When travelling with your dog it is important to consider your journey for example the time it will take, the methods you are using and what is needed to travel.
In the Car
If you are travelling by car you must abide by the law of the country and consider how to protect the whole family. In the UK the highway code clearly advises that pets should be suitably restrained when travelling by car:
When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.
It is important to restrain a pet while travelling by car as it is not only dangerous for the animal in an emergency but can cause distraction to the driver by running loose in the vehicle.
Crates or pet carriers and a good way of preventing the dog from running loose inside the car, these should be secured inside the vehicle in case of an emergency. If you dog is in the back of the vehicle it is important to use a guard or barrier, this is not only to prevent the dog hitting you in and emergency but to prevent themselves being thrown from the vehicle causing serious harm.
There are also many specially adapted seat belt which allow a dog to sit in a seat while being buckled in, these usually attached to a harness so that in a collision the dog is held by their chest rather than their neck, these should be short in order to prevent dogs from getting out of windows or running around. It is also advised that dogs should not travel in the front passenger seat to avoid distraction the driver.
On the Train or Tram
Most train services allow pets to travel however it is still important to check before you travel just in case. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times unless they are in a pet carrier, they may usually travel free of charge but again check this before travelling.
Dogs both in and outside carriers must not occupy seats, otherwise a charge may incur. They are also not allowed in food cars except for blind dogs or hearing dogs, of course this is at the steward discretion as there may not be enough room to accommodate, in this case they will do everything possible to serve food at your seat.
Your dog must be kept under control as, by law, the train company can refuse carriage or entry to any animal, if it causes a nuisance or inconvenience to other passengers.
Many bus services and taxies allow dogs to travel providing they are suitably restrained and well behaved however it is important to check before you travel to avoid disappointment; Guide dogs and hearing dogs should not be a problem. Ferries and boats are also usually very accommodating but always check the provider. If travelling abroad always check the countries laws, many require passport, health certificates etc. These must be organised in advance and if travelling by air you mush contact the airline for specific rules and guidance, most will required the dog to travel in a crate in cargo however service animals may be able to travel on board however it is important to research this before travel.
Top Tips for Travelling!
- Provide toys or blankets that are safe to travel with – these should be familiar and favourite as it will provide some comfort if your dog is an uneasy traveller.
- Exercise before travel – this will burn off extra energy and will help them to relax more and provide a toilet break before you set off.
- Hydrate and take a break – Keep your pet hydrated and if possible provide regular stops for a drink and toilet break. Keep a bottle of water and pop up bowl to help make the journey easier.
- Medication – some dogs need regular medication, keep in easy reach if possible with a handy treat so avoid too much delay.
- Essential oil – Some people use lavender oil to help relax the dog before travel, after a walk rub some into your hands and give them a quick massage down the spine and in their shoulders.
- Keep any certification, passports or other essential documents together in one place to avoid any delay or confusion.
- Avoid feeding a big meal before travelling.
- Never leave a dog in car alone especially in hot weather.
- Make sure all ID and microchip information are up to date and if required all vaccines or treatments are given in enough time etc. for travelling abroad.