Millions of dog owners in the United States consider their pets to be part of the family, so it comes as no surprise that more dogs are being included in travel plans each and every year. Whether you're traveling by car or plane, taking a little extra time to prepare for the trip will make a significant difference in your dog's experience.
The American Kennel Club offers the following canine travel tips.
-- Dogs get anxious, too. Many of the issues dogs face when traveling by car (most commonly motion sickness) are caused by anxiety. Before taking your four-legged friend on a long trip, get her acclimated to car rides by taking her on frequent short trips. Take her to fun places like the dog park so she doesn't associate the car with going to the veterinarian or the groomer only.
-- Experiment with feeding. Before hitting the road for your trip, experiment with your dog's feeding habits. Some dogs do better having not eaten for several hours before getting in the car, while others need to have a small meal immediately before the ride. Use the short rides to test out your dog's preferred feeding schedule for your road trip.
-- Research flights. If you plan on taking your dog with you on a flight, try to book a nonstop flight to your destination rather than one with a layover. Pets remain in the plane's hold when it is stopped on the ground, which can increase anxiety levels.
-- Invest in a crate. Instead of renting a crate for your dog, consider purchasing your own prior to traveling. This will give your dog time to become comfortable in it before the flight, and you will have it to use when traveling in the future.
-- Have identification. It is extremely important that your dog has proper identification, including a collar and a microchip, should she get lost. Her tag should include your name and cell phone number on it, and you should check with your recovery service provider prior to traveling to ensure all information is up to date.