Traveling without Sparky isn’t easy. But traveling with Sparky isn’t, either. We understand that sometimes you’ll miss him too much, and the option of doggy day care can get ruled out…in which case, you’ll need a solid travel plan.
Your dog should always carry identification.
Get him a good ol’ fashioned collar and ID tag—with your contact and destination information. Consider a microchip, as well—to be extra safe. Bring along his shot records and a current photo, too.
Give him food and water…and a nice long walk.
Let him burn that energy. The more tired he is, the more relaxed he’ll be on the road or in the air.
Pack a “doggy bag” with his necessities
And his favorite toy or pillow. This will make him feel at home.
Get a good crate
It should be:
Dogs should be able to sit, lie, stand, and turn around comfortably.
Make sure there’s air available from all sides, and airflow can’t be blocked.
With handles and grips.
Line crate with towels (even shredded paper will do) to create an accident-absorbing bed. Absorbent liners = airline requirement. A must for in-cabin crates (more on airlines, below).
• Clearly Marked
Put “Live Animal” and draw Up arrows, big and bold, on top and on sides. Write name, address, telephone number of your dog’s final destination, and whether he’s traveling with you or if someone else will be picking him up. Stick a current photo of him on top.
Help your dog get comfy with the crate. Place a toy in it and each time he ventures in, give him some love and praise…and a reward. This way, being in his carrier is a positive experience.
If you’re traveling by car, some of the soft-sided crates have wheel safety straps that can accommodate seatbelts. If your dog is capable of being crate-free, secure him in the back with a seatbelt attachment for his collar.
Three hours before you hit the road, feed your dog a light meal. Don’t feed him in the car, even if it’s a long ride. If he’s prone to carsickness, it’s best to travel on an empty stomach. But keep him hydrated, always.
And prepare him for the road in puppy steps…first, let him sit in the crate, but don’t leave the driveway. Next, take him on mini trips; start off with short drives, then progress to longer ones. Have your dog sit on the floor and feel the vibration—similar to what he’ll experience on the plane.
Take him to the dog doc; make sure he’s healthy and vaccinations are up-to-date. If your dog is a Pug, Pekingese, Bulldog (basically, short-nosed) he should never fly because of breathing difficulties. If he’s diagnosed “flight ready,” make sure you get a health certificate from his doc, dated within 10 days of departure, to bring with you on your trip.
Early Dog Gets the Spot
Airlines limit pets in the cabin, so call and book early. Fees depend on whether or not he’ll fly in-cabin with you, or as checked baggage or cargo: Small dogs fly in-cabin. Big dogs fly as cargo—if the airline allows it.
Direct Flights Are Best
As long as you don’t change planes, one stop is okay—though not ideal. The less time your dog has to be in his crate, the happier he’ll be. More important than comfort, a straight flight provides safety.
Keep Them Hydrated
The night before your flight, freeze a small tray of water for your dog. Attach to inside of crate. This prevents spillage while loading. It’ll thaw by the time he’s aboard and thirsty. Tape a baggie of dried food outside the crate, so a flight attendant can feed him if he gets hungry.
Bring Sparky to us instead. He’ll love the dog boarding in New Jersey more than your wake-boarding in New Zealand!
Now, if he walked and talked like Scooby, traveling together would be easier. But what are the chances of that ever happening?
When pugs fly.