Summer is unofficially kicked-off in the US which means summer vacation plans are approaching fast. If your classic pooch is part of your vacation plans, here are some tips to add to your checklist whether you are flying or driving.
Regardless which way you travel, you will want to make sure to pack a bag just for your dog. Unless you know a local pet store that carriers your dog's food, you will want to pack their food, waste bags, leashes, harnesses, medications, supplements, and anything they need on a daily basis.
Make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag and is chipped for travel. Things happen and sometimes your dog will take themself for a walk. Without proper tags, they may not find their way back to you as fast as you wish. Dogs can slip out of collars and harnesses which is why I encourage to microchip your dog. If by some reason your dog gets separated from you, the person who finds your dog can go to a vet and your dog can be scanned for a microchip. Once the chip is scanned, they will know who the pawrent is and how to contact you so you can be reunited.
Depending on where you are traveling, medical documentation of vaccination may be required. Additionally, you may need to have a veterinarian examination within 10 days of travel. Research all requirements of your destination especially if you are traveling internationally or to Hawaii.
Fighting Anxiety and Motion sickness
It doesn't matter if you are flying or driving, your pooch's physical ability to tolerate travel is first and foremost. Let's face it, not everyone is cut out for trips but we know it is worth it once we are there. If your pooch has motion sickness, you can use holistic options like giving a bit of ground ginger to help ease their stomach (yep the one in your cabinet) or you can use prescription items like Cerenia. If you are considering holistic remedies, I would recommend trying the holistic version prior to the long trip to test how your dog reacts. If your pooch is anxious in the car, there are many over-the-counter options to consider before exploring prescription options like trazadone. My personal opinion is if you can go a bit more holistic, then do so, it is much easier on your dog's system. I have a selection of anxiety relief products to help them out while traveling. Talk with your veterinarian to figure out which option is best for everyone involved.
Did someone say road trip?
If you are like me, I tend to hit the road with the boys because it can be less stressful for everyone. Long car rides should be treated differently than a normal run to the store. Your dog should be sitting in the backseat and restrained in some fashion to keep them safe in case of an accident. At minimum your dog should wear a harness and a seatbelt. In addition to a car harness and seatbelt you can make the environment a bit more comfortable by adding either a booster seat, a cuddler bed or a hammock. I use a hammock and seatbelts for day-to-day travel and on long car trips, I will put their beds on top of the hammock. This way they are protected from falling over the edge of the seat if I need to stop short and they will remain super comfy and can easily nap.
Additionally, they have a little road trip bag that includes water, bowls, treats, and wipes. There are lots of ways to do this. I used to travel with small metal bowls but now I am using pop-up travel bowls and bottles by Messy Paws. During the road trip, I try to do my best to keep the boys on their schedule. Stopping and their normal times to go for walks and keeping to their eating schedule as well. Keeping them to a schedule will help reduce the stress because some things just aren't changing. There are a lot of great items to explore in our Summer Travel Collection
Let's Fly away!
Flying with your dog creates an entirely new set of challenges. First and foremost, your dog should be comfortable and relaxed in a kennel/confined area if you are considering flying. It is also important to work closely with the airline because not all breeds are welcome on all airlines to keep them safe. As an example, there are airlines that no longer allow brachycephalic dogs (chows, frenchies, boston terriers) as there is a risk of death.
Whether flying in cargo or in the cabin, it is important to have the correct sized carriers. If your dog is flying in cargo, some airlines provide a kennel. Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably in the kennel. If your dog is flying with you in the cabin, airlines typically have a weight restriction of 20 pounds (10.5 kg) and the carrier needs to fit under the seat at a maximum height of 18 inches tall.
You may want to consider withholding water for 2 hours before your flight to help reduce the need to urinate while they are in their kennel in the air. I nice good walk before hitting the kennel would be perfect to make them a bit tired and to have plenty of time to due their business. Remember, airports are busy and noisy, and this can be very unnerving to your dog.
No matter which way you plan to travel, make sure to plan everything out so you and your dog can the most enjoyable time.