All about traveling with a dog or other pet.

Pet health care questions and answers about puppies and dogs


Active people simply cannot resist traveling with their dog, probably since they cannot bear the thought of leaving their dog behind! But even with a good traveler, there are a few things to do well ahead of departure.
When traveling do not lose your dog here!

Pet health care questions and answers about cats and kittens

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If your pet is sick, call your local veterinarian immediately!

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Travel with a dog has unique hazards that if proper prior planning is done
 you can nearly eliminate the chance of injury, sickness or separation.

    Your worst nightmare whenever traveling with your dogs is losing them.  That’s why a functioning microchip is so valuable.  Your dog or cat has a greater chance of being returned to you than a pet without this modern identifier.  Ask your veterinarian about utilizing this state-of-the-art identification implant; it is inexpensive, stays with the dog for life, and can be an instantaneous rescue device if you and your dog ever become separated.

    Additionally, you should affix to the dog’s collar some sort of current contact information relative to the trip.  If the ID tag provides only a Rabies vaccination number, or even your home information, anyone calling your residence may reach a dead end… after all, you aren’t going to be there!       Make sure you provide a cell phone number or email contact information for your destination address in addition to your home info.  This way, anyone finding your dog will make a call where you can be contacted immediately.  The best method to insure against losing your dog is the simplest and oldest method ever devised… the leash.

Rest Stops:
     My suggestion is to not stop at designated rest stops.  Imagine how many dogs have visited those rest stops and baptized the terrain as their personal territory.  Why not pull off on some quiet road away from other people, dogs and traffic and allow a little exercise and “relief”?  There’s less chance of unwanted canine encounters and less opportunity for disease transmission.

First Aid Kit:
Just in case a minor medical problem arises, you and your dog will benefit from having a first aid kit handy.  These are easy to put together and you will surely derive some peace of mind even if you never have to use it.      
     A few common and useful items can include a thermometer, elastic and adhesive tape, an Ace bandage, scissors, tick removal forceps, antiseptic, sterile eyewash, cotton, cortisone cream and an antibacterial cream such as Bacitracin.  Hydrogen peroxide makes an excellent skin wash and helps reduce bacteria in any abrasion or minor cut. Hot spots, skin abrasions, ticks and thorns, itchy paws from grasses, dust and debris all are common causes of minor irritation for your dog. 
     Be mindful, though, that if your dog squints or paws at his eye, you do need to have a veterinarian check that out right away.  A mildly irritated eye may clear with simple eyewash; but a painful eye demands veterinary attention.

Call an animal hospital at your destination for an update of any current health issues facing dogs in that area.  Be mindful that dogs walked on super heated pavement can develop blisters or pad separation.  In your hometown this issue may not even be a consideration… but it sure can be at your destination. 
     Some areas of the country are “hot spots” for unfriendly health threats such as fleas, ticks, Lyme Disease, Heartworm, poisonous snakes, thorny plants, car traffic, and even predatory animals.  Animal hospital staff are always helpful in updating the traveler on local canine health topics.

    If your dog has a stress-inducing aversion to confinement and travel, veterinary prescribed medications can save the day.  You must take a few trial trips well ahead of your planned excursion, though, to see how your dog reacts to being medicated while traveling. 

     Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-motion sickness medication, usually an antihistamine such as Dramamine, if your dog simply gets “car sick” while on the road. 

 PurinaCare Pet Insurance

Travel by bicycle with the dogs

Travel safely and have fun!

A poor lost dog

Will anyone come looking
 for this lost dog?

Dog looking out airplane window

Traveling with a dog sure adds to the enjoyment of the excursion!

Small dog in crate at airport

All contact info and identifications
 should be on the crate and the dog.

Dog and trucks at rest stop

Always keep your dog on a leash.

Dog in auto on hot day... heatstroke

Heat stroke can have devastating effects in as little as ten minutes.

Be certain your dog's
vaccination status is current.

Travel Tips From The AKC

Air Travel Regulations Information

Pet Friendly Hotels

Vaccinations For Pets

Separation Anxiety

     On the other hand, if anxiety or hyperexcitability are present, sedation will make the trip safer and more pleasant for the dog and for you!  Your attention needs to be tuned in to the driving, not to trying to control a barking, slobbering, excited and hyperactive distraction.  Tranquilizer or sedative doses need to be fine-tuned to each individual dog.   

     Some dogs need twice the usual dose to overcome travel-mania and you don’t want to discover that during your trip!  The most common mistake is to medicate the dog too near the time of departure and before the medication has reached its peak effect.  Driving is inherently hazardous; so do not tolerate distraction by an anxious, unhappy dog.  Medication for the dog may make the trip 100% more enjoyable for both of you.

     Most healthy dogs do not require food and water during trips of less than six hours.  Older dogs or those with diabetes, heart, kidney, respiratory compromise or other disorders may need special surroundings while traveling; if you have any doubt about your dog’s health status be certain to have a good physical exam and blood and urine tests evaluated well ahead of your planned excursion. 
     Remind yourself about the dangers of taking a casual attitude toward heat stroke, too.  Ten minutes in an unventilated car or crate in a hot and humid environment is a recipe for disaster.  The potential for life threatening overheating, especially with the small, full-coated breeds such as the Pekingese and Schipperkes and the brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs and Boston terriers should not be underestimated.  Older dogs are much less tolerant to heat and stress and any dog with heart or obesity problems are at considerable risk when overheating occurs.

Air Travel:
Proper prior planning is the key ingredient!  Woe to the dog owner-traveler who has not done the homework necessary prior to check-in at the terminal.  Most breeders are keenly aware of the diverse regulations each airline imposes on pet air travel.  These regulations frequently change, too, so today's regs may be entirely different from the last time you used air travel with a pet. If you aren’t comfortable contacting your airline about the regulation, hire a travel agent. 
     Special handling services may allow you to drop off and pickup your dog at the passenger area rather than the cargo area. It may be best to ship in the early morning so the dog travels during the cooler part of the day. Each airline has protocols for shipping dogs so do the homework well before your trip. 
     The size of the dog and even the construction and dimensions of the travel crate are priority considerations.  Current Rabies vaccination status, a current health certificate from a veterinarian, and other issues need to be analyzed and addressed well prior to any trip across state lines. And travel to other countries entails strict, detailed, time sensitive and strictly enforced regulations. 

     Most airlines have a policy not to ship a dog if the outside  temperature will reach 85˚ that day in either the city of origin or destination. In some situations a letter from a veterinarian stating that the dog is acclimatized to cold or hot weather will allow you to have the dog shipped. 
     When overseas travel is considered it is even more important to check all regulations and protocols well in advance of your trip. The AKC’s website has useful information on nine airlines regarding shipping a dog but be sure to directly contact your airline for current requirements.

     Active people and their dogs know how to have fun.  But do your travel research far ahead of any travel plans and you and your dog will have a far better experience than if you just “wing it”.


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