Traveling with your best friend is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences you can have. Together, you two will explore new places, meet new people, see amazing sights, and eat delicious food.
It would not be much different if your best friend is your dog.
Plenty of people take their pets on a road trip or even when they fly to an international destination. It can be a memorable experience, but it can also be a disaster without proper preparation and planning.
Training Your Dog to Become a Good Citizen
You are bringing your pet to an unfamiliar place where they are bound to encounter plenty of other human beings and animals. If this is not something that your pup is used to, then you will have a bad time.
Your future travel companion may need to undergo puppy training first so that, when it is time to explore, they can behave and have fun. If not, they may become nervous and aggressive.
You need to introduce your dog to new environments first. Venture beyond the dog park like a friend’s house, for example, and then a (pet-friendly) hotel. Take them on a train or car ride. Do these things gradually, not within one day. Your dog may feel overwhelmed by all the changes in its surroundings.
Expose them to other animals that they likely will encounter during your travels. Let them learn what a cat or a squirrel looks like, and the fact that it likely would not be friendly, so that, when you are on the road, they would know what to do.
Your dog’s first trip should not involve a plane or an eight-hour drive. Get them used to traveling by going around the town or a nearby destination. This will get them used to sitting still and make them feel comfortable inside a vehicle. If you’re from the UK and Ireland, check out www.dogfriendlyretreats.com.
Driving your dog around town will also allow your dog to get familiar with different traffic sounds. They should not freak out when they hear the loud beeping of cars and trucks while in transit to your destination.
This will also allow them not to associate traveling with visits to the vet. Some dogs get anxious about riding in automobiles because they have had a negative prior experience (getting shots at the vet, for example). A quick drive to the beach or a hiking trail will let them get over their fear.
Traveling by Car
Traveling by car is the best way to go if you want to take your dog with you. They are more used to automobiles than other modes of transport because you would be traveling alone or with people you know. With trains and buses, there are strangers around you or they may have to be sat somewhere else.
Traveling by Air
Taking a plane is just not the most pleasant experience for pets. Some airlines allow people to bring their dogs with them on the plane. The dog will have to be in a carrier, but they can stay under the seat in front of their owners. Most, however, have to be placed in the cargo hold which is both scary and uncomfortable.
Luckily, there are now pet-friendly airlines that will not treat dogs as cargo.
Pet Airways only cater to fur babies who get to ride in the main cabin. There are no humans allowed in the plane. You and your dog will have to travel separately and then reunited at your destination. However, you can be assured that they are safe and comfortable.
Virgin Atlantic also provides better flying conditions to pet travelers. Pets are still kept in the cargo hold, but the area is secure as well as heated and airconditioned to ensure that animal passengers are comfortable and safe.
For long-haul travels, whether by car or plane, if you are unsure that your dog will be able to handle the journey, you can ask your vet about anti-anxiety medications.
Dogs are wonderful companions and, like you, they like to explore. However, traveling far is not for everybody. Before a big trip, they should be trained and prepared so that they, too, can enjoy the adventure.