Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
It’s travel season and of course, our best friends are coming along for all of our upcoming holiday plans. The good news is, traveling with our dogs has never been easier.
No matter how you’re traveling, getting your dog used to their carrier (think feeding them in there, playing with toys in and around it, leaving it out casually) will help keep them calm on the trip.
For The Road
If you’re driving, try to bring your dog with you for short trips (or whenever you move it for street cleaning) to get them used to car travel. This will also help illuminate any possible problems, like motion sickness.
Be sure to make frequent stops, never leave your dog alone in the car, and get their input on your road trip playlist.
Riding The Rails
Amtrak has a 25lb limit, and a $25 fee for any dog brought on board. Dogs must stay in closed carriers, and it is up to the discretion of the conductor to allow dogs on board.
The LIRR allows for small dogs in carriers, but they may not take up an extra seat. New Jersey Transit and PATH trains are cool with your dog as long as it’s in a crate or container.
Way Up In The Sky
Over 700 dogs a day are flying throughout the US, so airports are stepping their game up when it comes to the amenities available.
The rules vary by airline. Some charge extra for a pet ticket, others have limits on how many animals can be on any given flight. Always call your airline directly and ask for their requirements when you book the flight, and then again within 24 hours of your flight to re-confirm.
Carrier regulations depend on the airline as well as the size of the plane, so be sure to get your exact specs when you call.
You should always bring a bill of health from within 30 days of your flight, on your Vet’s official letterhead, proof of rabies vaccine, and any identifying documents if your dog is a designated service or emotional support/response animal. Keep these handy, you may be asked for them at check-in, TSA, or before you board at the gate.
If you’re relying on taxis (or Lyft) to get to your final destination, check out their pet policies, or find a pet-friendly taxi service in town ahead of time. If you’re renting a car, they may require a pet-deposit or extra cleaning fees.
Bags Are Packed, Ready To Go
As far as what you’re carrying, our travel bags of choice include:
Some airlines like JetBlue and Southwest even have their own official travel bags. Leave the bag out leading up to your trip, feed your dog in it, throw their favorite toy inside, basically make it a happy space.
It’s always a good idea to pack your own travel bowl, an emergency pee-pad, and their favorite toy to keep them entertained too (just as long as it doesn’t squeak!). When you land, you’ll want their food, treats, and weather-appropriate attire. If you need some new winter gear, we’ve got you covered with our favorites.
Some of the best products for keeping your dog calm while traveling include
Be sure to not overload your dog on calming treats and follow any recommended dosing if you are using a prescribed sedative. When combined with the cabin pressure, over-sedating can cause blood pressure to drop lower than it should be.
It’s always a good idea to try these treats out beforehand so you can get a gauge on how reactive your dog is to their effects.
Tips From Travel Experts
Tiring them out if the best way to ensure they’ll catch up on their beauty sleep during the trip. Take your dog for an extra-long walk before getting in the car or heading to the airport. If they tend to doze off during the day, get them to save that nap for later!
As far as food goes, give your dog plenty of time to digest before getting in their carrier. I usually aim for their last meal to be about four hours before takeoff. Flying gets dehydrating, so giving them water throughout the day is necessary, you can even add a little extra water directly to their food to make sure they’re hydrated.
Most airports now have relief areas (some even have outdoor spaces where your dog can stretch their legs!). This handy site lets you know exactly what you can expect to see at your airports. They even break it down by terminal.
Your dog will react to your mood too, so the calmer you can keep yourself, the more relaxed they’ll be during travel.
Safe travels! We would love to know how it goes, or if you have any tips or tricks to share.