By American Kennel Club
If you plan on taking a trip with your dog, you’ll need to prepare ahead of time.
Whether you’ll be traveling by plane or by car, it’s important to consider the following:
Veterinarian visit. This is a perfect time to schedule a checkup with your veterinarian, as you want to make certain your dog is healthy and protected before your trip. Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccines.
Health documents. You should have two copies of a current health certificate (the original and an extra) signed by a licensed veterinarian. Be forewarned: If the breed is described as “mix,” the predominant breed must be referenced. You should also have a rabies vaccination certificate singed by a veterinarian (unless the dog is less than 4 months old).
Medications. Make sure you have enough of your dog’s prescription medications, and maybe take a photo on your phone of the names and doses of these medications, just in case of a mishap.
Heartworm, flea and tick prevention. Make sure your dog is current on her heartworm and flea and tick preventative, since you never really know what the destination may be like.
Identification. Your dog should have a proper ID and be microchipped.
Sedation. Sedation is usually not recommended for any travel. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, due to respiratory and cardiovascular problems caused by altitude pressures, you shouldn’t give your pet any sedatives or tranquilizers, especially before flying.
If, after consulting with your veterinarian, your decision is to medicate, write down the name of the medication, the amount (in milligrams), and the time/date it was administered. This information should be kept handy or given to the airline person in charge of checking you in.
TRAVELING BY AIR
If traveling with your dog in the cabin, it’s important to check with the airline about the dog size requirement and the type of carrying bag that can be used. Make sure that your dog is comfortable with, familiar with and enjoys being inside the carrier. Also remember to have all the proper health certificates required by the airline.
If you plan to have your dog travel in cargo, check with your airline on specific breed, embargo and temperature restrictions. For example, most airports will only transport dogs only if the ground temperature is between 45 and 85 degrees.
Get your dog used to being in a crate several days BEFORE being placed in one in order to decrease their stress and add to their comfort. Familiarize yourself with the airline’s proper crate/kennel requirements.
TRAVELING BY CAR
Traveling with our dogs by car is often a more feasible option because there’s less hassle. Keep the following in mind for your road trip:
Safety. The most important factor when traveling with your dog is safety and comfort, for both the dog and the driver. If you can’t concentrate on the road because of what your pooch is doing in the back seat, don’t drive. That’s why proper restraint is recommended, especially if your dog is not accustomed to traveling long distances. Dogs that are crate trained are secure and confined in their own little “condo,” and statistics show that dogs in crates are less likely to get injured in an accident or get loose.
Motion sickness. If your dog tends to have motion sickness, ask your veterinarian for medication that will help his nausea, but remember that these types of medication usually require you to administer them at least an hour before the start of travel.
Higher temperatures. When temperatures rise above 65 degrees, never leave a pet in a car alone. Even with windows open, the inside of a car can become dangerously hot. If you must leave your dog alone for a few minutes, park in shade in a cool spot with good ventilation and frequent checks. Ideally, it’s best to always have someone stay in the car.
Checklist. Other items to consider as you prepare to travel include: leashes, collars, paper towels, baby wipes, poop bags, collapsible food and water bowls, and ice packs.
Sometimes it takes longer to prepare our dog than ourselves, but the preparation will pay off in the long run.
For more tips on dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.