9 Tips And Tricks For Anyone Traveling With A Dog
Your dog is your best friend, so don't leave him home when you travel!
Anyone who knows me knows that, like many pet owners, I am obsessed with my dog. So when I travel, I prefer to bring Hudson with me.
Traveling with a dog has its challenges, but there are a few tricks I've learned along the way that's made it easier for me to travel with Hudson. Here are a few of the tried-and-true pet travel tips I swear by.
Find a pet carrier that you
and your pet enjoy.
I've tried out a handful of different carriers for Hudson, and they are not all created equally. My favorite is this
Wild One carrier ($180). It's lightweight with hearty straps so it's super comfortable for me to carry. And Hudson happens to love it as well. I've tried other carriers that Hudson tries to jump out of, but the second I brought the Wild One carrier home, he immediately jumped inside and got cozy. Making sure your dog is comfortable in his carrier is so important because you don't want him to feel like sitting inside it is a punishment. There are tons of carriers, so no matter what your budget, make sure you and your dog try it out before you buy it.
Time your travel plans strategically.
All dogs are different. Hudson happens to wake up
full of endless energy, then he crashes in the afternoon. I try to book afternoon or nighttime travel so that I can take him to the dog park in the morning and get him tired out by the time he has to sit in a car or on a plane for hours. You know your pet best, so think of his or her daily schedule and plan your travel time accordingly.
Pack a few of your dog's favorite toys.
Whenever I travel with Hudson it takes a little while for him to feel comfortable in a new environment, whether we're staying in a hotel, an airbnb, or even a friend's house. I've found that packing his favorite stuffed animal or a blanket helps him keep calm and settle down in an unfamiliar place. Oftentimes I'll come home to him snuggling
his favorite Snuggle Puppy toy ($39.95 on Amazon). It definitely makes him feel more relaxed.
And familiarize yourself with the rules of pet travel before heading out of town.
Airlines, hotels, Airbnbs, and even trains all have different rules about traveling with pets. Some airlines have a limited number of pets they can allow on each flight and all require that your dog flies in an TFA approved carrier. Many hotels only offer a certain number of pet-friendly rooms or require an extra cleaning fee. All this goes to say that you should check the rules before you travel to make sure you've given and paid the fees associated with pet travel.
If you're checking a bag, keep some necessities in your carry-on.
Travel can be unpredictable, especially airline travel. Delayed flights are always a pain, but they're especially irritating when you're traveling with a dog. I've found that keeping a few basic things on hand helps to alleviate long waits and unexpected delays. I always travel with a portable water bowl, extra dog treats, and a toy or two (like a
Kong ($7.99 at Chewy) or unscented bully stick ($24.99 at Chewy)) to keep him busy during delays.
Keep a copy of your dog's vaccinations on hand.
Some airlines can be very strict about letting dogs fly, especially if you're thinking of flying internationally. Before flying with your dog, first double check that he's up to take on his vaccines (especially rabies). Then, ask your vet for a copy of your dog's vaccination form so you have it on hand in case the airline asks for a copy.
Pay attention to your dog's meal schedule.
Especially if you're flying with your dog, the last thing you want is for him to have to use the bathroom while you're in the air. Pay attention to when you offer your pup food and water before you fly. My vet told me to stop giving Hudson food or water three hours before traveling, and to make sure to take him out for a really good walk before our trip.
If you plan on flying with your dog, start when he or she is young.
Many vets will tell you to take your dog to the groomer when he or she is young so the animal gets used to it. Well, the same goes for flying. When Hudson was about four months old, I took him to visit my grandparents in Florida with me. I was so nervous to fly with him for the first time because I didn't know how he would react. Ultimately, this was the best decision. It introduced Hudson to the feeling of flying at a young age and got him accustomed to sitting in his carrier for an extended amount of time. Since he's been flying since he was just a little puppy, he's used to the feeling of taking off and landing, and he's a trooper when he has to sit still for extended periods of time.
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