Was figuring out ways to travel more often one of your New Year’s resolutions? There’s no better time than the summertime to make some major headway with your adventuring goals. And who better to hit the road with than woman’s best friend? Traveling with your pup can be a totally fun — but sometimes intimidating — endeavor, even if you’ve got all the best pet apps downloaded. Whether you’re gearing up for a west coast road trip or settling in for a long plane ride, our five tips from two top vets will be sure to set both pet parent and pup at ease.
1. Gear up: Before you fly with your dog, Dr. Nancy Kay, author of Speaking for Spot, suggests first contacting your airline to get the different crate size requirements for dogs flying in the cabin or baggage compartment. If your pooch is flying in the cabin, a soft, cloth carrier will do. If they’ll be in baggage, be sure you have a rigid crate that locks securely.
Dr. Pete Wedderburn recommends you choose a bed that is “ultra comfy,” like a memory foam mattress — this Dream Lounger Memory Foam Dog Bed ($149-325) could do the trick. Additionally, he reminds us that dogs can overheat and dehydrate easily, so he suggests a non-spill water bowl (like this Lexit Waterboy Travel Water Bowl for $15) to provide pooch with continual access to water.
2. Practice makes perfect: Both Dr. Kay and Dr. Wedderburn stress the importance of conditioning your dog to your upcoming travel plans prior to getting out of town. For an upcoming plane ride, Dr. Kay says to put your pup in the back seat of your car for short car rides in the carrier they’ll be traveling in, to simulate a plane experience.
If you’ve got lots of miles to log on the open road, Dr. Wedderburn advises leaving the travel carrier open in the living space of your home, placing treats inside it and encouraging your dog to nap inside. “Make sure they associate their travel set-up with being relaxed,” he says. Similarly, Dr. Kay suggests acclimating your pup to the car in stages, starting by sitting in a parked car with the engine off and ending with longer local trips to a dog park, with lots of positive reinforcement along the way.
3. Take a break: “Schedule a stop every two hours or so, going for a ‘toilet walk’ and spending time with your dog, giving them attention,” Dr. Wedderburn says. “Just as humans don’t enjoy sitting in a car for hours on end, neither do dogs!”
4. Fill ’em up: Well, not all the way. Dr. Wedderburn suggests a small meal two to three hours before you start your travel. This will ensure they will be full enough to be satisfied, but they won’t be so full as to get travel sickness. To fight off hunger and boredom, Dr. Wedderburn advises giving your pup a frozen peanut butter-stuffed Kong toy mid-way through your journey.
5. Test the meds: If you intend to use medical sedation for your dog on either a plane or car ride, Dr. Kay urges you to give them a trial dose before you set off. She warns that some dogs can actually “become hyperactive in response to medication that is supposed to cause relaxation or sedation,” or become “overly sedated and clumsy,” both dangerous scenarios you’ll obviously want to avoid.
Do you have any plans to travel with your pup this season? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know where you’re headed!
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