Traveling with a dog can seem stressful. Your dog has different needs from another person, and when going on a road trip or a flight, those can add to the already present travel-induced chaos. Luckily, with these tips, the stress of traveling with a dog can be alleviated, and you and your pup can start to travel together with more peace of mind.
Dogs need paperwork just like humans, and paperwork takes time! Make sure you visit with your vet to make sure your dog’s health records and immunizations are up to date. If you are flying, officials will ask to see these records. If you’re crossing any international or state borders, additional paperwork may be required as well, so check the regulations and see what you need.
Many places do not allow dogs or have size restrictions, so it’s important to do your research to find hotels and restaurants that will, as well as any fees to bear in mind.
If you’re flying, look into the weight and size limits of your airline, what carriers are allowed, and what fees you’ll need to pay. Small dogs under 20 pounds can go in the cabin with you; try to book a window seat, so your fellow passengers have leg room! Larger dogs will need to go in the cargo hold, unless they’re a service animal.
If you’re going on a road trip or a flight, get your dog acclimated to the rhythm of it first. Especially for puppies, it’s good to first get them used to getting in and out of the car, then going on short drives, and then increasing the length so they grow accustomed to the time traveling takes.
Take it slow; dogs, especially puppies, can get carsick too, so you’ll want to pack extra linens. And reward good behavior! If your pup associates road trips or the airport with a special treat, it’ll give them something to look forward to and help lessen anxiety. If your pup isn’t used to crates, try having it around the house for a few weeks before you intend to use it. Put some of their favorite treats and toys in there so they see it as a good place to be. Then, by the time you are actually going on a road trip, or a flight, your dog will be better prepared.
You need toothpaste and deodorant and the like; your dog needs things when they travel too. Poop bags, a leash and harness, ID tags, food and water - as well as bowls to put them in, treats, toys, and a bed to put in your dog’s crate/carrier are all necessary. If your dog is on medication, pack that too, and don’t forget the travel documents.
If your pup gets anxious or sick when traveling, your vet can prescribe medicine to help! You may also bring calming chews and extra linens. If you have a puppy, make sure they have a big chewy toy to gnaw on! Puppies are also more susceptible to temperature changes than grown dogs, so extra blankets and cooling pads are a must.
Taking your dog for an hour or so walk before you hit the road or head to the airport will help tire them out enough so that they have less energy to be stressed. Don’t do vigorous exercise, but a bit can help them sleep and be more relaxed. If you’re driving, keep an eye on your dog. If they start whining, pacing, and acting restless, this is a sign they need a break to get out and stretch their legs, so plan for exercise breaks.
You probably don’t have the same routine when you travel, so don’t worry if your dog doesn’t either. Your dog probably won’t have the same eating or drinking or sleeping habits as they usually do. This is normal, just make sure they have everything they need. If your dog is very anxious or you are truly worried about them, talk to your veterinarian.
With these tips in mind, you can be better prepared to travel with your dog! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us!