Travel With Your Dog

If you’re like us, you find it hard to leave the dogs behind when you travel – even if it’s just to the market. DogPark.com can help you find a local dog park whereever you travel in the United States or Canada. Here are some tips about taking your dog along…
Car travel
Ahhh, the open road. The sights, the smells, being together as a gang – what could be better? Here are a couple of suggestions on making any road trip more enjoyable for everyone.
1. Acclimate your dog to the car: if your dog isn’t a regular passenger, get him used to it slowly. If your only car trips were to the vet, you’d probably barf too, so start him on short trips (preferably to some nice place, like a dog park). Build up to longer trips, and tell him how wonderful he is.
2. Restrain him in the vehicle: yes, there are doggy seat-belt equivalents, and crates. In case of an accident your dog should be as protected as you are within the passenger compartment. It he rides outside in the back of a truck, tie him down properly or put him in a well-anchored crate.
3. Remember the weather: just a few minutes in a car on a hot day can harm a dog. Even if you leave the windows open, interior temperatures can rise quickly to the point where your dog suffers heatstroke, which can be deadly. Better to leave him at home if it’s just a quick errand and if it’s a road trip, think about making your rest stops picnics.
4. Food and water: an abrupt change of food can cause tummy troubles for your dog, so bring plenty of his regular food when you take him out of town. Carry water too – lakes and streams might carry bacteria that could be harmful to your dog, and besides, he’ll want a nice, long drink at those picnics.
5. Plan for emergencies: make sure your dog’s shots and license are current, and bring a copy of his shots records with you. Have a basic first aid kit in the car so you can deal immediately with cuts or abrasions. Bring your vet’s telephone number along in case you have questions. When in doubt, take your dog to the closest vet.
6. Keep your dog leashed: in new surroundings, everyone is tempted to dash off and explore. If you don’t know the area, your dog could be exposed to fleas, ticks, mosquitoes (heartworm), insect stings or snakebite. Don’t take chances, keep your dog close by.
Air Travel
What could be more romantic than a stroll down 5th Avenue or along the Seine with your dog? If you can’t drive it, flying is the answer, but remember the following…
1. Pet entry requirements: requirements vary by destination, and if paperwork is not perfect there can be as long as a 4 to 6-month quarantine period required when visiting non-continental US and foreign destinations. Find out exactly what you need to do to make sure your dog is welcome to visit before you plan to take her along. Check twice. Plan early – the lead time for required tests can be in excess of six months.
2. Get proof of vaccinations: you’ll need to prove to each destination’s satisfaction that your dog’s shots are current. And the airline needs proof, so be sure to check specific requirements for both countries and air carriers, because it would just be too handy if they were all the same; assume they’re not. In addition, microchip information, blood test and rabies documentation may be required.
3. Call the airline and make a reservation: whether your dog is traveling with you or alone, you must make a reservation. Airlines have limits about how many pets they’ll carry, both in-cabin and as cargo. There are also breed and seasonal temperature restrictions, so check with the individual carrier for regulations.
4. Select a dog-friendly itinerary: non-stop flights are preferred – just like your luggage, pets do get lost when they have to change flights. Try to travel very early or very late in the day in summer or mid-day in winter – those are the times of day when the temperature is likely to be most comfortable for your dog while she’s being transferred on and off a plane.
5. Crate your dog: since she must travel in an airline-approved crate, make sure your dog is crate trained. Make sure her crate is an approved size and type (check twice). Make it comfortable for her and label both the dog and the crate with your name, address and contact information. Check for airline-specific requirements.
6. Check with your vet and the airlines: if you have any questions about food, water or exercise before and during the flight, the use of tranquilizers or any questions about how your dog will be handled, check with those who know both your dog and the rules best.