For most dog owners, their furry, four-legged companion is another member of the family. This means that when the family travels, the dog goes with them.
Of course, it’s not always easy to bring your best friend with you, especially during the holidays when planes, trains and automobiles tend to be filled to capacity.
Here are a few sensible tips that will make traveling with your dog less stressful for you and your favorite pup.
Flying With Your Dog
Whether your dog is large or small, good preparation can make all the difference when you are flying. Carefully research each airline and their requirements for flying pets. If you can, seek out staff and flight crew members to help you find the reassurance and information you need before and during your flight.
It’s a good idea to schedule a vet visit before the flight to make certain your pup is in good shape to fly. Additionally, it may be necessary to acquire documentation from your vet or from a vet at your destination, making it doubly important that you start working on this step early.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to book well in advance as pet space may be limited in the cabin and the cargo hold. Your pet may be required to travel in a kennel, in which case you’ll want to get a sufficiently large kennel and ensure that your pup is comfortable with it before departure.
This may involve training your dog to remain calmly and comfortably in the kennel for an amount of time that is equal to the flight’s duration. If your dog has not been crate trained before now, be certain to start at least a few weeks in advance to give her time to get used to being kenneled.
If your dog is larger and will be traveling in the cargo hold, keep in mind that it can get pretty cold down there. Make certain his kennel is lined with blankets and include his favorite toy for comfort. A water bowl with ice cubes or chips also is wise. The ice will melt during the flight, giving him a reliable source of water.
If your flight time will be particularly long, consider scheduling connecting flights rather than going non-stop. Connecting flights provide opportunities for your dog to stretch his legs and have a potty break.
Traveling By Car
Many families with dogs opt to travel by car because they believe that it will prove to be less stressful. This frequently is the case as many dogs are already accustomed to and happy about the opportunity to travel in a car.
Still, if you are traveling a fairly long distance, then it makes sense to schedule frequent pit stops. Gas stations, rest areas and fast food restaurants all may make good places for the whole family to get out and stretch their legs.
This not only provides an opportunity to enjoy a meal and a potty break but also is a good chance to ensure that your four-legged friend is properly hydrated. Make certain that she gets a good drink of water at each stop.
Between stops, it also may be wise to ensure that water is still available. Many no-spill bottle options are on the market today, and they are ideal for car travel. Your dog can have constant and immediate access to water to ensure that she doesn’t get dehydrated.
Before you leave on your road trip, make certain to pack all of the essentials that your pup will need. This includes poop bags as well as toys. Consider packing one or two new toys to keep him entertained throughout the long hours on the road. Don’t forget to pack any necessary medications or over the counter remedies like ear cleaning solution that can come in really handy. Extra collars and leashes are other useful additions.
It further can be a good idea to keep your dog’s vaccination schedules with you in case there are any medical-related issues on the road.
You can make car travel extra safe for your dog by choosing to harness him to the seat. Dogs who aren’t used to being harnessed may need a bit of training with the harness in the days and weeks before you travel. The harness is a tremendous safety benefit as it keeps your dog snug and secured even if you are forced to slam on the brakes.
Whether you are planning to fly or drive with your dog, use these tips to better ensure a stress-free and fun experience for you and your pup.
Teena Patel is a Certified Dog Trainer and Behavioral Counselor who works with pet owners and owners of doggy daycares to bring her philosophy of Enrichment to the canine population. After almost two decades of successful dog training under her belt, Teena has done away with the standard doggy daycare “warehousing” of animals in kennels and runs. In place of an industrial model, she focuses on what is right for the dogs as living beings, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in companion dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, much happier. True to her passion, Teena Patel gives dogs the freedom “to be dogs”.