Health and Safety
Get a vet check before going on an extended trip. Make sure all vaccinations are up to date and carry shot records with you. Health certifications are required for airline travel. Bring along a supply of the dog’s regular food and some local or bottled water. Remember to bring any medications he needs.
You can increase the chances of recovery if you dog becomes lost by making sure he is properly identified. Consider having your dog microchipped or tattooed. Make sure you have a sturdy leash and collar that has identification tags with the dog’s name, your name and phone number as well as proof of shots. Bring a recent photo of your dog, preferably with you in the picture, so there is no question the dog is yours.
A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car, in a hotel or at your host’s home. Make sure the crate is large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down. The crate should be strong with handles and grips and free from interior protrusions. Make sure the crate has ventilation on opposite sites so there is a constant flow of fresh air through the crate. Cover the bottom with absorbent, leak-proof material. Place a comfortable mat or bed, some favorite toys and a water bottled in the crate. Make sure you have a label on the crate with your name, address and phone number. There are also a variety of dog harnesses and safety seats for dogs. Check online or at your local pet store for different configurations and styles.
Check with hotels and motels in advance. Many do not allow dogs or have size or breed restrictions. Respect other guests, staff and the property and keep your dog from barking. Make sure to pick up after your dog during a walk or exercise time. Try not to leave your dog unattended. Dogs left alone in a strange place may bark or destroy property.
Traveling by Car
Make sure your dog is used to travelling by car by going for short rides and then extending the length of the drive. You can often avoid car sickness by not feeding your dog before a trip. However, make sure he has clean, fresh water to drink at all times. Keep the car and crate well-ventilated. It is not advisable to let your dog stick his head out of an open window as this can cause eye injury or serious head or body injury if you are in an accident. Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck whether crated or not. Chances of the dog’s survival or receiving only minor injures are much greater if the dog is inside the vehicle. Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks and be a responsible pet owner by cleaning up after your dog. Make sure your children do not to tease or annoy the dog during the ride. IMPORTANT: Never leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, particularly in hot weather. Temperatures can skyrocket quickly causing death.
Traveling By Plane
Individual airlines have their own set of rules for canine air travel. You should call for information and make arrangements well in advance of your trip. Health certifications and proof of vaccinations are required. Keep in mind that dogs will be placed in the cargo area of the plane and must be in an approved crate. Some airlines will not transport a dog in the cargo hold if it is too hot or too cold. In some cases, small dogs may ride under the seat in a crate or carrier.
Traveling By Train, Bus and Boat
Traveling by train or bus is not easy. Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses do not permit dogs unless they are Service dogs. Local rail and bus companies have their own policies. Some luxury cruise lines provide special lodging and free meals for your dog. Check the policies of the cruise line or ship you will be traveling on before making plans to take your dog.