Dog Travel Part II: Planes Trains and Automobiles

By Nicole Ellis, CPDT-KA

Click it terrain car harness

(1.5 min read)

In this article, we’ll talk about the ins and outs of different modes of travel. 

Planes - Every airline is different. The rules are continually changing. The fees vary wildly. Even so, it's not too hard to fly with your dog. Some things to note: 

—Call ahead and book your dog on your flight as early as possible, because each airline has a maximum number of pets they will allow on a plane. Typically, smaller pets can ride in carriers on board, while larger dogs must travel in crates in the cargo hold. Make sure you know where your dog will ride.

—Check your carrier/crate dimensions on the airline's website. Sizes and regulations vary from airline to airline. Make sure your carrier/crate has your contact information for both your home and your destination.  Plan for the worst-case scenario; you can never have too much information attached to the crate.

—Practice getting your dog used to the carrier/crate at home before venturing to the airport. We highly recommend checking out our Crate Training Activity in the Pupster Academy.

—Avoid giving your dog calming medication, especially if they’re flying in cargo. These drugs can interfere with your pup’s critical ability to regulate their body temperature. Withhold water and food for several hours before traveling so your dog can fly with an empty bladder. Before you leave for the airport, take a nice long walk together. This gives your dog an opportunity to go potty and calms everyone’s nerves.

Automobiles - Before you set off on your trip, take your dog for a long walk. When driving, take frequent breaks - every 3-4 hours is ideal. Let everyone stretch their legs, take a potty break, drink some water, and burn off some energy. If your schedule allows, spend some time running and/or playing so your dog will be more inclined to sleep in the car.

Buckle up! We protect ourselves, so protect your pup in a crash-tested crate or harness, too. It’s a great idea to keep an extra towel handy, in case of spills, muddy paws, sandy fur, etc. The possibilities for fun (and dirt) are endless when on a road trip together!