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Traveling with Dogs

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Overview

Traveling with dogs usually isn’t too challenging, especially if they think you’re going to the park, but there are some considerations to be made regardless of traveling by air or car.

Car Travel Tips

Before embarking on a road trip, you should take your dog to the vet for a checkup. The vet visit will ensure that your dog is healthy and ready for a road trip but will also allow you to get a health certificate. A health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination will be needed to stay in some hotels or if you plan on crossing international boarders. Also, veterinarians will be able to give you advice as to travel requirements for pets and maybe some tips to make the trip more comfortable for your dog.

Make sure your dog is properly collared with all necessary tags and registrations. Also, include a tag with your name, home address, and phone number. If anything happens and your dog manages to run off, you want to be sure you’re easily contacted and that the ownership of your dog is identified.

Pack enough supplies for your dog on the trip. This includes food, water, bedding, toys, a brush, and whatever other supplies you’ll need for day to day care. A first aid kit and medications are also important along with a copy of medical records for longer trips.

All too often, dog owners travel around in their vehicle with their dog unrestrained. Like humans, dogs need to be secured in a vehicle. If your dog gets excited or anxious, he may startle you and this could cause an accident. Or if you get into an accident, your pet may get seriously injured if not restrained. You can either purchase a dog carrier or restraining harness that attaches to a seatbelt for your dog. Similarly, do not allow your dog to roam the bed of a truck unrestrained. This can be very dangerous.

You should also prepare for carsickness. Animals, like people, will sometimes get car sick so plan only a small meal before travel. To help prevent carsickness, plan to take several breaks along your trip. This will also give your dog a chance to go to the toilet.

Air Travel

Depending on the airline you decide to travel with, there will be different requirements and restrictions for traveling with your dog. Most airlines do not allow dogs to board the passenger portion of the plane, meaning they have to travel with checked baggage. Some companies will allow small dogs to be carried-on but since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, this is rare.

In addition, most airlines have strict regulations when it comes to airline carriers/shipping crates. They need to be secure but also safe for your pet so they can easily move around and breathe. Your carrier/crate should be marked with a sticker identifying that the crate is carrying live animals. In addition, you should clearly mark your contact details, the feeding schedule of your dog, and any special health concerns.

In order to travel internationally with dogs, a 4 month quarantine is sometimes required. You’ll have to have a vet visit, proper health certificate, and proof of rabies vaccination in order to board a plane to any destination (even domestic). However, some countries will also require that your dog is quarantined in order to prevent the spread of disease. Be sure to check the regulations for any country you plan to visit.

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