1/ Traveling by air with your dog
Plane travel with your pooch requires planning ahead. Begin investigating air travel six to eight weeks before your trip to meet all regulations in time.
- Breed-specific/temperament regulations: Snub-nosed dogs such as pugs, English bulldogs and French bulldogs are prohibited from most commercial flights after many of these dogs died during air transit. Neurotic, elderly and other dogs may not be good candidates for air travel. You’ll need to evaluate whether your dog is up for the long, crated journey in cargo.
- Convenience: Small dogs, up to 20 pounds, can often fly in the cabin with you, so long as they are in a portable dog kennel.
- Safety: To ensure your dog has a comfortable trip, follow these tips regarding crate preparation.
- First aid: Before you travel, you’ll need to obtain a health certificate. This certifies that your dog has no medical conditions that would compromise his safety during travel.
- Regulations: Ask the airline directly to find out the most up-to-date regulations.
- Gear: You’ll need a crate or portable kennel for your pet. Crates also require an absorbent cloth to line the create and a clip-on water and food bowl.
- Read more: The FAA offers comprehensive information on flying with your pet in the passenger cabin or cargo hold. Since every airline can set their own pet policy, your best resource will be the airline you’re planning to fly.
2/ Traveling by car with your dog
Car travel is probably the most frequent mode of travel with your pooch. After all, what errand isn’t made better when your best friend is riding shotgun? Use this checklist to make sure that you have everything your dog needs for a comfortable ride.
- Safety: When traveling in car, two main safety considerations are keeping your dog restrained and keeping the car temperate. Your dog may enjoy curling up in the seat next to you, but this isn’t the safest position for him. Just as you would not want your toddler to ride unrestrained, you would not want your dog left loose in the car. If your pet wears a harness on walks, consider using a harness style restraint. Other options including crating your dog or using a pet barrier to create a physical barrier that keeps your dog in the hatchback or backseat areas.
- Convenience: On long car trips, you’ll need to plan bathroom breaks for your pup. Get off to a good start by minimizing your pup’s water intake pre-travel, then watching his body language and listening for signs that he has to pee.
- First aid: If your dog is prone to motion sickness, avoid feeding her before a long car trip. Don’t feed her during car travel, either since this may cause vomiting. Instead, offer her a small, protein-rich snack during a break.
- Regulations: Depending on where you live, pet restraint during car travel may be a law.
- Gear: Aside from a harness or barrier, you’ll also want a portable food and water dish, a dog leash and an optional chew toy or treat to keep your dog occupies during travel.
- Read more: Learn more about pet safety harness laws here and general car travel tips here .
3/ Traveling by ship with your dog
Some ferries and yachts allow pet passengers, which makes ship travel an option even if you don’t have your own.
- Breed-specific/temperament regulations: Some large dogs may be too big. If your pet won’t have room to roam confortably, consider leaving him at home. Likewise, dogs that dislike crowds won’t enjoy the trip. Evaluate your dog’s temperament then decide if this is right for him.
- Safety: Just as it took you time to gain your sea legs, your canine companion may slip on board. Keep his leash on at all times for safety’s sake.
- Gear: A canine life jacket is a must when doing any type of boat travel. You’ll also want portable food and water dishes.
- Regulations/ laws: Most long-distance cruise lines allow only service animals on board. One of the main reasons for this lies behind country-specific ports of call regulations. Even if you brought your dog, he may not be able to leave the ship without proper documentation.
- First aid: As with car travel, dogs that get motion sickness should not e fed prior to a boat trip. While on board, do not offer your dog food; feed a small snack when you return to land.
- Read more: Discovery offers a handy guide for preparing your dog to travel on a personal boat. Some of their tips apply to commercial watercraft as well.
4/ Camping / Hiking with your dog
Active dogs get a chance to burn off steam when camping or hiking. To ensure the trip is pleasant for all, keep these tips in mind:
- Breed / temperament specific issues: Not all breeds enjoy the great outdoors. If your dog is a watchdog, hiking may not be very pleasant as he’ll be apt to bark at every little noise.
- Safety: Dogs do get lost while hiking. Keep his collar on at all times and consider getting him microchipped should something go wrong.
- Convenience: Car camping allows you to introduce our dog to the great outdoors gently. Start with a small day hike or overnight trip, then work up to the longer trips you want to take.
- Gear: Consider a dog coat if your pet has short hair. Take along a portable pet carrier or pet bed and doggie dishes.
- Regulations/ laws: Not all parks allow pets. Before you set out, ensure that your preferred hiking or camping destination is pet-friendly.
- First aid: To keep your dog safe, ensure he is up-to-date on all vaccines before you hike.
- Read more: PetMD offers more tips on preparing for hikes with your dog and Petfinder offers a dog camping guide.