Should You Fly with Your Dog?

Tips for dog owners traveling during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and for many people, travelling is more of their holiday tradition. Going to see family and friends? Good, but will you be taking the dog along for the ride? While there are many ways to travel, flying presents a unique situation for dogs, especially with the tightened security and regulations around airports.

So, if you’re planning to do travel by plane, there are a few things to consider before your dog sets paw near the airport. Most importantly, many airlines require recent documentation that your dog is in good health before they will allow them on the flight, so you’ll need to take them to the vet prior to including them in any air travel plans.

What are the requirements?

Some dogs are permitted while others aren’t. Limitations are sometimes based on the size of the dog. Other airlines allow you to bring your dog into the cabin as long as their crate can be kept under the seat in front of you.. But, while some pets can be kept in the cabin, most dogs will have to reside in the cargo area.

There are also breed discrimination restrictions as well e.g. pit bull dogs aren’t allowed on board, as are Dobermans, or any other naturally aggressive type. Additionally, airlines may hold at their discretion whether your dog can board, even if they meet all the requirements. Be sure that all your destinations (even temporary) are pet friendly. And keep in mind that the airline can designate your dog as unacceptable at any time, especially if they show signs of aggression.

If you’re hopping flights or have long layovers, your dog is going to be moving around as well. They will be transferred over from one cargo hold to the next, which can present a problem. After a long flight, they may be scared or intimidated, which can cause issues with the airport personnel. Some airports may have different regulations regarding dog travelers, so be sure to examine each facility and airline prior to making any arrangements.

Coping with the flying experience

The flying experience is different for every dog. Some may be fine as long as they’re secure in their crate, while others may feel uneasy, anxious, or even scared. Will your pet be able to handle the experience? Many dogs get anxious, especially if they’re going to spend time away from you in a new place with strangers handling them.

With increased security translating to more time spent waiting in lines, a long flight can be a tough affair for your pet. They’re going to be cramped in a small crate or isolated in the cargo bay, where the common amenities, such as food, water, and available potty location are not easily available.

As a dog owner, your primary task is to keep them comfortable – especially when it comes to sustenance. Don’t over-feed them though, since pets can get airsick, and puppy vomit might not be comfortable to travel in. Then there are a dog’s potty needs. Potty train them beforehand if you have to, or have a container for them in the crate to do their business.

There is always the option of using sedatives to keep your dog at ease during the flight, especially if they have aggressive tendencies when intimidated or scared. But, not every owner is willing to sedate their dog with drugs, so do this only if you are comfortable with the results.

Have a fun trip

Travel by air can be a great way to save time, especially if you are only travelling a short distance. Long, enduring flights that involve airport-hopping are not going to be in your dog’s best interests, and can become more of a hassle than anything else.

Of course, the costs for traveling with your pet may not be as expensive as leaving them in a kennel or doggy hotel for long periods of time. One of the best benefits of bringing your dog along for the ride is that you’ll still be with each other when you get there. And that will make the both of you happy.

If you’re planning to travel by air, be sure that you weigh the benefits of bringing the pup along. Before departure, prepare your pooch for the journey ahead and make sure they have a safe trip to your holiday destination.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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That’s How I Roll

Proper dog care when going on trips with your dog

Dogs are indeed some of the best companions, which is why we tend to take them with us everywhere we go. Whether we’re driving to the store or heading across the country, having our friend there to keep us company is always a great comfort.

But despite the characteristics, little trips or long journeys, there is always the concern of keeping you and your pup safe during these adventures. The road can often be unpredictable, especially with the winter weather approaching. So, it’s up to us as loving dog owners to keep our pets safe from all dangers.

Keeping it fastened

Consider the endurance trip. You’re out for a long ride, which can be stressful on your dog who is constantly crated up. You might think they’ll be okay sitting in the back cargo area or lying in the back seat, but the truth is, free-roam can be dangerous. In the case of an accident or abrupt stop, they can become a projectile in an accident, injuring themselves or others.

And though we humans are accommodated with seatbelts, those are not always enough to keep a dog safe and secure. Safety harnesses are growing in popularity and versatility. Some target comfort, while others focus on a technical approach. It’s important to be sure your dog is comfortable in them, but you also need to be sure that they are going to be safe as well. Not all dog safety harnesses are designed equally and there are no rules or guidelines to regulate their safety or security.

In some cases, it may be necessary to locate a harness composed of a stronger material- like leather or chain. Dogs can quickly chew through cloth or nylon, especially if they don’t want to be held down. Utilizing a sturdier safety device is the best solution, though using a chew-deterrent could also help for puppies who enjoy nibbling on everything.

The ultimate goal is to keep them safely secured in their seats. This means that you don’t want them falling into the foot-well and getting injured. Be sure that your harness holds your dog to the seat and doesn’t just attach them to a location. Vehicle safety devices are designed to work together, so be sure that both areas are incorporated into the harnesses design (some will attach to opposite sides of the vehicle and may not be as effective). Though they may be harnessed in, that doesn’t mean they can’t slip or slide around the area. In some cases, such as leather seats, things can get slippery or even destroyed. A towel or cushion would provide additional traction during turns and regular driving.

Crates

Then there is the crate, which will definitely keep your dog in place during the trip. Secured in the crate does have its setback for active dogs though. Some may whine and want out, which can be a distraction while driving. Additionally, you will regularly need to let your dog out during long trips so they can stretch their legs and relieve themselves. Don’t neglect the necessities!

Dangers in the vehicle

Perhaps one of the most underestimated dangers of having a dog in the car is the vehicle’s safety devices- primarily the airbags. These are designed for adult humans, not dogs or any other creatures.

This is why it’s especially important that you don’t carry dogs in your lap, even the smaller ones (force multiplies their weight during a sudden stop; a 5 pound dog becomes a thirty pound dog at more than 30 mph impact). Additionally, it’s very dangerous for both you and your dog because if the airbag is deployed, it can crush your dog into your body.

Additionally, there is always the importance of keeping your dog from being a distraction to you while driving. If they’re harnessed or crated in, they won’t pace between seats. This is a big issue with more active dogs who rarely stay still longer than a second. The open scenery can be enjoyable for the dog, but the distraction they present when trying to spot a critter moving around in the bushes or a bird flying in the sky can distract you very easily. Be sure that you keep them safe and secure before you decide to travel.

Whether you’re taking a short trip to the market or a long trip to a new destination, it’s important that you keep everyone in your vehicle safe. Dogs enjoy going with you wherever you are, but they can only truly enjoy it if everyone makes it there safely.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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