Pretty much anyone who owns a dog is going to need to travel with them at some point. Whether you’re moving to a new home or going on vacation, taking your dog with you is a big responsibility. You have to care for another creature on-the-go. That means packing enough food and water to get them through the trip, taking into account their health, and checking all the laws for the areas that you’re traveling through. To help your trip go off without a hitch, here are some tips to keep in mind when traveling with your pet.
Ensure Your Pet’s Vaccinations Are Up-To-Date
Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, it is essential that your pet has all their necessary vaccines. Many airplane companies will require your dog’s vaccination record before they let them on the plane. Most states have laws for vaccination as well, especially concerning the rabies shots. Even if you’re only passing through a state, you can encounter problems if your dog isn’t properly vaccinated. Besides just the legal problem though, vaccinating your dog keeps them from getting sick. Because they will encounter more germs when out traveling around, getting them vaccinated is essential. During your vet visit, you can also discuss sedation, though this has been shown in studies not to affect a dog stress level substantially while flying.
Feeding and Watering On-The-Go
While your pet obviously needs food and water to remain comfortable, providing them with these things on a road trip can be troublesome. If you’re traveling by car, be sure to purchase travel bowls for your pet to they can eat whenever they get hungry. Feed your dog the high-quality dog food they are used to. Consider bringing some healthy treats as well.
During air travel provide a small pouch of dry food with your dog’s kennel so that airline personal can feed them if necessary. You should also freeze a small bowl of water for your dog, which will prevent the water from spilling while they’re being loaded but also provide water should they get thirsty.
Carry Identification for Your Pet
If you’re traveling by plane, you should ensure that your dog’s USDA-approved shipping crate is marked with your contact information in case you and your pet get separated. Write “live animal” on the outside of the crate as well.
No matter how you’re traveling, you should also keep a picture of your dog on you at all times. If you’re traveling by plane, this can prevent potential mix-ups during the pick up. If your traveling by car, this gives you a reference in case you get separated from your pet. You should also microchip your pooch and carry their health certificate with you. These are essential for traveling any sort of long-distance.
Tell Everyone That You’re Traveling with Your Pet
Don’t assume people working for the same airline or hotel are going to share that you’re traveling with a pet. Tell every employee that you meet that you have a dog with you. Don’t assume that just because you told the staff at check-in that everyone will be informed.
This is especially important when flying, when staff members may need to check on your dog in the cargo hold while traveling. However, it is also good practice at a hotel. You want the cleaning service to know that a pet is staying in your room to prevent an accidental escape.
Check Laws Regarding Crates and Pet Restraints
All dogs traveling on an airplane are required to ride in a USDA-approved shipping crate. This crate should be big enough for your dog to sit, stand, lie down, and turn around in.
If you’re traveling by car, things are a little more complicated. Many states have laws that require your pet to be restrained when riding in a car. Otherwise, you can get a reckless driving ticket. However, this does not necessarily mean that your pet has to be in a crate. Instead, you could use a dog seatbelt, which hooks to your dog’s collar and snaps into your female seatbelt hole.
Bring a Piece of Home
No matter how you’re traveling, consider bringing your dog’s favorite blanket or toys with you. In an airplane, these pieces of home can be very comforting for your pet. They work wonders to prevent anxiety, especially when they smell familiar. When you get to wherever you’re going, these blankets and toys can be helpful at calming your pet and helping them settle in. If your dog doesn’t sleep on a blanket, consider bringing one of your old shirts for them to use as a comfort item. If your dog is particularly prone to car sickness or anxiety, consider purchasing a pheromone collar for them to wear while traveling.
Be Sure Where You’re Staying Accepts Dogs
There are many rentals and hotels that accept dogs, but there are also many that do not. Be sure wherever you’re planning to stay accepts pets and that your canine meets any requirements they might have. Similarly, some airlines don’t accept certain dogs, like bulldogs, for health reasons. Check before you make a reservation.
Furthermore, even if they do accept pets, you should ensure that they can accommodate your pet appropriately. A Great Dane might not be able to fit into a small, pet-friendly hotel room or a small plane, for example. Small dogs like terriers are going to be easier to fit into hotel rooms than larger dogs.
Traveling with Your Pet
When you travel with a pet you add a whole new level of complexity to your trip planning. You have to ensure they have the right pet carrier, plan your hotel stays at pet-friendly hotels only, and carry around your pet’s health information.
Luckily though, as a well informed dog owner, if you plan appropriately, traveling with your dog is not at all difficult. Just ensure that you have everything you need, including food, water, comfort items, and health documentation. Research state and local laws in the areas you’re planning on traveling through and be sure that the places you’re staying at accept dogs.