Traveling with a pet can be a lot of fun, but there are some specific steps that you should take to prepare your pet for this new experience. Most dogs are very good travelers with dogs typically enjoying a car ride and many very comfortable with air travel as well. Pet Travel
There are different requirements for the two different types of travel, so let’s look at them separately for ease of understanding.Pet Travel
Airplane Pet Travel
The following will help you prepare for taking your dog by plane: pet travel
- Check with your airline – not all pets can travel with the owner in the plane. Typically, it is restricted to small dogs in carriers or approved types of doggy travel bags. Check if the dog is traveling in the cargo if there are seasonal requirements and keep in mind this is not a temperature controlled area of the plane. Additionally, you must notify the airline in advance as they only allow so many pets per flight.
- Practice crating your dog – this will help the dog be comfortable in the crate. Make it a positive experience and provide comfortable bedding and some favorite toys.
- Talk to your vet – there are medications that can be provided to ease anxiety and stress for your dog during the flight. Do not use human medications or use any dosage or medication other than what is recommended by your vet. Most herbal supplements, even for pets, are not effective for anxiety due to flight for dogs.
- Make sure you don’t feed – it is never a good idea to feed the dog immediately before a flight, particularly a long flight. Instead, feed the dog a few hours before the flight and take a long walk, jog or spend a bit of extra time at the dog park before you leave for the airport.
- Check your documents – make sure you have all the records required by the airline to transport your pet. This will include a health certificate from your vet that is usually issued not more than 10 days from your flight date (but this may vary by airline).
Make sure your dog has a collar that clearly provides your contact information where you can be reached while away from your home.
Traveling by Car
Traveling by car for the first time is a bit scary for dogs or puppies, but you can help them adjust and become comfortable by:
- Sitting in the car – let the dog or puppy just sit in the car and look around. Sit there with them and provide a small treat, let them keep a favorite toy or just pet the dog. Then, start the car and let it run. Turn on the radio at a low volume, use the wipers and even honk the horn. Take this slow and stop the activity if the pet looks anxious.
- Have a pet seatbelt or use the carrier – make it a habit to have the pet in the carrier and secured or in a dog seatbelt. This provides security for the dog and will help them to be comfortable. This also prevents the dog from bolting and getting lost when you open the door.
- Go for short drives – just going around the block can be a good start. Gradually go further as the dog becomes more confident.
- Make it fun – the car should be a fun thing. Make sure to use the car to go to the dog park or to a fun place for a walk.
- Schedule car rides – try to schedule those short car rides and gradually expand on the time in the car. This will help your dog get used to the process.
Avoid feeding your dog right before a trip in the car, this can avoid a lot of mess and cleanup, particularly with a puppy or a young dog on a first ride.