Traveling with setters


Exposing your dog to new people and places is a good way to socialize your dog. The more places your dog visits, the better his public manners will be. Whether it is practical to travel with your dog(s) depends on the type of trip you plan to take and the amount of site seeing you plan to do. Most dogs seem to honestly enjoy taking a ride to be with their people. We do not fly with our dogs.

Before you go

When traveling, a dog becomes an ambassador for its breed. Make sure your dog is well socialized, bathed, and groomed. Many people will approach and want to bring their children to meet the dogs.

Before you leave, make sure you have a cell phone with your vet’s number, and your pet’s collar with their rabies tag. If your dog has prescriptions or a recurring problem that may need treatment, ask your vet for an emergency supply of medicine to take with you. We also carry a “doggie medicine box” filled with:

  • Kaopectate caplets (to help stop diarrhea)
  • Syrup of ipecac (to induce vomiting)
  • Benedryl (to assist with allergic reactions, if your dog is allergic to bees, epinephrine)
  • Maalox Anti Gas (if you suspect a dog might be bloating )
  • Clotisol (to stop minor bleeding, from a nicked toenail for example)
  • Forceps (for tick removal)
  • Gold Bond Medicated Powder (for minor skin infections, generally stops licking as well)
  • Antibacterial salve and vet wrap (for minor nicks and cuts)
  • Buffered aspirin
  • New Skin (liquid bandage)

Also bring a recent photograph and written description of your dog (including call name, breed, sex, age, weight, height, any microchip or tattoo numbers, and a description of scars, or other identifying marks). If your dog becomes separated from you on your trip, having this information will increase the chances of a quick and safe return.

Travel resources:

Essential equipment

It is a good idea to pack all of your dog supplies in one box. If you will be gone on extended trips, it is convenient to measure your dog’s food into plastic resealable bags (empty bags can be used as pick up bags later). Plan to feed 25-30% less than normal to offset reduced activity. For “something special,” we add two tbs canned food to their normal fare (look for pop top cans). Always take a few extra bags of food in case you get delayed unexpectedly. It is a good idea to carry plenty of water with you in case you get stalled. Adding a tablespoon of lemon juice per gallon of water minimizes the effects of water changes, and makes carrying bottled water unnecessary.

  • Food bowl (note: there are special bowls for long eared dogs)
  • Several short leashes
  • A Flexi Giant for exercising your dog. We recommend the belt type flexi for setters.
  • Plastic pick up bags (there are several gadgets on the market that fasten bags to leashes)
  • Wide mouth water jug.
  • A water bucket that can hang on the inside of your dog’s crate.
  • Crate. We recommend securing your dog in a crate whenever they ride in the car (see Setter Safety)
  • Second crate. Many people like to bring a soft crate or wire crate into a hotel room for their dogs.
  • An extra crate pad, paper towels, and a large plastic bag (in case of accidents).
  • Reflective tarps. To cover the windshield of your parked car and help keep it cool.
  • For winter travel, carry extra blankets/dog coats in case it is cold or you get stalled.
  • Chew materials and a few toys.
  • A comb and brush
  • An instant shade canopy, like an EZ-up (optional).
  • A cooler (to keep open canned food fresh)

Other travel advice

Of course, if you are actively showing your dogs the amount of stuff you take with you increases dramatically. This is the back of our 15 passenger extended van.

On the road


Make sure your dog gets sufficient exercise throughout the day. Plan rest stops every 3 to 4 hours. Many rest areas restrict dogs from picnic areas, but do provide dog walk areas. Always keep your dogs on a leash when traveling. We recommend using a Flexi Giant (belt type Flexi) for exercising setters. Make sure to exercise dogs before reaching large urban areas just in case traffic is slow. Use pet areas where marked and pick up after dogs in all places.

If possible, select a light color when buying a vehicle. This will dramatically reduce the amount of heat buildup within the vehicle. Make sure that you can set the inside lights so that when the doors are open, the lights are off (some SUVs and vans do not have this essential feature). In large vans, dogs need rear air conditioning. Park in the shade whenever possible and use reflective tarps to keep out sun. Leaving windows open is not enough. Often we will padlock our dogs in their crates (to keep them from being let out) and leave a door or rear hatch open for air circulation. It is good practice to check a vehicle every 15-20 minutes. Some people even keep a thermometer in their car.

If you are traveling in the summer, you will probably have a cooler and ice with you. Know the symptoms of heat stroke. If your dog becomes over heated, wet the dog down. Place an ice pack on the inner thigh and belly. This is the fastest way to reduce inner body temperatures.

Some puppies can get carsick. This problem usually resolves itself by six month of age.


Sometimes a pet deposit (generally $5) might be required for dogs.
Many motel chains (as well as “mom and pops”) accept dogs, however they will not continue to do so if guests abuse motel rooms and grounds. Basic etiquette includes never grooming a dog in a room, never leaving a dog unattended in a room (they may bark when alone), and always cleaning up after your dog. There are lots of clean up bags that can be attached to a leash or in a pocket.