Fun fact – did you know that pets outnumber people in the U.S.? Read that again, there are approximately 60 million more pets than people in America! The U.S. is a land of few babies and more pets (pun intended!).
The most popular pet in all these millions of households is the dog.
Now, if you are a dog owner like me (yes, King and Tammy, and they both say hello), you probably have them in your backseat while taking a vacay but faced some challenges and wished it was easier for you.
Well, you are not alone. Research by the Roanoke Times reports that approximately 78% of Americans who have pets travel with them each year.
The big question is, are you prepared if you are taking that journey on a plane or in your car with your dog?
Over the last three decades, I’ve made hundreds of trips with my dogs. I’ve learnt crucial lessons to make your furry friend feel at home away from home. I’ve put together these tips you need to consider while traveling with the pet for proper containment, adequate control, most comfort and proper feeding.
Let’s dive right in, guys!
1. Clothe your dog well
Do you own a cute, cuddly Maltese or prefer the more outdoorsy German Shepherd?
Well, you know these two come as different packages with different requirements – which could not be more evident when traveling.
Different dog breeds require different kinds of grooming. While traveling, most people overlook this factor. Be considerate, research the area you are moving to and have all the facts about the weather.
Short-coated dogs (Pointers, Doberman Pinschers, and Boxers) should wear a jacket during colder months,
So, the big question is, are you moving to a freezing area, and does your Pinscher need a few jackets – and if so, you need to order some for them before they freeze in the cold!
2. Get dog shoes in case the terrain isn’t friendly
How often do you like walking your dog?
Admittedly, I do it a lot – like several times a week, and I find it very relaxing to the mind. But those long walks with your pet in rough terrain sometimes hurt their paws.
It is always nice to be ready than to be sorry. Remember, paw injuries are very detrimental to dogs. Injured paws mean that your dog cannot move or even play. It would help if you had dog booties to protect against cold, hurt and rough terrain.
Health Comes First
3. Consider your dog’s first aid
If you have lived with your pet for some time, you will notice that with matters of health, they require the same care and keenness as we humans do. This directly translates to the fact that you should always be ready to give your dog first aid in any medical emergency when traveling and away from your veterinarian.
The dog’s first-aid essentials include necessary paperwork like your dog’s vaccination records, antibiotic ointment, scissors, rubber gloves, towels and water bowls.
4. Check vaccinations and have proper medical records
Before you take your journey, your first stop should be at your veterinarian.
Your vet should check pets for health issues and ensure they are fit to travel. Inform your vet if you are traveling abroad. There are special requirements to be met in this case.
The vital checks could include blood tests, heart rates, etc. Other crucial documents you must carry include vaccination certificates, health certificates and permits that allow you to cross borders with your dog.
Due to the risk of spreading dangerous diseases such as rabies, many countries have strict restrictions on dogs entering their countries. This is why it is essential to vaccinate your pet and carry the evidence as a certificate.
5. Before you travel, take your dog to the vet for a test
As mentioned above, tests are vital to determine if the pet is fit to travel.
Dogs, like humans, have health challenges, and the risk of traveling with a sick dog might be fatal. Have your dog checked a few weeks or days before you start your journey to ensure he’s in the right shape to go with you.
Accommodation and Grooming
6. Choose pet-friendly locations and accommodations
When you are traveling, your choice of accommodation is a priority. And more so, your housing choice should be carefully picked when and if you are traveling with a pet. Always consider that you have company; not all locations or hotels allow dogs.
The best idea here is to enquire about whether or not they allow dogs before you book your accommodation. This will ensure your dog is not left at the gate while you are allowed in your villa!
7. Choose locations with adequate dog entertainment activities
Sometimes you crave some fun, so go out and engage in fun activities; so does your furry friend, the dog! You might be shocked to realize that dogs love going out and refreshing their minds instead of always being locked indoors.
So, when you are traveling you might want to review your destination carefully and make sure that your dog has some open areas available to play, walk and even kick a ball with you!
You might be surprised how this might keep your dog living in the new environment!
Handling And Feeding Your Best Friend
8. Bring a leash on your journey
When you are traveling to new places, the possibility is that these curious best friends will wander. Remember that there are areas that you are unfamiliar with, and this means that there is the possibility that it will not be easy to find them.
So, how do you solve this?
Simple. Bring a dog leash to contain them within your reach. It might be uncomfortable and strenuous, but it’s your best shot at keeping your pet within your reach and avoiding all the hustle of looking in corners you aren’t even familiar with.
In this video, dog expert Cesar Millan teaches how to use a leash to handle your dog correctly. Watch the video to discover how you can use this universal dog control tool to connect and guide.
On a typical day, in your home area, you don’t need to do this because your pet knows your site and its way home. But when you travel and are in a new place, all of this changes. It would help if you found a way to locate your dog in case he gets lost and can’t find his way back to you.
The way to do this is using a dog collar.
If your friend gets aggressive, the collar can be used to restrain them. In some cases, these collars come in handy because they are used to carry vital medical information often required when you travel.
10. Bring along your pet’s favorite food
We’ve all heard the saying that the most healthy kitchen appliance is a hot plate. And while you are working those saucy munchy sizzles, you do not want your best friend sitting there watching you.
This is why if you are planning on traveling with your dog, it is essential to bring some of his favorite food. Remember that you could be moving to an area where the food the dog is used to isn’t available. This means he has to get used to the new food, which might stress your friend.
Also, it is essential to note that you should avoid feeding your dog in a moving car as this may bring about dog car sickness. Ideally, feed your dog at least 4 hours before you start your journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to travel with a dog on a plane?
According to the cntraveler online travel magazine, the size of your dog determines where they will be carried on the plane. Smaller dogs are allowed in the cabin, while larger ones are taken in the cargo section. You also ideally pay a fee (around $125) for a one-way flight for your pet.
How to travel safely with a dog?
The top safety tip to ensure your safety, that of your dog and that of others is that you should always keep your dog under a leash. Another essential dog safety tip is never leaving your pet in the vehicle and always carrying all their medical and vaccination records with you.
How to travel with dog food?
As a rule of thumb, please do not leave it in the warm car when dealing with your dog’s food. Leaving food in the heat makes it go bad fast, as bacteria propagate quickly and fast in warmer areas. Always carry your pet’s food outside in airtight containers or bags to ensure longer preservation.
Here is a quick list of the things you need to focus on to have the most rewarding travel experience with your dog:
- Proper preparation before traveling helps containment, adequate control, comfort, and proper feeding.
- Preparation and having all essentials before travel is crucial to avoid stress.
- Different types of dogs have different kinds of needs.
- Vaccinations and medical certificates are essential when traveling across borders.
- Always check if your preferred accommodation allows dogs to avoid disappointments.
- A dog leash and a dog collar are vital when in a new area to avoid losing your pet.
Are you planning your next vacation and wondering how you would take your dog with you? You can take your dog with you if you follow these crucial tips in this post. Do not hesitate to give your pet to the neighbors to take care of it while you are away.
I hope you and your best friend have a blast while at it!