The decision to bring or board your furry family members while traveling is a tough one unique to each person and the needs of their pups. If you decide boarding is the right decision for you, be sure to read our tips for a great boarding experience here! If you’re lucky enough to be traveling with your pets this season, read on for some tips for traveling with a dog, whether you’re driving a couple of hours or flying cross-country.
If you have a small dog and a far off destination, flying with a dog is usually the best option for traveling with your pup. Most airlines allow you to bring your dog on the plane as a carry-on as long as they are in a carrier and fit the size requirements. This is ideal since you can keep them close and comfort them if they start to get anxious. Big dogs are a little trickier to bring on planes as many airlines have deemed transporting animals in the under carriage unsafe. Be sure to check the rules and regulations regarding dog travel for your airline thoroughly before leaving on your trip. Here are some pet travel tips for flying with your furry friends:
- Book early – To ensure that you are on a dog-friendly flight with all the right accommodations for you and your dog’s needs, be sure to book your flight early. If you have any questions or concerns about flying with your dog for the first time, this will give you plenty of time to ask questions and save you the stress of booking last minute.
- Fly direct – Booking a direct flight will save you and your pup the hassle of getting off of one plane where you’re already settled and comfortable and rushing to the next. Plus, for your dog who can’t use the plane’s restroom, the less time spent in the air the better.
- Find the right carrier – Dog carriers come in all shapes and sizes, so be sure to find the right one for you. If you’re bringing your small pup as a carry-on, a soft-sided carrier that fits your airline’s size requirements will be most convenient as it will better mold under your seat for takeoff and landing. For large dogs traveling in cargo, you must get a hard-sided carrier that gives your dog enough room to stand up, lie down and turn around. Again, make sure you check specific requirements of your airline before you head to the airport. The last thing you want is to get all the way there just to be turned away for a technicality.
- Include identification – Attach your contact information, yours and your dog’s names, and any important medical information to your carrier in case you are ever separated.
- Practice first – If your dog will be traveling in a new carrier for the first time, try a few practice runs first to make sure everything goes smoothly on the big day. Put your dog in the carrier and bring her in the car on a few road trips of a similar length of time as your flight.
- Feed four hours prior – To make sure your dog doesn’t get sick on the plane or need to go number two as soon as there’s nowhere for him to go, try feeding him four hours prior to arriving at the airport.
- Exercise well beforehand – In addition to feeding him well, you should try to get lots of exercise in before takeoff as well. The less energy they have, the better because he’ll be more likely to fall asleep and less likely to whine and bark the whole trip.
- Don’t give new medications – It may seem like giving your dog a sedative medicine may be helpful in calming his nerves before travel, but unless your vet has specifically ordered you to do so, do not give your dog any new medications. These types of drugs, while fine for humans, can affect dogs strangely in the air, and a stressful flight is not the time to find out your dog has an unknown allergy.
- Bring health records – Keep your dog’s health records on you at all times when traveling. You never know when you may have an emergency and need to be able to recover these documents quickly.
- Buy bottled water at the airport – Since you can’t bring liquids through security check in, you’ll need to buy water bottles or fill up your empty water bottles once you’re in the terminal. Keeping your pup hydrated should be a number one priority while traveling.
When your holiday destination is driving distance, a road trip is the easiest and most convenient way to travel with your dogs. In the car you can easily transport bedding, food, water, toys and anything else your pup may need without worrying about weight requirements. Here are some things to consider before you start your road trip:
- Test drive – To make sure your dog doesn’t get motion sickness on the big day, be sure to bring him in the car for smaller trips and keep him in the area he’ll be in when it comes time to travel longer distances. If he does tend to get sick in the car, you can make sure to stock up on ginger tablets and feed them to your dog about 30 minutes before you head out.
- Seat belt or carrier – If your dog gets a little rambunctious when sitting still for too long, be sure to get a pet seat belt or a carrier to keep your pup restrained while you’re driving. Even if it seems cute, having a dog jump in your lap while you’re driving is a huge safety hazard.
- Stay hydrated – Bring plenty of water jugs/bottles, a bowl and maybe even some ice if you’re traveling somewhere warm. If your dog doesn’t seem to want to drink water while you’re on the road, add K9POWER’s Go Dog hydration supplement to his bowl! Not only will he be happy to drink it up since it’s flavored with real chicken, but it’s specially formulated to provide your dog with electrolytes, protein and carbohydrates for long lasting hydration and muscle health. He’ll be ready to stretch his legs and run a bit at all the rest stops.
- Plan rest stops – Check out your route before you take off and make sure there are safe spots to stop for potty breaks as well as human food along the way that will be dog-friendly. You should try to stop every four hours to let him stretch, move and maybe indulge in a Carnivore Cookie or two.
- Be mindful at stops – When it’s time to pull over to eat, use the restroom or otherwise leave your furry friend in the car, make absolutely sure that your dog will be comfortable when you go inside. Never leave your dog in a super hot or cold powered off car.
One of the hardest things about traveling with your dogs is finding places to sleep that are dog friendly! Websites like Bring Fido do a great job of listing all the hotels and dog-friendly accommodations available in the area you’re traveling to. Here are some things to consider when picking a place to stay:
- Do you need a yard? – If you would like to stay in a more traditional house setting for whatever reason, try checking Airbnb for dog-friendly places to stay! These houses may or may not already have a dog home, but you can find out all the details on the website before you go.
- Check the reviews – Whether you stay at a hotel or an Airbnb, be sure to check the reviews particularly from other dog owners. Be sure that you are near an exit and that you’ll have easy access to a grassy area so your pup can relieve himself easily. If your dog barks a lot, you may want to call the hotel beforehand to discuss whether this will be any trouble for other guests.
- Keep the routine – With time zone changes and all the chaos of travel, it’s difficult, but try to keep your dog’s routine the same. Your pups thrive off of consistency and they will be comforted by the same food at the same time as it was at home. If your pup doesn’t like to eat while you’re away from home, add one of K9POWER’s health and wellness supplements to his food. He’ll love the real meat flavor and you’ll get tons of nutritional benefits while you’re at it.
- Vet recommendations – Check with your vet to see what offices they recommend in the area you’re traveling to. Have your medical records handy and be aware of the location of the recommended veterinarian in case of emergency.
Whether you’re driving or flying this holiday season, use the following checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything vital!