Bringing your dog with you can make a family vacation more fun for everyone if you plan it carefully.
Here are some tips to make traveling with your dog enjoyable.
Health & Safety
- Sanitary checks. Take your dog to the vet for a checkup before going on a long trip. Make sure all Its vaccinations are up to date; bring your vaccination booklet with you.
- Health certifications are required for air travel.
- To keep your dog healthy while you travel, bring a supply of Its regular food with you. Don’t forget bottled water and make sure you bring all the medications It needs.
- Prepare for an emergency. Find the number of the nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital and save it to your mobile, along with the office number and emergency number for your trusted veterinarian (in case vets need to consult).
That way, if there is a situation where your dog needs medical attention, you are prepared with the necessary information.
Dog carriers, bags, and cages
A pet carrier is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car and is required for air travel. It can also prevent your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or your host’s home.
Dog carriers, bags, and cages are available at most pet supply stores.
Here are some buying tips:
- Large enough for the dog to stand, turn, and lie down.
- Sturdy, with handles and no internal protrusions.
- Watertight bottom covered with absorbent material.
- Well ventilated with various vents.
- With “Live animal” label according to IATA regulations, with arrows showing vertical position, with owner’s name, address, and telephone number.
If there is no label, you can print it in multiple copies on an A4 sheet. By downloading them from the appropriate sites.
- Fill the crate with a comfortable mat, your dog’s favorite toy, and a bottle of water, and your dog is ready to go.
In case your dog strays from you during the trip, you can increase the chances of finding It by making sure It can be correctly identified :
- Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar.
The collar should have the identification tag with the dog’s name, your name, and your home and mobile phone number, as well as proof of rabies vaccination.
If you plan to be away for more than a few days, consider purchasing a second identification tag that indicates the location and telephone number of the vacation spot.
- If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you have your dog’s mandatory identification microchip put on.
- Bring a recent photo of your dog with you as well as a copy of Its health records listing all of Its recent vaccinations.
Traveling by car
- Make sure you are in line with the law redarding of the Highway Code: Transport of people, animals, and objects on motor vehicles.
So be sure to use the appropriate safety belts for dogs, or a pet carrier or to install the dividing net according to the law, according to your needs and responsibilities towards the legislation.
- Get your dog used to the car by taking short distances and calming It down, and then take short walks.
- Avoid motion sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure It always has plenty of water available.
- Keep the car well ventilated. If the dog is in a carrier, make sure that fresh air can flow.
- Don’t let your dog stick Its head out the window, it’s dangerous and can hurt Its eyes.
- Stop frequently to get let It exercise and go to the “bathroom”. Make sure you have the appropriate bags to collect your dog’s feces.
- Car rides are boring for everyone, so order your kids not to tease or annoy the dog in the car.
- Never ever leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, especially in summer. If you have to leave the car, designate a family member to be with the dog.
Travel by plane
- When traveling by plane, you will need to show the necessary documentation required (pet passport, health card, etc…).
- Each airline has specific regulations for the transport of animals which vary according to various factors (weight, age, breed etc…).
- Some airlines do not allow the transport of animals, others apply special restrictions to the mode of transport.
- Be sure to check any regulations or restrictions of the country you are traveling to at the Embassy, Consulate, or by consulting the IATA (international air transport association) Travel Information Manual.
- Consult the website and customer support of the airline you have chosen for the trip and request the information you need to travel with your pet.
Travel by train
If you have decided to travel by train with your pet, check the regulations governing the transport of animals by train on the website or at the customer support of the company you have chosen to be updated and not incur fines.
- Small dogs, cats, and other pets (kept in a pet carrier that does not exceed 70x30x50) can travel for free
- Even bigger dogs can accompany you on your journey! Each passenger can in fact carry a dog of any size – as long as it is kept on a leash and fitted with a muzzle – by purchasing a ticket at the price set by the company for the desired route.
Traveling on long-distance buses
Many companies do not accept the transport of animals on their vehicles, with the exception of companion dogs for the disabled and guide dogs for the blind. You need to check the policies and regulations of the company you have chosen via the website or customer support.
Traveling on public transport
The rules for transporting animals on public transport vary according to the companies that offer the service in the different cities, so it is good to check the rules of the companies in question on the website or via customer support.
In any case, it is good to take a leash, muzzle, and ticket, unless otherwise indicated.
Travel by cruise or ferry. Many cruise lines do not allow the transport of animals, check on the website or through customer support of the company in question which ones will travel with you.
If, on the other hand, you intend to take a ferry, the transport of the animal is generally granted in accordance with the rules of the company in question, check on the website or through customer support for further assistance. Keep your passport and vaccination booklet and muzzle, leash, and pet carrier handy.
During the vacation
- Schedule bathroom breaks, in accordance with travel and vacation plans.
Bring a supply of stool bags to clean up and a leash.
- Bring toys. To make sure your dog doesn’t get bored, provide It with some new toys and a couple of old ones that It’s fond of.
- Bring food and water.
Check with your vet whether to give your dog only bottled water while out of the house to make sure It doesn’t have an upset stomach or vomiting.
If your dog has an upset stomach easily, you may want to try probiotic food supplements to help manage diarrhea that can result from the stress of travel.
Talk to your vet before you leave for remedies or suggestions on what to do in case of stomach problems. Also, prepare a few extra supplies of food for your dog, even if you are sure you can buy more at your destination. Bring Its bowls with you, but if you find them too bulky, think about buying travel folding ones and let him get used to using them a week or so before traveling.
- Find out in advance which hotels or accommodations are dog-friendly, and if there are any special rules.
- If your dog is allowed to stay in a hotel, please respect other guests, staff, and property.
- Keep your dog as quiet as possible.
- Do not leave the dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place.
- Ask the direction where you should take your dog for a walk. Don’t forget to clean up after your dog.
- If you’ve rented a cottage or house, make it puppy-proof.
Before allowing your dog to run freely on the property, make sure your dog can do so safely.
Make sure that electrical cords are out of Its reach and that previous occupants have not left anything on the floor or under furniture that could potentially be harmful to your dog.
Remember, it’s a vacation.
Traveling can be stressful, but a calm owner usually has a calm pet. Our pets feel our stress, so if you are nervous and tense, your dog may also be showing signs of stress and anxiety.