By Al Skender
Thanks to a surge in the number of pet-friendly hotels and
airlines with pet-friendly policies and improved pet immigration guidelines to facilitate international travel, more people than ever are taking their dogs overseas with them. You still need to do your homework though, if you are planning to travel with your dog.
By planning ahead of time, you can make your vacation a truly relaxing time for you and your furry friends. Here are my Top 7 Pet Travel Tips to help make your trip an enjoyable (and stress-free) endeavor:
Pet Travel Tip #1: Keep Your Dog Secure In The Car
It is usually a good idea to crate or harness your dog when riding in the car. Dogs that are allowed to run loose can be a safety hazard to you, themselves, as well as other drivers. When cracking the window for fresh air (or so your dog can stick his head out), make sure that there is only enough room for the head, and not the whole body. Should you need to brake or swerve suddenly, you do not want your loved one to be ejected out of the vehicle.
Pet Travel Tip #2: Introduce The Crate To Your Dog
It is natural to feel a little hesitant about crating your dog for the first time – after all it looks a bit confining, doesn’t it? However, you may be surprised to know that, if done correctly, a crate can actually be quite comforting for your dog, especially during hectic or stressful times such as holiday get-togethers, thunderstorms, or 4th of July fireworks. In these instances, your dog’s crate (with the door open) can feel like a safe haven or den.
Crate Training How-To: To help get your dog accustomed to the crate, simply start by having it in your house and keep your dog inside as often as possible – with the door open. Don’t shove your dog in the crate… instead, show your dog the crate and open the door. Make sure there is nothing in the crate that can harm your dog. Feed your pooch inside the crate, place their favorite toy or bedding in the crate and incorporate sleep time in crate. Eventually, he will be totally comfortable and this will aid in making the dog feel more secure traveling in the crate.
Pet Travel Tip #3: Don’t Feed The Dog Before A Car Ride Or Plane Trip
This may cause symptoms of nausea and/or vomiting (aka carsickness or airsickness). For pets and people with sensitive digestive systems or those that are prone to carsickness, consider carrying a bottle of Nux Vom oral drops with you to prevent and treat nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. You can find Nux Vom online at www.barfworld.com.
Pet Travel Tip #4: Determine Your Plane Travel Strategy
If you do fly with your dog, he will almost certainly be traveling in a crate so it will make everyone’s lives a little easier if you crate your dog BEFORE you enter the chaos of the airport. Make sure to use the pre-travel crate techniques mentioned above a few weeks before the big travel day to avoid any mishaps. Remember, traveling can be stressful, even if you do try your best to plan ahead. So stay calm. If you’re calm, your pet will have an easier time staying calm as well.
Not sure how your dog will travel in an airplane? Try a short distance flight as a trial run to see how your pooch holds up on board an airplane. You should also make sure to dose him (and any other airplane-nervous travelers in your party) with Rescue Remedy, a natural, non-invasive stress-relieving remedy made from all-natural flower essences – also available on www.barfworld.com. I don’t recommend using harsh sedatives on your pet. They are dangerous, and in most cases, completely unnecessary.
Plan Cabin Travel – During air travel, only very small dogs are allowed in the cabin with their owner. Carrier measurements vary by airline but most airlines restrict the number of dogs in the cabin from one to seven dogs, per flight. Airline companies also vary on their policies of allowing small dogs in the plane, depending on size, weight, etc. Make sure to do your homework ahead of time so that there are no surprises on your big travel day…after all, that’s the last thing you need when you’re ready to go on an otherwise relaxing vacation.
Plane Cargo Travel – Cargo travel for dogs is a whole different story. Large breed dogs are not allowed in the cabin and are instead transported in the same cargo hold as baggage. Doesn’t sound too comfortable, does it? The noisy, dark, and unfamiliar environment may be difficult on your dog emotionally. Also, bear in mind that most airline companies will not let pets fly in cargo during extreme hot or cold weather or during particular seasons especially after reports of pets arriving injured or dying from extreme temperatures in the baggage hold.
With these risks in mind, one might ask: are there other options available to dog owners for airline pet travel? Luckily, regulations in regards to pets traveling on board a flight are starting to be more relaxed. Some airline charter companies actually allow dogs of any size or breed to travel in the cabin with you. During the flight, you can even check on your dog once or twice. The drawback is that the majority of these chartered planes are typically smaller planes like prop planes or Lear jets – and there is generally a higher cost for this type of service.
Travel Tip #5: Help Your Dogs Assimilate To Their Surroundings
Once you’re settled in to your hotel room, suite, or cabin, it can be upsetting (and even a bit embarrassing) if your dog barks or howls in the new, unfamiliar room. It’s important that your dog’s and your scents are everywhere before your dog settles in. To help with the transition, bring their favorite blanket or toy along as it most likely has their scent on the article and will help with assimilating your dogs into their new surroundings.
Travel Tip # 6: Get Plenty Of Exercise
A recently exercised dog will be in a more relaxed state during any long trip. Go for a walk or run and tour the area with your pet. Bear in mind that your dog may growl at strangers…and that’s ok. It’s natural for your dog to be a little nervous around new people and a new environment. Just stay calm yet be assertive and show your dog that you’ve got it covered. Get the dog to stay where he is and, if overly aggressive or anxious, dose him with Rescue Remedy to help lower his stress levels.
Travel Tip #7: Don’t Skimp On Good Nutrition
Last, but not least, it’s important to remember that a well-cared for (and well-fed dog) makes the best travel companion. Don’t forget to feed the BARF Diet to your dog while you’re traveling to avoid breaking up his routine. Maintaining your pet’s daily routines is the best way to help ease their anxiety and help them relax during the trip. If you absolutely cannot have the frozen BARF Diet on hand while you’re traveling (think camping or traveling overseas), it’s best to go with a freeze-dried raw alternative, rather than dehydrated, kibble, or canned food diets. We love Sojos complete and balanced freeze-dried raw. While it doesn’t have as high a moisture content as the BARF Diet, it’s as close to raw as you can get without having to worry about storing frozen food. Don’t let the thought of traveling with your dog overwhelm you into not doing do. Traveling with your pooch can be a very fun experience for the both of you. Just use the tips outlined below, do your homework ahead of time and – most importantly – relax. Our pets can sense when we’re stressed and that stress can easily transfer to them, which doesn’t help anyone. Safe travels!
Al Skender is a Raw Diet Educator for BARF World Inc.For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet weekly e-zine at www.barfworld.com/ezine.