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Bringing your dog along on a trip adds a few more items to the pre-vacation to-do list. Whether you’re driving to the cottage or flying across the country, travel with pets requires planning.
But with a little prep work, your pup can safely come along for the ride – or flight, or boat trip! Read on for our 5 best tips for safe and stress-free travel with your dog.
🔍 Do your research early
Once you decide on a trip, do your research on your dog’s needs well in advance. Looking up the rules for flights, boats, and your destination right away can save you stress (and money!) later.
Here are a few things to check in advance:
- What is the airline’s policy on dogs in the cabin?
- Does the hotel or Airbnb allow guests to bring pets?
- What will it cost to bring my dog along?
- Am I allowed to travel with my dog to my out-of-country destination?
👩🏽⚕️ Talk to your vet
Meet your vet to ensure your pet is not only safe to travel, but able to handle the kind of trip you’re taking. Make sure an older dog, or one with arthritis, can handle a long trip in a carrier or crate. And flying is more difficult for pets with pushed-in snouts, like bulldogs or pugs...
If you’re unsure about bringing your dog along at all, get your veterinarian’s advice. They know your pup and can help you balance the different factors to consider. And ask for a recommendation of a vet in your destination, just in case
🐶 Keep your dog safe in the car
If you’re traveling by car, make sure your dog is secure in your vehicle. The safest way to travel with a dog is with them in a crate, in the backseat, anchored to the seatbelt or another part of the seat.
There are soft carriers and belt attachments on the market designed for dogs and car travel. But a crate provides your dog with the best protection in case of a collision.
And of course, no matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like, never leave your dog in your car unattended.
👫 Bring along a buddy
If you can, bring along a (human!) travel companion. Traveling alone with your dog is doable, but having a travel buddy makes things easier!
It’s helpful to have an extra pair of hands for getting your dog through airport security. Also, you and your road-trip buddy can take turns going to the bathroom and keeping your pup company in the car.
✅ Bring along your essentials
Pack your bag with everything your dog will need for your planned travel time. Then put in some extras, in case of trip delays like cancelled flights or slow traffic. Think about items like toys, poop bags, pee pads, and any medication your dog needs. And don’t forget important documents, like proof of vaccination.
BONUS TIP! When going on long flights, we find it helpful to avoid feeding your dog a meal that day. (Fasting can also be healthy for dogs, just like it is for humans, so don’t worry too much about them being a little extra hungry!) It’ll help them be more attentive/obedient when you do offer a treat in exchange for a command, and lowers the chance that they have an accident while in transit since they won’t have much in their stomach. Give them some water, but not too much!
😊 Visit rest stops when driving
Build extra time into your trip for pee breaks and stretches outside the crate or carrier. A more comfortable travel buddy is a happier one!
And once you get to your destination, make sure to work time for walks or trips to local dog parks into your daily plans.
Bringing your dog on a flight? You probably have Gayle Martz and her Shih Tzu to thank! In 1989, the flight attendant wanted to bring her beloved pet along with her on a trip by plane. But rules at the time mostly banned dogs in airplane cabins.
Gayle turned her frustration into motivation. First she designed a carrier to fit under airplane seats. Then she convinced airlines to change their rules!
With a bit of planning and research, safe and happy travel with your pup is possible. Bringing your dog along on your trip can mean taking more time to get there. But that might help you take more moments to enjoy the journey!
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay curious #healthygang!
Lots of love,
- The healthybud team
DISCLAIMER: The information presented here is not meant to replace your vet’s advice or prescribed medications, but only to suggest additional options to explore, based on your dog’s condition.