To travel with a dog to your awaited trip can be loads of fun if you make all the right arrangements. However, poor planning can really ruin the fun for you, your family and especially your little buddy.
Whether you decide to bring your furry companion through road or sky, you need to plan and do your homework on dog travel. Before starting, train your pup with some basics so he will be well-behaved and can make the experience less stressful and a lot of fun. Then, plan transportation, accommodations, and daily activities.
Where to travel
Every time you plan for a trip, keep in mind that not all climates are suitable for your dog. Although dogs are highly adaptable, every breed has its own ideal climate conditions. While summer is the most preferred time for travel, hot weather is something that should be considered before if you wish to travel with a dog. If your dog is flat-faced or has a thick coat, you might consider heading towards cooler destinations. It is also important to keep your dog’s personality in mind. Just like us humans, some dogs are ‘Home birds’ so as to speak.
Health and Safety
- Health checks. Take your dog to the vet for a checkup before going on the trip. All his vaccinations and shots should be up to date. Health certificates and medical records are required for airline travel.
- To retain your dog’s health during the trip, bring along a supply of his regular food. Don’t forget bottled water and any medications he needs.
- Be prepared for an emergency. Find the number of the nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital at your destination and save it into your phone.
A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car and is always required for airline travel. It also keeps your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host’s home. Crates are available in different shapes and sizes from most pet supply stores. Look for these when purchasing:
- Large enough to allow your pooch to stand, turn and lie down.
- Strong, with handles and grips.
- Leakproof bottom covered with absorbent material.
- Ventilations on both sides, with exterior rims or knobs to block external airflow.
- “Live Animal” label with the owner’s name, address, and phone number.
- Make sure your pooch has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have id tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your phone number.
- A permanent form of identification, such as a microchip is more preferable.
- Always keep a recent picture of your dog along with you, as well as a copy of his health records.
Travel by Air
Traveling by air with your pup may not sound a great idea. Though we pet parents don’t think of our precious pooches as cargo or baggage, they are usually considered such by the airlines. The cargo hold may not be an ideal environment, even for relaxed dogs. Some airlines will allow you to bring your little companion with you in a carrier if he can fit under the seat in front of you. To make sure your dog is not stressed, always book a flight with the least hours and least amount of layovers. It may cost you a bit more, but if there’s a flight straight to your destination, go for it.
A health certificate of your pooch must be provided to the airline along with rabies and vaccinations certificates.
If you are traveling with a companion, consider having one person reach for the dog immediately after the plane lands while the other collects luggage and arranges for a ride from the airport. Learn the finer details and policies of the airline for your dog before you book a flight.
Travel by Car
This is usually considered the best and safest way to travel with a dog. If you own a vehicle, and your dog has been in it for trips to the vet or parks, chances are that he’ll be comfortable traveling by car. The more positive your dog’s car experiences are, the more likely you both will enjoy the ride. Here are some important points should be kept in mind for your next car trip:
Dogs shouldn’t roam in the car
The safest way for your dog to travel in a car is in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seat belt or other secure means. Canine restraints or safety belts are useful for keeping your pooch from meandering around the car and being an interruption to the driver.
Leave the front seat for humans
Always keep your pooch in the back seat of the car. If in any case, an airbag deploys while your pet is in the front seat (even in the crate), it might injure your pet.
Keep those heads inside!
Dogs should always be kept safely inside the vehicle. Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out of the window can be injured by particles of debris or fall sick by having cold air forced into their lungs. Never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup vehicle. It’s dangerous.
Don’t ever leave your pet alone in the car
A quick stop may feel like no time to you, but it’s too long to leave your dog alone in a car. Heat is a very serious hazard: when it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your heat up to 116 degrees within an hour.
If your dog does not adjust to your car, then a road trip is not a good option. But if you have already decided to bring your furry companion for a long car ride, then ask your vet for some possible anti-anxiety medications that can ease the trip. Make sure to take all the necessary car safety precautions. A pro tip: Whenever possible, share the driving and care-taking duties with a friend or a family member.
Travel by Train, Bus or Boat
If you plan to take a train or bus, or you wanna just sail and move, then you may be a little disappointed. Not all railways or buses allow pets to travel. Local rail and bus companies have their policies. Check all the details and policies before heading out.
You may fare better if you’re planning a voyage. Remember to put a floatation vest on your dog. Floatation vests are important for dogs who are inclined to seizures and other medical problems or who are new to sailing. In any case, you should check the policies of the cruise line or ship before making arrangements to take your pooch on a journey with you.
Packing for your dog for a trip is just like packing for a baby. Plan rest stops along the way and plan to stop every 3-5 hours to allow your dog to relieve him, drink water and stretch his legs. Use this list as a guide while you are packing: Add your personal touch as needed.
- List of rest stops and veterinary hospitals
- Dog seat belt or crate/kennel
- Dryer sheets
- Water and bowls
- One or two toys
- Blanket or dog bed
- Bags to pick up waste
- First aid kit
- Grooming supplies
- Medications and medical records.
Hotels and Dogs
If you will be staying at a hotel with your dog, cover all your bases ahead of time. Ask what amenities and services are accessible for your dog, but remember to find out what expenses are included. Keep your dog as quiet as possible. Ask the management where you should walk your dog, and get after him. Bottom lines, before you choose, do explore some pet-friendly hotels.
Camping with Dogs
Camping with dogs can be the perfect way to spend time together while speaking with nature. However, camping with dogs isn’t an insightful decision. Set up your tent in your patio multiple times and encourage your dog to come and join you in the tent. Before you decide to bring your dog, make sure the campground you are considering permits dogs. Many state and national parks do not permit dogs. Above all, do some research about and around the spot.
Now that you’re there
Dogs thrive on healthy schedules. This doesn’t change just since you’re away from home. Provide regular strolls, playtime, access to fresh water at all times, and food, ideally the kind they eat at home. Wash bowls with soap and warm water daily.
Use Dog-friendly Apps
There are plenty of apps that can help when out and about with your puppy. It’s become a lot easier than when you travel solo.
- All Trails – This has the largest assortment of trail maps. Browse photos and reviews and channel your hunt by dog-friendly paths so you know which hikes to hit with your dog.
- Bring Fido – The Yelp of the dog world. Bring Fido helps you locate nearby inns, attractions, and eateries that welcome dogs.
- Pet First Aid by American Red Cross– This app helps you locate the nearest emergency animal hospital, and provides step-by-step guidelines for common pet emergencies.
Traveling with your dog can be an amazing way to strengthen the bond between you two as you need to trust and depend on each other. There is no better feeling than to take a look at your pooch’s face when it encounters something new and exciting. But remember it’s a vacation. Travelling can be stressful, but a calm owner usually has a calm pet. So let go of all your worries and make memories with your little companion. You can get all those memories from this well-planned trip preserved with hand-painted portraits by BookMyPainting. This way you can relive your memories with the little pooch again and again. Let me know in the comment section your experiences of this paw-some trip when you travel with a dog!