dogs are excellent travelers and Poodles want to be with their people whether
it's a trip to the store or across country.
Caution: Do not let your dogs ride on your lap or in the front seat of
a car equipped with air bags. Air bag deployment can seriously injure or kill a
Small dogs should be restrained in the car for your safety and for theirs.
These tykes will fly right off the seat if you hit the breaks or even take a
corner fast. Also, a dog roaming around the car can distract you enough to cause
There are car seats available for small dogs that work fine (and some that
don't) if you have an extra $70 or $80 to spend on one. My car seat isn't as
pretty but it works as well as any and better than some. It's made from a
plastic "milk carton" type crate and can be secured in a couple different ways
depending on how your car seats are configured. It's also easy to remove and
easy to clean. (See Car Seat page for
Some puppies get car sick. They usually outgrow this if they get used to
riding in the car. If your pup gets car sick don't stop taking her for rides.
Instead, take her for more rides but short ones and do so when she has not eaten
in a couple of hours. (Remember to take a roll of paper towels with you.) Fasten
her into her seat which will make her feel secure and will keep any mess in the
seat which will be a lot easier to clean than your car's seat or floor mats are.
Put an old towel in the bottom of her seat. When she's a veteran traveler you
can replace this with a cute pillow but for now you want the most easily
washable (or disposable) padding. If she does get car sick talk softly to her.
Don't ever let a puppy think she did a bad thing by getting sick. It will only
make her more nervous about traveling in the car. If she's gotten car sick, take
her out of the car IN the car seat, put the whole seat in the bath tub. Take her
out of it and give her a bath or a rinse, depending on the mess level. Then
rinse (or toss) the towel and wash off the car seat.
If you put your pup in her car seat from the start she'll love it. Skidget
jumps right into her seat every time I open the car door. Even older dogs aren't
hard to train to car seats. Just be consistent about making them ride in it and
pretty soon they'll be very proprietary about it. One tip: don't put stuff in
the seat that doesn't belong there. Many years ago my husband left a can of
screws in the dog seat. Poo (my poodle at that time) was so offended to find
junk in his seat that he didn't want to get in it and wouldn't look at me for
the whole ride after I removed the junk. You can only apologize to a dog so many
times before you start getting that "eccentric dog person" feeling.
If you travel often with a dog it's always a good idea to keep a "doggie kit"
in the car. If your car seat rests on a box that's the perfect place to keep
these handy items:
- A new (sealed) bottle of water in case a quick trip turns into a long one.
- A small bowl (I keep a few disposable plastic bowls in the car.)
- Wet wipes and/or paper towels
- Poop bags (cheap plastic sandwich bags work great)
- An extra leash
Leaving a Dog in a Car
There are many opinions about whether or not a dog should ever be left in a
car. Some states and/or municipalities have laws against it. (In Colorado it is
against the law to leave a dog in the car. It is also illegal for a hotel to
refuse to allow dogs although they can charge you extra for it.)
Aside from legalities the main issues are temperature and theft. Even on a
mildly hot day the interior of a car reaches temperatures that can cause heat
stroke in a dog. I do leave my dogs in the car on occasions when the weather is
cool and I'm making a quick stop at a store they can't enter. (Most stores that
don't sell food have no problems with well behaved dogs being carried in or
riding in shopping carts.)
Keep in mind that you need to keep the windows open at least a couple of
inches but not so far that a thief could reach in and open the door. I really
don't care so much if my car gets stolen but if my dogs got stolen I'd have a
If you need to leave a dog in a car use good judgment and err on the side of
If you're traveling to a cool or cold climate be sure to take a sweater
for the pup. These little dogs are used to the South and will shiver their tails
off in cold weather.
Traveling longer distances
No matter how well behaved your dog is never let it off leash while on the
When traveling longer distances always bring the dog's crate, a travel crate
or a fold down crate even if you don't think you'll need it. If you have room a
baby gate can be a handy thing to have with you. Take enough dog food to last
for the whole trip. Traveling is the last thing you want to be doing when you
change the dog's regular diet. Bottled water (which your dog has gotten used to
before the trip) isn't a bad idea either since water quality can vary a lot from
place to place.
Most books will tell you not to feed dogs while on the road. I always try to
feed them because I'm afraid they'll be hungry but they never eat on the road
anyway so I guess this is good advice. I give them water at stops even though
they generally don't drink very much on the road.
Although traveling can wear you all out be sure to give some good loving to
the pups when stopping for the night. Let them have time to settle down, go for
a walk and generally chill then feed them their dinner. Make sure they have
their favorite toys and throw the tennis ball a few extra times. Traveling
pooches deserve it!
Hotels & Motels
When I travel up the East Coast I never make motel reservations ahead of time
because I'm only going to stop when I'm tired. I have found that for any motel
that doesn't allow dogs there is one a short distance away that does. The
extra charge - in 2003 - has been about $25 a night on a room that is normally
$75 to $100. I believe that Motel 6 allows dogs at all of its locations.
If you're making advance reservations be sure to find out what the additional
charge is. I was once hit with a whopping $100 additional charge at a hotel in
Most campgrounds allow dogs but not all. Be sure to check ahead of time. Any
campgrounds that do allow dogs will almost certainly require them to be on a
leash at all times and to relieve themselves in the proper locations.
Friends & Family
Sometimes the hardest place to stay with your pet is at the home of a friend
or family member. More than once I've been told "Oh sure. Bring the dog." only
to find myself in a really stressful situation where the dog is welcome as long
as she doesn't pee, doesn't lick, doesn't shed, doesn't bark, doesn't drool,
doesn't beg for food, doesn't get on the furniture and doesn't in any way act
like a dog. These situations make me so nervous I could pee on the floor! If
your dog is ever going to misbehave it's likely to be at this person's house.
At times like this you will be really glad that your dog is trained to sleep
in a crate where she can't possibly get (you) into any trouble.
This is also one of those situations where you might consider diapering your
The best way to deal with a situation like this is by avoiding it which you
can only do by being sure what will be expected of you and your dog before you
get there. There are, sadly, some people who "love dogs" but expect you to be
able to banish them to the back yard where they won't interfere with your visit.
Small dogs can travel in the cabin with you on many major airlines but this
must be approved and scheduled in advance. Check with your airline.
International (& Hawaiian) Travel
When traveling overseas there are many regulations regarding dogs. Some dogs
are not allowed in some countries and many places require a long quarantine for
arriving dogs. Be sure to check this out before planning a trip.
Leaving the Dog Behind
Some trips are better taken without your dog. I would never leave any of my
dogs home overnight without a person in attendance. They are too used to
constant companionship and I'd be a wreck while I was away. In many areas of the
country there are pet sitters & boarders. These are people who will care for
your dog in your home or theirs while you are away. The advantage to some of
these types of services is that unlike leaving your dog with a vet or a kennel
it will not be caged all the time you are away. Do a web search to find people
in your area or ask local Groomers and Vets if they know of any.