Tips for Travelling With Dogs & the Products You Need!
If you’ve been a dog owner for some time then you may be familiar with this problem. You’re planning a holiday for you and your family and you want to go someplace exciting that you’ve never been before, but is it someplace where you can take your dog as well? Learning how to travel with a dog in the car isn’t something you can just learn the night before you set off. It takes preparation and a lot of love and care to ensure your dog is feeling comfortable. Not all dogs will react the same when you take them on a trip with you, so it is essential you do a few test runs beforehand and preparation is essential!
Between understanding safe car travel for dogs and learning what types of transport are the most dog-friendly, there’s a lot of research that you need to do in order to make the experience much more suitable for your dog. So in this post, we’re going to cover some of the most helpful tips that you need to make travelling with your dog a safe and enjoyable experience, but also talk about some important products that can change the way you travel with your dog.
Ways to Travel With Your Dog
When it comes to travel, most of us will use a variety of transportation to both get to our destination and explore all of the beautiful surroundings. For long distances, we can take a plane or a train and for shorter journeys, we can hop on public transport like a bus or a tram or even use private transportation such as an Uber.
Thankfully, all of these options can be dog-friendly in some way. Travelling with dogs is surprisingly easy these days and as long as you’re prepared with both knowledge and suitable products, you can make the entire experience much more enjoyable and less stressful for both you and your canine companion.
How To Travel With a Dog on a Plane
Travelling with your dog on a plane can seem a little scary, but you’d be glad to know that most airlines are actually very accepting of dogs as long as you’re willing to plan in advance and notify the airline.
Should I Visit My Vet Before I Fly With My Dog?
We highly recommend that you visit your vet several months before you decide to travel with your dog on a plane. There may be specific vaccination requirements or you may need to provide evidence of vaccinations and health checks before your dog travels to another country. Part of your research before travelling overseas should be to check if there are any quarantine requirements for your dog when you travel to another country (or when you return to Australia). Travelling within Australia is generally quite easy.
Where Will My Dog Be On a Plane?
In most cases, in Australia, a dog will be travelling in the cargo area underneath the cabin. This area is both heated and kept at the same pressure as the cabin to keep your dog comfortable and safe throughout the journey.
Will I Be Able To See My Dog During the Flight?
It’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to see your dog during the flight if they are being kept in the cargo area.
Can My Dog Travel With Me in the Cabin?
In most cases, no. Some airlines will make exceptions based on the circumstances at the time to let you travel with your dog in the cabin. However, this is typically only reserved for assistance or guide dogs.
Do I Need To Buy a Flight Carrier for My Dog?
If you plan to travel regularly with your dog, then we’d recommend buying a flight carrier that the airline is certified as being safe for air travel. Check airline regulations carefully to ensure that your carrier fits their specifications before you book your travel.
Can Old Dogs Travel on Planes?
This is something that the airline decides. It’s often not a good idea to bring an elderly dog, but the airline will likely assess the situation and find the best option to help you travel with your dog if possible. You may need a certificate from your Veterinarian prior to travel.
Can Young Dogs Travel on Planes?
Much like older dogs, young dogs are generally not advised to travel on a flight. Any dog under 3 months old will likely not be permitted, but exceptions can be made if the airline deems it possible based on the circumstances. Certain breeds have special travel requirements so be careful to check on this with your airline.
Dog Travel Products for the Plane
To round this section off, we’re going to suggest a couple of dog travel products that are perfect for travelling on a plane.
Flight carrier - A dog travel carrier is perfect for most dog travel purposes and is typically a mandatory item for travelling by air. This is because your dog will likely be kept in the cargo area and won’t be allowed to travel with you in the cabin area.
Food and water bowls - These should ideally attach to the front of the travel carrier so that your dog can eat and drink without spilling anything during the flight.
Water resistant mat - This is typically placed inside of the carrier or crate that you’re using to help provide comfort and also absorb any liquids. A water resistant mat can come in many different sizes, so it’s a good idea to measure your travel carrier or crate first.
How To Travel With a Dog in a Car
Unlike travelling with your dog on a plane, travelling in a car is a little more comfortable for your dog and you’ll have more peace of mind since you can communicate with your dog and stop to occasionally take care of them. Even though travelling with your dog in a car is a bit easier, you still need to be prepared for the responsibilities.
Should I Speak With My Vet Before Travelling With My Dog in a Car?
We’d recommend speaking to a vet no matter how you decide to travel with your dog. When it comes to travelling by car, you have fewer concerns to keep in mind but you still need to be wary of any potential vaccinations that your dog might need if you plan to cross borders, and you can discuss medication and techniques that can help your dog cope with nausea when travelling in a car.
Can Dogs Travel in the Front Seat of a Car?
It’s okay for your dog to travel in the front of the car, providing they are secured. However, keep in mind that the passenger side airbag could cause considerable injury to your dog if deployed.
What Can I Give My Dog for Travel Sickness?
If you’re concerned about travel sickness, then your vet can prescribe medication that helps treat nausea that your dog might experience when travelling. This can be important for dogs that feel particularly stressed while travelling. A dose of anti-nausea medication typically lasts around 24 hours, but the drugs can only help with motion sickness and not anxiety that might be caused while travelling. Make sure you have taken your dog for some car trips prior to visiting the Veterinarian so they can help differentiate anxiety from nausea, and help you manage both.
How Often Do I Need To Stop for Breaks When Travelling With My Dog?
When it comes to dog car travel, you typically want to take breaks regularly so that they can drink, go to the toilet and stretch their legs. Make sure you have portable feeding bowls with you and carry spare water for your dog in the car. It is best not to feed your dog during the car trip, unless you are going to be on the road for more than 12 hours at a time, or your dog has a medical condition.
Can I Leave My Dog in the Car When Stopping?
You must not leave your dog in the car unless there are other people in the vehicle with them. If you’re travelling with just your dog, then always keep them in your sight and bring them with you if you need to step out for something.
Can Dogs Travel in Taxis?
Many taxis around the world allow pets inside. For example, many black cabs in London are very welcoming of dogs inside of their vehicles. However, we’d generally suggest that you speak with your taxi driver beforehand if possible and let them know that you plan to bring a pet into their vehicle. The same rules apply for a dog travelling in a taxi, so make sure they have medication if needed, alert the driver if they’re not feeling great, and keep them secure with you.
Safe Dog Travel Products for the Car
To help make your dog’s car travel experience a bit more comfortable, we’ve rounded up a couple of products that are well worth the investment.
Safety harness - A safety harness acts like a seat belt for your dog. It helps to keep excited dogs in place and it ensures that they don’t jump around the inside of the car while you drive. It can also help give other drivers peace of mind while your dog is in their car. Just make sure you check different sizes before you pick one so that it’s not too tight or too loose on your dog. It is a legal requirement that your dog be secured while in a vehicle either with a harness/seat belt or in a carrier.
Seatbelt - There are special dog seat belts that you can use to help keep your dog secured when driving. These seat belts are designed to connect with a matching lead and harness to keep your dog safe when they’re on the road. It also allows them to lay down or sit comfortably in the seat. They’re very easy to install and are extremely durable, making them a great lifetime investment.
Seat covers - You don’t need to buy a specially-designed rear set cover, but it helps to have one that is absorbent and easy to wash. This adds an extra layer of protection for your car seats, but it can also help reduce the temperature of the seats which can be a problem if you have leather seats during hotter months.
Carrier - Some people feel a lot safer having their dog in a dog carrier instead of using a harness and a seatbelt. This can be a good option for people who are travelling with lots of people in the car, meaning they can’t let their dog sit in the front or back seats. It’s also a good option for travelling via other road vehicles such as a bus or a taxi as it provides added peace of mind for drivers and other passengers. This can be a great option for smaller dogs.
How To Travel With a Dog on a Train
Travelling by train is a great alternative to planes and cars for long distances. They’re typically very comfortable and there are fewer complications when it comes to getting your dog onto the train. In fact, many seasoned travellers prefer to use trains just because it’s less complicated and there is typically more space for your dog to move around, especially if the train isn’t packed full of people. But with that said, there are still a few things to keep in mind before you travel with a dog on a train.
Can Dogs Travel on the Train?
There is quite a lot of variation from state to state, so you need to carefully check the rules in the state where you are travelling. The exception to this would be assistance dogs, which are permitted on nearly all public transportation in Australia. In some states, dogs are allowed to travel on off peak services during the weekends. Careful planning means you can still enjoy a train trip with your dog.
Will My Dog Need a Lead and Harness?
We would definitely suggest a lead and harness to help control your dog and also give other passengers added peace of mind. This can also be important if your dog gets anxious or excited in new environments. Your dog should always be in sight and on a lead when travelling on any public transport.
Do I Need to Book a Seat in Advance?
Some trains will allow you to book your seat in advance, especially when it comes to long-distance journeys. If this is an option, then you may want to try and book a seat that has enough legroom for your dog, or so you can stretch your legs and place your dog onto your lap.
What if I Can’t Book a Seat in Advance?
In this case, you’ll need to just stand and keep your dog in sight until a seat is available. If there’s space, you may want to take your dog for a stroll for a change of scenery and to stretch your legs a bit while you wait for a seat.
Dog Travel Products for the Train
While you typically don’t need many products to travel with your dog on the train, it can still be helpful to have a couple of things to make the journey a lot easier.
Dog carrier - While it’s not necessary to have a dog carrier when travelling with your dog on a train, it can be helpful for other situations like transferring to a car or for carrying a smaller dog around. Carriers can get fairly hot and take up a lot of space, so it may not be the best option when travelling by train. It will also depend on the pet travel regulations for that service.
Water resistant mat - A water resistant mat is a great product to have with you if you travel with your dog. For trains specifically, it’s useful for letting your dog relieve themselves or cleaning up a mess in the toilets. Since many modern trains have rather big toilets, you can discreetly clean up after your dog with help from a water resistant mat.
Poo bags - While not our favourite topic - accidents can happen. Having some poo bags handy will make it easier to clean up and throw away any messes.
Dog wipes - We can all get a bit dirty when we travel so a touch up with some dog wipes can keep everything pleasant for your dog and other passengers.
Travelling With Your Dog on Holiday or Day Trip Tips - Products You Need
Now let’s cover a couple of must-have products that you need when travelling with your dog.
Cooling jackets are a fantastic product to have when you’re travelling in hot conditions. It’s a simple vest that goes on top of your dog and helps to keep away the heat. We strongly recommend this if you’re looking to travel in a hot climate or if you’re doing some travelling during the summer months.
You can pick up one of these for a fairly low price, but do keep in mind that larger dogs may need a larger cooling vest which may cost more. However, these are indispensable for travelling in the heat and are easy to clean and reuse.
If you plan to do any kind of travelling by boat or if you’re going to the coast, then having a life jacket in your bag for your dog can provide additional peace of mind. You’ll need to keep your dog’s size in mind so that you get one that fits them correctly. They're convenient to carry, have a useful handle at the top to bring your dog out of the water, and are also a fantastic aid for teaching your dog how to swim. When you’re done with the life jacket for the day they dry very quickly which means they can be packed into your bag again without getting everything else wet.
Raincoats are helpful when travelling no matter the season. A sudden shower can really ruin your dog’s day and it’ll be inconvenient when getting into a vehicle or entering an indoor space. Make sure you get a rain coat that fits your dog and consider using one with a fluorescent colour and material to ensure that they’re visible even in low-light conditions.
High Visibility Coats
And speaking of visibility, it may help to carry a high visibility dog coat with you on your travels. This is important for large crowds or when you plan to travel when the sun is down. Many high visibility coats are also waterproof, meaning they’ll keep your dog dry and comfortable during light showers. However, we’d still suggest getting a raincoat if you plan to travel during wetter months.
Travel Bottles and Bowls
Feeding your dog is much easier if you have travel bottles and bowls made specifically for the job. Travel bowls are typically made to be collapsible, meaning they are quick to set up and pack away. They’re made of a flexible nylon material that doesn’t leak, and they can also be easily cleaned to prevent bacteria build up. They can also be clipped to your clothes if you want a quick way to serve your dog their food and drink, and they can hold a surprising amount of liquid and food.
To conclude, travelling with a dog isn’t difficult and there are plenty of products to help make the job easier. However, when you travel via plane, there is more to think about and organise and it’s generally a good idea to be well prepared especially when it comes to the overall safety and comfort of your canine friend. Do plenty of research no matter how you plan to travel with your dog, and ensure that you have a backup plan for any situation. Having extra products on hand for backup is a good idea too.
If you’d like to learn more about our pet care tips, take a look at our knowledge centre for more posts. If you have any questions about the products we’ve covered, feel free to get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help you.