10 Tips for Stress-Free Travel with Your Dog! by Colleen Demling
Before You Go
Do a Dry Run– You may want your dog to join you on your next vacation but your dog might not feel the same. Stay a night in a local hotel or a friend’s house to make sure your dog will be okay in a similar environment during your trip.
Updated ID- Check your pet’s ID tags and microchip information to ensure they are up to date with a current cell phone number. Add a second tag that has the address and phone number of where you will be staying when you are traveling.
Medical Records– Bring a copy of your dog’s vaccinations, medical history and current medications. These will be critical in case you have to take your dog to the vet while you are traveling. Locate the closest Emergency Vet Hospital to where you will be staying. Knowing where to take your dog in a medical emergency could save precious minutes.
Pack a Bag– Make sure to bring everything your dog may need including an extra leash/collar, favorite toys, medication, and plenty of food. You don’t want to risk the local pet store not caring the needed things to keep your pup happy! If you have a sensitive dog, pack a couple of containers of your local water or bottled water since some dogs will resist drinking water that tastes different from what they are use too.
Getting Ready– Even if your pet is use to being in a crate or in a car, he/she may not be comfortable with spending lots of time in a crate on a plane or taking longer road trips. Buy the crate that you will use when you fly/drive at least four weeks before your trip. Give your dog time to eat, nap, and relax in the crate. If you are driving your dog, take more frequent car trips round the neighborhood. If you are flying, take your dog to the airport a few times before you go. This will help the road/plane trip be as stress-free as possible for your pet AND you.
Teach Potty– Teach your dog to potty on command. This will help tremendously when you need your dog to go quickly while traveling or only in a designated area.
Book Flights in Advance– Each airline has different requirements for pet travel; from what sort of health certificate a pet needs to the size of the crate they allow in the cabin to how many pets can be on the plane at one time. Thoroughly investigate each airline to see what flight is the best fit for you AND your dog. Once you decide, book the trip as far in advance as possible to secure your spot.
On the Way
By Air- Pets should fast 4-6 hours before a flight and potty right before they go to into the airport. If you have a multi-leg flight, check ahead to see if the airports you are traveling through have pet potty areas and what terminals those potty areas are in. All dogs will need to be taken out of their carrier and carried through security. Make sure that your dog has a harness and leash on during this process so you can keep him/her safe during the security check. Your dog must stay in the carrier throughout the flight and under the seat in front of you for take-off and landing. To help your pup feel comfortable, board as early as possible and then put the carrier on your lap facing the window so your pet can relax. You can unzip the carrier and give him/her some treats and pets to calm any nerves throughout the flight.
By Car– Give your dog a light meal 3-4 hours before you leave also plenty of water throughout the trip. To prevent car sickness, try not to feed your dog again until travel is done for the day. Make sure he is in a secured crate or buckled in the back seat. This will help prevent him from being injured if you get in an accident. Also, NEVER let your dog stick his head out of the window. He may enjoy it but flying debris could injure his eyes and nose.
When You Arrive
You Made It– When you arrive at your destination, give your dog time to adjust to his new surroundings. Take him on a walk. Put his things out.
Hang out with him as he gets use to all of the different sounds and smells. Leave him for a few minutes then come back. This will help him feel relaxed and calm when you do have to leave him alone in the hotel/friend’s house for a longer period of time.
Most importantly, enjoy all the joy and happiness that comes with taking your furry friend with you!
BIO: With over 25,000 hours and almost 15 years of HANDS ON dog training experience, Pawtopia’s founder, Colleen Demling, has vast experience in a variety of methodologies. In addition to growing Pawtopia into one of the largest and most respected dog training companies in San Diego, she is one of just a handful of trainers in the country that has the CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, CDBC and AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator certification. She has been a frequent contributor to local and national media including Yahoo, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day and many more. Colleen was chosen as a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by Women in the Pet Industry Network, Top 40 Under 40 by Pet Age Magazine and was recently honored as a 2015 Woman of Influence by Pet Age Magazine.