Traveling with Your Dog
Vacation time is nearing, and you’d love to be able to travel with your dog. Or maybe you and your family are packing up to move to a new area with your dog. Do you know how to keep your dog safe while traveling?
Whether traveling in a car, on a train, or boat, or in an airplane, you can take steps to keep your dog safe while you travel to an exciting destination or begin a new journey as a family. Any time you plan a road trip with your dog, please consider the following to ensure their safety.
Cars, Trains, and Planes
If your dog knows the words, “Wanna go for a ride?” then he’s probably going to be excited for a long road trip. But even if he’s used to going for short rides around town, it doesn’t mean he is ready for longer trips. And if your dog is not excited for local trips, you might want to spend some time preparing your companion for a longer journey. To keep your dog calm while riding for longer lengths of time, you could prepare him by taking longer local trips. With quick training sessions, you can express your expectations with your pup to ensure he knows where he needs to be within the car and how to remain calm and quiet and in place so as not to distract you as you drive.
If you and your dog are traveling by train or plane, be sure to check in with the airline or rail line to familiarize yourself with their travel policies based on the size of your dog and how your dog will be traveling.
Medicines and Vet Care
Before you travel, talk to your veterinarian about your travels, any anxieties you may have, and the environment where you are traveling. If your dog has anxiety about riding in a vehicle, your veterinarian can prescribe a medication to keep the dog calm and relaxed. You will want to know if the environment is much different from the one your dog is used to so you can tackle any potential issues such as fleas and ticks you may not have in your area. Also, be sure your dog is up to date on vaccines and keep rabies records with you as you travel.
Keep Your Dog Secured
Keep your dog inside a ventilated crate or travel carrier as you drive. When possible, strap this crate or carrier down with a seat belt or LATCH system within your vehicle. If you have a larger breed dog, you can purchase a harness to attach to your LATCH system or your vehicle’s seat belt. It is always a good idea to label your crate or harness with your name and address and the dog’s name along with having your dog microchipped and tagged.
Safety While Riding
Be sure to follow basic safety rules while your dog is traveling. Dogs should not be allowed to roam freely in your vehicle. Do not permit your dog to ride in the bed of your truck. Do not let your dog hang his head out the window, and avoid keeping car windows low enough for your dog to jump out. Keep a leash on your dog or readily available for stops so your dog doesn’t run from the vehicle and is always in your control. Always keep a collar or harness on with name tags.
Stops on the Road
No matter the transportation you take, you may have stops along the way. Either station stops or stops along the road for bathroom breaks and meals. Be sure your dog is leashed and in your control. Take your dog away from traffic to eliminate. When possible, park close to grass to avoid your dog walking on hot asphalt in the summer or slipping on ice in the winter.
Prepare for the Road with Your Dog
If you are driving, map out your drive and know where the closest emergency animal hospitals are, at least along the route of major cities. Travel with all the items your dog would need. A water bowl for pit stops and a food bowl are useful items to have on hand. If you have spare room in your luggage, an extra leash, in the case of damage or loss, is a handy item to have. Medical records and a first aid kit specifically for your dog may be necessary while traveling. A chew toy might keep your dog entertained and lying safely within a carrier or the vehicle.
Enjoy Road Tripping with Your Dog
Taking a dog on long or far away trips might be stressful. With some basic preparation, you can rest easy knowing your dog is cared for and ready for the journey. Practice common sense while inside a moving vehicle and keep your dog safe from harm. Never leave your dog in a closed unattended vehicle. Once you are prepared, your dog has all the essentials he needs and you are on your journey, enjoy the time with your dog. If you are vacationing, plan activities around your dog such as hiking or beach swimming. If you are moving to a new area, search for local dog parks before you leave so you can socialize your dog once you are in your new home. With some tender loving care, your dog will arrive safely, and you can be worry-free.