Pawfect Guide: 12 helpful tips to safely travel with your dog
Is your inner travel bug itching to be set free in the wilderness? Ours is! This beautiful weather calls to be explored. Hopefully, with our furry companions by our side. After all, it isn't the journey or the destination that matters more. It's the company that does!
Traveling with pets can look daunting in the start. Their lifestyle, health, etc. must be taken into consideration. But it isn’t impossible. With proper care and planning, you and your puppy are sure to have the time of your life in the great outdoors!
Here are 12 Pawfect tips every dog parent who wants to travel with their pet needs to know
What to do before taking a trip with your dog?
1) How to take care of your pup's health while traveling?
The main reason why travelling with our dog seems like a problematic task is because we worry about our dog’s health. Will they be safe?
You must carefully consider your dog’s wellness position. If he is very young and untrained, sick or a senior with prior medical conditions, you must reconsider your decision to bring him along. He may be better off resting at home under the watchful eye of a pet sitter or a friend.
Consult your vet and make sure that he has taken all his shots and is fit to travel. If you are planning an international journey, you will have to look into country guidelines and air travel restrictions. Especially, in the times we live in, traveling out of borders with your puppy can pose many challenges. Regardless, a health check-up and prescribed medications are a must.
2) Which places to visit with your dog? Pick your destination.
A tropical destination with sunny beaches? A bustling, energetic city? Or maybe it's the mountains that hold your hear? When deciding your next adventure, keep your dog’s needs and temperament in mind. Ensure that he won’t be too out of his comfort zone. A place amidst nature will thrill your lively dog.
Coming to accommodations, ensure that the place you pick is pet-friendly. In India, most are but not all. Some places charge extra for pets. Policies for bigger breeds may also differ. In our experience, Booking.com provides a trustworthy list of hotels and guesthouses suiting all budgets. You can also Airbnb with certified hosts who allow you to have the entire home with your pet. Double check with them on call to not face any problems on the vacay day.
Be thorough about the dog facilities, culture about the place too. Check out BringFido. It will help you plan your pet-friendly itinerary.
Look up a vet contact in that area in case you face an emergency.
3) How about we give this a try? A short trip before.
Just like you need to work out and prepare if you are planning to go on a trek. Get in the physical and mental zone to actually scale the mountain ahead. Give your dog a chance to practice. This is especially necessary for first-time travelers.
Your excited dog may not be able to sit in the car for a long time. He may even experience motion sickness. It will be better for you and your puppy to get acquainted with traveling in each other’s company before you take a longer trip together. A short trip before a long one is the way to go..
4) What should you take on the journey? Pack your bags!
Apart from the essential medications and harness/leash (which must be put on your dog at all times), you should also make sure you carry his food. Especially if your dog follows a strict diet.
Dog shoes come in handy considering there will be a lot of walking and getting around involved. Zoof Boots and Zoof Casuals are outdoor shoes that will provide your pup with extra protection when cruising through different city roads and beautiful landscapes.
To protect your pup from over heating, consider buying a cooling jacket. A jacket with evaporative cooling can keep your doggo cool when you wanderers are roaming the mountains!
Carry an extra collar or harness in case one gets misplaced. Remember to carry a brush, as traveling to different destinations means weather and environment change and might lead to increased shedding.
A pet crate will help you carry your doggo around and keep him safe. Do not forget his first-aid kit.
Follow this Dog Travel Packing Checklist and you’ll be good to go!
Also, dress for the occasion. Some clothes and accessories will look adorable on your dog. If you're travelling for a wedding, take your pick from from these Zoof Ethnic Shoes
How to travel with your dog In India?
5) Paws on Clouds!- Air Travel
Air India is the only airline in India that allows pets in the cabin and cargo. Other than Air India, Spicejet allows pets but only as cargo. Pet carrier is compulsory and you’ll be charged weight wise along with the carrier. Only small dogs, 5kg (including carrier and pet weight) can travel in the cabin.
You will have to carry all your dog’s vaccination records along with a fit-to-fly certificate from your vet one day prior to your journey. Remember there isn’t any prior booking for your pet; you must reach the airport 3-4 hours prior to check in your pet. Check Airline Policies- Air India’s Pet Policy and Spicejet Pet Policy to get more information about the restrictions and guidelines for traveling with your dog.
Coming to how to make your dog comfortable with air travel- You should start training prior to make things easier for you and your dog. Crate and muzzle train him. Conquer separation anxiety and see that he is okay in loud environments.
Food and potty should be well-managed and timed. This is obvious but important. Do not feed him anything he can choke on and be sure to tire him out with exercise before you board.
Check out Pawdcast Episode 1 - Air Travel With Your Pet hosted by shihtzuziggybasu and guest shifu_the_shih.tzu. They talk about their traveling experiences with their dogs and answer all your questions.
6) On the right track!- Train travel with dogs in India
Indian railways allow dogs in Luggage or Brake Van. Your pet is allowed to accompany you in First Class AC where you can book the entire compartment for yourselves.
Contact the parcel officer of your boarding station. A booking slip will be given to you. Make prior booking for luggage van travel.
If you can, book the first class ticket where your pet can be with you. As in some trains, the boxes in the luggage compartments aren’t spacious and there’s a chance your dog will be dehydrated because of the lack of air-conditioning. Plus, the fret over not being with you will prove stressful.
If your dog is used to car travel, train travel hopefully won’t give him motion sickness or undue anxiety. It can actually be an exciting adventure for your pup and you!
See chaosinacoupe, Divya is a mother of three furry rescues and a proud railyatri. They’ve taken many trips in Indian Railways and will give you furry buddy travel goals!
7) How about a road trip?- Car travel
Do what your dil chahta hai. Because yeh zindagi nahi milegi dobara! A road trip with your dog sounds pawsome. Just keep these tips in mind-
- No putting his head out the window. This may lead to eye irritation or infection.
- No food before sitting in the car. Feed him a snack or two at least 1 hour prior.
- Exercise before. He will be more inclined to stay relaxed during the journey if he is tired.
- Dogs must always sit in the back seat. A pet crate is helpful.
- Get a car leash to safely secure your dog in the vehicle.
- Watch those speed breakers.
- Take breaks.
How to take care of your pet during the trip?
8) Make it a home away from home
Once you reach your destination, set up a place for your doggo to rest. Place his bed and blankets in a corner and give him his favorite toy. Let him get acquainted with territory first. Only once he seems comfortable, go out and explore!
9) Socialize with dog parents
Dogs are social beings. When you go out and about wandering, see if you find some dog or pet parents you can interact with. Let your dog make friends at a local park.
Especially if this is a long trip, don’t be shy. There is only so much google can tell you. Dog parents know the best spots and in our experience are always kind to help! You can even connect on social media. Use Instagram hashtags like #dogsof… to find posts and dog parents from the places you’re planning to go. There are facebook groups as well.
Not just parents, local pet stores can also give you tons of information about dog services & things to do in their city!
10) Behave yourself!
You are responsible for your dog. So, it is your duty to make him comfortable with his surroundings. And make sure he isn't in someone's way. Every culture has different viewpoints and as a visitor you must be respectful.
You’ll meet people who are simply enchanted by your pup’s cuteness and some who are scared. Be tolerant towards both. This is a great opportunity to make friends and get in touch with locals.
A well-trained and adapted dog will make things much easier so you can have your leisure. Teach him Sit/Stay and recall. You must have a kind but firm hold over your pup. If he starts barking at strangers or the hotel staff, they may be reluctant to grant your wishes. People are more likely to say “yes” to a well-behaved doggo. For dog training tips, check out our special blog with Dr. Devanshi Desai.
If your dog is smartly trained, you may also be able to catch a fancy dinner or visit a palace, while your pup is safely resting in the room. He will be a little far but beside you!
11) Only leave imaginary paw prints behind- Don't litter
Don’t litter. Be ready with your dog's poop bag when he has to do his business outdoors. Often locals have to suffer the consequences of unhygienic habits of travelers. Don’t be one of those troublesome people.
Also, be sure to clean your puppy's feet during night time. Dog shoes will save you the hassle of cleaning but even so make sure that no scraps have stuck on his paws or inside his shoes. Apply a paw balm to soothe his paw pads.
12) Enjoy your pup-cation!
After all, this is why you’re going. So, cherish this time away from home while you explore some stunning parts of this magnificent world with your best pal by your side. Make memories that'll last a lifetime.
Have a pawfect journey :)
Where are you planning on going? Are you taking your pup along? We will love to hear all about your adventures in the comments!
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