During the holidays, many of us travel long distances to spend time with our families – and we consider dogs to be part of that family. If you’re thinking of taking your dog away with you this holiday season, make sure they’re safe, comfortable and cared for during the journey. Here are some tips for traveling with your dog:
If you’re traveling by air, you’ll first need to ensure that your chosen airline will allow your dog to fly. Contact the airline prior to booking your flights to learn their pet travel policy. If your dog is flying in cargo, you’ll need to have a comfortable carrier that is IATA approved so your dog is well-protected during the flight. Make sure it allows plenty of room for them to move around and lie down, is well-ventilated and fastens securely. Provide them with food and water in a non-spill container for the journey and consider giving them their favorite toy or blanket to help them feel safe and reminded of home. Consider choosing a direct flight to your destination to reduce their travel time and stress. Most airlines have temperature restrictions during cold weather and won’t allow pets in cargo if it is too cold on the tarmac . Make sure you know what these policies are so you and your dog don’t get stranded at the airport . If you are traveling with a small dog (normally under 20lbs), the dog may be able to join you in the cabin as long as they are in a soft sided carrier that will fit under the seat. Try to introduce your dog to its carrier before your flight to give them a chance to become accustomed to it. Most airlines also require a health certificate that is issued by a veterinarian within 10 days of the flight. And remember to bring your dog’s health records in case of an emergency.
Dogs can find traveling in a car a stressful experience, and may also suffer from motion sickness. Consider speaking to your vet before your journey. Try taking your pup on short, local trips to get them used to unfamiliar environments and the movement of the car before you go away. Monitor their breathing and behavior closely to ensure they are comfortable with this type of transport. Always take plenty of water and food, and feed your dog no sooner than two hours before you travel, as they will be more comfortable if they don’t have a full stomach. Take frequent stops for potty breaks and feed them a light snack or meal, and make sure your dog can rest and digest their food before continuing on your way. Take your dog for a long walk before any extended drive, as this will tire them out and they will be more inclined to rest during the journey. And don’t forget, if you’re taking a long trip and are stopping at hotels, check ahead to make sure they are pet-friendly.
During the Trip
To keep your dog comfortable during their time away, bring a familiar blanket or toy that smells like home. Dogs can be sensitive to change, so stick to your usual routine as much as possible, maintaining their typical meal, walk and sleep schedule. If possible, bring their regular dog food with you in case you’re unable to find that brand in your new location. Do your research on local vets in the area in case of an emergency, and bring a copy of your dog’s medical history. Also, make sure you dog’s ID tags are current so they can quickly and correctly be identified if you are separated. You may also want to add a second, temporary ID tag that lists the address of where you will be spending your holiday.
Have a Backup Plan
If your dog doesn’t travel well, treat them to their own vacation at Dogtopia! Our friendly and attentive team will do everything to ensure Dogtopia feels like their home-away-from-home, where they will enjoy full days of play with their BFFFs (best furry friends forever) and restful nights of sleep. Contact your local Dogtopia to book your dog’s overnight boarding stay today.