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Traveling with dog

Updated on February 27, 2013

What you need to know when traveling with your dog (s)

Planning a vacation or a trip takes a lot of time for preparation. Choosing the roads, the destination, accommodation and getting all the important information can be a big project. If considering taking your dog with you, more planning has to be done. Why? Traveling with a dog is a special experience. Animals have specific needs, different interests and depend on us, which means that we need to take extra good care of them while hitting the road.

Photo by zhouxuan12345678

mlchetrit's photostream
mlchetrit's photostream

TRAVELLING BY CAR

Photo by mlchetrit's photostream

For most people driving in a car is an everyday routine, or at least the most common way to reach beautiful destinations when making a trip. Some of us are used to taking our dogs everywhere we go, but when going to vacation or a longer travel, we still need to take time and prepare for the upcoming situations.

Many dogs can get car sick and it is best if you check the situation before leaving home. You don't want to notice it when 500 km are already behind you. Take your dog to shorter drives around the city, on curvy roads in the hills and on the highway and check his condition. Some dogs can get stressed on highways and start to shake and yawn. You will need an assistant either driving the car or observing the dog. Vomiting isn't always caused by motion sickness but can be also the sign of stress. If your dog shows too much stress it is better not to take him for a long travel, because he will suffer much more than when staying at home without his master.

If your canine friend doesn't have any experience with cars at all, it might be hard to convince him to jump into a car. I suggest you not to make a big deal out of it. Just take the lead and tell him to jump in. If he resists, throw his favorite toy or a treat inside. If he still doesn't want to get in, make it a fun game. Reward ANY connection the dog makes with the car. Even baby steps: looking at the car, going near the car, going near the car when the door is open, putting front feet in the car or even only touching the car - all of these should be awarded. But note: this isn't a one days work, you should start doing it quite some time before considering to take your dog with you (at least a month or so). Continue the exercise daily and observe the progress. The most important thing: NEVER FORCE your dog to do anything. Your job is to present the car as something fun and adventurous, but your furry pal has to find out by himself.

Safety in the car

Photo by maca.foto

I know the photos I have published might look funny and give us a good laugh, but reality should be much different. We humans think of safety while driving and therefore use the seat belt. Now think what would happen if we took part in a car crash? Did we think about it when we put our dog in the vehicle?

If you just put your pet on the back seat or in the trunk without any protection, he could easily fly through the windshield or to the front of the car and get hurt or killed. He also could be thrown at other persons in the car and injure them. But what could you do?

Car crate, safety belt or safety net?

You have many options. If you prefer to drive your dog in the trunk, think of a safety net. It will prevent your dog from jumping or falling into the cabin of the vehicle. If your dog is already used of using a crate, you can put it in your car (back seat or trunk) and use it as a special place for your dog (I like it also because it keeps the car clean). If your dog just won't use the crate, if you wouldn't like to buy one or if you don't have enough space for it, consider using the seat belt. But notice: the belt musn't be attached to the dog's collar but the harness. You don't want the poor animal to be chocked!

Photo by sarahracha

TRAVELING BY PLANE

Photo by eatbitter

Traveling by plane can stress many humans out, so we should all be aware that to dogs it can be petrifying. To be put in a new, loud, shaky place for many hours, without any trustful humans and without knowing why, is a very big challenge for any dog. Those who are very sensible, could develop phobias or could get in shock so a good preparation is essential.

After being sure that the company you intend to fly with, allows pets to be taken on board, you should reserve a place on the plane for your pal. Ask if it is possible to have your pet with you in the cabin (some companies do allow it but only for small pets and only for a certain number of pets per flight). In any case, your pal will have to stay in the crate during the whole journey, so get him prepared. Don't feed him too much and don't give him any food that could cause nausea or diarrhea. Take him for a loooong walk so he will be tired. Prepare a special water bowl which can be put inside the crate and a small bag of food in case the flight will be delayed and the staff will have to feed the animals. If he has any diets, attach big signs on the crate for everyone to be visible. Some people tend to give their pets tranquilizers before the travel, but be aware that those can be harmful too so it is recommended to consult your veterinarian before doing so. Tranquilizers should be tested at home some weeks before traveling to notice any possible complications. So be cautious!

BY TRAIN

Going on vacation by train can be fun and very relaxing. If you take your dog with you, it could be all different. If your furry friend doesn't have good manners, it could turn out as a very stressful experience. Besides the possible motion sickness you have to note that on trains there are many other people and many of them aren't fond of dogs at all. Barking, flatulence and scratching are only a few of situations other passengers may dislike. You as the owner have the responsibility to make sure that no (reasonable) complaints can be made about your dog being on the train. Just in case I recommend you to bring a towel for your dog if anything goes wrong (vomiting...). Make sure your dog stays close to you. You could use the towel as a dog bed during travel. Before getting on the train you should exercise your pal, so he will sleep most of the travel. If you do everything right, you will be able to read that book you brought with you or to enjoy the landscape passing by.

Photo by lovlibovli

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    • AlphaChic profile image

      AlphaChic 5 years ago

      I am a believer in car safety for my dogs. My dog, Zeus, and I were in a bad rollover accident. He was in his crate and the most he suffered was a bad fright. Thanks for bring attention to this issue!

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