How to Travel with Your Dog without Going Completely Crazy
Travelling with your dog, especially if it’s long distance can seem like a nightmare. Those who own dogs often think of them as four-legged children and the thought of having to put them through hours of flying or driving time is a worry that almost everyone who has a dog experiences at one time or another.
There are many factors to take into consideration when planning a journey, or transporting your dog. If flying, on certain routes you are allowed to take your dog in the cabin. Even then, it can be a logistical nightmare if your dog is nervous or noisy!
Preparing Your Dog For The Journey out of town
If you identify with the above, then we have prepared some pointers on how to travel with your dog without going completely insane.
Take The Time To Plan Ahead
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when travelling with a dog, is not planning ahead. Whilst it’s fine to make a last minute travel decision and hop on a plane when travelling with humans, it’s unfortunately not that simple when travelling with a pet. There are certain legal logistics you need to adhere to in order to have a smooth journey and you don’t want to find yourself stuck at the airport without the essentials in order. You should always check on your local airport’s website for the requirements needed in order to travel with your pet on a plane.
Select An Appropriate Crate
Several airlines will have specific requirements with regards to a travel crate. Your dog needs to have access to food and water, absorbent padding and be able to turn around and lay down. It is highly recommended to purchase a crate well ahead of your travel date, so you can start getting your pup used to being inside whilst in the comfort of your own home.
Visit Your Vet
A potentially huge problem that would result in a lot of stress at the airport would be your dog being denied travel. You need to take steps to ensure that your dog has all of their vaccinations up to date and a current pet passport. If you fail to meet these requirements that you can easily do in advance, you could find yourself in a situation where you hear your name on the final call and Fido would have to stay behind!
Do Your Research
It doesn’t really make a difference if you are flying your dog or opting for road transport, you must do your research accordingly. Unfortunately in life, we will encounter cowboys- so it’s of prime importance that you use a reliable transport company, who has received legitimate reviews. Some airlines will allow you to fly your dog in the cabin, providing they meet certain weight and size requirements. It’s important that you take time to prepare your pet mentally and physically prior to your journey.
Make Sure Your Contact Information Is Up To Date
Whilst it’s an unlikely scenario, the possibility that your dog will get freaked out and bolt in the airport is a possibility worth considering. With sliding doors that are continuously opening and closing with the amount of foot traffic passing through, you want to make sure that your dog’s chip or tag has up to date contact details for you.
Plan Toilet Breaks
Regardless of the method of travel you are considering to travel with your dog, you should plan toilet breaks where possible. Obviously, this is made much easier if you are driving with your dog as you can stop pretty much wherever you like. If you are unsure of the possibilities of your dog having a toilet break if travelling on a plane, it is wise to pad the bottom of their travel crate with absorbent pads.
Consider Calming Medication
An airline has the right to deny any animal travel if they are aggressive, too stressed or visibly unwell. If your dog is not used to being confined to a crate, then you could explore alternative natural calming solutions. There are many calming herbs that can greatly reduce anxiety in dogs and you won’t have to worry about them panicking and risking not being able to travel.
Weigh Up Your Options Before Making A Decision
Travelling can be extremely stressful for your dog, especially if it’s his first time. Many dogs that are used to being at our sides 24/7 will suffer from separation anxiety-especially if they have to travel in the hold of an aircraft. Whilst the majority of dogs overcome this anxiety and settle into the journey, some dogs just can’t handle it.
If you haven’t explored all of your options, then here is a list of alternative options to travelling with your dog.
- Pet sitters are readily available to look after your dog whenever you need it. If your dog is sociable and gets along with other animals, consider checking him into a home-environment dog hotel.
- Dog boarding facilities like kennels are an ideal solution for bigger dogs and thanks to the internet you can easily find current reviews and feedback about which kennel is best to use in your area. The other advantage of using a boarding facility is that you will be able to schedule a visit prior to travelling to see if you would feel comfortable entrusting them with your precious pooch.
- Ask a friend of family member to look after your dog. If you are just going on a short trip, it might be better to ask a friend to babysit for the time you are gone. Not only will this save your dog going through the stress of travelling, it also enables you to completely relax during your break away and not have to worry about your dog’s needs.
Pack A Doggy Bag
Accidents can happen at any time, and we aren’t just referring to doggy doo-doos. It is always advisable to pack a doggy bag with the following contents to prepare yourself for a range of issues that could arise during your trip.
- Food and Water Bowls
- Bottled Water
- Soft Food
- A first aid kit containing antiseptic
- All of your dogs health and travel documents
- Any medication your dog needs
- A blanket
- Absorbent Pads
- Lead or harness
It is also advisable to note down the contact details of an emergency vet close to where you will be staying, so you can always be prepared for worst-case scenarios.
Additional Factors To Consider:
As the age old saying goes: “all that glitters is not gold,” if you are intent on travelling with your dog and you want to avoid experiencing temporary insanity, then you must do your research well ahead of your trip. Spend some time investigating different airlines’ travel policies for pets and if you are able to, pick one that will allow you to fly your dog in the cabin with you.
You also need to be sure to check the requirements for entry and departure for animals in the country you plan to travel to. The same applies to checking the regulations with regards to returning home from a foreign country, as sometimes quarantine will be required and this is something you need to know in advance, to avoid complications further down the line.
If travelling by plane, it is also worth considering the fact that some breeds of dogs travel better than others. For example, pugs and bulldogs can sometimes have difficulty breathing; so don’t forget to take that into account before committing your dog to the hold of a plane.
Final Thoughts on how to travel with you dog with out going deranged
Taking your dog away on holiday with you can be an absolute delight, which will allow you to make beautiful memories, without feeling as if you are going completely insane. The majority of dogs travel perfectly well. It’s just better to be cautious and make sure that you are thoroughly prepared for the journey. Failing to do so could result in a ton of complications that could have easily been avoided.
Your dog relies on you to make decisions for him, so you have to make sure that you are always putting his needs first when it comes to travelling. Your vet will be able to give you a clearer insight into what you need to do to make your trip as easy as possible, as well as some pointers to mentally prepare your dog for travel.
As dog parents we tend to worry far too much. Most dogs (unless they have a history of illness) are pretty resilient and they adapt quickly to change. The best part about a dog is that unlike humans, they don’t bear grudges- so whilst they might sulk about being cooped up in a crate for several hours, before you know it all will be forgiven.
Providing you follow all of the steps outlined above and ensure that you obtain all of the correct documents and paperwork to travel, travelling with your dog is going to be straightforward and hassle free.