Travelling With Dogs
The summer has begun and with it the family holiday and travel time. Many dog owners are gearing up now for the well-deserved break in the mountains or by the sea, at home or abroad. Hence, you should be aware that four-legged family members usually have special demands. On the following pages, you can find all the information that can be useful when you travel with your four-legged friend.
Should I bring my dog?
Even though pets should enjoy a family vacation, it is reasonable to consider how this will affect the quality of the planned getaway. Not every dog is suitable for travel and not every trip is suitable for a dog. Therefore, you should seriously consider the following when you plan your holiday:
Can I leave my pet alone in the hotel room without it causing too much noise or damage to surrounding objects? At one point, you will have to leave your dog alone in the room, even if it is only for a short period of time. For instance, in most countries, it is forbidden to bring dogs in public spaces, including restaurants. This is crucial for your personal freedom of movement. At the end of the day, it should be joy and not a burden to take your pet on a vacation with you.
Plan your activities in advance. If you want to spend a lot of time on the beach, learn if your dog likes to swim. Moreover, find a quiet area with calm water to see how your dog reacts. Needless to point out that the best activities are long walks in nature. In this way, the dog will be included in family activities. In other words, if you want to spend the holiday with the whole family, you should adapt your activities accordingly. Your pet will be very grateful!
Travel checklist: What should I pack?
Drugs are the most important item that you can bring with you on the road. Hence, be sure to consult your veterinarian before departure. Obtain all medicines in sufficient quantity that your pet needs while you are away, including the necessary preparations fleas and ticks. Ultimately, it is mandatory that you vaccinate your pet before departure.
Certain precautions are extremely important for the welfare and health of your pet. Hence, with a valid vaccination record, you meet the entry requirements. Vaccination record must show: vaccination date, your pet’s date of birth, vaccination date, a date the vaccination is valid until, and the veterinarian’s signature. Before traveling, the dog should undergo a tapeworm treatment. Do not forget to arm yourself with a pack of dog waste bags.
Transport box or bag:
The transport box is definitely a safe way for your pet to travel in. It is very important that you do not leave your dog unsecured in the back seat of the car since it could fall and get injured seriously. If you choose to travel by plane, the transport box or bag is obligatory in any case, regardless of whether your dog travels with you in the cabin or in the baggage compartment. By all means, consult the airline in advance about transportation arrangements for pets.
If your pet has a sensitive stomach, give it the usual food in order to avoid diarrhea or vomiting. Water is essential, especially because it can be rather hard to find on road stops, or it costs too much. For this reason, it is best to carry your water supply in order to always have it on disposal. Canned pumpkin and yogurt can help settle upset tummies.
Pet grooming product supplies:
Brushing, combing, bathing and nail care are very important if you want your pet to be well-groomed and healthy. Hence, grooming tools, including brush, comb, cloth, shampoo and nail clippers, are indispensable accessories when you go on vacation.
ID cards, vaccination cards and other documents:
Identification number (ID), vaccination cards and other documents are mandatory when traveling abroad. For instance, if you travel to another European country, check in advance which vaccinations your pet needs. Also, do not forget the current vaccination records. Keep in mind that every country has its own rules and regulations regarding the necessary documentation.
General Travel Tips for Dog Owners
The summer has begun and with it the family holiday and travel time. Many dog owners are gearing up now for the well-deserved break in the mountains or by the sea, at home or abroad.
- Make sure to feed your dog 2 hours prior to departure, whether you travel by car, plane, ferry or any other means of transport. Also, walk your dog just before departure.
- The dog should be accustomed to traveling in a pet carrier. This will facilitate the travel.
- The dog should have a customized collar (with dog’s name and your phone number put on it)
DRIVING WITH DOGS
In general, a car is the best means of transport for animals. But, in order to make the dog as comfortable as possible while driving, few things are required. Campers or large station wagon with air conditioning are also very pleasant.
Since dogs tend to twist and turn during driving, the luggage must be well secured by a safety gate or net. This will keep your pet safe in case of sudden emergency braking. In many countries, even in Germany, there are security requirements concerning transportation of animals. If you choose to ignore the rules, you will be severely punished.
The dog must never be left alone in a car during summer, even if it is parked in the shade. The same goes for the spring and autumn. Regardless of the season, at least one window should be opened. It is important that the dog gets accustomed to traveling long distances from very young age. You should take a break every two hours so that dogs and humans can take some rest. Besides, fresh water should be always on disposal, especially during hot summer days.
Animals must always under control since animals tend to romp and play. It is mandatory to not to leave your dog unleashed in the car. This will keep both you and your pet safe from any externals.
As mentioned above, it is advisable to have larger water cans in the car, since the water is often chlorinated at rest stops. Long hours in a traffic jam is not a rarity, and without enough water on disposal, the dog can dehydrate fast.
Even though pets should not be fed before and while traveling, except for some treats, it is advisable to take sufficient food for the road. Keep in mind that it is rather difficult to find the usual dog food outside of Central and Northern Europe, and if so, at very high prices.
FLYING WITH DOGS
All animals sometimes face difficulties. If you choose to leave your dog in the cargo hold, keep in mind that it must spend some time alone in a special box, which is an unknown environment. Except being very noisy, cargo spaces rarely have a temperature control. Also, there are numerous cases of animals that have died because of harsh conditions. Do not forget that you have no control over how your dog is treated. Moreover, airport employees are often not sufficiently trained to deal with animals. Since the box may fall during the transport, the dog must be prepared to an accidental kick, vibrations or turbulence. In addition, the flight can cause a painful ear pressure. In any case, such a trip can cause a significant stress for the dog. All things considered, kennels are certainly the better choice when it comes to security. If the flight cannot be avoided, the preparation must be carried out slowly and carefully.
It is highly important that the dog gradually gets used to the transport box since this is an inevitable retreat when traveling abroad. The box should be stable and escape-proof since it often happens that dogs are trying to flee in panic. You could prepare your dog for the crowd by making a few trips to the airport before traveling. You should try with short trips to more peaceful places, then increase the duration of the trips and eventually visit the airport sometimes on the weekends.
Make sure to promptly inform the airline that you want to transport an animal since the cabin quotas in the cargo hold are limited. Inquire about the conditions in cabins, as travel option depends on weight and size of your pet. Also, you should inform in advance about entry regulations and restrictions, depending on the country. For instance, Australia has a multi-week quarantine period for dogs. If a quarantine cannot be avoided, you can visit your pet daily! In order to avoid extremely high temperatures during the summertime, it is recommended to take flights in the morning or in the evening. In addition, if you want to avoid the crowd on the weekends, you can fly during the week. Generally, you should not leash your dog in the box. Label the box with “Live Animal” and red arrows. Your pet can travel with someone else if you have authorized it in writing.
Strong sedative medications are not recommended, since they may trigger additional panic among animal. Furthermore, these drugs frequently affect the temperature regulation of the body, which can be rather dangerous. Take enough time for the trip to the airport and check-in at least 3 hours before departure, since the check-in process for pets may take some time. Hence, you will avoid the unnecessary hassle.
TRAVEL WITH A DOG BY TRAIN
Make sure to plan your schedule in advance. Thus, your pet will have plenty of time to get accustomed to public transportation. It is advisable to visit the train station several times before departure, making sure to avoid the rush hour the first few times. Be sure to give the dog a feeling that such trips are completely normal. Positive reinforcement, such as food treats, will encourage the dog. Indeed, once the dog gets accustomed to traveling, it will be happy and enthusiastic about it.
Do not stress your dog and do not exert any coercion on him. For the first training session, it will be enough just to visit the train station. Afterward, you should build the training over the next few weeks, by introducing short distances. If the dog shows stress symptoms (severe panting, sweaty paws, restlessness, urinating/defecating, tremors, salivation, excessive vocalization), stop the exercise and take your dog out of the situation. In this case, you must proceed slowly in order to accustom the dog to rail travel.
Try to find a place where the animal can have a little rest, for example, under the seat or in a corner. Better yet, book a closed compartment for more freedom and peace. Bring your pet’s a favorite subject with a known odor, such as his blanket. Food treats will keep the dog busy and relieve it from stress. But, small portions are recommended in order not to overfeed the dog. Water is essential.
If you plan a long distance, schedule an extended connecting time.
Dogs on the ferry, buses and the subway
- Long-distance buses offer no transportation for animals. However, assistance dogs (guide dogs, seeing eye dogs, hearing dogs, or assistance dogs in training) are allowed on all public transport services, provided that you carry an Assistance Animal Permit. In addition, other pets are not permitted on stations or trains.
- A special ticket for recognized assistance dogs is not necessary
- The dog must be leashed at all times or be transported in a suitable transport box
- The dog must be under constant control of the handler
Travel list – The most important things
- All necessary documents (pet passport, a microchip for identification, official veterinary health certificate and possible surgical insurance or health card). In general, airlines require pet health certificates that are no older than 10 days.
- Dog belt for road trips
- Plenty of dogs food and water
- Medicaments for travel sickness (and other essential drugs)
- Grooming product supplies and towels (to dry the dog after walks in the woods or on the beach)