Are you and the entire family leaving on vacation? Plan on bringing the dog along? So that this trip with your dog goes smoothly and in a relaxed and pleasant manner for everyone, we’ve put together some recommendations to keep in mind before and during your trip, whether you’re taking a car, a boat, a plane, or even a train.
Before the trip
1. First of all, you should check that the company you’re traveling with accepts dogs, especially concerning planes and boats.
2. If your dog is traveling in a travel carrier, get him accustomed to the carrier beforehand to reduce his stress during the trip. Also verify that the carrier meets requirements, and is solid and big enough for your dog to be able to turn around freely during the trip.
3. Plan to make an appointment with your veterinarian in order to prepare for any health issue that may arise, including the management of motion sickness or stress during the trip.
4. Prepare the necessary documents: a passport, depending on your destination, and vaccination records.
5. If you’re taking a long journey by car, get your dog used to the car beforehand by taking him on shorter “practice” trips to a place that he likes. This way, he’ll associate the car with a pleasant time.
6. Find out if the countries where you’ll be traveling have any entry requirements for dogs, especially ones that include certain actions that must be completed before leaving (e.g. deworming before traveling to England).
7. Don’t forget to buy a ticket for your dog! On trains, dogs are considered passengers and must have a valid ticket in order to legally ride.
During the trip
8. If you’re traveling by train, make sure that the other passengers don’t mind traveling with your dog, and also that he is leashed. The SNCF requires that dogs weighing more than 13lbs (6kgs) are muzzled.
9. Feeding and giving your dog water during the trip is essential, but this could become problematic depending on the type of transportation. By plane, inquire if your dog can have water during the trip, or if this is only allowed during layovers, for example. By car or train, this is easier, but it’s important not to forget!
10. When traveling by car, don’t hesitate to stop regularly to allow your dog to stretch his legs and get some fresh air.
11. Open the windows during the drive for ventilation and fresh air.
12. Reassure your dog by talking to him and petting him throughout the duration of the trip (or at least on the trip to the airport). He will be more comfortable and less stressed.
13. Never leave your animal alone in the car or on the train.
14. Don’t forget to reward your dog. Good behavior warrants a treat in one form or another.