These vet-approved dog travel tips will keep your pup comfy, happy, and ready for the next adventure. Photo by Emerson Peters.
Expert Advice for How to Travel with a Dog
BY KELLY KNICKERBOCKER
There’s something special about being able to have your pup ride shotgun for life’s big adventures — travel included. Sharing meaningful travel experiences with your dog (or dogs!) can be enriching for you and them, creating new memories that you’ll have for a lifetime. While it’s easy to romanticize those Instagram shots of dogs and their owners driving across the country and looking out together at incredible vistas, traveling with a trusty, four-legged sidekick isn’t always so straightforward. It definitely
requires more planning
, more preparation, and more research.
What do you really need to arrange in advance? How can you keep your pup calm so the trip is smooth sailing? Good questions. Sentral loves pets, and our residents and guests are always on the lookout for more tips on how to travel with a dog. So we asked Dr. Stephanie Sheen, a veterinarian at the subscription-based app
— which provides 24/7 live chat and individualized care plans — to get her advice.
Sentral’s West Midtown location in Atlanta caters to its four-legged residents with access to their very own pet spa. Photo by James Baigrie.
GO THE EXTRA MILE ON TRIP PLANNING
Logistically, road tripping with your fur kid requires an extra layer of diligence. Identify pet-friendly stops along your route in advance, like restaurants, public parks, beaches, and forested areas. The
National Park Service
website offers excellent resources on which of its parks are dog-friendly, as well as tips for making the most of those spaces.
Whether you’re driving or flying, get ready to double down on your hotel or other accommodation research. Make sure you know the hotel’s pet policy, fee and deposit requirements, and any size or breed restrictions. Sheen notes that some hotels offer dog-walking and sitting services, while others specify that pets cannot be left alone in a room at any time. Take stock of what you and your pup need, and if a hotel’s pet policies or amenities aren’t clearly listed on their website, don’t assume anything — give them a call.
For example, when we say that all of Sentral’s locations are pet-friendly, we mean it. Dogs (as well as cats and other pets) aren’t simply allowed at all our properties, they’re an important part of our communities, and we have a variety of pet amenities that cater just to them. From “Pup Cream Socials” at
Sentral Union Station in Denver
Sentral Michigan Avenue
, and “Yappy Hours” at
Sentral Wynwood in Miami
, to a convenient dog wash — complete with professional grade dryers and a grooming station — at
Sentral West Midtown at Star Metals in Atlanta
and free treats at several of our experience desks, dogs definitely get special treatment.
Especially if you’re
living the digital nomad lifestyle
, choosing accommodations that already have pet facilities and community built in makes it easier for your pet to quickly feel comfortable (and you too!).
Stretch your legs — and your dog’s — at Sentral DTLA’s rooftop dog run. Photo by James Baigrie at DTLA
ENGAGE YOUR PUP IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BEFORE (AND AFTER) YOUR JOURNEY
Tucker your dog out before hitting the road or sky with a bit of pre-travel exercise — a walk, jog, or just a good play session. Once you’re en route, they’ll be more relaxed, physically and mentally, and more apt to settle in for a snooze. Sheen says physical activity once you’ve reached your destination is just as beneficial. “Going on an explorative walk around your hotel or in the neighborhood where you’re staying will encourage your pet to become more familiar with the environment, and may help them feel more comfortable,” she says.
The rooftop dog runs at both Sentral DTLA locations, for example, offer easy open-air escapes for your pups to get their wiggles out as soon as you arrive. Situated in walkable neighborhoods, Sentral properties are also often close to green spaces, trails, and — in the case of
Sentral Union Station in Denver
Sentral SLU in Seattle
— popular dog parks.
DESENSITIZE YOUR DOG TO CAR TRAVEL
One way to prepare your furry co-pilot for road trip success is to
get them in the car
as much as possible before you embark on your trip. From a quick coffee run to an across-town errand, the idea is to get your pup more familiar with the sights, sounds, and movements associated with car rides. Sheen says this is especially helpful if you know (or suspect) travel is a stressor for your dog. “This type of desensitization process could include taking short car rides in advance of a longer trip, slowly increasing the duration of each drive while staying within the pet’s comfort level,” she says.
A relaxed pup at Sentral Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Photo by Chloe Dake.
KEEP THINGS FAMILIAR IN UNFAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS
For dogs that experience travel-related anxiety, sedatives are an appealing option for providing quick relief. But Sheen warns that prescription-strength sedatives can have dangerous side effects, like low blood pressure and over-sedation. “That’s why prescription sedatives are never recommended for air travel, as pets in cargo hold are not monitored for reactions,” she says. “Pressure changes in the cabin can also worsen a medication’s effects.”
When it comes to adventuring by car, prescription medications are a possibility. Chat with your pup’s vet well in advance to see the options and how to administer them safely. For milder cases of travel-related stress, Sheen recommends
, and pheromone collars as safe, accessible, over-the-counter options to explore.
WANT TO SEE WHAT OTHER AMENITIES YOUR PET (AND YOU) CAN ENJOY WHILE LIVING OR STAYING AT SENTRAL? YOU’LL LOVE IT HERE...
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