From Plane to Car — What to Consider Before Traveling With Your Pup

Close to one in five households acquired a cat or dog since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). With many already planning next summer’s vacation, taking a beloved pet along is a given. However, while hopping on a flight with Fido might sound simple enough, there are several important factors to consider before booking your ticket. From airline restrictions to what to consider when it comes to accommodation, here are just three tips to keep in mind.

Getting familiar with airline requirements

If you plan on bringing your pup along on a plane, it’s imperative to plan well in advance. The American Kennel Club (AKC) highlights that while there are general TSA and USDA guidelines for dog travel, each airline has their own regulations as well as fees. It’s important to note that most airlines require a certificate of health. The AKC recommends talking with your vet about any concerns or special issues regarding your pup, whether they’re healthy enough for air travel, and whether or not your dog can handle the stress of the trip, to name just a few points.

Checking ahead of time with your airline will not only get you familiarized with what they require for your pup to fly, but it will also give you insight as to what you may need to buy for the trip. While each airline has their own travel requirements regarding pets, investing in a crate that is comfortable for your pup is essential. Generally speaking, good ventilation, escape-proof hinges/latches, an absorbent lining, and enough space inside are just a few necessary components to keep in mind when shopping for a travel-worthy crate. Getting your dog used to the new crate is a great way to further prepare them for air travel, and can be easily done by giving them their meals in the crate (which will help them see the space in a positive manner).

The benefits of traveling by car

For those who want to take their pet on vacation but who would rather skip the airport, traveling by car can present a less stressful solution — though there are still a variety of preparations to make. In regard to traveling by car, dogs shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely, with the Humane Society noting that the safest way for them to travel in the car is in the backseat, in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seatbelt (or other secure means).

Stopping frequently to allow your dog to use the restroom and get some exercise is also a necessary consideration, with the Humane Society noting that it’s important to never let your pet leave the car without a collar, ID tag and leash. If your dog isn’t used to car travel, veterinarian Dr. Marie Bucko suggests getting your pup used to the idea by starting with short trips to enjoyable destinations — like a dog-friendly park. If you’re planning a longer road trip and worry about Fido getting carsick, Bucko recommends talking with your vet before hitting the road.

Choosing a pet-friendly accommodation

If you’re bringing your pet along on vacation, booking pet-friendly accommodation is a must. While using smart filters on comparison platforms can help in finding worthy options, Progressive.com points out that doing your research ahead of time is a necessity, as hotels often charge extra fees and deposits (including non refundable cleaning fees) for pets, further going on to mention that pet size and weight restrictions are something to be on the lookout for, too.

Hotels may likely have pet rules that you’ll need to follow during your stay as well — such as designated bathroom areas, clean-up policies, and they may not allow pets to be left alone in a room without supervision, according to Progressive. Searching for accommodation that is located in a safe area with nearby outdoor space is another consideration worth keeping in mind, especially if you plan on taking your pup out for a walk/run or two.

Taking your dog along on vacation can make for an exciting and memorable trip all around. However, whether your plans involve flying, driving, or staying in a hotel room, preparing accordingly for your dog’s comfort and safety is a must.

Ever gone on a road trip with your pup?

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

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