Animals of all kinds can give bring us so much joy. But among animals, many people choose to have dogs as their pets because, why not? They are not only cute; they’re smart, huggable, friendly, loyal, and are super fun to be with. You can train dogs and make them the most behaved, obedient, and friendly pet in the world. Even more, dogs are some of the best traveling companions.
Whether you’re going for a hike in the mountains, swimming in the Hawaiian coasts, taking a city tour around Tokyo, or skiing at Zermatt, you can expect an amazing, fun-filled, and memorable vacation with your furry, four-legged travel buddy.
But before you start enjoying the sights, you have to go through some stressful (and sometimes expensive) workaround to ensure that your pet gets to your destination safe and sound.
Whether you are traveling by land or flying with your dog, this guide is for you.
Car Rides with a Dog – Must-Knows
Needless to say, road trips are less stressful than plane rides when you are taking your pooch with you. But the process involves more than putting her in the backseat. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends the following safety measures when traveling by land with dogs:
- For shorter rides, it’s fine to just put your dog in the backseat where she can stick out her head and enjoy the breeze. But for longer distances, it’s better to put her in a well-ventilated crate or carrier where she has enough space to sit, stand and lie down. It is important to train your pet to feel comfortable inside a crate or carrier before your trip. At the same time, prepare her for a long trip by taking her for short drives and gradually lengthening the time she spends in the car.
- On the day of your travel, you want to feed your dog light meal three to four hours before you your road trip journey. Do not feed her while you’re on the road.
- Prepare a travel kit for your pet. Just like you, your dog needs some stuff to travel safely and comfortably. Your pet travel kit should include food, food bowl, water, leash, plastic bags, and a waste scoop, grooming supplies, updated tags, a collar, her recent photo (this is very helpful when your dog suddenly goes missing), medication, portable bed or pillow, and a first-aid kit. Pack one or two of her favorite toys or pillow she sleeps in so she would find something familiar when traveling in a strange place.
- If you’re traveling across states, bring your dog’s vaccination records. Some states require this as a proof that your pet is updated in terms of the needed vaccines.
- Pack a doggie first aid kit. This should include gauze, tweezers, 3% hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds, non-adhesive sterile pads, muzzle, a towel, and a list of emergency contact numbers including your vet. Be prepared also for pet emergency, that can happen in a foreign country, where you can consider emergency personal loans for pet care costs.
- While it is not always necessary, a microchip provides an extra level of security.
Flying with a Dog – Must-Knows
Flying is a whole new different experience for your furry friend and could be more stressful for her than by car. The thing is you cannot take your dog with you inside the passenger cabin. Your dog will be placed in a small carrier inside a scary environment for an extended period.
Here are some important tips to ensure a less jittery flight for your dog:
- Know the health requirements for flying a dog. Such requirements may be different in each state or country, so make sure to inquire about it before you book your flight. In most cases, you will be asked to present your dog’s health certificate with updated vaccinations. Your dog records should be updated so you may have to take her to the vet at least a week before your scheduled flight.
- Just as you help your pet become more comfortable with car rides, you also want her to be at ease when placed inside a cargo, in a much stiffer and confined space. Let your dog become more familiar with the exact carrier he will be on the flight. Do this by placing your dog in the carrier for a few minutes each day, gradually increasing it to a few hours (more if your flight will take a long time).
- Be sure that your kennel meets the requirements of the airline. Your dog’s crate or carrier should be durable and have sturdy handles or grips, leak-proof bottom padded with absorbent material. It should also be well-ventilated, properly labeled with your name, address, and contact information, and should have a “live animal” sign indicating which way is upright.
- You should also make sure that the airline has the space for your dog before you book. Some airlines only allow a few pets per flight and have certain limitations as to the weight and breed of dogs. For example, short-nosed breeds are usually not allowed by many airlines as over half of dog fatalities in planes involve short-nosed breeds. Check your airline’s specific policies when traveling with a dog. If possible, choose a direct flight. Longer travel times, along with multiple encounters with baggage handling, can cause additional stress for your dog.
What to do Once You Arrived at Your Destination
You and your pet landed safely. Now what? You want to ensure the comfort and safety of your pet even more once you reached your destination. Here are some things you must do:
- Take your dog for a walk. Your dog has been all cramped up after several hours in the carrier (whether you’re traveling by land or air). Just like you, she definitely needs some time to move around, stretch, and have a breath of fresh air.
- Research the rules of your destination as it may be different from your state or country. Most importantly, book a pet-friendly hotel. Even if you know that your hotel welcomes pets, check that they have a room where pets are allowed. Alternative accommodation options such as Airbnb, apartments, and rental homes are likely to give you a more flexible package. Possibly one that does not restrict your dog from sleeping with you in the same room.
Traveling with your pet dog is such an amazing experience. Instead of leaving her with a friend or relative, you will have more fun taking your pooch wherever you go.
But of course, transporting a dog is not easy. Especially if it involves a long road trip or a plane ride. The key is to plan ahead, prepare everything you and your dog needs in advance. (from her health records to the crate or carrier) Take time to research the rules and policies of the state or country you are visiting to avoid inconvenience and legal problems. Furthermore, teaching your pet weeks or months in advance to be calm while traveling is very, very important.
That’s all you need to know about traveling with a dog. Have a fun trip!