Gearing up for a pet-friendly getaway? If you’re planning a trip that includes your dog, there are a few key items that will make the journey much more pleasant for you and your fur baby! Traveling with your dog doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, there are many perks to traveling with your pet. By following these easy guidelines, both you and your pet will have a safe, enjoyable adventure.
- Crate and leash: Not only is a crate the ideal way to keep your dog safe in the car, but it’s also a requirement on airlines. You should choose a crate that’s large enough for your dog to turn around and lie down so they’ll be super comfortable. Adequate ventilation and a leak-proof bottom (in case of accidents) are also important elements to looks for in a crate. A collar and leash are vital to have on hand for roadside bathroom breaks.
- Identification and records: Along with the collar, you’re going to need an identification tag. Ensure that the tag includes your pet’s name, along with your name and contact information. In the event that your dog slips away in an unfamiliar location, proper identification will greatly increase your chances of recovery. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of your dog’s most recent vet records, particularly vaccinations, on hand. These records are often required for international travel but can be useful in emergency scenarios, as well.
- Games and toy: Much like humans, dogs can get bored on long trips! Be sure to bring along some entertaining toys for your pup. A puzzle-type toy can keep a dog entertained for hours. Mix new toys with old favorites to keep them interested throughout the journey.
While these are some of the most essential items, there are other special considerations based on your means of travel. On road trips, you’ll need to pack food and water for rest stops. (Check out these three-ingredient homemade dog treats!) Keep the car well-ventilated, and never let your dog ride in the bed of a pickup truck or with his head out an open window.
When flying, remember that each airline has its own set of policies regarding pet travel. Pets are usually accepted on a first-come, first serve basis since planes are restricted to a small number of animal passengers. Make a reservation for your dog at the same time you make a reservation for yourself. Check on the airline’s specific policies regarding what is needed when traveling with a dog.
More often than not, the first travel ordeal is the worst. If things don’t go smoothly the first time around, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to travel with your dog again. Taking some time to plan ahead can significantly improve the experience. Try planning a shorter, easier trip to acclimate your dog to travel. You can even throw in a stop at the dog park to associate travel with something rewarding.
Benefits of traveling with a dog
- Traveling with your trusted four-legged companion can make you feel safe in unfamiliar areas. Dogs are also great for easing travelers anxiety.
- Exploring a new city with a dog at your side makes you look like a local. Blending in can make you less likely to be a target of crimes like pickpocketing—a misdeed that happens to visitors more frequently than residents.
- Having your dog with you on a trip helps you stick to your normal routine. That means waking up early for potty breaks and engaging in daily exercise!
- Choosing to bring your dog along instead of leaving him with a dog sitter or at a kennel makes you both happy. The introduction to kennels and unfamiliar people can be very stressful for pets. Not to mention, you’d spend most of your trip worrying about how your dog was doing without you.
If your dog is a member of your family that you can’t imagine leaving behind, taking steps to keep them happy and healthy on your next trip is crucial. There’s no reason that your dog can’t join you on a road trip to grandma’s house for Christmas or a flight to Florida for a family beach getaway!
Now that you know what is needed when traveling with a dog, always remember to check these three boxes: health, amusement, and handling. As long as you keep your dog safe, entertained, and properly restrained, you’ll enjoy a terrific trip and create lasting memories along the way.