Traveling With Your Dog? By Dr. John Boyd


Here are some helpful tips to consider when planning your next get away with your dog!

I. Car Travel With Your Dog

a) Before long trips, take your dog on multiple SHORT trips -- provide positive reinforcement along the way... with words, touch, treats, etc -- if your dog gets sick or has excessive salivation while in the car... get an Rx from you veterinarian that will prevent/minimize motion sickness

b) Plan ahead and ensure your dog is properly secured within the car... to AVOID being a projectile and loss of life (just as with humans) -- dog seat belts -- within carry kennels that can be seat belted in place

c) DO NOT tether a dog within the open bed space of a truck. The tragic outcomes are universally horrific.

d) DO NOT tether your dog to your car or truck while you are loading the vehicle. It's horrifying to imagine what it must be like to have someone on the freeway wildly honking and waving at you as you suddenly remember that your family member is still tethered outside your vehicle. I still have very uncomfortable memories of two cases I saw early in my career... I wish I never saw it. Tragic.

e) I suggest removing access to water and not feeding your pets immediately before travel (within the hour)... if nausea is going to be a problem, it is usually evident right away. -- however, bring water and food for along the way so that if your dogs are not exhibiting any motion sickness you can keep them fed and hydrated along the way

f) Pull over and provide the dogs with a potty break opportunity every few hours -- bring a leash -- be sure that your pets have identification tags secured to their collars before you leave the house. If they should get loose from you when you pull over for a pit-stop, you better have identification on them with a current cell phone number, again, too many tragic outcomes to think about.

g) If you are driving over the boarder to Mexico or Canada, you will need to have obtained a "Health Certificate" from you veterinarian BEFORE your travel. Health Certificates are not required for driving between states.

h) For those who do not routinely travel with their dogs, provide yourself with a "constant reminder" that your dog is with you in the car. BAD THINGS HAPPEN when its summertime you forget your dog is in the back seat area when you pull over for lunch.
-- a huge, unusual, or goofy looking lanyard attached to your keyring can be a great "reminder". You want to do anything you can do to REMAIN MINDFUL and aware that today is different and that these loved ones are depending on you.

II. Air Travel With Your Dog

a) Obtain a "Health Certificate" from your family veterinarian -- these are typically required by all airlines; however, they may not tell you so unless you ask the right questions

b) Confirm with the Airlines whether or not your dog can travel with you in the passenger area -- usually there will be size and/or breed restrictions, along with specific carry kennel dimensions

c) BE AWARE: if your dog is not going to be within the cabin with you, you better check the weather. Many airlines will not allow dogs to travel if the temperatures are too high at your destination, or if it's too hot at any of your connecting cities along the way. Check the weather before you go!

d) Use a sturdy carry kennel -- put many towels and or an absorbent blanket within the kennel -- for dogs who will be transported "underneath in the live animal cargo space," suggest placing a block of ice within an open/deep container that is secured within the carrier. This will make it more likely that your pet will have access to water throughout (or at least for some period of time during the trip)

e) If your pet has ever experienced motion sickness (for example in the car), obtain a motion sickness preventative Rx from your veterinarian that is specifically for dogs and that has been properly dosed.

f) Provide your dog with a potty break immediately before checking in at the airline counter

g) Provide your dog with a potty break immediately upon landing