By: Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | Apr 24, 2017
Bringing a pet along with you while you travel can come with a host of benefits from providing companionship to strengthening your bond, however, it’s important to be well-prepared before you head out on your trip. Here are 5 important things to consider before traveling with your dog.
Your furry friend is going to be a lot more comfortable if it has items it’s used to. Pack a bag of your pet’s regular food, bring along a favourite blanket or toy, and don’t forget to stock up on any necessary medications for the length of your trip. Travel dishes that fold up can be a space-saving convenience for the car, and leashes, harnesses, and a first aid kit are handy items to have. If your pet will be participating in activities in which it might get dirty, be sure to pack some shampoo and a brush as well.
No matter how you plan to travel – plane, train, or automobile – invest in a sturdy carrier for your pet, one that has enough space that Fido or Fluffy can turn around and lay down comfortably. Another option to keep dogs safe traveling by car is a seat-belt-type harness that works with your car’s restraint system. Some of these harnesses have been safety tested, so look for a brand that has studies to back up its claims.
Although unlikely, accidents during travel can happen, and should you become separated from your pet, your best bet for a reunion is if your pet has ID. If your pet wears a collar, make sure its ID tags are up to date, and it’s always a good idea to have your pet microchipped (keep the registration current as well). It doesn’t hurt to add a tag to your pet’s crate or to a harness if it wears one.
No matter where you plan to stay while traveling, make sure in advance that your furry friend is welcome. Arrange your stay with a pet hotel and/or campground, or let friends and family know that your dog will accompany you. Many hotels will not allow an unaccompanied pet to stay in a room, so make arrangements for your animal for times it cannot be with you, whether you hire a dog sitter or use a local pet daycare. Always be a good guest: Clean up after your dog, and don’t let it jump on furniture unless doing so is expressly allowed. No matter what, NEVER leave your pet unattended in a hot car.
If you’re just going to be gone overnight, having your pet checked by a veterinarian probably isn’t necessary, but if you’re planning a longer trip, seeing your pet’s health professional may be a good idea. Your vet can ensure your pet is healthy enough for travel and is up to date on all necessary vaccinations, and he or she can supply you with any medications you might need while you are gone. If your pet is prone to motion sickness, ask about treatments for this. And if you plan to fly with your pet, make sure to review the airline’s pet health policies with your vet ahead of time.
Traveling is often so much more enjoyable with your furry friend by your side but make sure to plan ahead to ensure your trip goes smoothly. Visit your vet in advance of your trip, make sure their pet ID tags are up-to-date, invest in a sturdy travel crate or harness, and bring along items that will make your pet more comfortable. Safe travels!
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.