Some dogs are great travelers while others can be particular. While every pet owner would love have a wonderful adventure like John Steinbeck and Charley, some pets require a little extra care. It’s all about being prepared.
Often, the ease with which you can travel with your pooch depends on how big he or she is. Toy dogs and minis can fly easily enough as carry-on luggage on some airlines—provided they are allowed in the main cabin—but the bigger guys will have to ride under the plane. If you drive, you have to consider many things, like how many rest stops you’ll encounter and finding a hotel that accepts canine companions.
Here are a few tips on making traveling with your dog much, much easier.
The Fear of Flying
The hardest thing for many dog owners is getting over the fact that they have to leave their mid- to large-sized dog in the storage compartment of a plane. Somehow, leaving him a rawhide and a squeaky toy just doesn’t seem to make up for sticking him next to the engine and landing gear.
Keep these things in mind if flying is your only option:
- Sedation: Let your vet know that you’re about to fly with your dog, and you’d like to make it more comfortable for him in his crate. Some vets will prescribe pills that will more or less put your dog into nap mode for up to eight hours—the perfect amount of time. Be aware, though, that your dog probably won’t actually sleep that entire time, it’ll just make him groggy and unresponsive for most of the trip. Also look for natural herbal sedatives that contain chamomile, ZIZIPHUS JUJUBA SEED, scullcap, and passionflower that naturally calm your dog rather than chemically. If you do choose sedation make sure to test the pill or herbs at home before you go on the trip.
- Layovers: A direct flight or extensive layover?
- If you feel confident enough about your sedative, choose a flight that gets you from A to B in one shot. It’ll give your pooch a chance to fall asleep in his crate, because once he’s unloaded and shuffled around and then reloaded, it’ll only agitate his situation.
- However, you can also break up a long flight by scheduling a layover that lasts a few hours. You can always leave the airport, let your dog get a sniff of freedom, and then head back through security (which is a tremendous hassle). Still, many major airports these days have special areas where pets can run and play and blow off some steam before heading back into their crate. Keep these places in mind if you’re traveling through a major metro area.
- Cost: You will incur an additional cost when you fly a pet, so do some research with your chosen airline and make sure your specific breed is allowed aboard. If you’re keeping your little guy as carry-on luggage, remember to reserve a spot early or the airline could force you to put him in the storage area.
- Incontinence: Obviously, your dog’s routine is blown apart the second you leave your home. In order to make sure Spot or Sprinkles doesn’t make a mess in the airport, carry along UGODOG pads when you can’t handle the size of the potty crate. He’ll recognize them from home and prevent you from having to call in backup for a cleanup on aisle 5.
The Perils of the Road
Ground travel beats air travel in most aspects, except for one: time. It takes considerably longer to reach your destination when you go on four wheels than if you take a turbojet, so prepare Fido for life on the road:
- MapQuest: Plan a route that takes you through areas with rest stops that provide space your dog can run around in. Many hours in a small car can give most pooches a case of the GET-ME-OUT-GET-ME-OUTs, so don’t skimp on the toys and rawhide chews, either.
- Food and water: Be mindful of how often your dog is eating and drinking, and pay attention to their signal that they need a break quickly. Since your dog isn’t at home and can’t sit in front of the door or head over and use his UGODOG pee pad like usual, he’s got to find other ways to get your attention. Pack some extra UGODOG pads for the trip just incase he has trouble going anywhere else.
- Hotels: Obviously, many hotels and motels don’t want your dog anywhere near their already sub-par carpets. It’s always worth it to spring for a place where your dog is welcome; it’ll make Peaches feel at home and let you return to a bit of normalcy for a night. Besides, you’ve got the UGODOG pads with you, so taking care of his needs is as easy as ever.
- Reminders from home: Make him or her more comfortable by bringing their bed, bowls and toys so it will have the scents they are used to and make sleeping and eating more comfortable.
Don’t forget to bring a camera regardless of how you plan on traveling. Catching your dog at his most vulnerable can make for some great pictures. It’s also a way to keep your focus and ensure that you’ve always got Noodles’ needs at the front of your mind.
Photo Credit: R Hensley
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