Preparation Is Key To Safe Travel With Your Dog
Traveling with your furry friend can be a lot of fun, but it also comes with some challenges and dangers. Whether you’re road tripping, flying, or taking the train, there are many important factors to consider when it comes to your dog’s safety. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the most common situations dog owners encounter while traveling and provide tips on how to keep your pup safe regardless of where your travels take you.
Road Trips: Buckle Up!
When it comes to road tripping with your dog, safety should be your number one priority. Unrestrained dogs can be a major distraction to drivers, and in the event of an accident, they can become projectiles that cause serious injury to themselves and others. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your dog secured in the car. Here are some tips to ensure a more comfortable ride:
- Use a crash-tested dog car harness: Just like you, your dog should be restrained while driving. A harness is one of the most effective ways to keep a dog of (almost) any size safe and secure. Attach the dog car harness directly to the car’s seat belt, and it will keep them in place in the event of a sudden stop or accident.
- Try a seat belt attachment: There are several types of dog seat belts available, and choosing the right one depends on your dog’s size and needs. We strongly recommend using a seat belt with a dog safety harness whenever possible to further reduce the risk of injury to your dog.
- Choose the Right Crate or Carrier: For your dog's safety and comfort, invest in a sturdy, well-ventilated crate or carrier. Ensure your dog has enough space to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Familiarize your dog with the crate or carrier before the trip to create a positive association.
- Consider a backseat hammock or barrier: If a crash-tested harness, carrier or crate won’t work in your situation, a hammock for your back seat could provide comfort to your pup while also keeping them contained. Another option is a back seat barrier. This is a popular choice for pups that prefer to lay on the floor of the car. Both options form an effective barrier between you and your pet.
- Make water accessible: be sure to pack an easily accessible water bowl and water to keep your pup hydrated while traveling. There are many unique water bowl solutions available that prevent spilling or can store water or ice directly in the bowl for convenience.
- Take breaks: Just like humans, dogs need to stretch their legs and take potty breaks during long car rides. Plan to stop every few hours so your dog can get some exercise, water and fresh air.
- Never leave a dog in a hot car: The temperature inside a car can climb quickly, even with the windows down. Heat stroke only takes a few minutes to occur in a dog, so be sure to never leave your pup unattended while stopping unless temperatures allow for it. Use auto-start if you must leave your pup in the car, but make sure air is circulating and cooling correctly before taking this risk.
Flying with Your Pup: Plan Ahead and Be Prepared
Embarking on an air travel adventure with your furry friend can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. To ensure a smooth and stress-free journey for both you and your pup, careful preparation is key. From selecting the right airline to familiarizing your dog with their travel gear, the following tips will make your flying experience with your canine companion safe and comfortable.
- Choose the right airline: Not all airlines allow pets, and those that do may have different policies and fees. Research your options ahead of time and choose an airline that meets your needs.
- Confirm vaccines are current: Before the flight, make sure your dog is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations and wellness checks. Foreign countries will deny your pet access if you do not have the appropriate records or your dog has vaccines that are past due.
- Prepare your pup: If you are flying with your pup for the first time, make sure they are introduced to their carrier, harness or other unfamiliar gear so they are comfortable in it for a long period of time. It is also a good idea to get them comfortable in noisy areas with lots of people. Most dogs have very limited interaction with other people, and an airport can quickly overwhelm the most well behaved pets.
- Find a TSA-approved dog carrier: Your dog should be in a carrier or backpack that fits under the seat in front of you. Make sure the carrier is well-ventilated and has enough room for your dog to stand up and turn around in.
- Know where pet relief areas are located: Unless you have a service dog, most airports will require you to keep your pup in their carrier at all times. One exception is when you visit a pet relief area for a much needed potty break. It is strongly recommended that you locate pet relief areas prior to visiting an airport since they aren’t many of them available.
- Expect delays: Delays are a common occurrence when traveling by air. Anticipate more time in the airport with your furry friend, and be prepared with extra food, treats and water. An extra potty break may be needed as well!
Additional Tips to Consider When Traveling With Your Dog
Traveling with your furry companion can be an exciting adventure, but ensuring the safety and comfort of your canine friend during the journey requires some preparation and thoughtful planning. Here are some additional safety tips that will make your trip more enjoyable for everyone:
- Train Your Dog for Travel: If your dog isn't accustomed to traveling or being around crowds, it's important to gradually acclimate them to these situations. Begin by taking short trips in the car or visiting crowded areas to help your dog become comfortable with new environments, noise and people.
- Visit the Veterinarian: A visit to the vet is essential before any trip. Ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and ask your vet for any necessary preventive measures, such as flea and tick or heartworm treatments. If your dog has anxiety or motion sickness, discuss possible solutions with your vet, including calming supplements or medications.
- Pack Essentials: Just like you, your dog will need essentials for the journey. Pack their favorite blanket, toys, food, treats, and a supply of water. Bring waste disposal bags, wipes, a water bowl and a first-aid kit for any unforeseen situations.
- Exercise Before Departure: Before leaving on a trip, give your dog a chance to burn off some energy with a brisk walk or play session. A tired dog is more likely to rest comfortably during your journey together.
- ID and Microchip: Ensure your dog wears a collar with an updated identification tag that includes your contact information. Additionally, microchipping your dog provides an extra layer of security in case they become lost during the trip.
- Be Mindful of Other Passengers: Not all passengers may be comfortable around dogs, so it's important to be considerate of others. Keep your dog on a leash when walking in public areas, and always ask for permission before allowing others to interact with your dog.
- Monitor Your Dog During the Trip: Stay attentive to your dog's needs throughout the journey. Offer water at regular intervals, and keep an eye out for signs of stress, anxiety, or motion sickness. If your dog seems uncomfortable, try to comfort them with soothing words and gentle pets.
- Enjoy the Journey Together: Traveling with your dog can be a memorable experience for both of you. Capture the moments with photos and relish in the joy of exploring new destinations together.
Conclusion: Keep Your Pup Safe and Happy
Traveling with your dog can be a lot of fun but requires careful planning and preparation. Whether you’re road tripping, flying, or taking the train, make sure you prioritize your dog’s safety and comfort. Use a seat belt or carrier to keep them secure, take breaks to let them stretch their legs, and make sure you’re following all the rules and regulations. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for you and your beloved four-legged companion. Happy travels!