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Top Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

Traveling with your dog can be stressful, and as much as you want to bring your pup with you on adventures, you might be worried about how they will adapt to travel.

Fortunately, most dogs are suited to traveling alongside you and can learn to be comfortable with life on the road or even frequent air travel. Here are a few tips to make the journey less stressful and more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Is It Possible to Travel With My Dog?

Top Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

It is possible to travel with your dog, and many individuals successfully take their dogs on road trips, cross-country flights, or even international vacations. When deciding if your dog is capable of traveling with you, you should take into account important things like their health, age, and how well-trained they are. 

Dogs that have many medical needs, ones that are too old to safely sit in a car or accompany you on an airplane, and dogs that are still in training for certain behavioral issues may not be ready to travel with you quite yet.

However, dogs that are trained with the basics, those that are social and friendly, those that are overall healthy or have any medical issues well-managed, and dogs that are generally curious and enjoy accompanying you to new places are all great candidates for traveling with you as you vacation.

Also, remember that companion dogs are usually only welcome in pet-friendly locations if your dog is trained as a service dog, you’ll be able to travel with them nearly anywhere and even have them fly with you for free in an airline cabin.

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Essential Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

The following tips are all essential for traveling with your dog. You should make an effort to prepare your dog fully for travel, and always double-check pet requirements or paperwork you might need when traveling out of the state or country with your dog.

Pre-Travel Vet Trips

Before traveling, especially internationally, you will need to take your dog to their regular veterinarian and ensure they are suited for travel. You can evaluate how well your dog will handle long car trips, and you might need to receive calming medication to help your dog adapt more easily to air travel or car travel. 

Speak with your vet about any concerns regarding your dog’s ability to travel or preparations you might need to make to ensure your dog is comfortable. You’ll also want to be certain your dog has had any required vaccines, especially if you are traveling outside of the country.

Related read: Travel Benefits of Having a Psychiatric Service Dog

Keep Your Dog’s Routine

Keeping your dog’s routine is vital while you travel with your pup, as this can help them feel safe and comfortable. Make sure to pack all of your dog’s regular food and favorite treats and feed them on roughly the same schedule you have at home. 

You shouldn’t make any major changes to your dog’s diet before or during travel, and you should make sure that your dog is able to exercise frequently between long hauls of travel.

Create Emergency Plans

While they aren’t always the most fun thing to think about, properly preparing for an emergency with your dog is vital to avoiding any serious issues. 

Make sure that your dog has identification on their collar, and take pictures of your dog with their identification and keep these photos with you or on your phone. In case your dog escapes your car or another area, you may want to place a GPS tracking device on your dog’s collar so that you can easily locate them.

Research the closest veterinarian to your destination, and ensure you have any medication or other medical equipment needed to keep your dog safe in case of health issues.

Train Your Dog for Travel

Training your dog for travel is incredibly helpful, as a well-behaved dog can enjoy themselves in public and make your trip smoother overall.

You may find that you need to work with your dog on public manners, recall, or leash training; all of these things can easily be taught at home as you work with your dog to prepare them for travel.

Consider Traveling Crates

When traveling in a car, particularly with very large dogs, a traveling crate might be necessary to keep your dog contained and safe. Road trips can be made dangerous by a dog loose in your backseat, and it can be hard to contain your dog and stop them from jumping out of your car if they are allowed to run around as they please. 

A traveling crate or a leash that buckles into a seatbelt helps maintain your dog’s safety in the event of a crash and ensures you can drive without issue.

Related read: How to Find Pet-Friendly Accommodation

Make Plenty of Pit Stops

Pit stops are helpful when taking your dog on a road trip as it allows time for your dog to run around, use the bathroom, and drink a little bit of water. 

You should try to avoid letting your dog travel on a very full stomach, as this can cause car sickness and nausea for your pup. Instead, limit your dog’s meals before heading out on a road trip and only feed them a full meal when you are settling in for an extended stop.

In general, a stop every two to three hours while on the road is the healthiest for both humans and dogs in your car.

Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior

Traveling with your dog can be stressful, and you should make sure to keep an eye on your dog’s behavior. Note any signs of distress or discomfort, such as too much panting, whining, drooling, barking, or uncontrollable bathroom usage in your car. 

If you see one or more of these, you may need to pull over to allow your dog to calm down or refrain from bringing your dog traveling with you until you can visit a vet for calming medications and a check-up.

Should I Practice Traveling With My Dog?

Traveling with your dog on a road trip
Top Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

Practicing traveling with your dog is helpful, especially if your pup has never traveled in a car before, or you are trying to get your dog used to air travel. You should ensure your dog has a comfortable, airline-approved carrier for flights, and allow them to sit in it and feed them treats in it to associate positive feelings with the carrier. 

Most dogs enjoy car rides, so you can take your pup out on frequent trips around town to pet-friendly places to get them accustomed to a road trip experience. 

Make sure that your dog is properly trained and ready to interact with new places or people in public to ensure your travel is smooth.

Traveling With Your Canine Companion

Traveling with your dog is something that many owners enjoy as an extra way to take their dog on adventures and bond with their furry friend.

And while getting your dog ready for travel can seem stressful, our tips help you prepare your pup for the most successful travel experience possible so you can do less worrying and more enjoying the journey.

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