Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to pack your things and take a vacation. We all love traveling and spending time in new locations away from home but for those of us who have dogs, this can be quite a challenge. Taking your dog with you on a trip or a longer vacation can be a great experience but it can also cause a lot of headaches.
Whether you’re traveling in a car or an airplane, it is likely that your pet might not like the experience. Some dogs get agitated and scared when traveling, while others turn completely restless or even sick to the point of vomiting. To make sure your next vacation with your dog doesn’t turn into a nightmare, we’ve put together these tips on how to travel with dogs in cars and on airplanes.
How to Travel with a Dog in a Car
The number one rule when taking your dog on a car trip is to never let him roam around freely. Letting your dog loose in the car can be dangerous for both the dog and the passengers. The safest way to go about this is to use a seat belt specifically designed for dogs. You can get these in any well-equipped pet shop in your area. A short seat belt will keep the dog in place for most of the ride, which will make it easier to handle the trip.
If you have a small dog that’s restless and overly energetic all the time, consider purchasing a crate to put your dog into during the trip. Keeping your dog seated in one place will not only make the whole experience more enjoyable but it will also protect the dog in case of a car crash. Forget about all those movie scenes where you’ve seen dogs stick their head out the window and enjoy the view.
This is not only a safety hazard for the dog but it’s also a health risk. By peeking its head through the window, the dog will be exposed to all kinds of debris that might fly around the vehicle while driving. Besides the risk of injury, dogs can get sick by inhaling the cold air caused by fast speeds of the moving vehicle. Whichever way you look at it, it’s not a good idea to let the dog stick its head out the window. After all, they can enjoy the same view behind a closed window as well.
It is also recommended to take frequent rest stops when you notice that your dog is getting agitated or nervous. They might want to use the bathroom or simply move around a bit. This is especially important if you’re going for long car rides that last over four hours. It is always best to have someone take care of the dog in the back seat but if you’re driving with a dog alone, get ready to take frequent stops to keep the dog calm.
Keep in mind that you should never keep a dog alone in the car, especially if the windows are closed. This is even considered illegal in some states in the US. Even while driving, make sure the back window is cracked a bit to allow some fresh air for the pet. Don’t forget to have a bottle of water ready for the dog whenever you take breaks. These tips will help you get the best out of your trip without having to worry about the safety of your dog.
How to Travel with a Dog on a Plane
Traveling with a dog on an airplane is a completely different story. Driving is usually a better option for dogs, especially those with short snouts or the so-called brachycephalic snouts such as pugs and bulldogs. These dogs are especially vulnerable to oxygen deprivation, which means air travel can be a difficult experience for them. If you have one of these dogs, don’t take him on a plane with you.
If you can get a dog sitter or a family member to take care of your dog while you’re gone, this would be the best option. However, if it is an absolute must that you take the dog on an airplane, you have to keep these few things in mind. For starters, call the airline in advance to check if the dog meets the requirements to go into the cabin with you. Avoid transporting your pet in the cargo hold because this area usually has bad ventilation and temperature, which are not good conditions for an animal.
Since the number of animals allowed in the cabin is limited, make sure to call the airline well in advance of your flight. If you were wondering how to book a flight for a dog, it is much simpler than you think. Most airline websites offer the option to book a flight for your dog online. All you have to do is follow the process the same way as if you were booking a ticket for yourself. However, make sure to choose direct flights to avoid any possible mistakes in transfer in case the dog has to travel in the cargo hold area.
It is not uncommon for pets to get lost during transfer so make sure to have a printed photo of your dog just in case the staff needs to search for him. Always alert the pilot and the staff that there is a pet on board so they can pay attention to it during the transfer process. It is also recommended to put a travel label on the dog’s carrier or the collar to make sure it doesn’t get lost.
Traveling with pets can be fun if you know how to handle this challenge. Try to avoid traveling with your dog on the airplane because car rides are a much better option for the animal. However, if you absolutely must take the plane, don’t feed the dog four to six hours prior to flight and make sure it always has water available. Remember to keep your dog seated while in the car as well! Let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this!