February 18, 2018
Hi, Everyone, please meet Miss Vida. This baby girl is a 9-year-old Yorkie that travels around the world with me. She has been everywhere from Brazil to the Maldives and beyond. Traveling with Miss Vida has taught me a lot over the years; things that I think everyone who travels with pets should know.
If you are someone who travels with small dogs or is planning to, please check out my tips on how to travel with a small dog on this page. If you still have questions after reading, please feel free to email me.
Safe travels with your babies!!
Traveling by Car with Small Dogs
A lot of times we spend so much time getting ourselves ready to go on a road trip that we overlook the fact that we need to prepare for our fur babies as well. In fact, if you plan on spending any time on the road with your dog, start including their needs to your packing and planning lists.
- Dogs Shouldn’t Roam in the Car
Just as you would never let your child climb around in the seats as you drive down the road, neither should you allow your dog. Depending on the size of your dog consider either getting a car seat or a car harness for them. While a larger dog is likely to be quite comfortable sitting or lying down with a simple harness that doubles as a seatbelt, a smaller dog will be more content in a car seat that also acts as a harness but boosts them up a little to where they can see out the windows as well.
- Give Your Pet Plenty of Rest Stops
When planning your route and the places you want to stop makes sure to take into account your pets needs. Your pet needs to walk, use the bathroom, have some water and eat just like you do. Plan to stop places where they can go to the bathroom and get a break from the car with you.
- Don’t Ever Leave Your Pet Alone in a Car
A car is not a safe place to leave a pet ever. There are multiple reasons not to leave your pet in the car, but the greatest is temperatures vary greatly inside of a vehicle and can quickly become dangerous to your fur babies well being. Treat leaving an animal in the car the same as leaving a small child in one because they are basically the same, and just don’t do it.
Traveling by Airplane with Pets
- Choose the Cabin
If transporting your pet by air is the only option, find out whether he can travel in the cabin with you. Most airlines will allow you to take a cat or small dog on board with you for an additional fee. Do not wait until you arrive at the airport to check with the airline. You must call them well in advance as there are limits to the number of animals allowed in the cabin.
- Get Clear Answers Ahead of Time
When you contact the airline, be sure to get clear answers to these questions if your pet is flying the cabin and make sure you follow all of their directions:
- Will the airline allow you to take your small dog in the cabin with you?
- Does the airline have any specific pet health and immunization requirements?
- Does the airline require a particular type of carrier?
- Take Precautions When Bringing Your Pet Through Airport Security
Arrive at the TSA checkpoint with your pet in his carrier. Before going through screening remove your pet from the carrier and either carry him or walk him through with you ensuring that you maintain control of your pet at all times. Once you have cleared the checkpoint, return your pet to its carrier.
- Use Direct Flights
Getting from point A to point B in the quickest amount of time is best for your pet. Your dog or cat will not be allowed outside of its carrier while on the plane. Although you can get up, stretch, and take breaks from sitting, your pet is confined which can make multiple plane rides uncomfortable for them and challenging for you.
- Familiarize Your Pet with Their Carrier
Most of our fur babies are not used to being in a pet carrier and thus need time to become familiar and comfortable with it. Give your pet at least a month before your flight to become familiar with the travel carrier.
- Avoid Pet Tranquilizers
Do not give your pet tranquilizers thinking that it will make your travel easier. Tranquilizers are not for convenience. Sedatives should only be used when prescribed by your veterinarian for situations such as your pet having extreme anxiety with flying.
Traveling by Ship with Your Pet
Unless you are traveling with a service animal, pets are welcome on very few cruise lines—and usually on ocean crossings only. Some lines permit pets in private cabins, but most confine pets to kennels. Contact your cruise line in advance to find out its policies and which of its ships have kennel facilities. If you must use the ship’s kennel, make sure it is protected from the elements and check on your pet frequently.
Traveling by Train with Your Pet
Amtrak and Eurostar currently don’t accept pets unless they are designated service animals. However, there are a few other train lines throughout Europe that do allow pets as long as they do not endanger passengers and are kept on leads at all times. If you plan on traveling via rail, check the local train policies for the countries you plan on traveling within. Each country and train company varies with its policies, so make sure you are clear on which ones you can and cannot take your pet on.
Packing for Your Pet
For those looking for a checklist of items you should pack for your pet, the following list is helpful:
- Pet Food and treats
- Food and water dishes – Always carry a container of drinking water — pets get thirsty!
- Pet Carrier and pads for long flights where your pet can not get out to potty
- Leash, collar, and tags – your pet should wear a collar with ID tags at all times.
- Grooming supplies
- Necessary medications
- Medical/shot records