Traveling with your dog? Try these three trainer-approved tips for a stress-free trip

Woman on a road trip with her golden retriever
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Will you be traveling with your pup this summer? This time of year, many of us are getting ready to head away for a well-deserved break — and we might be bringing our dogs along for the journey!

But whether you’re heading to the beach, going for a relaxing break in the country, or simply going to stay with family or friends, there are some things to try to make the trip less stressful for your furry friend — including bringing along some of the best dog toys! After all, while they might be in line for a week or two of fun, it’s still a disruption to their usual routine.

Juliana DeWillems, the owner and head trainer at JW Dog Training & Behavior, has everything you need to know in a recent Instagram post.

“Here are three ways to help your dog feel more comfortable with upcoming travel,” begins DeWillems, “Because we know when we reduce their stress, we also reduce our own stress.”

1. Make your dog familiar with the arrangements beforehand: “First, acclimatize your dog to their travel crate or car seat before your trip,” says DeWillems. “For my dog, that’s getting her used to her travel carrier. I use a lot of treats and patience to show her that the carrier is a comfortable and safe space for her.”

Remember to take quite a lot of time for this — don’t leave it to the day before you travel to start!

2. Pack some favorite familiar items: “The simple detail of having their favorite beds, toys, or bowls from home can help put a dog at ease in the new space,” DeWillems explains – if you want to know how to travel with a dog, this will make things a whole lot easier!

As she continues in the caption, “Familiarity goes a long way when your dog is in a new place.”

3. Use pheromone calming products: These products — like sprays and diffusers — send calming signals into the environment, helping to reduce your pup’s stress. “You can use the spray in your car and in your dog’s carrier, as well as at your destination,” says DeWillems.

This can also be one of the best ways to calm your dog during windy and bad weather, too, so pheromone calming products are good to have with you just in case the weather on your vacation doesn’t quite go to plan!

And remember, she concludes, “Proactively planning ahead can help make summer trips way more fun and way less stressful for you and your pup.”

So, take some time out before you head on your travels, and both you and your pup will benefit from it when the time comes for your vacation. You might find these 32 tips for traveling with pets useful, too.

West Paw Toppl Dog Toy $29.95 from Chewy

West Paw Toppl Dog Toy
$29.95 from ChewyA treat dispensing puzzle that can be filled with kibble, peanut butter, cheese chunks or smashed banana, this toy is ideal for giving your dog's brain a good workout.

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.