Travel can be a pretty stressful event even when we’re going on our own, but if you throw your dog into the mix, you’re adding a whole new level of pressure.
There are so many things to think about if you plan on bringing your pet along, whether it’s on a plane, train or bus, and if you’ve never attempted it before it can be a daunting task.
To take the stress out of the equation, we’ve got some helpful tips that will make the whole travel journey a lot less worrying for you and your pooch.
Before you even start making travel plans, you should take your dog to their regular vet for a checkup and discuss the journey ahead.
They’ll be able to recommend medication, give them a once over for good health, and provide you with any documentation that might be required to allow them to travel interstate or overseas.
If your dog isn’t a regular traveler, part of the stress can come from not knowing how they’ll handle it.
Before your big trip, start doing some practice runs in the car where you take long drives and see how they go. You’ll be able to figure out any weak points before the big moment and hopefully fix them before they arise.
Traveling with pets come with a whole new set of rules, and it’s the responsibility of the owner to understand them.
Check with the carrier or company you’re traveling with, know about animal travel laws in your area and planned destination, and have all of the required documentation ready to go for your trip.
Being prepared for a dog to travel is largely about having the right gear for them.
The most important thing you’ll need is a carrier or crate that can house them safely and help them to feel calm even in the middle of the journey.
Other things to consider are portable dog water bottles, identification tags, and a reliable collar they can wear while they travel.
You’ll want to spend some time before the trip preparing your dog’s crate which includes getting them used to it.
If your dog has never used a crate before you’ll want to train them to feel safe and calm when they’re in it, which can take some months. Put one of their favorite toys in there, give them access to water, and make it as comfortable as possible for the journey.
If you’re traveling on a flight, you might be given the option to book your pet in the cabin with you.
Wherever possible, this is the best solution because it keeps your pet close for their own safety and yours. Airlines have limits on how many pets they allow in the cabin so call early to avoid disappointment and get your dog booked in first.
Before you get ready to board, whether it’s on a bus or a plane, take your pet for a long, relaxing walk.
This will calm their nerves and get rid of any pent up energy they might have. It’ll also help them to sleep better during the trip and give them a chance to stretch their legs one final time.
Identification is very important when your dog is traveling and things can get easily mixed up in transit so you don’t want to risk it.
Affix two separate identification tags to your dog’s collar with your details in case one gets lost, and label their carrier or crate with the same information.
Keep any documentation required for the trip close by, including booking details and anything your vet has provided. Even if your dog is flying in the cabin with you, you’ll want to know they’re easily identifiable at all times.
Try not to feed your dog for at least six hours before the journey, only giving them very small and regular snacks if needed.
Dogs can easily get sick during travel, whether it’s a bus or a flight, and sending them off with a full stomach is a recipe for disaster.
They’ll be fine to take the journey on an empty stomach and it’ll be better for both of you once you reach your destination.
If you’re traveling with your pet and have a destination in mind, you’ll want to book yourself into some pet-friendly accommodation.
There are hundreds of options across the country that cater to dogs and their owners, but you’ll want to get in early and make a booking to ensure you have a spot.
You should always be aware of where your dog is at all times during the journey and aim to stay as close to them as possible.
You can ask airlines to let you watch them place your pet in the cargo hold and unload them, and most will be happy to comply. As you’re boarding, let a flight attendant know that you have a pet on the plane so they can take any special precautions needed.
Dogs are pretty perceptive animals and they tend to feed off the energy that their owner’s give them. As long as you feel calm about the trip, then your dog will as well, so avoid stressing yourself or worrying in front of them.
Dogs travel all the time with and without their owners, so there’s no need to worry about the journey you have planned.