The Best Dog Travel Tips


Bringing your dog on vacation with you just adds to the fun and alleviates the worry of not knowing what’s happening with your dog while you’re on the road. You need to do your homework on dog travel though. Planes and cars aren’t designed with dogs in mind, and you need to know what to expect when you reach your final destination. By planning your dog travel ahead of time, you can make the vacation a truly relaxing time for you and your dog. Here are my best dog travel tips to help make that happen:

Use crash-tested crates

Crates are the best option to ensure your dog’s safety when traveling, especially in your car. Make sure to select the right size crate for your dog. It’s also critical to choose safety-certified, crash-tested crates. The 4Pets ProLine box is Cesar Millan’s choice.

Aluminum and plastic reinforced with fiberglass is preferable because these are more durable materials. Design is also important. Make sure your selected model allows for good air circulation so your furry friend can breathe easily. Watch for good insulation to make sure your dog is comfortable all four seasons. Look for crates produced with strict quality guidelines. Reputable brands will offer you at least a two year warranty.

To make your dog transportation even safer, opt for crash bags inside the crate to provide your dog with extra protection in case of emergency breaking. Finally, for a hassle-free experience, you might want to get a ramp or steps designed to help your pooch climb in and out of the car effortlessly.

Turn off power windows

If you have a car with power windows, it’s quite easy for your dog to accidentally open them with a simple press of their paw. You might think that this is relatively harmless, especially if your pet likes to stick his or her head out in the breeze, but overexcited dogs have been known to jump out of moving vehicles, and simply taking a wrong step could lead to the window being closed on their neck and choking them.

Driving with your dog

It’s usually a good idea to crate your dog when riding in the car. You’ll be less distracted while driving which is safer for both of you. It also prevents your dog from becoming a projectile if you have to stop fast, also reducing the chance of injury for both of you. Speaking of projectiles, don’t feed your dog a lot before the trip as they are prone to motion sickness. Don’t feed your dog while you’re moving either. Wait until there’s a break and you can give her a small snack, preferably high in protein. It’s also good to spend a little time playing or walking during the break to get rid of some pent-up energy. And of course, don’t leave your dog in a parked car, especially when it’s warm out. Even with the window cracked open, the car can quickly turn into an oven, and your dog will get dehydrated. See article Dog Is My Co-Pilot (And Other Bad Ideas).

Bring water 

Dogs need regular access to water. This is vital on a longer road trip, but even if you’re just headed out to the store, it’s smart to bring along. You never know what might happen. The best way to ensure that you always have water on hand is to store a bottle in the car as part of your emergency kit. A bowl is also nice, but in a pinch, letting your dog drink out of your cupped hand is just fine.

You should also know that, regardless of laws in your area, it’s never safe to drive with a dog in your lap, to let them ride in the open area of a vehicle (such as the back of a pickup), or to leave them alone in your car — especially in warmer weather.

Keeping your dog calm during travel

Make sure you bring your dog’s blankie or his favorite stuffed animal, toy, bone—any item which is familiar to your dog and will comfort and relax him. For a little extra calm, try rubbing a little lavender oil between your hands and give your pet a little aromatherapy or deep tissue massage at the beginning of your dog’s spine or base of her head.

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