with familiar bedding.
  4. Monitor Food Intake: Thanksgiving dinner is full of tempting treats for both humans and dogs alike. However, certain foods like chocolate, onions, grapes, and raisins can be toxic to dogs. Keep an eye on what your pet consumes to prevent any health issues.
  5. Stick to Routine: Dogs thrive on routine, so try to maintain their regular schedule as much as possible during the holiday festivities. This includes feeding times, exercise routines, and bedtime rituals.

Discover how to make the journey comfortable and secure for your furry companion

Traveling can be stressful for pets, but there are several ways you can make the journey more comfortable and secure for your furry companion:

  1. Provide Familiar Items: Bring along items that smell like home, such as their favorite blanket or toy. These familiar scents will help them feel more relaxed during the trip.
  2. Keep Them Entertained: Long car rides or flights can be boring for dogs. Pack some interactive toys or chew treats to keep them entertained throughout the journey.
  3. Take Breaks for Exercise: Just like humans, dogs need regular exercise too! Plan stops along the way where you can let your dog stretch their legs and burn off some energy.
  4. Use Calming Aids (if needed): If your dog tends to get anxious during travel, consider using calming aids such as pheromone sprays or anxiety wraps. These can help reduce stress and make the journey more enjoyable for your pet.

Choosing the Best Mode of Transportation for Your Dog

It’s important to choose the best mode of transportation that suits their needs. Let’s explore different options available and weigh the pros and cons of each.

Car Rides

Car rides are a popular choice for traveling with dogs during Thanksgiving. They offer flexibility and control over your pet’s comfort and safety. Here are some key points to consider:


  • You can keep your dog on a leash or use a carrier or crate in the vehicle.
  • Dogs can enjoy the sights and sounds along the way.
  • You have the freedom to make stops for bathroom breaks, exercise, and water.


  • Long car rides may be tiring for both you and your dog.
  • If not properly secured, dogs can become a distraction to the driver.
  • Some dogs may experience motion sickness or anxiety during car rides.

Air Travel

Air travel is another option for long-distance Thanksgiving trips with your dog. However, it requires careful planning and consideration of airline policies. Here’s what you need to know:


  • It is faster than other modes of transportation for covering long distances.
  • Airlines provide specific guidelines for traveling with pets in cargo or as carry-on items.
  • Some airlines offer pet-friendly services such as onboard pet cabins or assistance from trained staff.


  • Cargo travel may cause stress to dogs due to unfamiliar surroundings, noise, and temperature changes.
  • There may be size restrictions or additional charges for bringing pets on board as carry-on items.
  • It is essential to check airline regulations in advance and ensure proper documentation.

Airline Carriers

Other Considerations

Apart from cars and airplanes, there are alternative options worth exploring:

  1. Trains: Some train companies allow well-behaved dogs on board but may have limitations on certain routes or require them to stay in carriers.
  2. Buses: While not all bus companies permit pets, some may allow dogs on board if they are in carriers or small enough to sit on your lap.
  3. Pet Transport Services: If you prefer a hands-off approach, you can consider specialized pet transport services that cater specifically to traveling with animals.

Remember, regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, always prioritize your dog’s safety and comfort. Take breaks for walks and bathroom breaks, provide water, and ensure they have proper identification tags. It’s a good idea to call ahead and confirm any specific requirements or charges associated with traveling with your dog.

By carefully considering the pros and cons of each mode of transportation and assessing your dog’s needs, you can make an informed decision for a smooth Thanksgiving travel experience.

Pet Safety Precautions and Expert Insights

Traveling with your furry friend during the holidays can be exciting, but it’s essential to prioritize their safety. To ensure a smooth Thanksgiving trip with your dog, it’s crucial to follow expert-recommended safety measures and be aware of potential hazards that may arise while on the road or in unfamiliar environments.

Safety Measures for Traveling with Pets

Experts recommend taking certain precautions to keep them safe and comfortable throughout the journey. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Secure Your Pet: It’s vital to restrain your pet properly while traveling to prevent accidents or injuries. Use a sturdy crate or a well-fitted harness that attaches securely to the seatbelt. Avoid allowing your pet to roam freely inside the vehicle as this can be dangerous.
  2. Regular Pit Stops: Just like humans, pets need bathroom breaks and stretch their legs during long journeys. Plan for regular pit stops where your dog can relieve themselves and get some exercise. This will help reduce their restlessness and make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
  3. Health Certificate: If you’re traveling across state lines or flying with your pet, check if you need a health certificate from your vet beforehand. This document ensures that your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and is fit for travel.
  4. Identification Tags: Ensure that your dog is wearing an identification tag with updated contact information throughout the trip. In case they accidentally wander off or get lost, having proper identification will increase the chances of a safe reunion.

Potential Hazards and How to Avoid Them

While embarking on Thanksgiving travel with dogs, it’s important to be aware of potential hazards that could pose risks to their well-being. Here are some common challenges faced by pet owners during holiday trips:

  1. Unfamiliar Environments: Dogs may feel anxious or stressed when placed in unfamiliar surroundings. To help them adjust, bring along their favorite toys or blankets that have a familiar scent. Maintain a consistent routine and provide reassurance to ease their anxiety.
  2. Food Hazards: Thanksgiving is synonymous with delicious feasts, but it’s crucial to keep certain foods away from your canine companion. Chocolate, onions, grapes, and raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause serious health issues. Be mindful of where you store food and ensure that your dog cannot access any harmful items.
  3. Travel Anxiety: Some dogs may experience travel anxiety, leading to restlessness or even motion sickness during the journey. Consult with your vet about potential solutions such as natural calming aids or medications to alleviate their discomfort.

Expert Insights for Overcoming Challenges

Overcoming challenges during Thanksgiving travel with dogs requires expert insights and practical advice. Here are some additional tips shared by professionals:

  1. Veterinary Guidance: Consult with your veterinarian before embarking on a holiday trip with your pet. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your dog’s specific needs and health conditions.
  2. Behavioral Training: If your dog exhibits behavioral issues while traveling, consider seeking professional help from a certified dog trainer or behaviorist who can assist in addressing these concerns effectively.

Remember, the key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving trip with your furry friend lies in proper preparation and attentiveness to their needs throughout the journey.

Essential Planning for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Trip with Your Dog

Before embarking on your Thanksgiving journey with your furry friend, it’s crucial to have a solid plan in place. By taking the time to prepare, you can ensure a stress-free and enjoyable experience for both you and your dog. Let’s dive into some key planning strategies that will make your holiday trip with your dog a breeze.

Learn Key Planning Strategies for a Smooth Journey

Planning is essential. Here are some strategies to help you prepare:

  1. Research Pet-Friendly Accommodations: Before hitting the road or booking flights, make sure you find pet-friendly accommodations at your destination. Look for hotels or rentals that allow dogs and provide amenities such as designated pet areas or nearby parks.
  2. Plan Your Route: If you’re driving, map out the best route that includes pet-friendly rest stops along the way. This will give your dog opportunities to stretch their legs and relieve themselves comfortably.
  3. Pack Essentials: Don’t forget to pack all the necessary supplies for your furry companion. This includes food, water, bowls, medication (if needed), leash, collar with identification tags, poop bags, and their favorite toys or blankets for comfort.

Minimize Stress with Proper Preparation

Proper preparation can go a long way in minimizing stress for both you and your dog during Thanksgiving travel:

  1. Visit the Vet: Schedule a visit to the vet before your trip to ensure that your dog is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Obtain copies of their medical records as well as any necessary travel documents.
  2. Familiarize Your Dog with Travel Gear: If you plan on using a crate or restraint system during travel, introduce it to your dog beforehand so they become comfortable with it. This will help reduce anxiety during the journey.
  3. Practice Short Trips: If your dog isn’t accustomed to traveling, start with short trips to get them acclimated. Gradually increase the duration of these practice trips to build their tolerance and confidence.

Necessary Documents, Supplies, and Arrangements

Before embarking on your Thanksgiving trip with your dog, ensure you have all the necessary documents, supplies, and arrangements in order:

  1. Identification and Vaccination Records: Make sure your dog has proper identification tags with up-to-date contact information. Carry copies of their vaccination records in case they are required during travel or at your destination.
  2. Restraint Systems: Depending on the mode of transportation, you may need a crate or restraint system for your dog’s safety. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for planes or cars to ensure compliance.
  3. Pet-Friendly Activities: Research pet-friendly activities and attractions at your destination so that you can plan fun outings that include your furry friend.

By following these planning strategies and making necessary preparations, you can embark on a stress-free Thanksgiving trip with your beloved canine companion. Remember to prioritize their comfort and well-being throughout the journey for a memorable holiday experience together.

Must-Have Kits and Items for Traveling with Your Dog

When you’re hitting the road with your furry friend for a Thanksgiving adventure, it’s crucial to pack the right items to ensure a comfortable and safe journey. Here are some essential kits and items that will make traveling with your dog a breeze:

Essential Items for Traveling with Your Dog

  1. Travel Crate or Carrier: A sturdy crate or carrier is essential for keeping your dog secure and comfortable during the trip. Make sure it’s well-ventilated and large enough for your furry companion to move around.
  2. Dog Bed or Blanket: Bringing along a familiar bed or blanket will provide your dog with a sense of comfort and familiarity while on the road.
  3. Food and Water Bowls: Don’t forget to pack collapsible food and water bowls to keep your pup hydrated and nourished throughout the journey.
  4. Leash and Harness: Keep your dog safe by using a reliable leash and harness whenever you need to take them out for bathroom breaks or short walks during rest stops.
  5. Waste Bags: It’s important to clean up after your dog, so remember to bring plenty of waste bags for easy cleanup during pit stops.
  6. Medication and First Aid Kit: If your dog requires any medication, be sure to pack an ample supply. Include a first aid kit equipped with essentials such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and any necessary medications in case of emergencies.

Handy Kits for Convenience on the Go

  1. Travel Grooming Kit: Maintain Fido’s hygiene on the road by packing a travel grooming kit containing items like pet wipes, brushes, nail clippers, and ear cleaning solution.
  2. Travel Feeding Kit: Simplify mealtime by investing in a travel feeding kit that includes portable food storage containers, collapsible bowls, and even a spill-proof water dispenser.
  3. Travel Comfort Kit: Ensure your dog’s comfort during long drives by assembling a travel comfort kit with items like a cozy blanket, toys, and their favorite chew treats.

Accessories for Safety and Well-being

  1. Dog Seat Belt or Harness: Keep your pup secure while traveling in the car by using a dog seat belt or harness that attaches to the vehicle’s seatbelt buckle.
  2. Window Shades: Protect your furry friend from direct sunlight and keep them cool by installing window shades designed specifically for pets.
  3. Microchip and ID Tags: It’s crucial to have proper identification on your dog at all times. Make sure they are microchipped and wear an ID tag with up-to-date contact information.
  4. Cargo Hold Cover: If you’re traveling by plane and your dog is placed in the cargo hold, consider investing in a cargo hold cover to provide an extra layer of protection and privacy.

By packing these essential items, handy kits, and safety accessories, you’ll be well-prepared for any Thanksgiving travel adventure with your beloved four-legged companion!

Managing Food Intake during Thanksgiving Travel

During holiday travel, it’s important to manage your dog’s food and feeding routines to ensure they stay healthy and happy. Here are some tips on how to maintain a balanced diet for your furry friend while on the road or staying at different accommodations.

Thanksgiving Travel with Dogs

Tips on managing food and feeding routines

  1. Stick to a schedule: Try to maintain your dog’s regular feeding schedule as much as possible. Consistency is key, especially. Feed them at the same times you would at home, even if you’re in a different location.
  2. Portion control: It can be tempting to overindulge our pets during special occasions like Thanksgiving, but it’s important not to overfeed them. Stick to their usual portion sizes and avoid giving them too many treats or table scraps that could upset their stomachs.
  3. Alternative food options: If you’re unable to bring your dog’s regular food with you, consider researching alternative options that are suitable for Thanksgiving celebrations away from home. Look for high-quality commercial pet foods that meet their nutritional needs or consult with a veterinarian for recommendations.

Maintaining a balanced diet while traveling

  1. Pack enough food: Make sure you have enough of your dog’s regular food packed for the duration of your trip. It’s better to have extra than run out unexpectedly, especially if you’re unsure about finding their specific brand in unfamiliar locations.
  2. Avoid sudden changes: Abruptly switching your dog’s diet can lead to digestive upset and discomfort. If you need to transition them onto a new type of food temporarily, do so gradually by mixing small amounts of the new food with their current one over several days.
  3. Minimize waste: When traveling, it may be challenging to dispose of waste properly, especially if you’re camping or in remote areas without proper facilities. Bring biodegradable bags and be responsible in cleaning up after your dog to help preserve the environment.

Treats suitable for Thanksgiving celebrations

  1. Homemade treats: Consider making homemade treats for your dog using pet-friendly ingredients. Look for recipes online that use ingredients like pumpkin, sweet potato, or turkey – all of which are safe and delicious options for your furry friend.
  2. Store-bought alternatives: If you prefer to purchase treats, look for ones specifically made for dogs with high-quality ingredients. Avoid giving them foods that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, onions, or grapes.
  3. Moderation is key: While it’s tempting to spoil our pets during the holidays, remember that too many treats can lead to weight gain and potential health issues. Offer treats in moderation and ensure they’re accounted for in their overall daily calorie intake.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your dog maintains a balanced diet while traveling during Thanksgiving. Remember to consult with a veterinarian if you have any specific concerns about your dog’s dietary needs or if they require medications for motion sickness or other conditions.

Making Thanksgiving Travel with Dogs a Success

Congratulations! You are now armed with all the essential knowledge and tips to make your Thanksgiving travel with dogs a resounding success. Whether you’re hitting the road or taking to the skies, remember that safety should always be your top priority. Plan ahead, choose the best mode of transportation for your furry friend, and take necessary precautions to ensure a stress-free journey.

As you embark on your holiday adventure, don’t forget to pack all the must-have items for traveling with your dog. From food and water bowls to extra blankets and toys, these essentials will keep your canine companion comfortable and entertained throughout the trip. AndRemember that moderation is key – just like we humans indulge in our favorite Thanksgiving treats!

Now that you’re ready to hit the road with Fido by your side, go forth and create unforgettable memories this Thanksgiving. Safe travels!


Can I bring my dog on an airplane during Thanksgiving travel?

Yes, you can bring your dog on an airplane during Thanksgiving travel. However, it’s important to check with the airline beforehand as each carrier has specific rules and regulations regarding pet travel. Make sure to book early and inquire about any additional fees or requirements.

How do I keep my dog safe during car trips?

To keep your dog safe during car trips, it’s crucial to secure them using a harness or crate designed for vehicle use. This prevents them from roaming around or getting injured in case of sudden stops or accidents. Never leave your pup alone in a parked car as temperatures can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke.

What if my dog gets anxious during travel?

If your dog gets anxious during travel, there are several strategies you can try. Some options include using calming aids like pheromone sprays or anxiety wraps, playing soothing music in the car or plane cabin, or consulting with your veterinarian about potential medications or natural remedies to help alleviate their anxiety.

Can I feed my dog Thanksgiving leftovers?

While it may be tempting to share your Thanksgiving feast with your furry friend, it’s important to exercise caution. Some human foods can be toxic or harmful to dogs. Stick to their regular diet and offer them small, dog-friendly treats instead. If you do choose to share a small portion of plain, cooked turkey or vegetables, make sure they are safe for canine consumption.

How can I make my dog comfortable in a hotel during Thanksgiving travel?

To make your dog comfortable in a hotel during Thanksgiving travel, bring familiar items from home such as their bed or blanket. Stick to their usual routine as much as possible and provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Inform the hotel staff about your furry companion’s presence so they can provide any necessary accommodations.

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