How to Prepare Your Dog to Travel

Pet Travel Center

For countless pet owners, a holiday wouldn’t quite be the same without their beloved pet by their side. Some feel that nobody could take such good care of their pet as they could. For others, travel involves time spent in Nature and they wouldn’t feel quite right in the Great Outdoors without inviting their pet to partake in the fun. If you’ve decided to take your pet along with the whole family on your next trip, prepare your dog to travel by keeping the following considerations in mind:

Ask yourself if travel is really right for your pet

Brachycephalic (or ‘flat faced) breeds like pugs, Boston terriers and French/English bulldogs can encounter respiratory problems during air travel. This type of breed might do better skipping the airplane altogether.

Make sure your pet’s documentation is in order 

Find out of any health requirements/certificates/vaccinations your pet will be required to have in the country of your destination. Ask the embassy of the relevant country and be aware that some countries require pets to be quarantined. If you plan in advance, you can usually avoid a quarantine by passing specific tests. Some of these need to be taken months in advance so do the research the moment you even consider taking Kitty or Rex with you on your next trip.

Prepare the right travel crate for your pet

Many airlines allow you to travel with small pets in a specific airline carrier which can be stowed under your seat. The first place to consult should be the website of the airline you are traveling with. Some have very specific requirements regarding carriers (for instance, the latter must contain absorbent material, a blanket and dishes for food and water, etc.). Once you have bought the carrier, slowly introduce your pet to it. It’s important to prepare your dog for the trip using the carrier you will travel with. Leave the door open and place treats or his favorite toy inside, so he grows curious and begins to see the crate as a safe place to hide away and rest.

Label your dog’s kennel or crate very clearly

Also, make sure they are wearing a collar with your contact details throughout the entire length of the trip.

Prepare a comprehensive checklist

And tick every item on it before you leave home. Items to include are emergency supplies, medications, flea and tick solution, wet wipes, blankets, toys, food, etc. Remember to bring all the documentation which shows your dog or cat complies with any regulations imposed by the country you will be visiting.

Make sure you have health insurance sorted

When traveling, there are two types of insurance you can opt for; one is general health insurance and the other is travel insurance. It really depends on the plans you have for your holiday. If it is going to be an active one on the Great Outdoors and there is some likelihood of injury, a good travel policy will ensure your pet has the medical attention they may need, quickly and inexpensively. You should also do your research into any particular conditions your dog may be exposed to in your destination. Some (warmer) countries in Europe, for instance, have high levels of leishmaniosis, a debilitating condition that affects a dog’s organs and can lead to death. Other risks can include heartworm or rabies. Make sure your dog is protected against all potential risks. For instance, when it comes to leishmaniosis, not all flea and tick pipettes will protect your pet. Ask your vet to recommend a treatment that does. The same goes for heartworm: the medication, Milbemax, is one of the few all-round dewormers that also protects against heartworm.

Don’t let your dog board the plane or a car with a full bladder and stomach

They could feel nauseous or need to empty their bladder sooner than you are able to take them for a walk. Think in advance of ways to make travel time more bearable. Try not to feed them for around four hours before the flight is scheduled. Provide water for them during the flight, but give them just enough so that their thirst is quenched; don’t overdo it. If you have a stopover or two, take your dog for a walk outside the airport for as long as you can, to ensure they can exercise, stretch their legs and have enough time to do their necessities.

Keep calm and stay positive

If your pet notices you are stressed, they are likely to have a tension-filled trip themselves as they can be very intuitive to the feelings of their owner. Properly prepare yourself and your dog to travel will take some of the anxiety away. And then see your trip as a short, necessary and temporary moment that will enable you to create great memories while you’re on holiday with the people and pet you love.

seo - 8 Nov 2020, 09:51

Great post. The tips and the ideas given in the post seem very useful for preparing to travel with my young husky. Thanks.

Titus - 7 Nov 2020, 17:26

It's an appropriate time to make travel plans for the future and it's time to be happy despite all the COVID fear. I've read this post and I wish I could prepare for a trip with my dog right now. Hope we can all travel freely again soon. Until then, I'll just keep reading this post.

Hildred - 6 Oct 2020, 04:01

Hello, Neat post. Not traveling at the moment for obvious reasons, But I'll use this article to prepare my dog next time.

Caitlyn - 1 Oct 2020, 00:35

My brother recommended I might like this article as I often travel with my pooch to visit him on the other side of the country. He was totally right. I always forget to prepare something for my dog. You should make a checklist for download. I would definitely use it. Thanks!

Karry - 29 Sep 2020, 16:31

fantastic points altogether, you won a new reader.

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