Traveling with your pet actually holds many benefits for both you and your pooch. Not only is it cheaper to bring a pet than higher a pet sitter, but it’s less stressful on your dog. I have an 8 year old American Eskimo mix named Trixie that my family and I adore. We used to hire a pet sitter for her when we went out of town, but this was very expensive and she got anxious and nervous without us. We brought Trixie along with us for the first time for a trip from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale for Christmas last year. It was very easy and we are never going to leave her behind again.
We gave her a mild sedative with breakfast before we left for the airport and she was half asleep by the time we got to the airport. Her travel carrier had to go through the X-ray machine and I carried her as I went through the metal detector. She fell asleep as we boarded the plane and we didn’t hear a peep out of her until we landed in Orlando. We took her for a quick walk between gates before placing her back in her carrier for the brief flight down to Ft. Lauderdale. Once we landed in Ft. Lauderdale, there were designated areas outside for pets to do their business. I walked her around outside without any problems while waiting for our bags to come out from baggage claim. Her sedation wore off within an hour of arriving at the house. We also had no problems on the flight back as well. We had a layover in Tampa before continuing to Chicago and she slept through both flights.
Traveling with your dog is cost effective and really isn’t a hassle. It was so easy to bring Trixie with us that we booked her a ticket for our upcoming trips. Here are a few tips I can provide you to make sure your trips with your pet go just as smoothly as ours did:
Before you Fly
- Meet with your veterinarian – You need to get paperwork signed by your vet showing that your dog is healthy to fly. Your vet will also talk to you about giving your dog a sedative. We chose to give Trixie the sedative because she is an active dog, but others might not need it.
- Choose a carrier – We brought Trixie with us to our local Petsmart and made sure she was comfortable in the carrier before purchasing it. It’s also important to give the dog a little extra room so they can stretch out. There are several different carriers that meet FAA standards and fit below the seat in front of you.
- Consider the size of your dog – Larger dogs are forced to travel in the cargo section of the plane. Check with the airline before you book your pet a ticket to make sure you know where they will be traveling. While dogs travel in the cargo section every day, I can understand why some people might be uncomfortable with this.
- Make sure it is appropriate to bring your dog with you – Make sure your hotel or resort allows pets. Also, make sure your dog won’t monopolize your vacation time. If you will be exploring a city and will need to leave the dog at home or at the hotel all day, it might not be appropriate to bring them. You don’t want to have to worry about checking up on the dog if it intrudes on your vacation and activities.
- Follow international regulations for traveling with pets – Make sure you can bring your dog into the country you are traveling to. It’s also important to make sure that your dog meets all requirements for coming back into your country of origin.
The Day of the Flight
- Pack a toy or two for the dog to play with
- Bring food and a small disposable bowl for water.
- Bring an extra dose of sedative in case you encounter any delays or flight cancellations
If the dog will not intrude on your vacation, it is a great idea to bring your pooch with you. It will be less stressful on them and yourself. You won’t have to worry about the dog being at home with a pet sitter when they are sitting in your lap by the pool with you!