10 tips for travelling with dogs

February 5th 2019
Published: February 5th 2019
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Traveling can be a very beautiful experience, it affords the luxury of visiting the most beautiful of places (beaches, resorts, and islands) experiencing a culture shock, trying out different types of new and exotic foods and participating in once in a lifetime activities. It's really something everyone should have a taste of.

However, traveling with your dog takes it to an entirely different level. For some, it’s as important as traveling with kids. Traveling With your furry companion makes everything more fun as you have a partner in crime to co-experience and participate in even more thrilling activities. Activities like swimming, camping, and boat riding with your pet can really spice up your vacation. Traveling with your dog can be quite an experience and it is very important to plan ahead in order to prevent any form of mishaps, accidents, and illnesses.

Here are some of the tips you need to know as you are preparing for a vacation with your furry companion;

1. Find out the rules for Air travel ahead of time :

The safest way to travel with a dog is to use a travel harness, carrier or crate. Traveling with your dog in the cargo hold does not make a good travel experience even for the most relaxed & well trained dogs, and this is why you need to find out if the airline permits to bring your pet in a carrier. Learning the finer details of air traveling is very crucial as you will be fully informed before you book your flight. Some Airlines allows only Pets- no human passengers (Pet Airways is one of them) should be used but are only available in a few cities. Many of us would have to make do with the Airline rules or make use of another means of transportation.

2. Bring Your Dog's Favorite Toys and Clothes:

Just like little children, bringing along favorite toys and clothes help the child to feel relaxed, the same also goes for dogs. Something as simple as bringing along your dog’s favorite clothes and toys can go a long way in making them calm for the journey. Familiar items can be really calming for your dog and help them enjoy the trip. It keeps them occupied and active through the journey so that they don’t get bored. You, however, have to be careful that your dog does not end up chewing up and eating the item as that can cause some unwanted complications which may require surgery.

3.Condition your car for comfort:

Automobiles are the best form of transportation when it comes to dogs. The odds are that your dogs have ridden in them to the vet, parks or for a playdate. In addition to bringing their favorite toys and clothes, playing calming music and allowing fresh air in the car can make for a comfortable trip for some dogs.

Classical music is an excellent choice for calming an anxious dog. Also, try opening the windows a bit to allow fresh air in, you don't want it to be open enough for them to stick their heads out. That exposes them to the danger of a head injury and potential accident for you the driver. You should also try stopping every few hours for exercise, feeding, and usage of the toilet.

4. Plan ahead for hotels:

If you will be lodging in a hotel during your travels with your dog, it is very important to cover all your basic fees in advance. It is important to stay in hotels that allows and welcomes dogs. A pet-friendly hotel can offer special dog beds, dogs spa services, and doggie day-care.

Some hotels charge a daily pet fee and some even tack a fee for cleaning. Overall it is wise to do your research as it concerns pet-friendly hotels.

5. Research Camp ground rules:

Camping with your dog can be really fun while being one with nature. It provides an opportunity for different activities which improves bonding between pet owners and your dogs. However, before you try camping out, you should find out if the campground accepts dogs and also if there are dangerous animals around that can hurt your pet. Don't forget to have fun while camping!

6.Always Use Artificial Pheromones:

Pheromones are chemical signals produced by animals to help them communicate with other animals. This is particularly useful where there are a lot of dogs around or during camping. Although these pheromones are produced naturally by the dog’s body, some have been copied artificially and are in both collar and spray foam for comfort and ease of use.

An example is AdaptilTM which reduces anxiety in dogs. It is recommended by veterinarians to spray in the car or on the dog about 10-15 minutes before the start of your travel. If you are using the collar form, you can just put it on your dog to reduce their anxiety.

Some flowers and plants have been found to help calm some pet's anxiety, they are referred to as homeopathic remedies and are a viable alternative to pheromones.

7. Use restraints/leash:

Traveling with your dog in a carrier or crate is very effective and helps your dog feel more secure while also keeping both the dog and other occupants of the car and train very safe.

While the type of restraint/leash you will use depends on the size of your dog, their comfort level with the restraint should also be put into consideration as travels in a car, train or by air can be really stressful. You should try to use a soft dog crate to give your dog maximum comfort.

8. Medicate your dog:

This is the least advisable way to calm your pet while traveling and should only be done when every other approach has failed and under the strict instruction of your veterinarian. Some medication can help your dog relieve anxiety and enjoy traveling but you have to consult your veterinarian for it. There are quite a number of drugs that can help but only the Veterinarian can understand how they affect your dog. Using medications on your dog is a ‘Hail Mary’ and should only be considered as the worst-case scenario.

9. Get a check-up before traveling:

The importance of a medical check-up for your dog before you embark on your travel journey cannot be overemphasized especially if your pet has a pre-existing condition that needs medication and comfort on the road. Always remember to carry her medications along too.

10. Always be prepared and be at alert:

Emergencies can happen anywhere, at home and even while traveling. Planning in advance for this kind of emergencies can go a long way in making emergencies less stressful, try making a list of veterinary hospitals very close to where you would be staying during your travels. If your dog begins to experience sickness or shows any signs of illness, this list below can help save your dog’s life. This is, however, a guide, you can also add to this list using your discretion.

List of veterinary hospitals along your traveling route.

List of veterinary hospitals closest to the location you're staying.

• First aid kit.
• Leash
• Water and bowls
• Dog Food
• Blanket
• Toys
• Medications
• Bags to pick the waste
• Crate/kennel


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