13. How to Travel With Your Dog - The Benefits of Traveling With Your Dog at Your Side
Many dog owners enjoy having their furry companions at their side during their travels.
While providing great company, traveling with your pet also keeps boarding hassles from becoming an issue.
You can rest assured that your pet is receiving the best in care and attention if he never has to leave your side.
Traveling with a dog, however, can quickly become a troublesome experience if the proper precautions are not taken.
A few simple preparations made beforehand can make your traveling experience much more enjoyable. Some key points to keep in mind:
- Keep your dog safely secured at all times
- Always schedule frequent bathroom and exercise breaks no more than three hours apart.
- Make sure that your pet's traveling space is roomy and well ventilated.
Basic Traveling Preparations
Regardless of your chosen mode of transportation, there are several steps that you can take to make your pet more comfortable on your trip, as well as to put your mind at ease. Take into consideration any problems that may arise and plan ahead.
Take the following steps to ensure that your pet is kept safe at all times should any complications or separations occur:
- Have a copy of your pet's medical records with you and attached to your dog's crate.
- Have all of your pet's vaccinations updated before traveling, as exposure to new environments can cause health issues for him.
- Have a first aid kit for your dog on hand whenever possible (first aid kits are not likely to be allowed as carry-on luggage, however it would be wise to keep one in your car)
- Have your dog implanted with a microchip before leaving home. This is a quick and easy procedure.
- Have your dog's name, your name, and your contact information printed on both your dog's tag and custom printed on his collar.
- These are very inexpensive precautions that can make a tremendous difference should an emergency arise.
Traveling with your dog can be a rewarding experience. Dogs need and thrive upon new experiences and adventure, and a leisurely trip that is well planned can be a great boost to
your dog's health and happiness.
Taking a few precautions and thinking ahead can greatly enhance the fun that both you and your pet have.
A Note of Caution for Non-Private Travel Methods
If you are traveling by air, bus, train, subway, taxi, or any other method of transportation that involves public interaction, be prepared for a few hurdles. As loving and gentle as your pet may be, dogs are not always viewed kindly by public traveling services. In general, the following rules apply to these transportation methods:
Transporting your dog by airplane is a simple matter, provided that you call your airline ahead of time for exact requirements. Call at least two weeks ahead of time, as you may be asked to submit vaccine information, medical records, etc., by a specified deadline.
Traveling with your dog by taxi or other public transportation may be difficult. For in-town traveling on your vacation, renting a car is recommended if your own car is not available.
Traveling by train with your dog may not be possible. Most train services will not accept animals that are not service dogs.
If you are permitted to bring your dog with you onto publicly accessible transportation (in other words, anything other than your personal car or a rental car), please keep the comfort of other passengers in mind.
Many pet owners make the mistake of thinking that their dogs seem as wonderful to others as they are to them. This is not at all true, however, so remember to give other passengers their space by keeping your dog in yours.
Canine Car Safety
Most dog owners choose to travel by means of a personal car when they are including a dog in their plans. Many pet stores offer products that can ensure your pet's safety on your trip.
Before you and your dog head off on your big day, plan to have the following items:
- a sturdy crate
- water bowl
- food bowl
- water bottles
- prepackaged food
- first aid kit containing hydrogen peroxide, insect bite wipes, sterile gloves, gauze, medical
- tape, and a thermometer
- your vet's phone number
- numbers for vets along the planned route
- numbers and addresses for emergency animal hospitals along the way (try to locate information for one animal hospital per every 100-200 miles, if possible)
Have your dog's crate securely fastened to the backseat with travel straps, which can also be purchased from a pet store. You may also choose to use a canine seat belt, however the lack of mobility that these products offer can make extended traveling uncomfortable for your pet.
Keep bottled tap water on hand, as well as plastic sandwich bags filled with your dog's regular food (changing varieties suddenly can cause stomach trouble for the trip). Always give your dog a chance to stretch his legs and relieve himself at least every three hours.
Making Hotel Arrangements
Issues associated with traveling with your dog do not end when you reach your destination. Unfortunately, most hotels do not allow dogs unless they are providing a service to a disabled individual.
Not making the proper arrangements with your hotel can lead to quite an embarrassing interlude when you come into the lobby with your fuzzy little companion.
When you call to make your reservations, ask specifically what pet accommodations are available. Simply allowing pets may not be sufficient. You may need to stay at a hotel that provides pet daycare, walking services, etc. Determine what you will need before you call.
You can examine your hotel's website for more detailed information on these areas. By staying in a hotel that efficiently covers your dog's need, you will both be able to have a much more pleasant vacation experience.