Tips for traveling with your dog

Sam Shoemate

Travel Dog.jpg

The holidays can be stressful for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is traveling with our dogs. A lot of people aren’t comfortable putting their dogs in a boarding facility, nor are they comfortable trying to find someone to stay in their home and watch their pets for weeks on end while they take off to grandma’s house. Because of this, we’re going to break down some travel tips over the next couple weeks in a multi-part blog to make travel a little less stressful and help you get to your destination without losing your mind in the process!

Whether you’re traveling by car, plane or boat, you’re probably going to need a crate or harness for your dog to travel in, so this is the first thing we’ll discuss. You need to find something that attaches to a seat belt for your dog’s safety. C’mon folks, this isn’t 1983 (a year in which yours truly is particularly fond of…) so we need to be thinking about safety for the WHOLE family! You’ll likely find what you’re looking for at most pet stores, and you can definitely do a quick google search or look on amazon for something that meets the description. Make sure your crate is large enough to give your dog room to stand, turn and lie down in. Make sure it’s secured to the vehicle and is strong with handles or grips and doesn’t have any interior protrusions to poke your dog. This next part is extremely important if you’re traveling by plane or boat; ensure the crate has ventilation on both sides so airflow isn’t blocked. A nice option is to have “LIVE ANIMAL” labeled on the crate with arrows pointed upright along with the owners name, address and phone number. Don’t forget to make sure your dog has plenty of water along with a favorite toy to make them as comfortable as possible. You can find all sorts of travel, water devices that will prevent water from spilling all over and keep your dog hydrated.

Now we’ll discuss travel by car. When you’re traveling by car, it goes without saying that you want to keep your dog comfortable. A comfortable dog will go a long way in keeping your sanity on the road. A toy and a favorite blanket or travel bed is well worth the space they may take up. To help prevent motion sickness, it helps to have already acclimated your dog to travel in a car. I say this as a side note because most people have, but this may be Fido’s first trip, and it’s not going to be pleasant to have a dog with rot gut the entire trip. So if you haven’t taken your dog in the car for drives very much, you might want to start doing it now. You’ll thank me later. On that same topic, feed your dog lightly before the trip. One-third of what they normally eat should do just fine to tide them over and keep them from getting sick everywhere. I know it seems great to let your dog stick their head out the window and feel the wind in their face, but I’d highly recommend you consider otherwise. They may get an eye or ear injury that will quickly ruin your trip as you try to find a vet. Please, please, please…don’t let your dog travel in the back of an open pickup truck. Not cool. I’ve seen some seriously careless accidents that end up with a maimed or dead dog, and it’s simply not worth it. Lastly, never leave your dog in a car without running AC.

We’ll break down travel by plane, train, bus and boat along with lodging and international travel over the next couple of weeks. If you have questions, let us know and we’ll get you an answer. Let’s make travel this season a time of excitement and as stress free as possible!

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