How to Travel With a Dog

Lindsey ZimmermanDog Safety

Planning a great adventure with your dog? Checking off some things on your bucket list? If you are going to be traveling with your pet it’s important to be prepared. Let HelpEmUp give you some guidance in how to travel with your dog via the road or airways.

Know your dog. First ask yourself the question: does your dog like to travel? Does he get car sick? Does he have an injury or illness that may prevent it? Some dogs and cats get extremely anxious when they are away from home. If your dog doesn’t have the right temperament to go with you, consider a reliable pet sitter and let your pooch rest comfortably at home.

Research. Whether you are venturing down the street to a new dog park or traveling internationally, it’s important to know the rules and regulations you may face along the way. Check which stops along the way are pet friendly so you don’t have to change your pans or alter your course. Especially if you are flying, pay close attention to airline rules and regulations. Different airlines have different requirements, and may require a special crate or carrier. Generally airlines have limits on the size of pets that can be brought on the plane unless you have a service dog. Also, many airlines require a current health certificate from your veterinarian (within 10 days of the trip). Know that Federal regulations require pets to be at least 8 weeks old and they should be weaned at least 5 days before flying.

Current identification
. Make sure your dog has current identification in case he bolts from the car or airport. Not only is it good to have a tag on his collar, but as added insurance consider a microchip. You will want your pets’ veterinary information handy including vaccine records, insurance information, and your veterinary hospital’s contact information. Have a current color photo of your pet on your cell phone or printed out in case he gets lost.

Use harnesses, carriers or barriers. Just as you use a seat belt when traveling by car or plane, so too should your dogs. If you are going by car, a safety harness can protect you, your dog and the other passengers in case of a sudden stop or accident. Never let your dog ride in the back of an open bed truck because a sudden stop could be fatal.

Conduct a trial run. If you are not sure if your pet is going to like to travel take some practice trips. Get your dog used to the car by letting him sit in it with you without leaving the driveway, and then going for short rides. If your pet needs to ride in a carrier or with a new harness, take a short drive around the block practicing with their new gear. Don’t forget plenty of praise for their bravery!

Schedule extra time. While you’re on the trip, be prepared to take plenty of breaks for water, bathroom breaks, and to stretch your legs and play some fetch. If you are flying, arrive at the airport early so you have time to exercise your pet. If your pet is allowed in the cabin, check in as late as possible to reduce the time your pet will have to wait in the terminal.

Note that dogs are not allowed on Amtrak trains or on Greyhound buses and other interstate bus companies except if you have a service dog.

If you want to take your dog along on a family vacation, it will be more enjoyable for everyone if you plan carefully.