Tips for traveling with your dog

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

If you’re a dog owner, you might be plagued with the decision of whether or not to take your four-legged friend with you when you’re traveling. And this may seem like a monumental undertaking, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of tips and tricks you can follow to make your dog the perfect travel companion.

Regardless of how you choose to travel — by plane, car, or in a hotel — it’s important to plan ahead.

Here are a few guidelines to get you started.

Health and Safety

Consider the health and overall well-being of your dog. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian before hitting the road to ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Take shot records along too since health certifications are required for a pet to travel by plane.

This seems fairly obvious, but bring a supply of your dog’s regular food. Don’t switch out what he usually eats for the sake of convenience. It’s crucial to have a routine set, especially if he gets nervous. Don’t forget to add bottled water and any medications he needs to your checklist.

Be prepared for an emergency, despite how unlikely you think one will arise. Have the number of the nearest 24-hour vet hospital handy at all times, along with the emergency number of your primary vet, just in case. If the worst happens, you’ll be one step ahead and able to provide any necessary information.

The Benefits of Using a Crate

A crate is a superb way to keep your pal safe when traveling by car, and it’s also the required method if you’re traveling by plane. Don’t present a crate to your pet the day of travel, however, take some time to get him used to it. If you’ll be staying in a hotel or a relative’s home, it’s an excellent way to keep your pet from getting into trouble. You can purchase a crate at most pet stores, but be on the lookout for these features when deciding which one to use:

  • Make sure the crate is large enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down with room to spare.
  • It needs to be strong. Be sure it has handles and grips, and without any interior protrusions.
  • Find a crate that has absorbent material and leak-proof on the bottom should he have any accidents during travel.
  • Proper ventilation. This is one of the more critical factors to consider when making your purchase. Cars and airplanes can get stuffy, so having ventilation on opposite sides of the crate makes breathing easier.
  • Have a “live animal” label placed on the crate, include your name, address, and phone number listed just in case there are any mishaps.
  • Buy a comfortable mat for the crate, your pet’s favorite toy, and a bottle of water.
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Have Proper Identification

Should your dog get lost or runoff during your trip, increase your chances of retrieving him by providing proper identification.

  • Fit your dog with a sturdy leash and collar. Many collars come with identification tags. Fill them out with all of your information, including your dog’s name, your name and number, and proof of vaccinations. If you plan on going on an extended trip, purchase an additional identification tag with the information about your vacation spot.
  • Consider getting your dog a permanent form of identification. A microchip is one of the more popular options.
  • Bring a recent photo of your pet with you and a copy of his health records.

Traveling By Car

  • Prepare your dog for the trip by getting him used to the car. Let him sit there with you without leaving your driveway, then slowly introduce short rides.
  • To avoid car sickness, don’t feed your dog before travel, but make sure he has plenty of water.
  • Make sure the car has enough airflow. If you’ve put your dog in a crate, keep it well ventilated.
  • If you’re traveling with a dog and cat, I’d highly advise against letting them both roam free during the long ride. The last thing you want is for your dog (potentially from boredom) to agitate your cat and cause an accident. Be careful.
  • While it may be fun for your pup, do not allow him to ride with his head sticking out of the window. This can lead to eye injuries.
  • Under any circumstances, do not let your dog ride in the back of a truck. It’s very dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death.
  • For your sake and theirs, stop often to stretch his legs and for bathroom breaks.
  • Do not leave your dog unattended in the car with the windows up. This is especially vital in the summer months when the heat becomes unbearable.

Traveling by Plane

  • Your dog should be over eight weeks old if you plan to travel by plane and must be up-to-date on its shots. Verify your dog’s ability to fly with your veterinarian. Ask if it’s best for him to be tranquilized.
  • Consider the temperature from point A to point B and the amount of time it will take to get there. Animals can’t be exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees or above 85 degrees for more than four hours. If this is the case for your trip, you might need to reconsider your method of travel.
  • Ensure that your crate meets the airline’s requirements. If it doesn’t, you might not be permitted to use it. However, you might be allowed to store him in the passenger cabin if it fits under the seat in front of you.
  • When making airline reservations, tell them about your dog due because flights have limits on how many animals they can carry. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis so the earlier you plan, the greater your likelihood of success.
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Final Thoughts

Traveling can be a stressful time, with or without your pet, so taking some extra time to prepare will go a long way to ensuring your trip is relaxing.