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How to Travel Safely With Your Dog

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How to Travel Safely With Your Dog

If you're taking your canine companion along with you on a trip, then traveling becomes less about you and more about your pet. You want to keep him safe, happy, and stress-free.

You also want to enjoy the trip without worrying about whether or not he's eating toxic food from the sidewalk. Here are a few ways to make your dog as happy as can be while still keeping the trip fun and exciting.

1. Make a Doggy Travel Pack

A doggy pack consists of all the essentials needed while on the road. This means food, treats, medications, first-aid, a toy, and water. If medications need to be kept cool, then use an ice pack or plan accordingly in order to have your dog back at your hotel, or other accommodation, on time.

The pack can be small and fit inside the bag you're already carrying. Plastic bags are great for storing food items. A first-aid kit will benefit both you and your dog if something were to happen, and medications should always be included in case of an emergency.

The doggy pack can also contain your dog's passport, which should include his medical and travel records.dog in car

2. Keep Your Dog on a Leash

For the sake of everyone, even if you have a highly trained dog, keep him on a leash. This will hinder him from running off during any unforeseen circumstances.

A leash also protects them and other dogs from unwanted encounters. Not every dog enjoys the company of another animal. Using a leash can also prevent bites or wounds from another animal, including wildlife, which may have rabies or other infectious diseases.

Muzzles are another form of protection for your dog and others. They are not only used for aggressive dogs, but also for training dogs unused to interactions and traveling. Gentle leads are another form of restraint, but they do not prevent bites.

3. Schedule Time to Rest

Any traveling dog will need to rest, especially if he has been sight-seeing with you all day. Pay attention to his behavior and be sure to stop and rest if he seems slow or lethargic.

Keeping water in the doggy pack will be vital during hot days full of constant motion. Hydration prevents your dog from overheating and can help you avoid having to make an unexpected visit to the local veterinarian.

4. Avoid Stressful Situationsdog in van

While traveling, especially in touristy areas, there will likely be events which cause groups to form in large masses. If your dog is not comfortable with strangers, then he may become stressed by a large body of excited people swarming the two of you.

Remember to put your dog's needs first. He cannot tell you he is unhappy, but if you pay attention to his body language then you will be able to see if he is upset.

In order to prepare for the masses, get your pet familiar with greeting strangers and acclimated to loud noises. The calmer he is with these things, then the better he will react when faced with such events abroad.

5. Watch What Your Dog Eats

On vacation, you will be devouring all the new delicacies offered. However, you have to make sure your dog does not partake in the food experiment. There could be ingredients inside the new dish that could cause an allergic reaction, or worse.

It is wise to stick to your dog's everyday diet. Those puppy dog eyes are tough to resist, but it will be safer for him in the end.

Many countries are relatively safe and clean, but there are some which could pose a threat to your pet's safety. Pay attention to anything lying around on the streets while you walk your pet around the new foreign location. This includes unwanted objects lying on the ground, which your dog might mistake for food.

6. Establish Your Dog's Flea & Tick Defense

If you plan on traveling to a more remote location for hiking or camping, then planning for ticks and other insects is a must. They can transfer diseases to your dog which would cause lasting medical issues. After hiking out in the wilderness or in tall grass, check yourself and your dog for ticks. Removing them will prevent the transmission of unwanted illnesses.

Make sure to read up on the different types of ticks and insects which carry diseases. It never hurts to ask locals, as well. They will know better than anyone how to prevent running into any disease-ridden bugs in their country.

It would also be valuable to learn how to remove a tick from your dog, if the situation calls for it.

7. Restrain Your Pet While Traveling

If you are road tripping with your pet, then be sure to restrain him in a seat. This will prevent any serious damage from occurring during an accident or sudden stops.

There are multiple different types of restraints which can be used. Choose one that is comfortable, but also small or large enough to fit your dog. This will allow him to enjoy the breeze coming from the window without falling out or sticking his head out too far.dog crates in airport

You can also keep your dog behind a dog guard or in a safely-positioned dog crate or carrier. Whatever method you choose, it would be wise for you to introduce it to your dog prior to the start of your travels. You can do this by taking him on short trips, at first, and then gearing up to longer ones.

8. Carry Your Dog's Passport Everywhere

A doggy passport includes all of your dog's medical records and vaccinations. It also includes any of his medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Having all of these things, including a photo, will help you solve any pet-related issues which arise.

Many airlines and countries also require your dog to be microchipped, which allows for you and authorities to locate and identify him if anything were to happen.

9. Invest in Spill Proof Containers

Ziploc bags are great for mostly any food item, and water can be stored in a water bottle. However, there are special containers made specifically for traveling with your dog. These containers are travel sized, spill proof, and easy to clean.

There are some which are made as a two-in-one deal, which means they are able to be broken down and packed as one item. For example, some are designed so that the water bowl can be sealed by the food bowl. This makes traveling lighter and easier, since there is no need to carry extra water bottles or multiple plastic bags for your dog. Plus, it prevents water from leaking all over your other things.

10. Sleep with No Worries

At night, whether you're camping or staying in a hotel or hostel, make sure your dog is always wearing his collar, complete with I.D. tags. If he were to somehow get out while you slept, then you would be able to track him down when you woke up. Hopefully this never happens, but it is always a good idea to plan for every possible outcome.

Placing bells or a noise maker of some sort on your dog's collar will wake you up if he moves around at night. This could prevent the above incident by allowing you to catch him before he sneaks away.

If your dog is trained and never leaves your side, great! But it may still be a good idea for safety reasons — especially if you're camping.

For more tips on how to travel with your pet, check out our "Guide to Traveling Internationally With Your Pet." Or, for information on what to do and where to go when you set off on your next adventure, check out our Ultimate Guide to International Travel down below!

Don't forget to pack the Ultimate Guide to International Travel. Download now!


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Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group international insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd’s. Tokio Marine HCC - Medical Insurance Services Group (MIS Group) is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd’s underwriting members of Lloyd’s Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency Ltd.