Traveling with Your Dog

 In blog, Pet Care

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

Taking your dog along with you when you travel can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your pet. However, without proper planning, this same trip can lead to disaster for everyone, including your dog. It is best to take a few precautions to make sure the trip is one that you will never forget. Here you will find some great tips for preparing and packing for your trip, as well as, tips for traveling and what to do once you reach your destination.

Preparations for Your Trips

Preparations for traveling with your dog should begin well before going on your trip. This way you will be sure to have everything in place and ready to go for your vacation. Below is a look at several things you should take care before the day of your trip arrives.

Visit Your Local Vet – You should take your dog to the vet prior to going on your trip. This will ensure that your dog is healthy enough to travel and that he is up-to-date on all of his shots. In addition, most hotels, airports, and campgrounds will require you to bring a complete shot record and perhaps even a recent health certificate with you.

Take a Trip to the Dog Groomers – You should also schedule a trip to your local dog groomers. Not only will a proper dog grooming right before your trip help you dog look great, but it will help him feel great too. You especially want to make sure that his nails are clipped properly because you may be doing a lot more walking than normal.

Call the Airline and/or Hotel – Every hotel and airline has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to traveling with dogs. Even if you have used this company before or you have read over all the company information, reach out to both the airline and the hotel prior to your trip. Confirm that everything is in place and double check what specific information is required. This will avoid headaches later.

Practicing Riding in the Car – If you are going for a long ride, start practicing riding with your dog in the car for a few weeks prior to your trip. Giving your dog some exposure to the car and/or crate will help to alleviate some of his stress during the trip.

Prepare Crate – If you are using a crate for your plane or car ride make sure it is clearly marked with your dog’s name and your contact information. You should also write “Live Animal” clearly across the top of the crate. This way if you are in an accident or the crate is misplaced at the airport, it will easily be identified.

Identification – If you have not had your dog microchipped yet, now may be the time to consider this option. Otherwise, be sure that your dog’s license if firmly attached to his collar.

What to Pack

When packing for your trip, do not forget all the essential your dog will need while you are away from home. If you are traveling by plane, you may be limited to how much you can pack, but it is best to find room for at least one or two of his favorite toys, a blanket from home, any medication, and some extra treats. If you are going to a location where it may be hard to find your dog’s exact type of dog food, then you will need to bring it from home. You also want to keep your dog’s leash, shot records, health certificate, and a small water bowl within easy reach.

Tips for Traveling

Now you are ready for travel day. Below are a few tips that can help make this experience more relaxing and enjoyable for everyone.

Fast Prior to Trip – The last thing you want is for your dog to have an accident during your trip. He should fast for about six hours prior to the start of your trip and you want to allow him to relieve himself one final time right before leaving. However, it is important for your dog to remain hydrated, so do not take water from him.

Lots of Exercise – Your dog will be cooped up in the car and/or crate for several hours at a time. This will be easier for your dog if he has had a lot of exercise prior to leaving. Be sure to take him on an extra-long walk or let him play outside for an extended period on the day of your trip.

Safely Secure Your Dog – You may think your dog will be more comfortable just sitting in the seat beside you in the car. However, this will also put your dog at risk for injury in the event of an accident. Your dog should either be in the crate while traveling or safely secured in a doggie seatbelt. Never let your dog sit with his head out the window because this could be very dangerous.

No Food While Traveling – You may be tempted to give you dog small treats or even feed him along the way, but this is not recommended. A sudden stop or jerk of the car could cause your dog to choke on the food and since you are driving, you may not be able to help.

Airplane Tips – If you are planning to travel by airplane do your best to find a non-stop flight. This will avoid the need to transport your dog from one plane to the other and risk being misplaced. If your dog is small enough, inquire about having him ride in the cabin with you. This can help to alleviate travel stress for both you and your dog. Otherwise, inquire about where the dogs are kept during the trip, and as soon as you boar the plane, let the flight attendant know that you have a dog onboard. It is also a good idea to include a favorite toy in the crate with the dog to help with his anxiety.

Helping Your Dog Adjust to the New Environment

Once you arrive at your hotel or other destination, it is time to help you dog adjust to his new environment. Start by taking him on a long walk to let him exercise. This is very important and it can prevent negative behaviors in your pet. When you arrive at your hotel room, it is imperative that you take control of the space.

Before you let your dog run loose, walk around the entire room and unpack your clothes. This will allow your scent to travel throughout the space and prevent your dog from trying to take command. Remember, that you are not home anymore and that there may be things in the room that could be dangerous to your dog. Thoroughly check the room for any loose items, electric cords, or anything else that could pose a danger to your dog.

A little preparation ahead of time could be the difference between a great trip and a very stressful trip. The most important thing is to prepare your dog for the trip, by going to the vets and the dog groomers and by practicing riding in the crate. You also do not want to forget any of the necessary paperwork, such as shot records and health certification or you may be allowed on the plane or in the hotel room.

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