Traveling with dogs is easiest when you prepare everything well – accommodation, travel arrangements, and paperwork can be organized months before your departure, which means less stress and more fun for both of you.
Of course, you may not plan on traveling abroad with your dog, but rather staying close to your home. In this case, it’s even easier. Just keeping a few simple things in mind can make taking dogs on vacation easier. Prepare your pen and make sure you have thought about everything in the list below. When you’ve done all of that, all you have to look forward to is your journey.
Health and safety precautions when traveling with dogs
The first thing to consider when traveling to a new location with your dog is your pet’s health and safety. This task alone can make many dog owners rethink their travel plans, but it is actually a fairly simple process. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
See your veterinarian a few months before you travel with your dog
Discuss your travel plans with the vet 7-8 months in advance, especially for overseas travel, so that you have enough time to meet additional requirements. Vaccinations must be up to date and specific vaccination requirements may also apply for the country you are visiting. Note that certificates may also need to be issued depending on where you are going with your dog.
Dog insurance can be a lifesaver
Look for guidelines that cover emergencies where your dog is likely to need veterinary care while traveling abroad. Some policies may even add to the cost of canceled vacation or kennel fees if you need hospitalization. Read our complete guide to all things Dog insurance.
Find the closest veterinary office to your vacation stay
A nearby veterinarian can help with many health concerns, large and small. Make a note of the address and contact details of the nearest veterinary practice before you travel abroad with your dog.
Have you covered the basics?
Regardless of how you travel, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Your dog can lose a significant amount of body water through panting. So bring a bowl and plenty of bottles of water with you to keep him fully hydrated.
Remember to pack lots of plastic bags when your dog goes to the bathroom. After all, they have the same needs as usual when traveling
Microchipping your dog is important – many pets now and then go on unexpected adventures. If your dog is lost on vacation, you want the best chance they can return. This is even more important when going abroad with your dog, as unfamiliar sights and sounds can lead to more exciting pets being distracted and running for something!
When traveling overseas under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), it is mandatory that your dog is microchipped. Ask your veterinarian for more details or read more about them Microchip for your dog in our handy article.
Think about your dog’s current stage of life and health
All owners want to share their best times with the four-legged family members, but sometimes skipping the fun things is a good idea, especially when traveling on a plane. If your dog is younger than 3 months, an elderly, pregnant, or sick dog, they are likely to have difficulty coping with the trip. If in doubt, ask your veterinarian for advice.
Travel preparations for dogs
Whether you are traveling with your dog by car, plane, train, or bus, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make the journey safer and more relaxing for you and your pet.
Traveling with your dog by car
- Familiarize your puppy or dog with driving as early as possible, as this will make traveling far less stressful. Get them used to the car with treats, toys, and lots of encouragement!
- Keep your dog safe and secure by using a dog crate. If he has to sit in a car seat, consider wearing special harnesses that look exactly like dog seat belts.
- Stop feeding for two hours before driving your dog in the car to avoid car sickness. And if your dog is particularly afraid of driving, see your veterinarian.
- Include plenty of stops for long car trips for toilet breaks and the ability to stretch your legs.
- Hot weather is especially dangerous for a pooch confined to a drive for hours. Umbrellas and even opening windows can help. But make sure you don’t let her head out the window.
For more Travel tips for puppy, cars Read our quick guide.
Traveling with your dog by plane
- Make sure your airline knows you are taking your dog with you on the trip.
- Contact the airline or railroad company for information about airline size and requirements, which may vary based on the size and weight of your dog. This will help you avoid a last-minute rush!
- Some companies don’t allow dogs to travel in the cabin with you. So make sure you are ready to be separated from your pet for the duration of the flight. It is always a good idea to include a feeding schedule and other relevant information in case your dog does not reach the goal at the same time as you.
- If your dog is not yet used to a porter, take a few weeks to introduce them too before you travel. Leave it open and available, filled with plush bedding and the occasional hidden treat.
- Put a small label on your dog’s collar showing the address at your destination in case you get separated for any reason.
- Before you go on vacation with your dog, especially by plane, get a veterinarian check-up first. Not all pets are suitable for all modes of transport – some may find it too stressful.
If you are flying with an assistance dog or need further advice Traveling with your dog by plane Read our in-depth article.
Travel with your dog by train or bus
- Whether you’re going on vacation with your dog by rail, boat, or air, a dog travel luggage rack is an essential accessory, especially if you have a car without a large, secure trunk. Look for the perfect one early on.
- Check the transport company’s policy on traveling with dogs. Some of them don’t allow you to travel with a pet while others have an extra charge. It is better to familiarize yourself with the rules sooner rather than later.
Accommodation tips when traveling with your dog
Whether you are vacationing with your dog at home or overseas, there are now many types of dog-friendly hotels and accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets. Your dog can also enjoy a dog training vacation where, with the guidance of a qualified trainer, you can enjoy dog activities and sports with fellow dog lovers.
Make sure your accommodation is dog-friendly and find out about your dog’s sanitary facilities in advance if you are staying with someone else.
Just remember to think about the presence of other pets (either during the trip or at your destination) that could affect your dog’s behavior. For example, does your dog want to chase the B&B owner’s house cat or bark at the dogs he travels with?
Plans to travel abroad with your dog
To make it easier for your dog to travel abroad with you, the UK government has set up a Pet Travel Scheme (PETS for short) administered by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
This program allows people to take their cats and dogs on vacation to a number of other countries and then bring them back to the UK without the need for quarantine. All the owners have to do is make sure certain conditions are met!
These conditions include booking your travel with an approved carrier using an approved route and making sure your pet meets the health criteria – such as a recent blood test and recent vaccinations. In short, traveling to many places with your dog is much easier than it used to be, and it will save stress for you and your dog.
The list of all the elements required for the program, including approved countries, companies, and routes, is updated frequently. So check the DEFRA website For more information or to call the PETS hotline 0870 241 1710.
However, keep in mind that some countries still have special conditions for your entry or require certain documents when you are on vacation with your dog. And when you travel abroad with your dog, some countries still require a quarantine period upon arrival. Again, DEFRA can help you find out if this applies to you.
Residents of the Republic of Ireland should check out Pet Travel and EU Pet Passport Requirements.
Traveling with dogs to the EU after Brexit
With Brexit approaching, you need to think about the additional requirements for traveling with dogs to the EU after Brexit. The new procedure requires you to go to the vet at least 4 months before your travel date and make sure that you do the following:
- Get a microchip for your dog if you haven’t already
- Vaccinate your dog against rabies – if you already have them, make sure they are up to date
- 30 days after your dog has been vaccinated against rabies, come back to your veterinarian for a blood test to make sure it’s working
- Wait 3 months after the successful blood test before traveling
- Go to your veterinarian no later than 10 days prior to travel for an animal health certificate
If traveling with dogs after Brexit is a lot of hassle, it’s worth mentioning your Vaccinations of dogs Once you are up to date, you don’t need to repeat blood tests for each trip.
Note: In the event of a no-deal Brexit, current EU pet passports issued in the UK are no longer valid for entry into the EU. More information about Traveling with your dog after BrexitCheck the official instructions.
Leave your dog at home
Of course, not all dogs are entirely suitable for travel: if they are elderly, sick, or have had a history of fear during childbirth or dog travel, consider leaving them with a reliable dog sitter or in kennels at home.
Whether your dog is going on vacation with you or staying at home, think about what is best for him. As long as they are happy, your vacation will be great!