Everyone loves a vacation—so does your dog! So, if you are considering bringing your dog along for the ride, be sure to do it right. Travel
crates are the pawfect way to keep your furry pal safe and secure,
and in some cases, are the only way to bring your pup with you. In this travel guide,
we’ll discuss how to choose the pawfect dog crate for your pup, how to get your dog
comfortable with their crate, and what you’ll need to know when traveling with your
Choosing the right travel crate
It’s important to pick the right crate
for your dog to ensure their comfort and safety. Things to consider when deciding
on a crate should include:
- Size- Your dog should be able to sit, turn around, and stand
up easily without hitting their head on the top of the crate, so get out your
tape measure! Have your dog stand up, and measure them from the base of their tail to
their nose, then add four inches for the length of crate you’ll need.
Next, measure from the top of their head to the floor, and add four inches to
get the right height for the crate.
- Material and style- You’ll find travel crates made out of metal,
plastic, wood, or even canvas and netting for small breeds, and while several will
work for most dogs, some may be better for chewers or escape artists than
others. If you are traveling by plane, however, crates should be made of hard
plastic, metal or wood with a solid top.
- Collapsible crates- A collapsible crate would work great for
lots of situations, and make transporting the crate easy. This is pawfect for
dogs who can travel both in and out of the crate in a car, or for use at your
destination. For plane travel, though, you’ll need a non-collapsible
crate solidly put together with nuts and bolts
Get your dog's crate ready
Now that you’ve got your crate, you’ll need to get your dog
used to being in it before hitting the road or sky, which means crate training.
- Start early- Introduce your dog to their crate several weeks
before the trip to allow them enough time to feel safe and comfortable in it. Keep the door open to let them sniff and explore on their own.
- Make the crate their space- Place their food or treats
closer and closer to the crate, and then inside until they comfortably move in
and out without hesitation. Add their furvorite blankets and toys to
encourage them to spend time in the crate. Once they are using it regularly on
their own, try closing the door for short periods.
- Take test runs- Get your pup used to the feel of traveling
inside their crate with several small test drives in the car. Start with a
short drive, then increase the time until you feel that your dog is comfortable
and feeling secure.
- Always use positive reinforcement- When your dog is happy
and calm in the crate, reward them with treats, praise and affection to
reinforce that the crate is a good place to be.
Traveling with your dog by plane
When flying with your dog,
you’ll need to consider a few additional factors.
- Book a space for your dog- Your dog and their crate require a separate ticket from
yours, so don’t furget to book this at the same time!
- Check with your airline for specific policies- While the
IATA has issued regulations that most airlines follow for allowing dogs on
planes, each airline often includes their own regulations which can range from
crate types, ventilation and vaccination requirements, to water buckets, locks
and leak-free bottoms. Snub-nosed breeds also require a crate that is one size
- Have the crate weight ready- When the airline asks you how
heavy the crate is, they need the weight of it with your dog inside.
Traveling with your dog by car
If you’re hitting the open road with your pooch, you’ve got
a lot more freedom in traveling. However, there are certain things to always
keep in mind.
- Practice crate safety- Ideally, your dog’s crate should be
placed in a cargo area or back seat, and be strapped in to prevent it from
sliding. The front seat carries a risk of injury from
airbags, but if you must put your dog’s crate here, turn off the passenger seat
airbag. Use blankets to pad the floor of the crate, or even the sides, to make
sure any jostling doesn’t injure your pup.
- Provide ventilation- The travel crate you choose should have
plenty of ventilation to allow air to flow through it. Keep your car
well-ventilated to create that airflow by opening windows or adjusting the air
filters to let in outdoor air.
- Know when to stop- Just like you, dogs
need breaks from travel, especially if they’ve been cooped up in a crate. In
general, you should plan for 15-to-30-minute breaks every 2 to 4 hours for your
healthy, adult dog, and give them water every 2 hours. You should also limit
travel to no more than 7 hours in the car each day.
- Motion sickness and anxiety - Some dogs can experience motion sickness or
travel anxiety, which can make travel time terrible for them and you! If your
dog is prone to getting car sick, try a natural
solution that can soothe their nausea. If your dog is feeling anxious, there
are several remedies
that may calm them, including herbs, compression vests and even massage.
Preparing for your dog's destination
Now that you and your dog are ready to travel, think about the
destination. With a pooch in tow, you’ll need to plan ahead for a smooth and
fun time with your furbaby.
- Check for dog-friendly accommodations- Be sure the hotel you
are planning to stay at allows dogs, and find out what policies or restrictions
they have. This could include breed size limits, crate specifications and
vaccination requirements. If you are traveling to a campground, check their
dog policy to make sure they are welcome where you want to book.
- Have a local veterinarian ready- Just in case you need them,
look for a local veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic at or near your
destination and have their number ready. Some airlines require this info, so have it on hand for them too.
With a little foresight and preparation, your dog's time traveling in their crate can be a stress-free adventure! Enjoy the journey!