Travelling with your dog is an awesome experience, but only if you properly prepare for your trip. The key to a pleasant journey for you both is having all the supplies you need for your pup. Depending on where and how you’re traveling, you may also need the proper health documentation for your dog too. A little preparation, training and planning will ensure that travelling with your dog is an experience that both of you will enjoy. Read on to discover the essential tips to travelling with your dog.
Bring Along Supplies for Travelling With Your Dog
When you travel with your dog, you’ll need to bring along some supplies to keep him comfortable and safe. These tips work for car travel and air travel.
- Get your dog a comfy crate that is airline-approved. This will allow you to use it when traveling by plane with your dog, but also by car. Want to be extra-safe when traveling by car? Choose one that’s crash-tested too. Note that you must crate your dog when travelling by plane, but you should when travelling by car. The crate prevents your dog from becoming a projectile or dangerous distraction in any vehicle.
- Line the crate with a disposable pet pad or two to prevent accidents during travel. This way, cleanup is a breeze because you simply remove the pad along your journey if Fido soils it. Plus, don’t forget to bring some potty bags too for any stops along the way.
- Bring along your dog’s favorite toys when you travel. Not only will toys help occupy your dog on airline flights or car trips, but also keep him busy in your hotel too.
- Give your pup food and water dishes attached to the door of his crate so that he always has some food and water while travelling. Also, pack a spill-proof set of bowls that you can use during your stay.
Plan Ahead When Travelling With Your Dog
Sometimes it’s fun to hit the open road and see where it takes you. When your dog is along for the ride, though, you’ll need to plan ahead.
- Map out your route and plan for potty breaks every two to three hours if travelling with your dog by car. This allows your dog to stretch his legs, get a potty break and burn off some energy.
- Make reservations ahead of time for your accommodations. Remember, not all hotels and vacation rentals are pet-friendly. Ask the property owner or front desk staff to see if dogs are allowed or must follow special rules. Many hotels don’t allow owners to leave a dog alone in their room and charge an additional fee for Fido.
- If travelling with your dog by air, allow time to walk your dog before checking him in at the airport. And attach a sticker saying “live animal” to his crate.
- Most cruise lines and trains don’t allow pets, but some do. Also, some airlines don’t allow pets in cargo when outdoor temperatures are very hot or cold. You’ll find this information on the website for the transportation company you wish to use.
- Microchip your dog and attach a tag with your contact information to his collar. This ensures he can be returned if he gets lost.
Get Your Dog’s Travel Documentation in Order
If you plan on traveling with your dog by air, you’ll need some paperwork for him. Check with the airline you want to fly with to see what their requirements are. Note that for international travel or car travel to the United States, you will also need some health documentation for him.
- Airlines require a health certificate, dated within 10 days of your trip, and proof of rabies vaccination for your dog. If travelling with your dog by car to the U.S., you’ll also need proof of a rabies vaccination and possibly a health certificate.
- Make an appointment with your veterinarian for an exam within 10 days of your trip.
- If you plan on travelling with your dog internationally, speak with the embassy of the country you are visiting to determine what their regulations are for travelling with dogs.
Prepare Your Dog for Travelling
If your dog hasn’t traveled by car or plane in the past, he might be pretty anxious during the trip. All the movement, sights and smells of a new place are pretty scary for your canine companion. So, train your dog to view his travel crate as a safe space.
- Allow your pup to enter the crate at his leisure in your home. When he goes inside, positively reinforce the experience with treats.
- Take your dog on short car trips around the neighborhood in his crate once he enjoys spending time in it. These trips will get him used to being confined for longer spans of time in a moving vehicle.
- Spray some calming dog pheromone spray inside the crate. Or, place a recently worn T-shirt in there. Your scent will help keep your dog calm when you travel.
Follow Local Laws When Travelling With Your Dog
Part of your trip planning should involve checking out the local laws of your destination.
- Not all provinces and cities within Canada allow certain breeds. Ontario has a complete ban on all dogs who are considered “pit bulls.” These breeds include the Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, American pit bull terrier and dogs who look like these breeds. Montreal has a similar law.
- Many municipalities throughout Canada have varying leash laws, so it’s best to keep your pooch leashed while out exploring new places.
Travelling with your dog is a great experience for you both if done with lots of preparation and planning. If you need to head out of town and can’t take your pooch, consider finding a qualified pet sitter to care for him. A sitter can take care of your dog right in your own home or board him so he has a fun vacation of his own.