Going on a long journey and need to take your fur baby? Check out our 4 ways to travel with a dog.
Our dogs are like our children: we hate to be separated from them! If we are exploring a beautiful destination, we want to share it with them. If we have special needs like anxiety or a disability, we depend on them to support us.
It can be challenging to travel with a dog or other animal, even if they are a registered service animal. Not all pets enjoy the excitement and stimulation of airports and hotels. Not all hosts are gracious to our four-legged friends.
Here are four ways to travel with a dog. Depending on the size and temperament of your pet, you have different options available. Make the choice which is best suited to your animal's needs.
1. By Car
About 39% of all vacations taken by Americans last year were road trips. The relatively low price of gas combined with the hassle of flying has made more people hit the open road. Being able to bring your dog is another appealing factor.
Many pups like to lean out the window and feel the wind in their fur.
Others get car sick. Check with your vet if there are any natural nausea suppressants that would be helpful for your dog.
The presence of dogs in cars also gives rise to a higher incidence of accidents. If your dog is being extra cute or barking, you may get distracted.
Few people use restraints for dogs riding in cars. Like humans, they are susceptible to injury in a car accident as well.
If you are going a long distance and expect to spend the night in a hotel or motel, make sure ahead of time that the accommodations are dog-friendly. Luckily, there are directories online which can guide you to places where they will be happy to host your little buddy.
2. By Plane
If you are traveling overseas, you may need to take your dog on an airplane. If your pet is nervous, talk to her vet about possible calming agents you can use- prescription and natural- which could help her sleep through a flight.
Airlines have specific rules regarding allowing pets in cabins with their owners. If it is a service animal you will need proof of certification.
Some airlines do not allow pets at all in their cargo holds, so make sure you check before booking your ticket.
Animals are expected to fit in a carry-on bag under the seat in front of you, so all but the smallest animals usually go in the hold. Twenty pounds (including carrier) is usually the limit. There is usually a surcharge as well.
Check the restrictions on the country you are visiting if you are going abroad. For example, all Malaysian pets are now required to carry their own pet passports. Other destinations will require documentation of vaccinations against diseases like rabies.
It is also recommended that you book a direct flight whenever possible. Changing aircrafts results in lost luggage on occasion, and you do not want your precious pup to get misplaced.
Take your dog for a vigorous walk before boarding so he will be tuckered out and sleep on the flight. Give him a little water, but not too much, as you don't want him to have to relieve himself in his crate during the flight.
3. By Pet Transport
If you are moving or have a complicated trip planned, you may wish to delegate responsibility to a professional pet transportation company. Some companies offer Concierge Services which not only pick up and deliver your dog to the airport, but they handle all paperwork and customs issues too.
Fees can vary depending on whether your pup will be transported by air or ground. Make sure you check references and insurance for these companies.
Click here for more details on pet transportation services.
4. Not at All
Not all pets are suited to big trips. Sometimes, it is more humane to let them stay at home with a trusted sitter.
If you are planning to fly, consider your dog's age, breed and nerves. Snub-nosed dogs like pugs and bulldogs often have respiratory trouble on airplanes. Other dogs are extremely sensitive to the loud noise, increased pressure and extreme temperatures to which they will be exposed if they are put in the hold.
Talk to your vet to determine whether your pet is medically approved to fly. If he has medical issues, the doctor may suggest alternatives.
If your dog is old, infirm or unhappy in new and strange situations, think about leaving him at home. It can stress you out and ruin your vacation if your dog is sick or anxious while traveling or staying in a new place.
Ways to Travel with a Dog: Choose What Works Best For Yours
Exploring the world with your favorite four-legged friend can be a wonderful experience- if he is up for it. Imagine hiking the Grand Canyon with your boxer, or frolicking in the ocean with your golden retriever. Being with your pet can enhance your vacation in many ways.
Do your research so that the travel is as low stress as possible for both of you. Look for ways to travel with a dog that will work for the whole family. Talk to your vet to make sure that the benefits outweigh the risks.
For more tips on making the most out of life, love, and travel, check out our blog.
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