Traveling with your dog can be a lot of fun, but if your trip is not properly planned, it can become a stressful situation for both of you. Whether you are traveling by car or air, there are certain things to take into consideration before starting your trip.
Here are some tips that will make your next trip a pleasurable and safe experience for you and your beloved companion.
Traveling with Your Dog by Car
The safest way to travel by car with your dog is crating him or her. Using a crate will make the trip more pleasurable for both of you. If your dog is not used to being crated, you should consider helping him/her get used to the crate before the trip.
Your dog should associate being in a crate with something positive, therefore, you should put him/her in the crate with a positive attitude. Animals can perceive your feelings and if you are stressed they will be afraid. Open the crate’s door and let your dog enter voluntarily –– your dog will feel safe inside the crate. Remove your dog’s leash and do not leave any item inside the crate.
Unfortunately, many dogs do not enjoy the car ride because they suffer from motion sickness. Puppies are most often affected by motion sickness because, in young animals, the ear structure responsible for balance is not fully developed. Some puppies will “outgrow” motion sickness by the time they are about 1-year-old, but some will not.
There are dogs suffer from motion sickness even on short car rides, while others can get used to the car traveling experience.
Signs of motion sickness in dogs:
• Whining and pacing
• Excessive drooling
• Lethargy or inactivity
Tips to prevent motion sickness in dogs:
If you observe these signs and your dog is about to vomit in the car, it is a good idea to stop the car and take your dog for a short walk. This will ease the symptoms and prevent vomiting.
You should also withhold food for 12 hours before traveling in a car with your dog. If your dog has an empty stomach he/she will have less nausea and vomiting will become less probable.
Some dogs may need an anti-nausea medication such as cerenia, dimenhydrinate, and meclizine, to prevent motion sickness. Ask your veterinarian for dosages and frequency of administration.
Traveling with Your Dog by Air
If you and your dog will embark on a flight it is important that you ask the airline for their rules regarding pet travel –– make sure to check these rules with plenty of time.
Usually, small dogs can travel inside the airplane’s cabin, while medium and big dogs travel in the cargo hold. Either way, you will need a safe crate that is appropriate for the size of your dog, and that is approved for air transport.
In order to travel by air, your dog will need a health certificate that must be emitted by a veterinarian. Contact your veterinarian as soon as you have the date of your trip to make sure that you have the health certificate on time. Be aware that your dog needs to be up to date on his/her vaccines before a veterinarian can emit a health certificate.
If you are planning an international trip with your pet, you should contact the destination country’s authorities to receive information about their current rules and regulations. Each country has certain rules pertaining animal travel that must be followed to prevent your pet from being in quarantine or not being able to travel.
Most countries require pets to have proof of rabies vaccines and a health certificate issued by a veterinarian. However, the exact requisites depend on the countries you are traveling to and from.
Common requisites for pet travel
• Microchip. Some countries require pets to have a microchip before they get a rabies shot.
• Rabies vaccine. In most cases, your pet must get a rabies shot 21 or 30 days before the trip date; the vaccination day being day 0.
• Health certificate. A document created by a veterinarian, which certifies that your dog is not clinically ill.
• Deworming. Some countries require pets to receive treatment against certain parasites before they can travel.
Staying at a Hotel with Your Dog
Before choosing a hotel for your trip, it is a good idea to call them and make sure that they accept dogs. Ask the hotel for their rules regarding pets.
If possible, take your dog on a walk before you arrive at the hotel, this will help your pet stay calmed and behave well while in the hotel.
During your stay in the hotel, make sure that your dog performs a good amount of physical activity and try not leaving him/her alone in the hotel room for long periods of time.