Once you’ve got your passport and visa (if you need it for entry) in hand, you’re set to travel to the country of your choice. But what if you want to bring your canine best friend along? Most dogs are great travel buddies, however many countries can make it tough to travel. Here’s how to find out if you can bring your dog along for an international trip and what to do if you can.
Know the requirements for your destination before you leave
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for traveling internationally with your pooch. The airline is only responsible for meeting their requirements for safe travel for your dog. Make sure you investigate the actual regulations in your country of destination, as customs laws can vary on a vast scale from country to country. Some countries have few requirements and others will not allow entrance of foreign dogs under any circumstances.
There might be a quarantine period
Many Western countries will allow dogs if you can show proof they are current on their rabies vaccination. Others may require a quarantine separating you from your dog for a period of time.
There may be a limit to the number of dogs you can travel with
Some countries have regulations for the number of dogs you can bring in with you, again don’t rely on the airlines to give you 100% up-to-date information for traveling with your pet. Pet Travel has a great list of pet travel regulations for over 240 countries they keep current.
Plan for after you land
You will need to confirm that any transportation you use is pet-friendly. Also call ahead and confirm with your hotel, or where you are staying is dog-friendly.
Go for comfort in your choice of dog carrier
When you’re buying a dog carrier, first make sure it meets the requirements of the airline (most have the criteria on their websites) and secondly, make sure it’s going to be comfortable for your dog. She is going to spend hours in the carrier and it should be roomy enough for your dog. If your dog hasn’t spent time in a carrier before, let him sniff it and investigate it. Then give him a treat once he enters it so he associates the carrier with good things. Remember you want travel to be enjoyable for your dog.
Special treatment for brachycephalic or short-nosed dogs
In July 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation released statistics that showed short-nosed breeds of dogs—such as pugs, Boston Terriers, boxers, some mastiffs, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Shih tzus and bulldogs—are more likely to die on airplanes than dogs with normal-length muzzles. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends the following tips:
- Keep your pet healthy and at a normal weight.
- Reduce stress by getting your dog used to his crate.
- Don’t put heavy blankets in the crate – your dog can bury his face in it and wind up in respiratory distress. A thin blanket or newspaper is best.
- If your dog is small enough, ask to have her with you under your seat instead of cargo.
- Pick your flight times carefully, during warmer times of the year try to fly in the early morning or at night. In the winter, try to fly at the warmer times of the day.
Those are just a few tips to make it easier to travel with your favorite furry buddy, what do you do to make flying with your dog easier?