Companions are part of the family so more and more people are taking their best friend in the air or on the road with them. Callie (my dog) loves to go for car rides, and soon she will be flying for the first time. And of course, I want to make sure that she is safe and enjoying herself too. So I created a list of 5 tips for traveling with your best friend:
1. If at all possible, do not opt to have the dog or cat fly in the cargo hold. The cargo department is dangerous and can even be fatal. Cargo holds typically don’t have any heat or air conditioning which is very uncomfortable. Dogs (and cats) also get scared since they don’t understand what’s going on and will escape from carriers. Some airlines allow animals to travel in the main cabin (I know Southwest does) and although you have to pay a fee, it’s obviously worth the cost to make sure the dog/cat is comfortable.
2. Make sure you get a sturdy carrier. As mentioned before, dogs and cats can easily escape if they get scared. Most airlines have their own carrier or you can find one at your local pet supply store. A couple days before your trip, open up the carrier and put some toys and blankets inside to show your companion that the carrier is safe.
3. If flying, don’t feed your companion for 6 to 8 hours before the flight. This could make the dogs stomach upset. Right before the flight, make sure to give your animal some water. Also, make sure your companion is wearing a collar and an ID tag. Take some temporary tags with you, in case anything happens to the original.
4. If driving, carry water for rest stops and make sure you stop to walk your dog often (at least every 3-4 hours). Don’t open the car window or door if your cat or dog is unrestrained, many animals have escaped this way at tollbooths and rest stops.
5. Check out these resources for traveling with your best friend: DogFriendly.com has information and has links to dog-friendly lodging, parks and beaches. TakeYourPet.com requires that you become a member but they offer a free monthly e-newsletter that provides updates on animal-friendly lodging and airlines.
If you have any tips with traveling with your dog or cat, please let me know!