By Anysha Roberts
Traveling with your dog – whether you’re taking your pet with you on vacation or planning a move – is a specialized process. In some cases, you may be reliant on a professional pet shipper to help you get your canine companion from Point A to Point B safely. Pet shippers can manage the logistics to ensure your pup has the correct size travel crate, that is well ventilated, etc. but they cannot control your dog’s stress level during their journey. That’s where you, as the dog parent, can help!
Dogs are vocal, sociable animals and expressive of their emotions. They also are very reliant on their owners’ emotions. The less stress you show before and during travel, the better for your dog! To ensure your dog has a stress-free experience, here are our top tips when traveling with your four-legged family member.
Crate training is a critical process for ensuring that dogs are comfortable and feel secure. Help your dog discover the crate by keeping the door open with a few comfort items or treats inside. When your dog is comfortable inside the crate, drive them around your neighborhood a few times. Once your pup is settled and relaxed, try a longer road trip on the highway with faster speeds, which mimic the sounds of an airplane. This is just another trick if you are planning to fly with your pet.
Adding a blanket or t-shirt that smells like home into your dog’s crate provides them with a sense of familiarity that will alleviate stress during a long trip. Use them during your crate training and when it’s time to travel, the smell of home inside the crate will comfort your dog.
Giving your four-legged friend an herbal product, such as Calmeze, can keep your dog calm during travel. Herbal products naturally “take the edge off” and come in palatable tablets, in flavors like beef, that makes it an excellent option to have on hand in preparation for travel. Herbal remedies can be administered a week before travel. Just keep in mind that while herbal remedies can be given to your pet, you never want to administer a medicated tranquilizer.
If you are moving, keep things as normal as possible for your canine companion. Dogs can pick up on changes around the house and packing up your home can cause them stress. Consider asking a family member, friend, or boarding kennel to watch your dog while you are preparing for a move. If you choose to board your dog, professional pet shippers recommend acquiring a training travel kennel a few weeks before boarding to help your dog become accustomed to being confined.
Dogs should only be fed six hours before travel with food that is easily digestible, like rice and chicken, which is light and doesn’t produce much waste. Keep in mind that dogs can go extended periods without food, so don’t worry about limiting their food intake before a trip. Typically, a change in their routine means they will have a limited appetite anyway.
You also want to allow your furry companion water up until the time of travel. Make sure that you have a properly sized water bowl safely attached inside your dog’s crate and topped at least three-fourths of the way up, so they have access to water throughout the trip.
Keep Your Routine
Dogs love their routine and need it for reassurance, so don’t change your schedule trying to hide your upcoming trip. Make sure your pet still has access to all their toys and comfort items for as long as possible and keep them in the same areas while showing them continuous love and care. Routine provides a sense of stability for the whole family, dogs included!
By following some of these simple tips and tricks, you and your furry family member will be able to sit back and enjoy your travel experience.