The brightest season of the year is knocking at the door, which means many of you would be planning a trip to spend quality time with your family and, of course, your furry friend. Whether it is for necessity or leisure, many of us can’t stand leaving for a trip without our four-legged pooch.
Plus, some pets also exhibit a bit of excursion, so you have to let these wanderlust souls explore nature by accompanying them on your trips. That said, a seamless journey does demand extra planning, flexibility, and patience on your part.
A little mistake can turn your trip into a nightmare, so plan your trip carefully and a little ahead of time if your dog accompanies you. Here is a complete guide for traveling with your dogs, keeping their safety and security into consideration.
- Prepare for Your Journey
You, being a human, can cater to emergency trips, but when it comes to traveling with your pet, it demands long-term planning. You can’t say, “Hey mate, we are setting off in five minutes” out of nowhere.
Similarly, if you travel with a snub-nosed dog like Frenchie Doodle, you must go the extra mile to care for your pooch. So, start your journey on the right foot by planning it, keeping the essentials in mind. Here are a few great tips to add to your travel bucket list.
Prepare a Pet Travel Kit
A dog without a crate in a car or plane is a big NO. Traveling with your dog requires a lot of care and attention, which is impossible without a travel kit. The kit varies on the mode of travel, but in its most basic term, it involves;
- Your dog’s collar, leash, and harness
- Travel crate
- Treats and toys
- Poop bags
- Dog seat belt
- Dog seat cover
- Some dry dog food
- A few collapsible bowls;.
- Medications and first aid items
- Your veterinarian’s contact information
A well-equipped dog travel kit translates into a smooth and safe journey with your furry pooch. So invest in all the prescribed items and unlock a happy journey.
Research the Pet Rules of Your Destination
Not every destination welcomes pets, and even if they do, there are certain rules or policies that you are obliged to follow. Therefore, you should know the regulations of the country or state you will visit with your pet.
For instance, so countries have specific vaccination and quarantine requirements. Likewise, some countries require microchip implants on your pets. Most South American, North American, and European countries have these common pet requirements:
- A microchip with a certificate
- Pet health certificate
- An updated rabies vaccination
- A rabies titer test certificate
So visit the official embassy website of your host country and let yourself know what it takes to have a seamless trip with your fluffy mutt.
Schedule a Pre-Trip Checkup with Your Vet
Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends letting your vet know about traveling with your pet. Additionally, some countries demand several blood tests, rabies certifications, and other vaccinations to allow pets on their premises.
So, plan a vet visit to complete the paperwork and vaccinations. Moreover, if your pet takes medication, this visit will help you get ample supplies. If your dog has anxiety issues, you can ask your vet for a sedation option.
- Best Practices for Airplane Travel
Traveling with your dog on a plane is similar to that of a car, so basic rules like keeping their ID on and securing them will apply here too. However, flying with your pet is different, so it entails challenges.
When you travel by car, you drive it yourself. In the case of a plane, you have to follow airline rules. So, consider these important considerations if you fly with your four-legged friend.
Consider All the Alternatives to Flying
A road trip is certainly the friendliest option when you accompany your pet. However, if this is not an option, keeping your dog at home under the supervision of a pet sitter or boarding kennel would be much better.
The reason is that flying with your pet entails significant challenges and demands the utmost care. Failure to comply with rules or security procedures can turn into a nightmare. If neither of the options seems feasible or flying with your dog outweighs leaving them home, you can plan a flying trip around them.
Research the Airline’s Policies
Before you book your ticket, search for an airline that allows pets in the cabin. Some airlines have size restrictions, as they only allow pet carriers that can easily accommodate under your seat. Likewise, some airlines only allow a certain number of dogs on one flight, so double-check the availability of your pet before booking.
Each airline has a different pet policy, including paperwork needed, weight limits, and carrier size; you should go through the overall pet policy section to know what to expect. Some airlines have bred restrictions as well.
For instance, many airlines do not allow the brachycephalic breed because of their prevalent respiratory issues, even in normal circumstances.
Know the Cost of Flying with Dogs
Before planning a flying trip around your dogs, you should also know the cost requirements of traveling with your pets. If your dog is flying with you in a carrier, the price would be higher than cargo travel.
Similarly, a snub-nosed dog breed, such as Frenchie Bulldog, is not allowed on many airlines and if allowed, there are additional costs or other requirements. For instance, Hawaiian Airlines allow this breed only within Hawaii, while Amerijet allows interstate travel within America.
Airline fees for a “pet ticket” typically range from $100 to $125 per way. To bring your French Bulldog on board, you’ll need an airline-approved carrier that allows them to be carried as a carry-on item. It’s important to ensure that your French Bulldog fits comfortably inside the carrier and can be placed securely under the seat in front of you.
Ask these questions
You should contact the airline before booking your ticket to get answers to the following questions:
- Do they allow taking your pet with you in the cabin?
- Does the airline have any special pet health and immunization requirements?
- Are there any specific requirements on the type of carrier? (Most airlines will agree to either soft-sided carriers or hard-sided carriers)
- If cabin travel is not allowed, is the airline available to travel with your dog in the cargo hold?
The extreme noise, poor ventilation, rough handling, and extreme weather in cargo can make your dog anxious. So if traveling in cargo is a necessity, it would be far better to leave them at home. If you are still going for this option, follow these critical tips.
Take Direct Flight
Try to use direct flights to avoid airline transfer mistakes and possible delays that are likely to happen in getting your dog off the plane. Take the same flight as your dog if possible. Request your airline to supervise the loading and unloading of dogs in the cargo hold.
Let Captain Know about Dog in Cargo
Let your plane captain or at least one flight attendant know your dog is in the cargo. This will make them take necessary precautions during the flight.
Avoid Brachycephalic Dogs in Cargo
Never let brachycephalic breed dogs, like Pekingese or Bulldogs, sit in the cargo holds. It would be a recipe for disaster.
Focus on the Flight Schedule
Smartly choose your flight schedule so it can accommodate extreme weather. For instance, early morning or evening flights are great options to escape the heat in summer, whereas afternoon flights are best in winter.
Use ID Tags
Attach a travel label to the carrier with your name, permanent address, contact information, final destination, and where you may be found as soon as the flight lands.
Trim your Pet’s Nails before the Flight
Ensure your pet’s nails have been trimmed to avoid getting hooked in the carrier’s door, holes, and other crevices.
Avoid Cargo on Holidays
Avoid in-cargo travel in peak seasons, such as holidays and the summer, as your dog is more prone to rough handling during these hectic travel times.
Examine Your Pet Carefully
When you arrive at the destination, get to your pet and examine them carefully. If you find anything suspicious, take them to a vet immediately.
- Best Practices for Traveling By Car
If you are traveling with your dog in the car, these tips will help ensure a hassle-free trip.
Take Practice Car Rides
If your dog has not boarded a car before, a short drive before your trip can be a great help. This will familiarize your pooch with car travel and let you know if they exhibit anxiety to travel so you can either revise your decision or use sedatives.
Secure Your Dog
Your dog should never sit loose in the car as it greatly distracts the driver. They should be tightened with the dog seat belt or in a crate/carrier.
Stop for Potty Breaks
Your pet should never hold in, or you want to get your car messed up. So, stop by for frequent breaks to allow your dog out; generally, taking a break every couple of hours would be adequate.
Don’t Leave Them Alone In a Car
You should never leave your pet unattended in the car, especially when the blazing heat is outside. It may seem a little pit stop to you, but your car may heat up, making it a real hazard for your innocent pooch who can’t protect himself.
Keep Their ID On
Make sure your dog has identification and is microchipped. This identification will help you find them if they ever try to escape from the car.
- Best Practices for Train, Bus, or Boat Travel
Like car and plane travel, other modes of travel demand a high level of security and safety planning. Travel carriers, ID tags, seat belt harnesses, pet microchips, and vaccinations are must-haves in any mode of transport you opt for.
Similarly, buses or cruise ships have their pet eligibility criteria, so familiarize yourself with each pet-related policy before deciding.
- Best Practices for Lodging
Like opting for a pet-friendly airline, you must find hotels or motels in your destination that allow pets. Even if they allow, they have some size restrictions, so research different lodging options and find one that caters to your pet’s requirements.
Here are some best practices to ensure safe and smooth lodging with your four-legged friend.
- Ensure your dog does not disturb staff, other guests, and the property.
- Keep your dog as quiet as possible.
- Do not leave them unattended. While in a strange place, most dogs try to bark excessively or destroy property.
- Take a guide from management about the areas where you can take your pet for breaks and pick up after him. Leaving their mess behind is not a good idea.
- Make your hotel room puppy-proof. Your dog will most likely explore this new place, so try to remove everything that can harm them. For instance, electrical cords should be out of their reach.
- Be Prepared for Emergencies
The U.S. Department of State recommends having an emergency plan if they have to send their dogs back home or leave them in the host country. The plan should involve the following:
Who to Call?
It includes your phone number, alternate number, home as well as office address, plus the contact information of the vet.
How to Care?
This covers detailed Instructions about your pet’s care, including portion size, medications, and preventative treatments.
Where to Stay?
You should provide the address and other contact details of at least one facility or person with whom your dog can stay, both in your home country and the destination.
How to Pay?
You must provide instructions on financial or medical resources your furry pooch might need in an emergency—also, accessibility details, such as contact information and hours of operation.
Whether for necessity or enjoyment, great care and long-term planning are always required when traveling with your pet. A detailed vet visit before the travel and intensive research of the destination are great ways to set your journey on the right foot.
Securing your dog with a travel carrier, avoiding their anxiety with treats and toys, and keeping their ID tags on with your detailed contact information is vital for any mode of travel you opt for.
Then comes specific requirements, such as a test drive and, frequent potty breaks for car travel, going through airline guidelines before flying with your pets. Also, go through the pet eligibility criteria of trains or buses before opting for road transport of your pets.
Avoid transferring your dog in cargo as it is extremely dangerous for your dog, especially if it is from the snub-nosed breed. Traveling with your pet is extremely challenging, but planning and simple precautions beforehand will simplify the process, hassle-free and enjoyable.