If you plan to take a trip with your pooch, you will want to review these six tips for traveling with your dog to make it as trouble-free as possible. Many of your arrangements will vary based on whether you travel by plane or car, but there are some things that need to be done whichever way you choose to travel.
Six Tips for Traveling with Your Dog
1. Bring Medical Supplies
Make sure your dog is up to date on all required vaccinations including bordatella, just in case you have to board your dog unexpectedly. Consider a Lyme vaccination if you plan to travel someplace with a high incidence of Lyme disease. It's also a good idea to pack tweezers so you can remove any ticks that your dog collects while outside. If your dog has a tendency toward motion sickness, discuss administering Dramamine or Benadryl with your veterinarian. However, this is not recommended if you will be flying because these medications can cause sedation. Over-sedation is attributed to many pet deaths on airplanes. Pack any other medications your dog may need, such as heartworm medication, flea and tick treatments or medications for specific health issues. Be sure you also pack all your dog's health records and rabies certificate.
2. Pack Basic Supplies
Basic dog supplies should be packed for your trip. This includes an extra collar and leash, a flashlight for nighttime walks and potty breaks, bowls for water and food and a jug or two of water from home to prevent possible digestive problems. You should also remember to bring your dog's regular food as well as a few treats, his favorite toys and an extra blanket or old towels. These can be used for bedding, to cover hotel furniture and car seats or to clean up unexpected messes and accidents. Include in your supply kit some baby wipes to clean your dog's feet, his brush or comb, a first aid kit and bags to clean up after your dog during travel and at your destination. You may want to bring cleaning supplies in case your dog has an accident in the car or hotel room.
3. Help Your Dog Find His Way Home
Make sure your dog is wearing a current ID tag. You should also consider having your dog implanted with an identification microchip if he doesn't already have one. Sometimes dogs are skittish in a strange place, and they are more likely to take off and become lost. Tags and/or a microchip will make it easier to find your dog and help people contact you when he's found.
4. Make Sure Your Pet Is Welcome
Keep in mind that some cities have breed restrictions. This is something you want to research before reach your destination. You don't want your trip ruined by having your dog taken away.
You should also check the pet policy of the hotel where you will be staying. Some hotels may expect you to pay a deposit to help cover the expenses of any damage your dog may cause. Many cities have dog-friendly shops and attractions as well. If you want to visit any special attractions while you are on your trip, check with them ahead of time to verify their pet policies.
5. Don't Forget a Crate
Even if you don't often use a crate at home, it's a good idea to bring one along while you travel. Your dog will travel more comfortably and safely while in a crate. He will also find that a crate is a safe "escape" if he gets too stressed during the trip. There may also be times when it is necessary to confine your dog. In fact, an airline-approved crate is required if you plan to fly.
6. Consider the Weather
Dogs can be sensitive to weather extremes, so you need to be prepared to keep your dog comfortable. If you expect cold temperatures, be sure to keep a blanket in your dog's crate so he can snuggle into it. If he is very sensitive to cold, you should also consider a doggie coat for added warmth.
Heat should also be considered. Traveling in a car that is too hot can kill a dog. Never leave your dog in a hot car and be sure to provide plenty of water so he can keep himself cool. A small fan that plugs into your cigarette lighter may help circulate the air where your dog is riding and help him stay cooler.
Keep in mind that airlines won't transport a dog in the cargo hold during temperature extremes, and this could affect your trip depending on the time of year you plan to fly.
If you plan ahead and follow these six tips for traveling with your dog, you will be prepared for any surprises you may encounter. You will feel more at ease knowing you have planned well, and your dog will also be more relaxed. This will make the trip more enjoyable for both of you.