One of the hardest parts about traveling is leaving your precious pup at home. Wouldn’t it be great if you could travel with your dog?
Millions of people travel with their pets every year. However, it’s not as simple as just booking a flight. There are so many things to consider before traveling with a dog.
Rules regarding pet travel have also stiffened over the years, limiting how pet owners can travel with their pets. While you aren’t stuck at home indefinitely with your dog, airlines have severely restricted pet travel.
Dealing with airlines is just one thing to add to your checklist. Here are more things to consider before booking that trip with your dog.
What Airlines Allow Pets?
Once upon a time, it was a lot easier to book a flight for you and your dog. Times have changed. Due to unfortunate accidents over the years, major airlines have severely limited pet travel.
Size, breed, and location determine whether or not you can travel with your dog in-cabin. If your dog is too large, they would only qualify for cargo travel. Only a few airlines offer cargo travel for large dogs.
According to the latest data from USA Today, the following airlines are the only planes that allow cargo pet travel:
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
Remember, this information is subject to change. In 2018, United Airlines stopped offering cargo pet travel temporarily before starting the service back up with additional restrictions. Call these airlines before making any travel plans.
Is Your Dog Banned From Flying?
Every airline has a different protocol. For example, you may run into a breed embargo, which could prevent your dog from traveling on a plane. Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, Boxers, and Chow Chows are frequently banned from flying.
Small dogs aren’t spared from the dreaded banned list. Shih-Tzus, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apso dogs, Pekingese, and Pugs show up on many no-fly lists.
So, what’s wrong with these breeds? There’s nothing wrong with your dog if it’s a banned breed. Unfortunately, this designation means your dog’s breed is associated with health issues that could increase the risk of something going wrong.
What to Do If Your Dog Can’t Fly
Uh-oh! You just found out that your dog is banned from flying. You’re not out of luck.
First, look into private and charter services. You may have to pay more money, but you’ll be able to travel with your pet. Even better is that you can travel with your dog in-cabin regardless of their size.
There are many private charter services that offer pet travel. You and your pup both get in-flight meals and snacks! The best part is the peace of mind of having your dog right by your side.
Charter services are ideal for long trips and overseas destinations. If you’re traveling within the country, you may want to consider a pet travel service on wheels. There are plenty of transportation services that will transport your dog out of state.
A professional pet relocation service is another option. These are private charter services, as well. You can also find pet relocation agencies that offer ground and water transportation.
Research is essential for pet travel. A good place to start is the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. You’ll find a network of qualified pet shippers and expert travel information.
Of course, you can always take a road trip with your dog. That’s the easiest option if you’re only going a short way, or even across the state. Avoid taking road trips during heat spells or severe winter weather, as extreme temperatures can harm your dog.
Commercial airlines will also impose total pet embargoes during extreme summer and winter temperatures.
How Much Does Pet Travel Cost?
Rates vary by species, destination, needs, and transportation method. For example, if you use the United Airlines pet travel calculator, you’ll discover that a cross country trip for a 50lb dog starts at $500. That doesn’t include the cost of the plane ticket!
Airlines also factor in the weight of the crate, which is approximately 20-25lbs for a dog that weighs 50lbs. Aside from rates, you have to consider the cost of the crate, bedding, snacks, and comforting items for your dog.
Traveling dogs need up-to-date vaccinations, rabies shots, and medical records. Specific health conditions can also prevent your dog from traveling on a commercial plane.
How to Choose Lodging When Traveling With a Dog
Another cost to consider is lodging. When searching for lodging online, narrow your choices to “pet friendly” lodging. Check and make sure your breed is accepted.
You’re in luck because so many places offer pet-friendly lodging. The most hassle-free option is a pet-friendly vacation rental. Rentals feel more like home, and your pets get more space to roam.
Some motel chains let pets stay for free. This is an excellent option for pet owners on the road. However, you’re typically not allowed to leave your dog unaccompanied in the room.
Make a Pet Travel Pack
Traveling is a big deal for dogs. They’re away from their familiar smells and surroundings. Make your pup as comfortable as possible with a dog travel pack.
Include your dog’s favorite snacks, toys, water bottle, dish, and kibble. You’ll also need a first aid kit with ointment, anti-histamines for dogs, canine pain medication, paw protection balm, and medical wraps. Don’t forget to gather contact information for any vets and animal hospitals along the way.
Never leave your dog unattended. If you must run into a convenience store, make sure to roll down the windows, especially during summer.
Take advantage of rest stops. They often have bathrooms and open space to walk your dog. Your dog will spend a lot of time cooped up, so remember to give them time to stretch their paws!
Discover the Joy of Traveling With a Dog
The key to a smooth pet travel experience is preparation. Follow this guide before you start traveling with a dog, so you both can have a stress-free trip.
This is just the beginning of your travel adventures. Check out the blog to discover even more tips, tools, and trends for travelers!