Traveling with your dogs can be very rewarding. It can also be very stressful. Depending on the breed of dog you have, their age, and temperament, it can be pleasant or it can be very difficult.
Most dogs love going in the car but may get stressed during a longer trip. Flying can be a whole different situation, as well. The noise, the stress, and if they need to travel in cargo or in the cabin, with you, will also make a difference.
Always check with your veterinarian first. Get them a full checkup, make sure their shots are up-to-date and they are healthy and strong enough to travel. Identification, like microchips, is often mandatory, as well.
Check With Airline
Each airline will have its own policies. If you are traveling with your dog by air, make sure you let them know you are bringing your dog. They will let you know what paperwork and certificates you will need.
There are also restrictions for animals in cargo if the plane is not temperature controlled. Certain times of the year it will be too hot or too cold for the dog to be in cargo and some airlines make not allow animals in the cabin. There are also size restrictions for animals in the cabin.
Keeping Your Dog Calm
If the dog is able to fly in the cabin of the plane with you, that should help reassure them they are okay. But regardless of whether they are in the cabin or underneath in cargo, they will be stressed.
Include an article of your clothing. Something like a tee shirt or something that has been worn but not washed. The scent of you in their crate will be very reassuring.
Put in their own blanket, mat, or article of clothing that they like and sleep with or have claimed. Also include a toy or some other type of item or article of clothing they have claimed as their own or love to chew on.
There are calming lotions and tinctures, or treats you can get from your vet or pet supply shops. Check for treats that you can give the dog to help them relax and eliminate stress.
Potty Break Strategies and Accidents
If you are in the car, your dog will let you know when he needs a break. If you are on a boat or ferry, or plane, you should train your dog to go on different surfaces.
However, if it isn’t possible for the dog to relieve himself when he needs to, he will make a mess in the crate. Take a clean blanket or mat to change in the crate, some cleaning supplies, and line the crate with absorbent pet training pads. Never chastise or discipline the dog for making a mess in the crate. That is your fault, not his.
Eating on the Road
If you are on a plane, you can have snacks in the crate. As a rule, airline personnel will check on the animals and give them water or food if you can pre-arrange it for them.
On car trips, you bring their favorite foods along but keep in mind if your dog is not used to long trips they may get sick. Don’t include food they are not used to or food you are eating.
Include plenty of water for the dog. This keeps them hydrated and from overheating in the car. It can also help prevent them from throwing up, due to car motion.
Bring the food in containers you can simply open and close again without risk of spills. There are collapsable bowls that fit in your travel bag. They are convenient and of good quality.
Your dog will fare much better if they are not full. Feed them a bit of food at least one hour before you leave. Take food with you and plenty of water for them during the trip.
Don’t let them wander around the car. Smaller dogs may be okay but larger dogs should remain in their crates. It allows for less moving about and less chance of them throwing up on you or causing a distraction. Make sure they have a lot of room and excellent airflow by leaving your windows partly down, if possible.
Include plenty of breaks so our dog can get out, stretch, and relieve themselves. Keeping them calm during the trip will reduce stress and their need to throw up. There are treats available they can have to help with an upset stomach. Always have a clean mat or blanket to replace if they are sick inside the crate.
What to Pack on a Trip
We have already mentioned several important things you will need.
- Cleaning supplies
- Poop bags
- Extra towels, mats, or blankets
- ID and all paperwork for shots, etc
- Nausea and or calming treats
- Leash, collar, and harness
- First Aid Kit
It’s better to have too much than to be left wanting. You may be miles from the nearest place for a certain time or supplies when you need them the most.
Travel Safety for Your Dog
It is important to make sure your pet is healthy and prepared for the trip.
Keep your dog in the crate. They are safer in there, won’t get knocked off balance, and can’t wander around through the car.
Face them forward so they are not looking out the side window. This can cause nausea.
Don’t let them ride in the back of an open vehicle or let them ride with their head out the window. They can become injured or killed.
Allow them plenty of breaks so they don’t hurt themselves when they need to relieve themselves.
Have an extra harness when you stop for rests. The dog will be in unfamiliar areas and may want to dart off, get scared and run off, or try to hide somewhere.
Have plenty of water and make sure the temperature is just right for them, regardless of how you are traveling.
Utilizing these tips will ensure a safe and pleasant travel experience!