With summer in full swiing, it's very likely that you are considering whether to board your pet or take him or her along with you on vacation. Vacationing with your pet can be both fun and relaxing. After all, bringing your companion along can make vacationing less lonesome, especially if you’re traveling alone. However, there are special considerations you need to make when planning a trip with your four-legged friend. Read on to discover the dos and don’ts of taking your pet on vacation.

If you’re traveling by car...

Do take your pet's safety and comfort into consideration. Animals need basic amenities like a comfortable place to rest and plenty of water. They also may need to take potty breaks more frequently than you do, so be sure to watch for cues to know when they need to go.

Don’t think traveling at night will relieve you of having to stop for your pet to go to the bathroom. Animals aren’t like children - they won’t sleep through a long car ride just because it’s night time.

Do use pet carriers or a dog crate to keep your animal safe during the trip.You can also use a restraint system and car seat cover if you plan to keep your pet in the backseat. Look for a doggy seat belt or other device to keep your dog properly secured in the back seat where he can’t distract you. He’ll be safer in the back seat in the event of a crash and a well-made restraint can also prevent serious injury. Don’t let your pet freely roam the car during your trip. Pets on laps can be distracting and may cause a traffic accident.

Do consider using a front or back car seat protector or pet travel hammock. A car seat cover or protector can prevent you have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace seating or paneling caused by an anxious or bored pet. It also gives you peace of mind and reduces distractions while driving. The right car seat protector can prevent damage done by scratching, chewing, peeing, dirty paws or shedding, but it can also keep your pet secure in the backseat by acting as a barrier between the two seats. Some car seat covers also have openings for dog harnesses.

Do provide opportunities for your pet to stretch and change position. Make sure the crate or carrier is large enough for your dog or cat to freely move and possibly even sit up from time to time to avoid muscle aches. Consider dog booster seats if you have a small animal that may like to look out the window. Booster seats are usually designed with a built-in restraint system for safety.

Don’t force your pet to remain laying down in one position throughout the trip. That will result in discomfort and unease for your animal. Make their ride comfortable by giving them ample space in the car and taking frequent breaks to stretch.

Having a car If you’re traveling by train...

Do call ahead and reserve a spot on the train for your pet as well. Some train lines reserve special cars for people traveling with animals. Don’t assume your pet can just sit with you wherever you please. Remember that not everyone likes animals and some people may be allergic. Be considerate to other travelers.

DO make an effort to calm your pet. One of the great things about the train is that you are free to read, play a game or soothe your animal if they get upset. Take the opportunity to talk to your pet and calm them down if they become agitated.

Don’t ignore your animal. A loud barking, meowing or whimpering pet is a distraction to other passengers and can make their train journey unpleasant. Pay attention to your pet and make sure they are calm, quiet and comfortable. Be sure you remember to pack a dog bowl, some extra food and a few treats, toys or something that will help distract them and keep them calm. If you’re traveling by plane...

Do plan ahead for your trip. Call the airline to confirm your pet's reservation and to confirm that the crate you have meets the airline specifications. Leave your house with plenty of time to give your animal a potty break. Airport security can be difficult with pets, so don’t forget to budget time to make it through the checkpoint as well.

Don’t try to rush through the airport with an animal. They will pick up on your stress and the journey will be more difficult on everyone.

Do take into consideration the airlines rules. Only let your animal out of his crate if it is allowed in the airport and keep them on a leash even if they are well-trained. Again, make sure your carrier meets the airlines standards in construction and size before you get to the airport. Wire crates are typically not allowed on airplanes.

Don’t think that the airline should accommodate you. They are under no obligation to allow you to use a carrier that is outside of their specifications, nor do they have to tolerate you breaking airport rules. Be courteous and follow any rules regarding animal travel.

Do make your pet comfortable. Portable dog beds are often small enough to fit into dog crates, creating a comfortable and relaxing place for your pet to sleep during a flight. Leave the crate and bed out before your trip to get your dog used to it.

Don’t expect your dog to lay in a hard crate with no bedding. Your dog should be comfortable and relaxed during the trip. Traveling with animals can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work.

Plan ahead and take the necessary precautions to ensure that your journey goes as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re traveling by car, train or plane, use these tips to make the trip more enjoyable for both you and your pet.