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Tips on Traveling With a Puppy

Pet parents know that traveling with a puppy brings new meaning to “always be prepared.” Knowing what to bring and how to manage your pup before, during, and after will make the trip more enjoyable for you, your puppy, and everyone else around you.

  • Planes, trains, automobiles (and subways, too)

Be aware that puppies are not allowed on all modes of transportation, so do your research ahead of time. If you plan to fly, only some airlines will accept animals and others allow a “pet in-cabin” only from six months of age and older. Animals must always be in an approved carrier that fits underneath your seat, and you must notify and pay any airline fee in advance.

Trains and public transportation will generally allow pets on board, with the same expectation they remain in a carrier at all times. Even the New York City subway system allows pets as long as they fit in a carrier and “do not create a nuisance” for other passengers, inspiring all sorts of creativity(Twitter credit@meanboysclub)

Car trips are more popular than ever these days and more straightforward for pet parents. But even for shorter trips, your pet needs to be safe. You can place the animal in a carrier or crate, add a divider between the backseat, or get a harness that clips to a seatbelt so they’re secure and comfortable. Remember that many rental cars and car share agencies frown on pets; bringing them along can attract a fine.

  • What to bring

Traveling with a fur baby means having everything you need—and easily accessible. A travel bag for your pup should include food and water with a travel bowl, some favorite toys and treats, a leash, and pee pads if your pup is still being housetrained. Be sure to include poop bags and some paper towels for minor accidents or potty breaks in places that may not be ideal. 

Related: All About New Puppy Safety

  • Before, during, and after

Plan a trip with your dog’s comfort, safety, and happiness in mind. Getting there is only half the journey—remember there’s the return trip as well. We’ve got a few other tips and tricks to be sure everyone not only arrives in good shape but still enjoys the ride.

  • Some dogs get motion sick, so try a few shorter trips and build up the time in a car. 
  • Be sure to give your pup plenty of exercise before you go so they are tired out.
  • Schedule stops for potty breaks, stretching legs, and playtime to burn off energy, and take them out immediately upon arrival.
  • If your pup has not completed vaccinations, take them out only in areas that are not frequented by other dogs.
  • Feed your pup at least three hours before the trip and make sure they eliminate before you get going. Try not to feed them during the trip, if possible.
  • Treats can keep your dog happy and relaxed, but be mindful in a moving car as your pup could choke when you’re unable to assist.
  • Monitor their temperature to keep them comfortable.
  • Dogs can easily get overheated, so keep the air conditioning on or the vehicle well-ventilated. Do not leave a pet alone in the car, even with the windows cracked.
  • When opening the car windows in a moving vehicle, pay careful attention to adjusting the opening to the right-sized gap.
  • Don’t allow a puppy to sit on your lap while driving.
  • Temperatures on an airplane are unpredictable, so be prepared to keep them both cool and warm.
  • Use the opportunity to socialize your puppy with other passengers and people and expose them to new experiences.

Traveling with your puppy can be a fun and exciting experience for you both. With the right planning and preparation, everyone will arrive safe and more importantly, sound.

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