Tips on How to Include Buster in All Your Vacation Plans
For many of us, dogs are more than pets; they are part of the family. And, who leaves a family member behind when planning a vacation? More than 60% of pet owners travel with their dogs at least once each year, so it isn’t impossible. But, traveling comfortably takes planning.
With the price of kennels going up every year, more and more pet owners are opting to take their dog along when heading out of town. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or even your car, arrangements can be made to ensure your pet arrives safely and is relaxed during the journey. Each mode of travel comes with its own restrictions, so do your research before committing to tickets.
Dogs on Airplanes
If your dog is less than twenty-five pounds, you can take your pet on board a plane with little difficulty. All that is usually required is advanced notification and an approved carrier. Carriers differ in size, quality, and comfort, so look around for the best dog travel bag in your price range well in advance of your trip.
Major airlines charge around $25 to book passage for your dog. Canines need to remain in their carrier for the duration of the flight and are usually stowed under your seat or the seat in front of you depending on the plane’s seating configuration. Most airlines do not allow dogs younger than eight weeks old to travel aboard planes and many limit the number of pets on each flight, so book in advance.
Dogs over twenty-five pounds will need to be secured in the cargo hold. You will need to provide a crate for this purpose. It is best to try for direct flights but if you need to make a connection it is highly advised to ensure the entire trip is on the same airline. Losing your luggage is one thing but losing your furry friend can ruin even the best-planned vacation.
Trains and Pets
Amtrak requires pets and carriers to not exceed twenty pounds. Your dog must remain in its bag at all times while on the train or at a station. The fee for pets is $25 and is only available for coach passengers. Only five pets are allowed per train, so, again, booking in advance is critical.
Be forewarned, if your pet becomes disruptive or poses a hazard to other passengers you and Fido may be asked to leave the train at the next station. To make sure this doesn’t happen, only bring your dog if it is well socialized and not anxious in new situations.
Car Trips with Dogs
In most ways, traveling with your pet by car is the least restrictive way to travel. Of course, the trip can take longer and require more stops when nature calls or simply to stretch legs and work off energy. But still, traveling with a dog by car is a fun and easy way to include your best friend in a family vacation.
Even in your personal vehicle, dogs travel best when secured in a carrier or crate. As you no doubt know, dogs can be unpredictable and the last thing you need is a furry blindfold or a pet under the brake pedal at a busy intersection. It is far safer to keep your dog in a comfortable and secure location in the car while moving. Plus, your pet will enjoy the trip without being overwhelmed by too much stimulation.
Crates and Bags Require Familiarization
Dogs are naturally drawn to dens, so traveling in a bag or crate can be a fun experience for them. For best results, crate train your pet well in advance of your trip. Crate training is a benefit around the home when not traveling as well.
Crate training can begin as early as ten weeks. Initially, dogs will be locked inside their crates for short periods of time, but the goal is to leave the door open at all times so Fido can come and go freely. Remember to never use the crate as punishment and to make sure not to leave them inside for too long. If done correctly, crate training produces a well-adjusted pet which can be taken anywhere in the world with little anxiety.
Training Your Traveling Dog
Dogs who are trained are much better companions on the road than those who are not. Simple commands like sit and stay can be invaluable on crowded sidewalks or busy terminals. Well trained dogs are less hyper and more willing to accept new environments, big advantages when traveling.
Don’t forget to load up on accessories to make your pet’s journey more pleasant. Bring multiple leashes if possible in case one fails. Collapsible water bowls are readily available at most pet stores and can be a lifesaver on a hot day. If your pet has a favorite toy, bring it along. Everyone needs a familiar item if the going gets rough.
Before packing up your dog for a long flight or car ride, make sure to get plenty of exercise. This works even better if started several days in advance of your flight. Hydration is also important for a dog about to embark on a long journey. Begin monitoring water consumption a few days before leaving, especially if your pet is going to spend long periods of time away from you in a crate. If your pet suffers from high levels of separation anxiety, visit your vet and ask for medications to calm your dog if needed.
Dogs make great travel companions and in most cases, there is no reason to leave them at home when traveling. For best results, train your dog to be comfortable in a crate or bag, and make sure to understand the requirements for your particular mode of travel well in advance of your trip. A little planning goes a long way, and, with the right information, you will be able to take your pet anywhere you choose to travel.