6 Best Tips for Traveling with Dogs
If you’re a dog owner who’s planning on taking your pet on your next vacation, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans take Max or Bella along for the ride, and billions of dollars are spent to ensure those four-legged loved ones are comfortable. Whether you’re traveling by car or by plane, it’s important to be well prepared so all of you can focus on FUN instead of stress. Here are our favorite 6 quick tips for traveling with dogs: 3 each for car travel and plane travel.
Tips for Traveling with Dogs by Car
1. Put together a travel kit. This should include a travel-friendly food dish, water dish, plastic bags for poop and a scoop, any medication, and first-aid items. It’s also important to bring along a plentiful supply of bottled water, since “unfamiliar” water from strange places could adversely affect your dog’s tummy. (Yikes!) Don’t forget their favorite toy and blanket—bringing along something familiar and loved helps them feel more comfortable.
2. Keep them safe in a carrier or seat-belt harness. No one wants to imagine the possibility, but if there’s an accident or even a sudden need to brake hard, a loose dog can easily get thrown around the cab of the vehicle or even ejected. Choose the safe route by keeping your pet in a moored crate while the car is in motion. If they absolutely love to feel the air on their face, they can ride in a harness attached to a seat buckle in the back seat.
3. Take several short “practice” trips before the big one. This is especially important if your dog isn’t used to being in a crate or harness when in the car with you. Going on a series of small trips and replicating the experience they’ll have when going on vacation gets them used to the idea, and they’re likely to experience much less anxiety when it’s time to hit the road in earnest. If this type of travel is new to your pet, you can expect them to “cry” a little at first during these practice runs. Reassure them they’re OK, but don’t cave.
Tips for Traveling with Dogs by Plane
1. Book a direct flight. If your pet is crated in a cargo hold, the last thing you need to worry about is whether your pet made your connection successfully along with you. Most airlines have weight limits if you want your dog in the cabin with you. But if your dog is small enough, why not pay a little extra for their cabin travel? Whatever you can do to make your dog as comfortable and safe as possible while shortening the trip is totally worth any extra trouble and expense.
2. Know where the pet-relief areas are. If you’re keeping your pet with you in the cabin, do some research ahead of time and locate pet-relief and/or exercise areas for pets in every terminal you’ll be traveling through. Most airports are getting savvier and recognize that traveling with pets is becoming increasingly popular. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that today’s airports are not just accommodating to pets, but they go out of their way to provide amenities for them.
3. Consider their in-flight experience. If your dog is traveling in the cargo hold, make sure they’ve got everything they need. The ASPCA recommends the following: Line the crate with towels to absorb any accidents; tape a small pouch of kibble on the outside of the crate so that airline personnel can give them a snack if there are delays; freeze a small bowl of water the night before your flight so that it won’t spill in transit, but will thaw and be ready to drink when your pet gets thirsty.
Tip of the Tail
Whichever method of travel you choose, be sure your pet is microchipped and also has their name as well as your name and contact information on their collar. Identifying information should also be on their crate, just in case. Happy travels!