We’re going to talk about what you need to do to prepare for your trip during your flight as well as when you get to your destination.
When traveling with the dog, you need to take care of all the travel documents, medications, specific breeds that are allowed to travel, dog-friendly taxi services and restaurants in the visiting country. All these factors if taken care of, help a lot during your travel with the dog.
So this is all about traveling with your pup because it’s one of the best experiences. It’s such a different way of traveling and it’s so rewarding.
A lot of people have dogs as other than kids, right? Their dogs are their kids and they also want to travel the world. And don’t want to leave their little babies at home.
I am going to break this article up into three sections.
- One, prepping for your trip.
- Two, flying with your pet.
- And three, what to do with your pet, your dog, once you get to your destination.
#1 Prep work
In this section, I cover everything you need to do before you board that flight. Prep, the prep is key because there’s a lot that you have to do before you travel with your dog.
- Vaccinations: You have to make sure your pup is up to date with his or her vaccinations. Specifically rabies is really important.
- Microchip: As well as having a microchip. Your dog has to have a microchip.
- Health Certificate: Another thing you have to do is visit a vet and get a health certificate for your dog ahead of time. And this has to be done within a certain time frame and it depends on the country. So you want to make sure you research this.
For some countries, it’s within 30 days. Others is 15 or even 10 days. You have to get the health certificate.
And this health certificate basically says your dog is good to travel, up to date with their vaccines, rabies, micro-chipped, everything that you need.
The prep work also includes teaching proper behavior to your dogs including the jumping on strangers.
#1.1 Important Points About Health Certificate
You have to carry this document with you because they will ask for it upon arrival at your destination. Another thing about this certificate is it’s only good for a certain time frame.
So every time you travel, you have to get a new one. And if you’re traveling within a country for a long period of time.
Let’s say Switzerland and you’re there for a month, you might have to actually visit a vet there to get another certification before you come home.
The vet check-up is super fast, super easy. It will take 10 minutes.
#2 Flying With Your Pet
In this section, I discuss what all matters when flying with your pet in an airline.
#2.1 You May Have to Leave The Pet
Before you decide on traveling anywhere with your pup, you’ll want to check the rules of that country when it comes to traveling with your dog.
Some countries require your pup to be quarantined before you can travel with them. There are countries where you have to leave your dog for up to a month with them, even if the dog’s up to date with his/her vaccines.
Personally, I would not want to do that unless I was moving permanently into a country. But if you’re just traveling for a little bit of a long period of time.
That’s something you want to consider. If you’re traveling to a certain country and your dog’s quarantined, its something that you’re going to want to know ahead of time.
#2.2 Size And Weight Matters
If you plan to travel with your dog in flight as you carry on, then they have to be a specific size and weight. Some airlines require them to be no more than 20 pounds. And that includes the carry on case that you’re bringing them in.
Some other airlines could have a higher or lesser threshold for the weight. So it’s something you definitely have to look into.
And as I said, your dog is your carry on. So you can’t bring in another piece of luggage that you would typically bring if you were packing just a carry on suitcase. Your dog is now your carry on so consider that as well.
If your dog does not fit the weight requirement, then you are going to have to check them into cargo which means they are going to be put into a crate and put under the plane where the luggage area is.
When you are choosing the right pet carrier you want to make sure it is certified for flying with your pet. You’ll see like a little airline tag on it that lets you know that has the right specs for your pet and for the airlines.
When you are flying with your dog, there are additional fees that you have to pay unless your dog is a service animal. And in that case, you don’t have to pay fees and your dog can be any size. It can be the size of a chihuahua or a Great Dane.
Although I heard that they are cracking down on that a bit for certain airlines. Again that’s something to check into.
#2.3 Dog’s Breed Matters
Also, certain breeds are not allowed to fly. They’re like bulldogs, different terriers, pit bulls, rottweilers.
So if you have one of those dogs, a lot of the airlines will not let you fly with them. Once you book your flight, you should call the airline and tell them that you’re traveling with your dog.
This is because they only allow a certain amount of pets on board and you want yours to be one of them.
For a complete list of dog breeds, head over to Wikipedia.
#2.4 You Will Want to Choose Your Seat
Also, you won’t be able to sit in certain seats on the airplane like the emergency exit
But another thing about having a service dog is your dog can sit with you in the seat rather than being in their carry on case underneath the seat in front of you.
This leads me to this point. Your dog has to be in their carry on the case when you get to the airport. Until you get to security you would take them out. But for the rest of the experience, and as well as in-flight, they have to stay in their carry on the case the entire time.
You’ll want to board early if possible because once you get in-flight you want to be the first one in your row. So you can put your little puppy underneath your seat before other people use that area for their bag so you know you have enough room for your little guy.
#2.5 Layovers Can Actually Help
If this is your dog’s first time flying, I would recommend taking a flight that has layovers. That way you’re getting breaks in between and it just gives them a time to relieve themselves. Kind of relax a little bit because they can be quite anxious their first time. And it’s just a way to ease that.
You’re going to want your dog out before the flight. Get them really tired. It eases their anxiety. It relaxes them more. And they might even sleep their way through the flight.
Call the airlines ahead of time or research online to see if the airport that you are going to be flying to, if you have a layover let’s say.
#2.6 Boarding At The Airport
Check if the airport you’re departing from has a dog relief station. A lot of airports have these. Allow the dog to go out and go pee, do their business, do their poop. Whatever they have to do before the flight.
You’ll want to get to the airport 30 minutes earlier than you typically would. Because you’ll want to talk to the airline you’re flying with, to make sure they know that you are traveling with your dog.
Which you would’ve anyways told them ahead of time. Again talk to them at the airport, just to make sure and they’ll want to weigh your dog and the carry on bag.
#2.7 The Flight Experience
In this section, I shall cover everything you want to know about flying with your dog. All right you have done plenty of research. You have everything you need. You’re on your flight, you’re with your pup.
This is what you’re gonna need. You want to have with you something like carrots or a hard treat that your dog can chew on. Specifically, when you are ascending or descending, chewing can help them equalize and also pop their ears. So they don’t have any issues.
I also like to bring pee pads and even fake grass if your dog is used to pee outside. If you have a long flight then you would want to make them use the toilet.
What I did was I just took my dog to the handicap washroom on the airplane which was a bigger washroom. I put the pee pad down and let him use it if he needed it.
The thing with him was he was a little anxious. It was his first and only flight so far. So he did not pee until we got to our destination which was like seven hours later.
But we now know for next time to bring the fake grass because we did not at the time. We had gone to Portugal. And he’s used to going on it now so he’ll more likely use it if he really does need it.
I was told by a vet that it’s not good to sedate your dogs which really makes sense to me because it doesn’t last long.
So if you have a long flight, it’s going to wear off pretty fast and it’s actually going to leave your dog more anxious than beforehand. So I would try and just go natural if possible.
Do other things like working them out ahead of time. Bring a favorite treat. You can even bring a piece of your clothing that has your smell on it and put it in their carry on.
And it will just help them to be a little bit more relaxed throughout the flight.
#3 Once You Get to Your Destination
#3.1 About Fees
When you get to the country you’re traveling to, you’ll have to pay a fee. When we went to Portugal, we had to go into this special room with a veterinarian who again checked our dog. He checked all of his paperwork. And then we had to pay her 50 euros in order to let him pass through the doors into Portugal.
When you’re filling out customs forms on your way back home, there is a section where it says are you bringing in any livestock.
We’re so used to saying no that we actually clicked that box. The dog is considered as livestock. So you want to make sure that you click that box because it can cause you some trouble.
#3.2 About Food
You will want to bring food with you. In most countries, you can get dog food when you get there. But it’s good to have enough food and even more so on the flight in case you have a layover and also you want to feed your dog.
We also brought one of the portable water bottles that you can make smaller and then pop the bottle out for our dog to make sure that he stayed hydrated.
And speaking of food, you want to avoid giving your dog a full meal right before the flight. About a couple hours before as well as after because it changes up their metabolism and it can make them sick.
#3.3 What to Do Once You’ve Landed
When you get to your destination, it’s time to travel, it’s time to have fun. This is the best part. And traveling with your dog is a whole different way of seeing a country. It leads you to different places you might not have thought of ahead of time.
It really connects you with the locals because everyone wants to pet your dog. It’s a great way to connect with people. There will be times when you may want to visit a place within the country you’re visiting that doesn’t allow pets. And in that case, there’s an amazing app called Rover. Download it right now.
If you have a pet, download it. It’s basically like a babysitter/Airbnb for your pet. It costs a fee and every person is different so you can find something within your budget.
Since you are traveling to another country, it is essential to fully potty train your dog beforehand.
#3.4 Consider Getting A Rental Car
The best option when exploring a place is to get a rental car, especially when you’re traveling with a dog. You want to make sure ahead of time that the rental car company allows you to have a dog. So again a lot of preparation ahead of time is important when traveling with a pet, traveling with a dog.
We traveled through Portugal with our dog in our rental car and got to see so many different places because we had a rental car. Public transportation in different countries varies a lot if you’re allowed to bring pets also varies.
So you’ll want to make sure that you research it ahead of time as well. If you’re planning to take a taxi or an Uber from the airport to your hotel, then you’re going to also make sure that they allow dogs.
Learn More With the Help of Video
Speaking of accommodations, Airbnbs are the way to go when traveling with a dog. You’re gonna want to choose an Airbnb that allows dogs. And some hotels also allow dogs where others don’t. It’s harder to find dog-friendly hotels rather than just hitting up an Airbnb that allows pets.
Seeing the world with your doggy best friend is one of the best experiences and I’d say if you’re thinking about it, do it. Because it’s very rewarding.