Traveling with Your Dog
From family vacations to family relocation’s, there are many times when leaving the dog at home just isn’t going to fly. If Fido is in good physical and mental health for travel, follow these tips for a hassle-free trip and a happy dog too.
- Check your tags: Before leaving on a trip, be sure your dog’s collar with name and contact information are ready to go. If you haven’t already, consider getting a microchip. Prepare for the worst, and bringing a recent picture of your dog along just in case you get separated.
- Get some exercise: Make sure your dog has been well-exercised before he goes into the car or crate so that he’ll be ready to rest during travel time.
- Skip a meal: Dogs are prone to motion sickness so it’s best not feed your dog much before going on a trip. Likewise, try to avoid snacks during the trip, but plan to stop for water breaks. For long road trips where snacking may be unavoidable, plan in a break time to play or walk your dog to burn off extra energy.
- Find Pet-friendly accommodations: Websites like Bring Fido can help you to quickly find dog-friendly hotels and other accommodations. Most campgrounds allow pets, but you should do your homework to be sure you understand any restrictions.
- Use a crate or harness in the car: If you will be traveling by car, plan to use a crate or dog harness as a precaution that will keep your dog and family safe. For first-timers, spend the days and weeks leading up to the trip helping your dog to get used to traveling this way.
- Keep heads, paws and bodies inside the vehicle: Don’t let your dog ride with his head out the window, which can lead to eye injuries. Dogs should never ride in the back of an open truck.
- Make pit stops: For long road trips, stop for breaks to rehydrate and get rid of built up energy.
- Never leave your dog in the car: Even with the window opened, the heat in a parked car can build up within minutes to deadly temperatures. Plan stops in your route that will allow you to take the dog out of the car or be sure someone always stays in the car with him.
Traveling by plane
- Understand the rules: Check with your airline about their rules regarding pet travel; most will require a health certificate.
- Don’t eat before flying: Like car travel, you should not feed your dog for at least 6 hours before he flies and plan for a bathroom break as close to departure time as you can manage.
- Say goodbye without a scene: If your dog won’t be with you in the main cabin, be ready to let him go quickly and calmly, so he’ll be calm too.
Arriving at your destination
- Take charge of your temporary home: When you arrive at your accommodation, enter and take charge of the new scene before your dog thinks he’s running the show. Be extra attentive about making your dog wait for your command while you look around, unpack or begin any start of activity, teaching him to understand that you are still in charge in this new environment.
- Get some exercise: As soon as you can, go for a walk to burn off energy and to familiarize your dog with his new surroundings. Continue to take walks as close to your regular schedule as possible throughout your trip.
- Refuel: Feed your dog right away and then keep following your regular feeding schedule.