For many people, their dog is their best friend. And no matter the circumstance, they refuse to leave home without their furry companions. So, a vacation without their beloved pooch is not a vacation at all. If you are one of those people, you may wonder about dog travel.
Before you purchase your dog ticket, there are certain things you need to know. First of all, you need to ask yourself "Is my dog the kind of dog that can travel well and safely?" Consider these questions as an initial test when you are considering dog travel:
Is your dog healthy?
Is your dog at ease in a crate for a long period of time?
Is your dog comfortable meeting new people and being in unfamiliar areas?
Have you arranged pet-friendly accommodations?
If you are visiting a warm destination, will your dog be comfortable in that kind of temperature?
If you have answered "no," or are uncertain about any of these questions, your dog may not be a good candidate for dog travel. It is a bummer, but pet traveling is not for every dog. After all, you want your vacation to be a positive experience for both you and your dog.
Okay, so let us say that your dog has passed the initial test for dog travel, and you are ready to purchase your dog ticket on an airline that allows pet traveling. There are still many things you need to consider. First off, try your best to choose a direct flight. Also, ask the airline if they require a specific type of carrier on board the plane. Some airlines only accept soft-sided carriers. Be sure to abide by their carrier policies. As we all know, airlines are very adamant about their rules.
Another important question to ask your airline representative is if your destination calls for certain dog immunization requirements. If you are traveling to Hawaii or out of the country, certain inoculations are necessary. Some places even require your dog to spend some time in quarantine.
If you own a small dog, such as a Maltese, Toy Poodle, or Chihuahua, many airlines will allow you to bring your tiny dog on board with you. Needless to say, this is the most favorable option. Call the airlines ahead of time to find out which ones offer this opportunity. The airline will usually charge an additional fee, but the fee is definitely worth it.
Now, if your dog is a bigger breed, then she may have to fly in the cargo area. This may sound a bit discouraging, but sometimes it is your only option. So, make sure that the cargo hold is safe for dog travel. Be certain that the cargo hold is temperature controlled and has plenty of circulated oxygen.
However, no matter where your pet is located on the plane, be sure to follow these steps before flying:
Make certain that your pet's collar cannot get caught in the carrier door. Have the correct identification on the collar's tag that includes your dog's name, your full name, permanent address and telephone number, final vacation destination, and a reliable contact person. Attach a label to the carrier that includes all of this information, as well.
Only administer tranquilizers with veterinarian consent.
Feed and offer water to your pet four hours before the flight. Place ice cubes in the water bowl of the carrier before takeoff. Water will spill during the flight.
Carry a current photograph of your dog. If she is lost, this will make your pet easier to locate.
Remember, if you have an English Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekinese, or any other pug-nosed dog, you cannot ship them in cargo holds. These breeds have short nasal passages that make it difficult to breath in oxygen-restricted areas.
When you and your dog finally arrive at your destination, open the carrier the minute you are in a safe place. Examine your dog closely. Does she look alert and happy to see you? If you notice any issues, take her to a vet right away. Ask the vet for the results of your visit in writing. Then, let the airline know of these problems.
When you ask the right questions and consider all your options, you can make dog travel less stressful; and more enjoyable for you and your best friend.