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Traveling with your Dog

This article has been produced as a guide only.
For expert help and advice always consult your vet.

There are a few thing you need to consider when deciding whether or not to take your dog with you on a journey, It can be inconvenient. Quite a few people are frightened of dogs and the mess that they can make while you're traveling can be a problem. Also there are some facilities which don't allow or cater for pets such as dogs. So you need to plan your journey very carefully.

Having your pet watched over by a professional pet handler may be needed to take care of your dog during the trip. You also have the option of having your pet stay with a managed kennel. When checking around for a place for your dog to live while you're away, make sure it is comfortable and clean. The dogs staying there should also look content and well-taken care of. Some dog kennels allow you to provide your dog's own sleeping blanket, toys and favorite foods while you're away. Also make sure that your dog has had its immunisations as these are often required.

However, if you would rather take your dog with you when traveling, here are a few tips to help you make the trip a success:

A clean bill of health with a certificate from your vet.

Buy a good dog carrier. This is a must when traveling with a dog since you'd rather not lose your pet en route to your destination. A few airlines have dog carriers available for sale though they can be quite expensive. Also, remember that some airlines prefer having your pet in the compartment for luggage. If you really can't part with your dog, try and get a reservation from an airline that allows pets to remain with you during the flight.

Dogs need good ventilation to keep them cool. Try to get air-conditioned cars when traveling with a dog cross-country. This is also true if you are traveling in trains.

Don't let your dog hang his head out the window while the car is moving. Also it may be tempting to let your dog play around, but the risks of falling out or getting hit or causing an accident are very real.

You should not leave your dog inside an unattended vehicle when it is hot or without proper ventilation. Heat stroke is a serious danger to your dog and can even be fatal.

Never leave your dog unattended, especially when it is in a carrier. It may get stolen or kidnapped. This also goes for when it is wandering around. Sometimes, dogs can be too adventurous and may end up in trouble, or worse, getting you in trouble.

A fast pulse, rapid panting, red eyes and gums, excessive slobbering, feverish temperature or vomiting, means that your dog needs to see a vet quickly. Have cool towels placed on your dog and get to the closest pet clinic as soon as possible.

Some countries have specific rules about pet travel. Try to familiarize yourself with them and try to follow them to avoid legal troubles later.

A certificate for rabies vaccination and a notarised local language certificate from the closest embassy or consulate is sometimes required, so get one just in case. Better safe than sorry.

Don't forget a collar with the dog's name, your name and a handy contact number can save you from a lot of trouble.

Prepare a first-aid kit for your dog and yourself. Remember that some emergencies are special to dogs. A flea or tick powder is a good addition to this.

Have a ready supply of your dog's favourite treats during the journey. Make sure to bring more than enough to last the entire trip to be safe. Also don't forget to bring something for yourself!

Pack the essentials: clean water, dishes, favorite toys, leash, brush, plastic bags and towels, anything than can help your dog stay happy during the trip. A dog should be given the chance to answer the call of nature every two to three hours so it won't make any embarrassing messes.

Also consider your fellow passengers/travelers (they might not be as keen on dogs as you).

Hopefully, these tips can help you have a better time while travelling with your dog. Bon voyage!

Don't forget if in any doubt always consult a vet.

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