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Traveling with a Small Dog

Travelling with pets and small dogs

 

When a pet owner travels, it always presents the gut wrenching dilemma of what to do with a loved pet. The proposition of leaving the pet behind in a kennel, asking a friend to “pet sit” or using those upscale doggie hotels that most of us don’t consider affordable – are not attractive options. Perhaps there’s another possibility. Consider taking the dog with you the next time to fly.

Plan Ahead

Being able to take a small dog in-cabin on a plane is a huge relief to many pet owners. Expect to have the best possible outcome if time is allotted to think ahead, make plans and take appropriate action. If a pet is to ride on the plane in-cabin, there are requirements to consider.

Carrier Requirements

The pet must be able to comfortably fit in a pet carrier that will fit beneath the seat in front of you on the plane. Generally, a pet more than 15 lbs. is too large to qualify. An appropriate carrier should be FAA approved and be no larger than 17” x 12” x 8”. Soft-sided carriers are preferable as they can be squished and made to fit into the available space. As long as the pet is comfortable, can re-position itself while enclosed in the case and can breathe properly, the pet carrier will be suitable for the pet as well as satisfactory from the airline’s point of view.

Tickets & Reservations

There will be two distinct steps in making the airline reservations if intending to fly in-cabin with a pet. For the owner and any other human travelers, booking a flight will involve the very same process that travelers are accustomed to. The traditional approach of calling the airline, going online to the airline’s website, using a travel agent or using one of the online based travel services to reserve and book your flight just as you normally would be step 1.
Now for Step 2: Buying a ticket for the Four-legged friend. Once a ticket is secured for the pet owner, using the reservation or confirmation number for the owner’s flight will make it possible to secure a companion ticket for the pet. By simply contacting the airline’s toll-free number, you can make additional flight arrangements for your pet. Please note, there are usually limitations on how many pets that will be allowed on any given flight. This limit not only includes pets flying in-cabin, but also service dogs for handicapped flyers. To ensure the pet gets in under the maximum number of pets allowed, it’s wise to make flight arrangements as far in advance as possible. A fee will be charged for the pet to travel in-cabin. The fee is waived for service or therapy dogs.

Packing for Pup

To be amply prepared for any outcome, items should be packed both for the flight as well as layover or wait times in the airport. In order to have everything you need for your pet – at the time it’s needed, it’s wise to pack items both in your check in luggage and in your carry-on. Among the general items, you’ll need to pack are:

  • at least one to two meals worth of food
  • favorite treats, chew toys and snacks
  • travel food and water bowls
  • leash and collar
  • dog tags, license and dated vaccination documents
  • portable dog bed
  • any medications or supplements
  • disposable dog waste sacks
  • water bottle (can be filled once you’re through security check in)

Last but certainly not least, once on the plane and settled, a few affectionate strokes might be just what’s needed to seal the deal.

How to Travel with Dogs in-Cabin

People who want to fly with their pets immediately think of their poor creature being sedated and then stowed away in cargo. Owners go to amazing lengths to give every measure of loving care and comfort to their pet. Plopping them in the back of the plane with the luggage and watching the carrier be banged around on the tarmac just doesn’t jive with the pampered view of pet care. Great News! If a fury friend is small enough, there’s a possibility that the pet can ride along with the owner in-cabin.

Eligibility to fly in-Cabin

Keep your dog safe when travellingMost airlines will allow small animals to ride in-cabin, given they meet certain requirements. Owners should shop for an airline that will allow pets in the cabin, and then ensure that the pet will be eligible. Pets weighing more than 15 lbs. may not be comfortable in a carrier that fits under the seat and will not meet airline requirements. Do research to find the dimensions that will fit under the seat to verify if the carrier and pet size will qualify.

Getting the Vet’s Stamp of Approval

Two things are required from the veterinarian: First, a general endorsement that your pet is fit to fly. Second, it may be required that the pet also have health certificate. Most airlines require a health certificate if the pet is riding in cargo, but not if they are riding in-cabin. The vet visit can meet both objectives, but there’s usually a limit on how old the certificate may be in order to be valid. It’s recommended that the certificate by dated between one and two weeks of your flight.

  • Buy Tickets/Reserve Space on the Plane
    Airlines limit the number of pets that are allowed on the plane. If verified “cabin pet friendly”, actions should be taken to quickly book the flight for both owner and pet at the same time.
  • Rules at International Destinations
    Some countries have strict laws around animal import and quarantines. Do research on regulations before bringing any animal to foreign destinations.
  • An Appropriate Carrier
    If the pet doesn’t already have a carrier, a shopping trip may be necessary. Soft sided carriers present fewer limitations as they can be squished to fit beneath the seat.
  • Getting Familiar with Carrier
    It would be ill advised to spring a new carrier on the pet the day of the scheduled flight. Stress will be alleviated by giving the critter time to get accustomed to the new travel home. Better yet, try a few short practices runs in the carrier.
  • Investigate Pet Facilities in Airport
    The trip will determine how dependent you may need to be on the airports pet facilities. Whether a long trip with extended layovers or a short trip where the pet can easily “hold it”, it’s wise to know what the options are in case they’re needed.

Packing List:

  • Vaccination records and necessary health information.
  • At least two meals worth of pet food.
  • An empty bottle for water (filled once past security checks).
  • A water bowl.
  • A collar and leash.
  • A favorite toy or something that smells like the owner.
  • Pet Treats.
  • Poop bags.
  • Wet wipes – just in case.
  • Anticipate the Pet Boarding Procedure

It’s wise to visualize the boarding procedure ahead of time. It will be an entirely different experience taking your furry friend on a flight than flying alone or with other humans. It might be a bit intimidating to handle all the usual security hurdles in addition to finagling an anxious pet.

Sedation and Tranquilizers

While debate still remains on sedating a dog for flight, both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the V.D.A. Animal Hospitals advise against it. Tranquilizers can increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems. Quite often, pets are noticeably anxious when the plane is on the runway or taxying. Once in the air, most pets settle and fall asleep. To comfort an anxious pet, reaching down inside their carrier to provide a gentle reassuring touch can provide the calming effect needed to get through short term nervousness.

5 Best Pet Carriers and Tips for Safer Airline Cargo Flights

Pets safeness cargo flights

Planning an airline trip with your dog or cat and don’t know where to begin? In recent years, traveling has changed on all fronts – for humans as well as their furry friends. Gone are the days when we quickly and easily packed for a trip with no regard for how many ounces were in our liquid containers. The same is true for the four-legged counterparts. They too now fly with many new concerns and limitations.

If a pet is too large to fit in-cabin, the only option becomes flying in back of the plane with the cargo. Be prepared to meet a host of limitations and hurdles in this process. Policies will range anywhere along a spectrum from no longer allowing pets to be transported with checked baggage, limitation of how many pet carriers are allowed during any given flight, types and breeds of dogs that are no longer accepted to fly at all and even regulations and limitations on the length of time pets will be allowed to fly. Before beginning your quest to find the best pet carrier, take care to do your homework on the airline you’re traveling with. Each airline has its own policies and restrictions. An owner is well advised to become acquainted with them.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) endorses the following five pet carriers for pets flying back in cargo. Designs are referred to as a sky kennels when they are created to comply with airline criteria. Be certain to check airline requirements. No pet carrier exactly fits requirements for all the airline companies.

1. Petmate Sky Kennel Airline Cargo Crate

This carrier comes in a variety of sizes and is USDA & IATA approved. It meets most airline requirements. It’s constructed of heavy-duty plastic; however, the nuts and bolts may have to be switched out with metal components. The crate comes with “Live Animal” stickers and clip on bowls as an added convenience.

2. Midwest Skudo Plastic Pet Carriers

This Skudo carrier has additional features that pet owners enjoy and claims to be as compliant as the other top pet carriers. Skudo has snap-lock buckles which make for easy assembly and casters can be added for convenience. This carrier is particularly compliant with Delta Airlines. It doesn’t rank as high in durability, but the ability to pull it on rollers may outweigh durability for some.

3. FavoriteR Airline Approved Pet Carrier

The FavoriteR Carrier meets U.S. and international standards and come with an IATA certification. It’s promoted as having easy assembly and wheels for convenience – but has no handles on top. It comes in several colors and sizes. It’s likely the most affordable carrier among this list.

4. Grreat Choice Dog Carrier

The Grreat Choice pet carrier is compliant with USDA and IATA requirements and is made specifically for PetSMart. It has durable construction, promises an assembly time of mere minutes and guarantees no tools required. It offers safety door locks and a carrying handle with ventilation on four sides.

5. Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel

The Aspenpet Cargo Kennel is much like the first carrier in this list as its plastic wing nuts may need to be replaced by metal ones if necessary. It is vented on three sides, and is made of a light-weight durable plastic should additional holes need to be drilled on the back. It comes with “Live Animal” stickers and is available in a large size to accommodate bigger dogs.

Useful Petmate Travel Dishes

Petmate travel bowl duo

 

Whether a pet owner is the type who takes their pet along with them in every possible scenario or the type of owner who only occasionally elects to bring Fido along, at some point both of these owners will need a means to provide food and drink…and of course the occasional opportunity to relieve the bladder and/or “do their business”. A great many gizmo’s and options of pet travel tools are available to inspect at any neighborhood pet store. For the purposes of today’s discussion, the special attributes and features of the Petmate brand travel dishes will be the central topic.

Practical Design of the Petmate Duo

There is a myriad of features that make this Petmate bowl attractive to any owner. Nothing has been spared to consider all practical aspects and every issue involved in feeding and watering a pet on the go. The travel bowl duo consists of two silicon collapsible bowls that neatly fit into a black twill container that can be fastened with Velcro. There are many positive aspects to this design. The bowl structure makes it stable, as to resist spills and tipping. The silicon material will not scratch flooring surfaces as might be the case with other bowl materials, the apparatus folds in on itself and is conveniently self-contained. As if that weren’t enough, the case is designed with twill loop on the rim of the container. The genius of this design gives the pet owner the convenience of hooking the traveling food bowl on to other objects. With the simple addition of a carabiner clip, the traveling food bowl duo can be clipped on to your purse, backpack or luggage.

Varied Sizes to fit Your Pet

The Petmate Travel Bowl Duo is not a “one size fits all” proposition. Instead, the buyer has a choice between a small or large duo. The small Petmate duo holds 1.5 cups in each of the two, collapsible bowls. The large Duo has an increased capacity of 3 cups in each bowl. Given these two options, there isn’t any size or variety of dog whose food and water needs can’t be met within these two options.

Cleaning & Storing the Duo

The Duo traveling bowl can be easily washed by hand or in the dishwasher. As is true with many silicon products, the silicon does not become completely dry in the dishwasher drying cycle. While this can be seen as a downside, it takes only moments to dry the remaining moisture with a cloth and the offsets that are achieved by using silicon far outweigh the small inconvenience of either allowing more drying time or drying it by hand. The collapsible design and lightweight small package make the Petmate Traveling food bowl storage worry free. The folded contraption can literally be stored anywhere, and the twill loop only adds options for places where the pet owner might hang it.

Catching a Wave with Your Dog

waves, dogs and you

Dogs love to run and play, including on the beach. However, there are some tips to follow, especially to keep dogs safe. Be sure to know whether or not to have a pet on a leash, times they are allowed on the beach and if there are permits needed.

Pet-Friendly Beaches

Knowing where to take the family, including the dogs, before going, will keep frustrations down.

Wyoming – Morad Park allows dogs to run completely free and swim through the North Platte River.

WisconsinPleasant Prairie Dog Swim at Prairie Springs Park offers a designated water park for dogs along the north shore.

Washington has 40 different beaches that dogs may vacation with the family. However, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park is an entirely off the leash park that allows dogs to swim freely.

UtahWillow Creek Park, Dog Park- This park has a floating deck strictly for dogs to enjoy the water.

Texas – Katy Dog Park was made specifically with dogs in mind. This unique park has dog streams, showers and fountains for pets. There are areas specifically for large and small dogs.

Tennessee provides a dedicated pet-friendly park that allows large and small dogs to run, play and swim safely. Located in Knoxville, PetSafe Dog Park at Tommy Schumpert Park, has something for everyone.

South Carolina has over 15 dog-friendly parks and beach destinations. However, Sullivan’s Island allows pets on the beach off the leash during certain times of the day. Be sure to get a permit for the animal or else they are not allowed.

Oregon offers a lot to the family of pets. With over 20 parks and beaches to choose from, the family dog will have a good time running along the shoreline. However, an off the leash park is hard to come by. One of the few in this state is the Sandy River Delta Trailhead.

Tips for Safety at the Beach

  • Going into the water is fun, however, putting a life vest on the pet, can save its life.
  • Do not let the pets drink salt water. Keep a fresh water supply on hand.
  • Cold water should never be drunk by dogs. Keep it lukewarm to keep digestive problems down.
  • Sunscreen should be applied to nose and ears.
  • Swimming in calm waters keeps dogs out of trouble.

Bring the following to the beach

  • Dog food and water
  • Frisbee
  • Umbrella
  • Towels
  • First aid kit

Do not forget to bring bags to collect feces in once the dog has used the restroom. Be sure to have a dog collar with ID tag on at all times.

Caution

Remember, not all dogs can naturally swim. Swimming is a talent that is learned and honed with practice. Before going to the beach, teach every dog how to paddle and to be comfortable in deep waters. Breeds that cannot swim: Shih-Tzus, Daschunds, English and French Bulldogs, Terriers and Pugs.

Dogs have skin issues just as humans do. Therefore, know what causes allergic reactions and how to treat it immediately. Dogs that have terrible allergies: American Hairless Terrier, Chinese Crested, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese and Poodle. Make sure that all dogs are thoroughly washed once done playing on the beach.

Getting to the Destination Safely

safe to fly, safe for pet

Leaving an animal alone in a house while the family takes a vacation, could be atrocious. However, taking the animal along can also bring up safety hazards. Therefore, preparing the car and pet for the journey, will ensure safety for all within the car.

Things to Pack in the Car

A person would not forget to pack their toothbrush; the same should go for the essentials for pets. As a general rule, bring the following:

Dog food should be inside a safe travel container. The Container Store offers the Pet Travel-Tainer. Have water readily available. Petsmart offers the e.g. Top Paw Travel Pet Water Bottle in 11 and 22-ounce selections.

Toys are a comfort and time-consuming activity for the pet. Make sure to pack multiple toys to keep the dog happy.

Line the area in which the pet will be traveling in. Chewy.com offers the K&H Pet Products Economy Cargo Cover for Sports Utility Vehicles.

If the pet is going to be riding in the backseat so that luggage can go in the backend, using something similar to a car seat saver, will keep seats from pet hair.

Have a blanket that the animal enjoys as well, to make the ride seem more like home.

Safety Restraints

Loose objects in a car become projectiles when the breaks must be pressed quickly. If the animal is not inside of a carrier, then they need to have a seatbelt or harness on, to properly guard them.

Seat-belts – Using a harness and the car’s seat-belt system, can keep any size dog from going through the window, thrashing about or moving freely. Clickit Utility has been crash-tested and proven to be top of the line of harnesses. However, the best option to get the family pet safely to the destination is a crate.

Safety Tips and Tricks

  • Do not let the pet roam around in the car.
  • The front seat is for humans only.
  • All hands, feet, tails and heads must be inside of the car at all times.
  • Take multiple rest stops. The general rule is that a rest stop is needed, every two hours.
  • Never leave the pet alone in a car. The temperature inside of a vehicle rises quickly. High temperatures can cause dehydration, heatstroke and death.
  • Be prepared for motion sickness and other illnesses along the way.
  • Talk to the veterinarian before leaving; they can assist with preparing a first aid kit with needed medicines.

Take a few test drives before the long haul. The first test should be no more than thirty minutes long. While on the test drive, watch the pets’ behavior, this will be the first line of defense for sickness, anxiety and hyperactivity.

Remember, when traveling, the important thing is to get there safely. Being prepared for the worst can give the pet owner, peace of mind. Plan out what to bring on the trip and recheck to make sure everything is packed the day of the trip.

Treating Travel Anxiety and Car Sickness in Dogs

car sickness and travel anxiety

Traveling has been known to make many people sick; dogs are no different. Anxiety and carsickness happen when the dog is not familiar with their surroundings. Anxiety and carsickness can cause trauma to the family pet if not watched and treated immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety and Carsickness

Knowing how the dog acts, can help its owner realize that something is wrong with them. Watch the dog for any of the following symptoms when traveling:

  • Uncontrollable urination or diarrhea
  • Becomes lethargic or seems to have no ability to move
  • Drooling more than normal
  • Dry heaving or vomiting
  • Pacing and whining
  • Becomes agitated
  • Panting uncontrollably
  • Trembling, even when talked to
  • Tail tucked beneath legs
  • Biting on their legs or tail
  • Out of control behavior

Stop the vehicle as soon as possible after these signs and symptoms start to happen. Making the animal ride for longer than needed will result in a worsening of conditions.

Preventing Anxiety and Carsickness

Training a dog is vital to keeping anxiety and carsickness away. Starting with small steps, teach the animal to enjoy the car ride. The first thing to do is, start by letting the dog roam the car while it is parked. Let the dog freely sniff and search in the back seat or the back end, this will allow for getting acclimated. Do not forget to praise the dog, this allows them to know how well they are doing. Reinforcing good behavior while sitting in the car with a treat, will help the dog realize they are doing a good thing.

After the dog has gotten used to the car, bring in a towel, bowl of food and water as well as the dog’s favorite chew toy. Bringing these items will make the dog feel safe whenever trips are taken. Once all of those items are in the car, put a dog harness on with the seat belt and go for a short drive. The first trip should be somewhere the dog can run afterward.

Backup Plan

Unfortunately, there are times when calming down the pet is hard to without some assistance. The best method to try first is the homeopathic path. Using lavender oil has a calming effect that is used on babies to make them sleep. Rubbing lavender oil on the forehead area lightly while talking to the dog calms them down quickly. More information about homeopathic remedies is located at Dog Naturally. While medicine is highly discouraged, it could be the only route left to take. Speak with a veterinarian about the way the dog acts and the options that can be taken to keep anxiety and carsickness at bay.

Remember, making the animal get into the car without letting them explore can cause problems with their system, causing sickness. Be patient with the dog and treat them as if they are a child, praising them for good behavior. Do not forget to bring along things from home to comfort them.

Parks that Dogs Enjoy

dogs in parks

Being one with nature is animal instinct for dogs. They enjoy roaming about and sniffing around to see what is out there. When booking a family vacation with the dogs, think about taking a walk through the national parks.

A Few Parks Throughout the United States

Alabama – Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
Follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. through the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. The trail is open 24 hours a day to visitors with starting points in Selma, Lowndes County and the City of Montgomery. Pets are not allowed in visitor centers or museums, however, along the trail, they must be on a leash at all times.

Colorado – Dinosaur National Monument
Walk where the dinosaurs once roamed, enjoy a thrilling ride along the Yampa River or enjoy a night camping out at Green River. While the monument is open 24 hours a day, heed all park alerts when visiting, some roads may be closed due to inclement weather. Pets are only allowed on the trails of Cold Desert, Plug Hat, Iron Springs Bench Overlook and Echo Park, as long as they are on a leash.

Georgia – Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
The beautiful Chattahoochee River is a site for everyone to see. The park is open 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. Those wanting to see the Island Ford Visitor Contact Station will need to go between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pets are allowed only on the trails while on a short leash.

Louisiana – Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Nothing compares to walking along a battlefield trail in the South. There are six different locations to choose from. However, pets must be attended to at all times. Unfortunately, they are not allowed at the French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans.

Pennsylvania – Independence National Historical Park
Enjoying the day filled with historical sites and lots of walking space for dogs. Most buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dogs must be on a leash and are not permitted inside of buildings.

Texas – Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
The United States’ 36th President wanted to make sure that his history was offered to all that wished to know about him. Pet access is very limited, however where they are allowed, they must be on a leash and must be kept away from the buildings in the park.

Virginia – Historic Jamestowne, Colonial National Historical Park
Step inside the national park where John Smith and Pocahontas brought together two different cultures. Pets may visit any place except for the visitor center and the museums as long as they are on a leash.

Nature’s beauty can be seen throughout the United States and most of it, accepts pets. For a complete listing of all parks, visit the National Park Service. Remember, follow all rules and regulations so that no fines are imposed. Lastly, if permits are required, please get them before traversing inside the parks.

Airlines Care about Your Pets

doginmysuitcase flight with pets

Summers can be brutal in many areas, especially in the South. Most airline carriers have taken part in keeping pets safe by implementing pet-safe programs. For example, American Airlines imposes an embargo at 85 degrees Fahrenheit if the animal is checked in or shipped as cargo. Another carrier, Delta Air, provides a Summer Live Animal Program that picks up animals by vans and delivers the animal to the destination area. Airlines impose these embargoes to keep from dehydration, heatstroke and death.

United States Airline Information

Knowing the rules and regulations of an airline carrier can help with planning a trip. Nonetheless, knowing that the airline will keep the family pet safe is the most important thing.

Air Canada – They have restrictions on breeds, when animals can fly and how to ship through cargo.

ExpressJet Airlines- They do not impose an embargo on what animals may fly but they do have strict limits on how many live animals may be shipped as cargo.

Frontier Airlines- This company no longer allows pets to fly as checked baggage or cargo.
US Airways- This company does not allow cargo or check-in pets.

Symptoms and Signs of Heatstroke and Dehydration

The importance of embargoes during summer and extreme winter temperatures are there to keep animals safe. However, even with precautions, things do happen.

Heatstroke

  • Panting excessively
  • Tongue is unusually bright red
  • Heart rate is increased- Normal range is between 60 and 140 beats per minute
  • Breathing heavily
  • Thick saliva or vomiting
  • Expression is anxious or panicked
  • Disorientation

Dehydration

  • Excessive urination
  • Very little urination is also a sign
  • Sticky dry gums
  • Skin elasticity- the skin should bounce back to normal, if it does not and sticks up or does not move, then the fluid is too low in the dog’s body
  • Eyes are sunken in
  • LethargicIn

In the Event of Heatstroke and Dehydration

Although most know not to leave any animal in the car or closed spaces during high temperatures, sometimes it is forgotten. Therefore, getting the pet out of sunlight or a hot area, is the first step in cooling the animal down. Cool cloths should be placed upon the head and in the front of the neck immediately to bring the animals’ temperature down. Leave the eyes, nose and mouth area open so that the animal does not panic and can breathe. Keep water running onto the belly of the animal, this will help in cooling down the internal organs. As soon as the pet is cooled off enough that their breathing is not erratic, take them to the veterinarian.Summer’s high heat can cause dehydration quickly. Make sure the animal has fresh, clean water at all times and clean the water bowl daily, so bacteria are not an issue. Do not exercise with the animal in extreme heat of 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. When trying to re-hydrate, use Pedialyte mixed with water to provide nutrients lost. Keep the animal in a cool place while transporting to the veterinarian.

Top Tips for Traveling on an Airplane

pet top tips for trips

Traveling can be hard at times, especially if bringing a pet along for the trip. However, planning for the trip can enable smooth sailing along the way. Never leave the house without planning in-depth, how every person including pets will be getting to the final destination.

Tips for Planning the Trip