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You’ve probably heard that travelling with a pet is one of the most stressful things. And you may think that you have to leave your pup at home with friends, family, or at a pet hotel while you’re travelling. But, travelling with your furry friend is possible, and I’ve got all the details on how to travel the world with a dog.
I’ll cover what the logistics entail and how to ensure your furry friend gets to your destination safe and sound.
- 1 10 Tips for How to Travel the World With a Dog
- 1.1 1. Research Your Destination (Countries Differ)
- 1.2 2. Take a Trip to the Vet
- 1.3 3. Get All the Paperwork
- 1.4 4. Get Dog Insurance
- 1.5 5. Choose Pet-Friendly Airlines & Accommodation
- 1.6 6. Prepare for Delays or Connecting Flights
- 1.7 7. Bring The Right Pet Travel Gear
- 1.8 8. Find All the Dog-Friendly Attractions & Restaurants
- 1.9 9. Find Your Pup Some Friends
- 1.10 10. Plan Ahead
- 2 Travelling the World With a Dog FAQs
- 3 How To Travel the World With a Dog | Final Thoughts
10 Tips for How to Travel the World With a Dog
Like travelling with a minor or a person with health issues, travelling with a dog requires extensive preparation. Knowing the documentation that’s expected of you and which famous landmarks allow pets will help you avoid a stressful trip.
Let’s dive in and look at the crucial things to consider when travelling with a dog.
1. Research Your Destination (Countries Differ)
Every country has its own set of laws regarding pet immigration, and it is essential that you know all these requirements beforehand. One thing that all nations require is that your dog’s vet card should reflect a rabies shot. The shot must have been administered more than 30 days before you travel and less than 12 months prior.
Other things that may also be required include an ISO microchip, a tapeworm treatment, titer test, and other dog vaccinations. Beware that some countries impose a quarantine period for dogs arriving from nations considered to be at high risk for rabies transmission.
2. Take a Trip to the Vet
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This should go without saying, but it cannot be emphasised enough. Taking your dog to the vet is vital. Not only for the inoculations and blood tests but also to find out whether your dog is permitted to fly.
Canines like pugs, bulldogs and other brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds are generally banned from flying due to their common health issues. Make sure your vet is registered and accredited by your country’s relevant health department or board. So that you can trust that your vet is making the right call on whether it is safe for your dog to fly.
3. Get All the Paperwork
If you thought a vet card and your dog’s medical record were all you needed to travel, sorry to burst your bubble. Travel credentials for dogs expand further. Things like a dog license, a pet passport, and a signed behaviour voucher may be required according to a country’s pet import policies.
4. Get Dog Insurance
While many dog owners have pet health insurance to cover their fur babies against injury or disease, pet travel insurance is often overlooked. The importance of having this type of insurance for your dog is undeniable, especially when travelling overseas.
Dog insurance will cover the expenses should your furry friend fall sick or get injured. It will also cover the costs of returning your pup home should anything drastic happen. This allows you to have a care-free vacation knowing that you won’t have to foot the bill in the event of an accident.
5. Choose Pet-Friendly Airlines & Accommodation
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Although many airlines allow dogs to fly (at an additional fee), it’s better to choose a specifically pet-friendly airline, like American Airlines. While you may not see much difference in flight ticket prices, your dog will benefit from dog-friendly amenities, like airy cargo areas and enough under-seat cabin space.
The same goes for pet-friendly accommodation. These will typically have dedicated outdoor spaces, rooms with a balcony or terrace, and nearby facilities like dog parks or dog-friendly beaches.
Will My Dog Fly in the Cabin or Cargo?
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You won’t have to decide whether your dog gets to fly under your seat in the cabin or in the cargo hold. This entirely depends on your dog’s weight, height, and age. The cabin is reserved for small dogs. If your fur buddy is over 9kgs, they will have to fly as cargo in an airline-approved carrier or kennel.
While pet fees apply on almost all airlines, cabin fees tend to be less pricey than cargo. However, most airlines will not let your dog fly in the cabin if the flight time is over 8 hours.
What Is the Right Kennel Size for My Dog?
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Whether a dog travels in the cabin or the cargo hold, it must always be comfortable. For medium and large-sized dogs, their carrier crate must be spacious enough for them to stand, move around, sit, and turn their heads.
How Will My Dog Go Potty?
This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges that dog parents face when flying. But, there’s an easy and effective solution. Lay down a few layers of puppy pads inside your dog’s carrier bag or kennel. Make sure these are super absorbent and minimise skin irritation.
6. Prepare for Delays or Connecting Flights
One thing that you cannot control or avoid is flight delays. And although these have somewhat become common to international travellers, if you’re flying with your dog, it is a significant cause of concern.
Temperatures in a non-pressurised cabin can fluctuate drastically. So prepare for flight delays by placing a few pints of frozen water, warm blankets, and a snuggly dog toy in the carrier to keep your fur buddy company.
When facing a delay or boarding a connecting flight, it’s crucial to remind the flight attendants that your furry acquaintance is in the cargo hold. Let them know that your dog needs to be immediately removed or loaded onto the next flight.
7. Bring The Right Pet Travel Gear
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We all cherish our furry friends. Their energetic vigour and keen attitude for exploration tend to melt our hearts. But having your dog running off in a country that you are unfamiliar with will be a stressful moment rather than a cherishable one. So keep your dog on a leash — literally!
Unless you are in a demarcated pet zone or controlled environment, always keep your dog on a leash or harness. If some of your bucket list ideas include hiking or visiting a national park, bring along the following:
- Collapsible water and food bowls
- Some tasty dog biscuits
- A portable poop scooper
- A dog carrier backpack (if your dog is small enough to carry)
- Lots of interactive dog toys and frisbees
8. Find All the Dog-Friendly Attractions & Restaurants
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You wouldn’t want to go through the effort of bringing your dog along on vacation just to leave them at the hotel (that would defeat the purpose). So get your hands dirty and research all the dog-friendly landmarks, activities, and restaurants at your destination.
Involving your dog’s needs when planning your travel itinerary is crucial to a successful holiday. Certain cities in Canada, like those on Vancouver Island, boast plenty of pet-friendly activities. You’ll find everything from off-leash dog parks to paddle boarding and surfing, which you can do with your furry friend.
9. Find Your Pup Some Friends
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Dogs are social animals — they love interaction, play-dates, and running around unrestricted. In addition to finding places that will allow your dog in, find spots that specifically cater to dogs.
This comes with many benefits. For one, your dog will make fellow furry acquaintances. Secondly, you’ll meet other dog parents to share information about the best dog-welcoming facilities and where to find the best vet in town.
The easiest place to find these dog havens is undoubtedly online. Follow a local dog page on Instagram or join an online dog owner’s community and ask away. Going to designated dog parks or a pet shop is also a great way to stay in the loop.
10. Plan Ahead
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While the idea of taking a spontaneous trip with your dog may be very enticing, that’s not quite how it works. You’ll need the proper medical and travel paperwork before jet-setting with your pup.
You should do this ahead of time because airlines, hotels, and customs or border control will require your dog’s permit to be valid within a specific timeframe.
Unless you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that your furry friend is rabies-free, chipped, and has a legit medical record, your pup will have to go into mandatory quarantine. This period varies from country to country, but on average, dogs will be subject to a minimum quarantine of 10 days.
Luckily, popular travel destinations like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States (with the exception of Hawaii and Guam) don’t require a quarantine.
Travelling the World With a Dog FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions by pet parents looking to embark on a journey around the world with their furry companion.
Is It Hard To Travel the World With a Dog?
While getting all your dog’s travel documents may be challenging, the increasing demand for this option has seen many airlines, hotels, and restaurants adopting pet-friendly policies. Hence it’s become much easier to travel with a pup anywhere in the world.
Do Dogs Need Passports To Travel Internationally?
It depends on your destination. Countries like the United States and those in the European Union do require a pet passport, while others don’t. Do extensive research on the country you wish to visit and their pet import policy.
How To Travel the World With a Dog | Final Thoughts
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There’s no denying that dogs are more than just pets. Many dog parents struggle to leave their pups with close friends and family when they travel. Some even cringe at the thought of their furry babies being in a dark, stuffy, and freezing cargo hold.
However, as more people desire to travel the world with their dogs, many airlines, accommodations, and restaurants are implementing pet-friendly policies. The most challenging part of taking your pup along on holiday is perhaps getting all the documents needed.
But, once this is done, it’s all smooth sailing. And if you’re feeling stressed after a long flight, book yourself a relaxing massage at one of the world’s top spas.