Travelling with your dog means making certain preparations. This is so the journey will be a generally fun experience without the panic-inducing accidents and tantrums.
Such preparations should also enable you to comply with this directive by the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006:
You must not transport an animal in a way that causes, or is likely to cause, injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal.
Non-compliance of the Highway Code and the Welfare of Animals Order 2006 can get pet owners fined up to £2,500. Such a violation can also potentially invalidate their car insurance when accidents happen.
The following guide will help you to make your travel experience with your dog pleasurable and safe:
1. Avoid motion sickness
Canine pets, no matter the dog breed, often suffer motion sickness, especially on their first travel experience. To reduce the chances of motion sickness, do not feed your dog approximately 6 hours before you travel. Do not feed him while still on a plane, boat, or moving car. You can give a small high-protein snack during breaks.
2. Tire your dog out
Take your dog out for a long walk before the journey. Once he has been thoroughly exercised, he will spend the rest of the trip resting.
On road trips, take your pooch out during frequent stop breaks to play or walk off the pent-up energy.
3. Restrain him properly while travelling
In compliance with the Highway Code, you can use a doggy seatbelt together with the travel harness, crate, or guard. It will be safer for both of you as you have fewer distractions while driving. A car seat can act like a small nest for your dog, especially for a puppy. It helps him feel safe and secure.
If you are using a crate, there should be nothing in it that can be a canine choking hazard.
4. Ensure comfort when travelling with your dog
Whether you are transporting your dog in a crate or a container, ensure that he has enough room. Your dog should be able to sit, stand at full height, turn around, and lie down in a natural position. When travelling by car, ensure there is proper ventilation. Never leave your dog alone inside a parked vehicle to avoid dehydration or heat stroke.
You can bring your pooch’s favourite toy, blanket, or some other familiar item that helps him relax. You may even consider giving him short massages with some lavender oil to calm him down during the break.
5. Bring essential spare gear
As you do not have the safety net of your home, ensure you have duplicates of your pet’s gear. Pack in spare ID tags, spare toys, plenty of poop bags, and an extra collar and lead. You can also bring a weatherproof coat and other essential items.
6. Keep your dog sufficiently hydrated
No matter if it is a short or long car, boat, or plane ride, always have clean drinking water ready. Give your dog just enough to drink as too much may make your dog queasy and more likely to vomit.
7. Be vigilant of your dog’s explorations
New sounds, sights, smells, and tastes will get your dog exploring to the hilt. Keep an eye on where he points his muzzle to prevent him from ingesting something potentially harmful for him. To prevent tummy upsets, bring the usual food you feed him. As such, when travelling with your dog, avoid feeding unfamiliar food to your pooch.
Before You Leave
Plenty of research will help make the experience of travelling with your dog smooth sailing. A general internet search is not enough. Contact the company directly to enquire about the guidelines on transporting your dog. Ensure the hotel you will be staying in welcomes pets and find out what equipment they provide for your dog. More importantly, check if the particular hotel has a restriction for the size of the dogs allowed to stay. You will find that this is especially common in city centre hotels in Europe. You might get turned away if your pooch is longer than 40cm.
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