How to travel with a pet dog

Travelling with your dog doesn’t need to be stressful – it just takes a bit of planning ahead. Before taking your trip, here are some important things to consider:

  • If you are travelling to another country, check the quarantine laws, transportation restrictions and do the necessary research about animal policies.
  • Look into microchipping your dog. The microchip is inserted under the skin in a painless procedure. It contains all your pooch’s identification information.
  • Ensure that your chosen accommodation is pet friendly.
  • Take your pet to the vet for a check-up and get a health certificate verifying that your dog is fit to travel.
  • Ensure that all necessary vaccinations for your dog are up-to-date.
  • Make sure that your dog has all the necessary travel gear for the trip.

What to pack for your dog

Here are some suggestions for things to pack in your doggy travel bag:

  • Harness, collar, leash, blankets, toys and poop bags. Remember to pack spares of everything!
  • Water for the trip and a bowl to pour it into. This is very important to ensure your dogs stay well-hydrated while you travel.
  • Your dog’s medical records, IDs, extra contact information and any other important documents. Place all these documents in a ziplock bag with a proper label.
  • Dryer sheet. Should there be a thunderstorm, place the dryer sheet over your dog’s fur. This will help calm them by containing the build-up of static electricity in their fur.
  • Chicken broth. If your dog gets sick, contact your vet and add some chicken broth to their water. Chicken broth is full of nutrients – just make sure it is low in sodium.
  • Baking soda. It is the cheapest and easiest way to remove pee stains. Baking soda paste is also great for helping to bring down swelling after a bee sting.
  • Liquid soap, tweezers and cotton balls. These are essential for removing ticks. Pull the tick off gently using the tweezers. Then clean the affected area with soap.

Your dog can travel with you by car, aeroplane, ship or train. Pets seem to find car travel the least stressful. Most dogs enjoy car travel but long rides can sometimes be a challenge, especially when it comes to motion sickness.

Here are some important points to remember when travelling by car:

  • No open windows – Don’t open the car windows wide unless your dog is restrained. 
  • Stop and rest at least every three hours – Check if your dogs need water or perhaps a small snack and allow them to walk and relieve themselves.
  • Exercise your dogs and feed them early, before departing Exercising your dogs will allow them to burn off some energy before travelling, allowing them to rest during the journey.
  • Never leave your dogs in the car alone, even with the windows somewhat open – Cars can get extremely hot and pets can suffer from heatstroke within a mere 15 minutes.
  • Get your dog used to car travel by taking him on short drives, before taking longer trips – Placing your dog in a travel carrier or car kennel is the safest way to travel with a dog by car. Ensure that there are no harmful items like loose collars and leases inside the crate. 

Keep them calm

Some dogs find travel very stressful. You can bring along their favourite toy, or another cherished item that attaches them to home, to give them comfort and soothe frazzled nerves.

Keep routines in place

While away from home, continue to take your dogs on their walks, spend time playing and allow them access to fresh water and food. Wherever possible, make sure their food is the same or similar to the food they are used to at home.

Entering your accommodation

Enter the room or living unit first and show your dogs the area where they are allowed to stay. Don’t allow them to roam the space, to prevent them from assuming control. Try to stay calm and keep your dogs calm as well. Do not encourage barking behaviour with attention or affection. Before your dogs settle in, try to make sure that your scent is everywhere in the space.

Exploring the new

Your dog can get easily excited by new sounds, sights and scents. Be vigilant when exploring new places with your dog. They may get over-excited and swallow something harmful. Over the festive season, decorations and lights could be safety hazards. Keep a close eye on your furkid to ensure he or she stays out of harm’s way. 


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Written by Riana Wiechers

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