Many people dread travelling with their dog. Whether in a car or on a plane, travel with a dog can be quite a headache, both for you and your pooch.
Although travelling with a dog can be difficult, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Dogs can brighten up just about any vacation, and you’ll also save a lot of money on boarding.
Here are some steps that you can take to make the travelling process less of a hurdle. Although your dog may never love long trips, preparation can help make travel bearable for both you and your dog.
Go To The Vet
Before you hit the road, you should make sure that your dog is in good health. If your dog has any issues, you should know ahead of time.
Have a vet perform a check up to evaluate their general health. Make sure that they are up to date on all of their vaccines, and get a copy of their health records. You’ll need this information if you plan on travelling by plane, and should have an extra copy with you at all times.
Pack Their Food
If you’re going on a long trip, pack enough of your dog’s food to last you the duration of your vacation. You should also pack enough treats to get through the trip and keep your dog happy.
Also bring some of your dog’s favorite toys to keep them busy, as well as any medication they might need.
Be Prepared For An Emergency
Although unlikely, you should be prepared for an emergency. Find the number of an animal hospital that is close to where you’ll be staying. Make sure you have the number with you, and also bring your regular vet’s contact information.
Unless you have a travel crate, you may need to get one for your trip. Although not necessary for car trips, they’re a good way of keeping your dog safe as your drive, and some hotels may only allow dogs in crates. If you travel by air, your dog will have to be in a crate throughout the trip.
Pick out a crate that has enough room for your dog to stand up and adjust. You want it to be as small as possible without making your dog claustrophobic.
The crate should have plenty of ventilation on the sides, although anxious dogs may do better with crates that they can’t see out of. Make sure the bottom of the crate is absorbent and won’t leak.
Before putting your dog in the crate, give them some treats, water, a comfortable blanket, and some toys to keep them busy.
It’s unlikely that your dog gets lost as you travel. But you should be prepared, just in case. Bring a tight collar with an ID tag listing the dog’s name, your name and contact information, and where you’ll be staying.
You can also consider getting your dog microchipped, if you haven’t done so already. This usually costs around $50, and it’s a great way of finding your dog in case they get lost.
Also bring a picture with you of your dog, as well as their health records, including immunizations.
Before you leave for a road trip, make sure that your dog is used to the car. Take them on short rides to the park so that they can adjust to riding in the car.
To make the ride as comfortable as possible, bring plenty of bedding, treats, and toys. We recommend that you use a safety harness or a crate to keep your dog in place. Don’t let your dog ride in the front seat or with their head sticking out of the window.
Dogs will often get car sick if the eat right before they get into the car. This can also lead to quite the mess. Don’t give your dog any food a few hours before the trip.
You should also make sure that they have plenty of water throughout the ride, as dehydration can make car sickness much worse.
If you’re going on a long drive, take plenty of breaks to let your dog get out, stretch their legs, eat, and go to the bathroom. Although it can be tempting to get the drive over as quickly as possible, taking breaks can keep your dog from getting anxious.
Dogs overheat quickly, so don’t leave them alone in the car, especially during the summer. If you have children, make sure they let the dog rest and don’t disturb them too much throughout the drive.
Before travelling by air, you’ll need to get your dog cleared by the vet. You’ll have to provide a certificate of health within 10 days of your departure date. You’ll also need to make sure they have rabies vaccination certificates.
Dogs under the age of 8 weeks will not be allowed to travel by air. They’ll also need to be fully weaned.
It’s up to you to decide whether your dog is fit to travel. Some dogs may need to be tranquilized before the trip to keep them from getting anxious.
You should also check the temperature in the areas where you’ll be flying, including connecting flights. Many airlines have temperature controlled areas where they keep dogs, but you should be prepared for extreme heat or cold.
You should check an airline’s policies in detail before flying. Many have strict requirements for crate size, and they may not allow you to bring your dog if you don’t meet them. Some airlines may allow smaller dogs to travel in the cabin under the seat.
Make reservations well in advance if you plan on flying with your dog. There are only so many spots allocated to animals, and you may not be able to get one if you book last minute.
Traveling by bus, train, or boat can be a bit of a hassle if you’re bringing a dog. Many major train companies, such as Amtrak, will only allow small dogs (usually around 20 pounds). Bus companies, such as Greyhound, don’t allow dogs of any size. Policies may vary depending on the company, so check before booking.
If you’re taking a boat, you may be able to bring a dog. Some major cruise lines allow dogs, although you may have to pay substantial fees to bring them along with you. Check the specific cruise or ferry policy before booking.
No matter how you choose to travel with your dog, there are some steps you can take to prepare your dog.
Potty Train Your Dog On Multiple Surfaces
When travelling, you’ll often have to make do in different environments. You won’t always have nice patches of grass for your dog to pee on, so try to get your dog used to peeing on pavement before you travel. Also make sure you bring plenty of supplies to clean up after your dog does their business.
Pack Plenty Of Toys
Road trips can be quite boring, for you and for your dog. A bored dog is often an anxious dog, so try to keep your dog entertained by bringing plenty of toys.
Choose toys that won’t get them too worked up and make them want to move around the car. Also bring plenty of treats to keep your dog happy. Just don’t feed them too much, as they may get an upset stomach.
Bring Enough Food And Water
One of the biggest mistakes people make when travelling with dogs is not bringing enough food and water. Always pack a bit more food than you think you’ll need, in case of any delays. Bring some bottled water as well so that you can keep your dog hydrated while driving.
Ask Your Vet About Medication
If your dog gets car sick easily, you may need to give them some medicine to help make the trip more tolerable. Speak to your vet before your vacation, as they may be able to give your dog medicine to help them in the car.
You can also find a number of over the counter medications that will help your dog deal with car sickness and anxiety.
Not all hotels will accept dogs, so try to plan out your trip in advance so that you have somewhere to stay. Make reservations ahead of time and find dog friendly hotels along the way.
You should also make sure that the hotel knows the size of your dog. If you have a large dog and lie about the weight, some hotels may not let you check in, or they will try to charge you an extra fee.
Dogs are not always the most well behaved hotel guests, so do everything you can to keep them happy and quiet during your stay.
Many hotels will go out of their way to charge extra fees if your dog leaves even the smallest mess behind. Clean up well to avoid any unexpected surprises on the bill.
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