Traveling with a Senior Dog

Monday, November 11, 2013 - 1:00pm
two dogs standing in field of flowers

Guest blog by Paris Permenter and John Bigley of DogTipper

Is Adopt a Senior Pet Month inspiring you to adopt a senior dog? If so—or if your dog is reaching senior status—you’ll find that many dogs enjoy spending their retirement years just like we humans do: on the road!

We enjoy traveling with our rescue dogs, Irie and Tiki, now six years old, and intend to continue traveling with them as they mature. Healthy senior dogs can enjoy an active lifestyle that includes exploring new destinations.

Regardless of your dog’s age, you’ll want to do plenty of planning to keep your dog comfortable and safe. Preparations we always take include:

  • Bringing the comforts of home. A cushioned dog bed is especially important for older dogs to keep pressure off of joints as they ride.
  • Packing for success. Tummy troubles are no fun on the road. We help avoid stomach stress by packing our dogs’ usual food and treats.
  • Planning, not over-planning. We plan hotel stays and attraction stops, but we don’t try to stick too closely to a timetable. It’s important to leave plenty of time for frequent bathroom breaks, especially for seniors, and for walks to just sniff around and enjoy the new destination.
  • Preparing for problems. We pack a list of veterinarians along our route and at our destination. We plan for more routine issues including potty accidents. Along with paper towels and waste bags, we carry a urine remover like Rug Doctor Urine Eliminator™. (Rug Doctor also supports the ASPCA!) Thanks to quick cleanups, we’ve never lost a pet deposit on a hotel stay.

Perhaps the best preparation we make is to slow down and anticipate the pleasures of traveling with our canines. After all, taking time to stop and sniff the roses is what travel’s all about—regardless of our age.

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the publishers of the award-winning The authors of 32 pet and travel books explored the Lone Star State with their dogs Irie and Tiki to fetch dog-friendly destinations for their latest book: DogTipper’s Texas with Dogs. Follow Paris and John on Twitter.

Couple hanging out on the beach with their two dogs

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Billie H.

We were lucky enough to have a Rottie own us for over 16 years. She travelled with us always. For the last 7 or 8 years of her life we lived permanently in our motor home. She got to the point where she could not go up or down the motor home stairs, so we built her a ramp. The ramp rode on the tow car and took a while to install, so we only travelled about 4 hours a day then had to get a RV park to spend the night and set up her ramp. Because of that wonderful dog we sure saw a lot of this great country!!


I love older dogs!!!I love to take care of them!1 Don't know how someone can have a pet for years and when they get old leave them at the shelter!!Not when they need you most!!!Wish I could win the lottery and take them all!!!


I never travel without my dogs! My vacations wouldn't be the same without them!!

frank stolp

Travelling with older dogs has never been a problem for me. 4 years ago I found a street dog on the Island of Aruba, only 19.8 lbs. he is a medium size dog. He was very sick he could hardly walk and had to carry him into the house. After considerable medical care he became healthy. As for his age we and the vet only could guess that maybe10 or 13 years of age. I promised him (MAX) a good life and he would live out his life live as a king. Just before X Mas of 2012 again we found a puppy along the roadway, we were told by a lady that she had witnessed a lady throwing this dog out of her car, again medical care was needed, but who cares these dogs need love also, don't you? this year he will be 1 year old and he is a lover and will lick you to death. My story is both dogs travel 2x a year back and forth to their birth place ARUBA. Both dogs travel very well and even MAX while he knows we are going away he is alright with the idea but I do know he does not like to be in his cage because he will be in his cage for as long as 14 hrs. Yes this our story about older dogs adoption and travelling.


We never travel without our dachshunds, and only by car to avoid the stress of air travel on our precious seniors. The travel tips here are great, but there are a couple of things we always do that I would also suggest adding to the list. We have a passport-holder type of pouch for carrying our dogs' vaccination records and list of medications, along with a recent photo of each attached to the appropriate record. Also, we bring a large container filled with filtered water from home, to avoid any potential tummy upsets from water that may be treated differently from our home town's water. We also keep a list of emergency veterinary clinics along our route and at our destination, just in case. Our dogs love traveling with us, and we would never think of leaving home without them!