Traveling By Car
Start out small and prep for the long trip.
Take your dog on a series of smaller trips gradually lengthening the time spent in the car. If you’re going across state lines bring your dog’s medical records and don’t forget the rabies certificate. Some states require proof at certain interstate crossings.
Keep your dog in a well-ventilated carrier.
The crate should be large enough for your dog to comfortably sit, lay down, stand and turn around. Line the crate with an absorbent bedding in case of accidents. Secure the carrier so it doesn’t slide in case of an abrupt stop. For safety reasons don’t allow your dog to ride with his head outside the window and always keep him in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.
Pack a pet-friendly travel kit.
Bring food and bottled water, a bowl, waste bags, grooming and first-aid supplies, a favorite toy or pillow, any meds your dog is taking and travel documents. Don’t feed your dog while you’re driving and try to limit water intake. Feed your dog a light meal 3-4 hours before departure. Avoid tap water when traveling as that could result in tummy troubles.
Never leave your dog alone in a parked car.
Even with the windows open, on a hot day a parked car can lead to heatstroke. On a cold day a car can hold in the cold causing a dog to freeze to death.
Traveling By Plane
Book direct flights when possible.
A direct flight reduces the chance of your dog being left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during layovers.
Have your dog checked by his veterinarian before traveling.
Make sure all vaccinations are up to date and get a health certificate dated 10 days prior to departure. Ask the veterinarian for suggestions on how to relax your dog to handle anxiety during your trip. Tranquilizing is generally not recommended, as it might affect your dog’s breathing. If you’re traveling outside the USA check with the foreign office of the country you’re traveling about any additional health requirements that may be necessary.
Buy an airline-approved travel crate.
The crate should be large enough for your dog to comfortably sit, lay down, stand and turn around. Line the crate with an absorbent bedding in case of accidents. Before the trip tape a small bag of dry food to the outside of the crate so airline personnel can feed your dog during layovers. The night before you leave freeze a small tray of water and put it in the crate before you leave. The water should melt by the time your pet is thirsty. Make sure the crate is securely closed but don’t lock it in case airline personnel have to open it in case of an emergency. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal” as well as your name, phone number, destination phone number and include a picture of your dog.
Make sure your dog is wearing an ID collar with current information.
Include your dog’s name and phone number on the ID tag as well as any medical conditions your dog may have. If possible also include the phone number of your dog’s veterinarian.