Image via iStock.com/aislan13
By Deanna deBara
When you’re home, your pup probably has a dog bed where he likes to curl up and relax. But what about when you’re traveling with your dog? How can you make sure your pup has a place where he feels cozy, relaxed and comfortable while you’re both on the go?
If you frequently travel with dogs, getting the right dog travel bed is a must to ensure your dog feels comfortable, relaxed and safe—no matter where your travels take you.
But choosing the best dog bed can feel like a big question mark. What, exactly, is the best dog travel bed? Which type of dog bed is the best fit for your pup? And how can you make sure you have the bed you need for comfortable dog traveling?
Here are some things to take into consideration when purchasing a travel dog bed:
What to Consider When Buying a Travel Dog Bed
Get a dog bed with enough space for your pup to stretch out. It’s important to get something compact for travel, but it’s also important to get a travel dog bed that gives your pup plenty of room to stretch out. “Weigh and measure your dog to help select which size would be best for them,” says Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH and founder of Animal Acupuncture in New York City. “You want a bed that allows them to spread out—whether you're on the go, on a plane or in your house.”
Make sure the dog bed is compact. When you’re traveling, you don’t want to be lugging around a dog bed that’s big and bulky—you want something compact and easy to pack. “When traveling with dogs, most people prefer beds that aren’t too bulky because they can be difficult to pack or because they take up a lot of space,” says Michelle Stern, a Marin, California-based dog behavioral consultant and founder of Pooch Parenting.
Get a dog bed that’s easy to clean. When you travel, you’ll be lugging your travel dog bed everywhere—which means you want something durable and easy to clean when it (inevitably) gets dirty on the road.
Get a dog bed that plays to your dog’s unique needs and preferences. Every dog has unique needs and preferences when it comes to sleeping—and if you want your dog to be comfortable during your travels, you need to choose a travel dog bed that plays to those. “How does your dog sleep? Do they like to burrow? Then perhaps they’d like a cave-like bed. Do they like to lean against something? Perhaps they’d like a bed with a bolster,” says Dr. Barrack.
If your dog sleeps in a crate, choose a dog bed accordingly. “If your dog sleeps in a crate at home, it will be more challenging to expect him to sleep on a bed when traveling. He won’t be used to the fact that he isn’t contained, and so he may wander around and explore during the night,” says Stern. If your dog typically sleeps in a crate, dog kennels for travel might be a better fit than a more traditional travel dog bed.
Let your dog try it out before the trip. If you want your dog to get a good night’s sleep while you’re traveling, it’s important to get him comfortable with his travel dog bed before you leave on your trip. “I’d encourage families to practice having their dog sleep on the travel bed at home for several weeks, if possible, before they leave on their trip,” says Stern. “Dogs tend to thrive when they have a consistent routine, so by practicing his sleeping arrangements ahead of time, he will be more successful while you travel.”
Let’s take a look at some of the best types of travel beds for dogs, so you can choose the right travel dog bed for your pup’s next adventure.
Dog Beds for Sleeping Outdoors
If your travels take you to the great outdoors, the last thing you want is for your pup to wake up covered in dirt, mud or bugs.
Elevated dog beds for travel, like the Carlson Pet Products portable pup travel pet bed, are the ideal option for any travels that involve you and your pup sleeping outside. Elevated dog beds will keep your dog off the ground, ensuring that he stays relatively clean (and bug-free!) during your trip.
Dog Beds for Road Trips
If you and your pup are heading out on a road trip, you need a bed that’s going to keep him safe and comfortable—no matter how many miles you drive.
Travel dog beds that are specifically designed to fit in the trunk or backseat of your car—like the K&H Pet Products travel and SUV pet bed or the Big Barker Backseat Barker SUV edition orthopedic dog bed—are a must for longer road trips. Not only will the padding keep your dog comfortable through all the bumps in the road, but the design (which typically includes no-slide gripping on the bottom and/or sides) will ensure that your pup (and their bed!) doesn’t go flying when you take a tight turn.
Dog Beds for Plane Travel
If you’re traveling with your pup on a plane, it’s important that your travel dog bed is portable, easy to carry and doesn’t take up too much space. Airlines have strict guidelines for carry-on bags and checked luggage.
Portable dog beds—especially beds that fold down into bags with straps for easy carrying, like the Gen7Pets Traveler dog and cat bed or the KidCo Command Pet Products portable pet bed—are ideal for plane travel. You can throw the bag over your shoulder and carry it on the plane, plus it easily unpacks to deliver everything your dog needs for a good night’s sleep once you reach your final destination.