What Should I Think About When Deciding to Travel with My Small Dog?

shutterstock_421772824Having your little furry best friend tag along during your vacation just adds to the fun and excitement, and kind of lessens the apprehension you might have for not knowing what will happen with your pooch while you are traveling. However, if you are thinking of bringing your pet with you on your next trip, you would have to do your homework on dog travel. You see, cars and planes weren’t designed with pets in mind so it’s imperative that you know what to expect during and when you reach your travel destination.


Dog Travel Tips


By planning your pooch’s travel ahead of time, you can make your break a truly relaxing time for both of you and your fur-baby. Here’s what you have to consider so your trip will be fun and trouble-free.


  1. Pick the suitable pet carrier. If you are traveling by plane, see to it that you have purchased a well-made, FAA-approved carrier appropriate for your small dog’s size. When shopping for the perfect carrier, look for the following: proper ventilation, leak-proof bottom, escape-proof carrier door(s), crush-proof shell, well-balanced design, and has a separate compartment for your pet’s leash and other accessories. It is very important that your little pooch fits comfortably in it and can easily reposition himself while within the case. A perfect dog carrier should be safe and cozy for your pet upon transport.
  2. Make airline reservations in advance. After booking your flight, call your airline’s toll-free number to explain that you will be traveling with a small dog within the main cabin. Depending on the kind of aircraft, a limited number of pets are generally allowed on any given flight so it’s crucial that you make your dog’s reservation as early as possible, most especially during peak travel times. Note that all airlines charge a fee to travel with a pet, and will be charged per flight on a one-way basis. Rules and fees vary so contact your airline directly for details. Also, do your research. Make sure that the area you are looking to go to has pet-welcoming hotels with access to parks and other dog-friendly activities.
  3. Prepare for the flight. As you pack for your stuff, you will have to bring along some additional items for your pet as well. Major airlines require an updated health certificate from your vet and/or vaccination documentation before they can allow your pooch to travel with you. If your small furry friend is a nervous traveler, check with your vet about using a prescribed sedative. Avoid feeding him or letting him consume too much water several hours prior to the flight. Ensure that your dog is able to properly relieve himself before check-in so leave enough time in your travel schedule for a last-minute walk. To help guarantee that you are prepared for the trip, here’s a packing list for your pooch: ample food and water supply, food and water bowls, leash and collar/harness, dog tags, license and dated vaccination records, toys, disposable waste bags, portable dog bed, as well as medication and wee wee pads if applicable.
  4. Dog etiquette. On the day of your flight, show up to the airport a couple of hours early for domestic flight as you might need some extra time at the ticket counter to get through security with your fur-baby. Carry him in your arms as you pass through the metal detector and once aboard the plane, tell the people around you that you are traveling with your little pet. Since a dog’s bark can scare some passengers, it’s good to give them a head’s up beforehand. Besides, it will give them the option to be relocated if they are allergic or are not comfortable of dogs. Lastly, try to be seated away from babies as the sound of their cry can scare your pooch or make him even more anxious than necessary.


While traveling with your little furry friend can be costly (not to mention the airlines make you jump through those extra hoops to bring him onto the plane), a small sacrifice will definitely go a long way to make your vacation an enjoyable one.


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