Is going abroad on the bucket list? Afraid to leave your best, four legged companion behind? With the dawn of the 21st century, traveling is easier, information more accessible and forums for advice abound. All it takes is some pre-planning to get the dog’s medical “ducks in a row” and it is off to whichever direction the wind is blowing.
1. Bring Your Medical Records
One of the biggest frustrations (yet the easiest to cross off the list) is ensuring the dog has all necessary vaccinations and is physically fit before departure. Every country has its own set of rules as to what vaccines are necessary, click HERE for the most up to date travel requirements. Most countries will require vaccination and medical documents within a week of travel. Create a doggy “passport” out of the veterinarian reports, vaccination records, a picture of the dog and contact information for the owner. Having these ready to hand over to anyone who asks will decrease headaches at customs.
2. Research Transportation
If flying with your dog, each airline has specific guidelines for pet travel. Most airlines that allow dogs in the cabin with their human will only permit one or two per flight. Call the reservation desk ahead of time to “reserve” a spot for the dog, BEFORE buying a ticket. Purchase a collapsible dog carrier that can fit under the seat so that the dog can have a place to lie down.
If stowing the dog in the cargo bay, make sure the carrier is large enough for the dog to stand and turn comfortably. Most airlines will refuse to transport the dog if it can’t move comfortably in the crate. There should be a luggage tag on the carrier handle which clearly states the dog’s name, the owner’s name and contact information, and an emergency contact, just in case. Having current photos on of the dog on hand will help if the dog gets lost. A photo will be more accommodating to airport officials than a haphazard description given by a distraught owner.
3. Plan For Exercise
No matter what breed the dog is, they are bound to get antsy during a long, boring flight. Before heading to the airport, try to get in a good work out. This will decrease some of the stress level and shake out some of their sillies before being stuck for X amount of hours. It’s always best to book a direct flight whenever possible, but if a layover is inevitable, ask airport personnel where to walk the dog. Try and get another mini work out in between flights.
International pet travel sounds more tedious than it really is. There are tons of pet friendly destinations around the globe, why not check them out with a four legged companion.