As anyone who has ever flown with a pet knows, traveling with dogs can be a daunting task.

One of the most important things to remember when traveling with your dog is that they are still your pet, and they are your responsibility. It’s not always going to be easy, and it will require some work on your part. But that’s okay because dogs are worth it.

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to traveling with dogs.

So this post will focus on what you need to know about traveling with dogs to ensure the best experience for your canine companion-from choosing dog carrier bags to ensure they are allowed in the country you’re visiting.

Read about the incredible and safest destinations to travel as a solo woman.

Traveling with Dogs: Preparing before the trip

1. Get a dog carrier bag

There are some factors to consider while choosing the best dog carrier bag such as:

  • Size of the carrier bag- your dog may feel cozy in his carrier, but he won’t be if it’s too small for him. If you’re not sure about what size your dog needs, then err on the side of too big rather than too small. You can always try smaller bags if larger ones prove uncomfortable or unsuitable.
  • Has your dog been checked out for colds, infections, heartworms, and other harmful bugs? You should check that the carrier is clean before bringing him along on your trip. It is one reason why most experts recommend getting one that’s made from either canvas or vinyl rather than neoprene. Canvas and vinyl are easier to clean and sanitize.
  • Durability is another crucial factor. You want your dog carrier bag to be well-built so that it lasts longer, even with regular use. Think of the cost value of your money when you’re comparing prices.
    • K9 Sport Sack PLUS 2 is a great pet carrier with fully ventilated sides and a padded back panel for comfort. It also has thick, wide, pressure-relieving straps and adjustable cooling side panels. The best part of the carrier is that it has adjustable side and back cinch straps for the best fit!

2. Pack everything your dog needs

First, airline regulations require that you bring along copies of all records about your dog’s health.
Be sure to bring along certificates from your visit to the vet, a vaccination record, proof of spaying or neutering, and so on. Additionally, please keep a record of any medicines they have been taking on this trip.

You will need them for inspection by veterinarians and kennel staff whenever you stop along the way.

If you are traveling by air, make sure your veterinarian gives you a health certificate stating whether your dog is fit to fly.

You should also bring along a leash so that you always have one handy when needed. And you can bring along some of the things that your dog loves. And if you like, you can bring along some treats and toys so that he will enjoy being away from home and will be a little more comfortable.

For your ease, here is a list of essential items to carry while traveling with dogs:

  • Veterinarian/vet records for your dog. Make copies of pet-related documents.
  • ID tags with contact information for destination vet(s) and airline baggage handlers (always ask for this latest information before you depart)
  • Leash.
  • Crate (if you want to house train your dog, as well as items for training)
  • Collar with microchip.
  • Food and water bowl(es) that you can clean in a dishwasher.
  • Dog toys that are easily washable and can be stored easily in a bag (no squeakers!)
  • Small container of bleach or other disinfectants for cleaning carrier/crate if you use one before unleashing your dog at your destination.
  • Blanket to cover crate/carrier.
  • Blanket for the pet in the car if the destination weather is extreme.
  • At least one clean towel per dog that you can use for wiping eyes, calming an upset tummy, etc., and a few absorbent ones for car accidents (always carry a few extra).
  • A small container of ointment or antibiotic cream.
  • Pillow or dog bed to accommodate comfort level and size of crate/carrier.

3. Use dog-friendly apps

There are many dog-friendly apps that you can use while traveling with your pet, like All Trails and Bring Fido

All Trails is a mobile app that offers local hiking and trail-running trails and user-generated ones. It includes information on the difficulty of the hike or runs, things to see along the way, and other important information.

Bring Fido is designed and optimized for pet parents on the go. It’s a mobile app that allows you to compile important pet care information—from insurance to vet records and vaccination schedules—in one convenient place so that you can have it with you wherever you go.

Bring Fido lets you provide more information through an easy-to-use online profile, which helps your vet when checking for pet health records.

Also, it is best to get the American Red Cross Pet First Aid Book which includes a safe and practical step-by-step approach to first aid and care for your pet at home, in their environment, and when injured on the go.

4. Precheck for dog-friendly accommodation

When traveling with your pet, it is vital to find a hotel that will welcome them. Many hotels have restrictions on how big your pet can be and will charge you extra if you have a larger animal.

Some hotels offer pet amenities like a doggie door or a designated pet area where your dog can go to get away from you. Also, ask about grooming services since you will want to get them groomed before bringing them on the plane.

If your hotel doesn’t allow dogs, ask where the nearest pet-friendly hotel is located.

It would help if you always researched pet-friendly hotels before hitting the road. Check out the best pet-friendly hotels as listed by suitcasemag

5. Know the airline’s pet policies

To find out what the airline’s pet policy is, visit their website and search for “pet policy.” A good rule of thumb is to check the airline’s policy while you read your pet insurance policy since the airline must abide by the terms of both.

6. Train your dog

If you’re taking your dog on a trip, be sure to prep your pup before leaving. Not just food and water, but also toys, treats, and games that will keep them entertained. You’ll want to bring their favorite toys, like Kong chew toys.

7. Vaccinations

Before taking your dog anywhere for a holiday, make sure to consult with your veterinarian about their vaccinations. This precautionary measure will help protect both your pet and any animals abroad.

Make sure that your dog has got the rabies vaccine 28 days before traveling.

8. Go on short road trips

short trips for dogs

Before taking a long road trip, it’s essential to get them used to shorter ones. Doing so will help the dogs feel more comfortable with the twists and turns on the road.

9. Carry food and water

Most airlines have strict guidelines for traveling with pets. And the most important thing to note is that your dog has water and food. Be sure to bring enough for your pet’s trip.

Read how to stay hydrated while hiking here.

10. Put windscreen shade in the car

Make sure you use a windscreen shade before getting into your car.

A sunshade is a type of window covering, usually made of fabric, that helps block sunlight from entering the car. It will reduce the amount of UV radiation that penetrates your car and causes skin cancer.

11. Tire your dog before heading for the trip

Tire your dog out before the journey. A tiring walk in your neighborhood should do the trick, or why not try out a doggy play area before hitting off on the trip?

14. Pick the airline wisely

In case you are traveling by air, choose your flight wisely. It could mean avoiding the peak hours of travel or finding a route that is cheaper to take. If you are traveling by bus, check out the arrival

Traveling with dogs: On the trip

1. Keep your dog entertained

The best part about driving with your dog is that you can listen to music or talk to them. But, it’s not always easy to keep your dogs entertained on long car journeys.

If you and your dog are on a long car journey, it’s essential to keep your dog happy, so I recommend bringing along a few toys that will help them stay entertained in the car.

I like these colorful rubber balls from wobble wag for my dog because he loves to chew. They are easy for him to grab and even more impressive if he manages to catch something with his mouth! He won’t get a hold of these dogs without some practice, but they are his favorite toy once he does.

2. Have frequent toilet breaks

Have toilet breaks every 90 mins or less if your pet is used to long road trips.

Always have a bag full of toilet rolls and keep them in the car with you. Dogs are very clean till they need to go for a loo.

3. Keep your dog hydrated

The heat can be dangerous for your dog, and dehydration can be lethal. Carry at least 2 liters of water just for them to drink and offer a bowl regularly.

4. Air-conditioning

If you tend to leave your air-conditioning on during the summer, let the window seal warm up first, as this will help keep the noise down for dogs. Also, you will want to place some blankets or towels in between your dog and the air-conditioning unit while it is running, so they don’t get too hot.

5. Put the dog’s seatbelt on

If you are going on a short road trip, doggie seatbelts are the quick and easy option to keep your pet safe. However, if you are going for a long trip and looking for your pet’s comfort, get a car hammock.

6. Keep them cozy

Give your dog a cozy, comfortable place to sleep like a plush pet bed.

The soft fleece fabric will provide warmth for the cold winter days and nights. On a long road trip, your dog will be more at ease as they can snuggle up to the bed and feel protected in their blanket.

7. Get a crate

When traveling with your dog, especially on long trips, it is vital to have an extra crate when you stop along the way. You should always keep some extra food on hand as well, just in case.

Petmate 2 Door Top Load Kennel is a great two-door crate with excellent ventilation and a secure wing-nut and bolt design. It is stylish and sturdy, just what you need for a trip with your pet-pal.

8. Take your dog for a walk

traveling with dogs: take them on a walk

If you are on the road, it’s essential to take your dog out for a walk every so often to prevent them from getting anxious. They will love it!

9. Keep the windows closed on busy roads

While you are driving on busy roads, make sure that your car window is completely closed. Leaving the window cracked might trigger your dog’s impulse to howl or bark at everything, which could frighten other road users.

Traveling with dogs: At the destination

1. Let your dog adapt to the new location

Your dog will need time to acclimate to its surroundings. Give them plenty of time to rest and drink water. If there are other dogs around, let them safely get used to one another before releasing them into a large space together.

2. Keep your dog cool

It’s vital that your dog has plenty of water to drink and that they are kept cool during hot weather.
You can also use small handy-electric fans to cool off your dogs.

3. Enjoy the trip

Your pet will no doubt be excited and thrilled to be with you, and that feeling is 100% warranted. Try and relieve some stress before your trip by explaining what you will need to do on the road.

Now that you know all about traveling with dogs, let us know about your experiences of traveling with dogs.

Also read about the top things to do in South Africa.

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