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Traveling with a Canine Companion

Updated: May 6, 2020

By this time of year, it usually seems as if the weeks of summer are flying by. Though autumn is swiftly approaching, some of you might still have a bit of work or leisure traveling to do. If the itinerary includes bringing along the beloved family canine(s), there are certain safety measures dog owners should be aware of. Whether you are heading on a plane, train, or automobile, Good Dog! is here to assist you in toting your pawed loved ones with ease.

Road trips are a staple summer time activity! For those whose pups plan on joining in, there are a few precautions to consider. Firstly, long car rides can make for car sick passengers -both canine and human. Feelings of motion sickness can cause a dog to become nauseous and your seats could be compromised by drool or vomit. That being said, your dog will be the most secure when he or she riding in the back of the car.

A crate or harness will ensure your dog does not wander throughout the car, especially smaller dogs whom may find their way to the pedals and distract the driver. Owners of large SUVs can also substitute a crate for dog gates that fit in the back of the car. Whatever your preferred method of canine safety may be, it is important that no dog roams free throughout the car. Subaru and AAA have performed crash test simulations using variously sized canines to promote awareness of dog safety; results showed that an unrestrained dog runs the risk of being launched throughout the car in the event of a collision.

Once you hit the open road, do not forget to stop periodically for restroom and water breaks. Some rest stops have designated areas for dogs to run around while their owners take a breather. Now we realize that some of you will be flying to your destination. Dog owners traveling by plane should be aware of specific airline regulations regarding puppy companions. Airlines typically allow canines to travel in or beneath the cabin for a certain fee, however, you must call ahead to make the arrangement. Small dogs may ride inside the cabin, provided they are in a carrying case that fits beneath the seat in front of you. If your dogs are on the huskier side, you will also be required to use properly sized carrying cases, however, they will be riding beneath the cabin. Do not forget to pack cleaning supplies such as spray, towels, and poop bags- you can never be too prepared! Beware that certain airlines may suggest that you give your larger dogs a sedative before takeoff - this can interfere with a dog's equilibrium during flight!

Flights can be a scary experience for pups. It is up to you to assure your dog that the flight is a positive experience. Good Dog! lead trainer Sam (a pro when it comes to flying with canine pals!) has found that packing a dog's favorite treats in a carry on can go a long way. A few treats during takeoff and landing can help ease anxious puppy nerves. So far we have given you tips on traveling with your typical household dog, but here at Good Dog! we are no strangers to traveling with service dogs. If you flying with a service dog, the airline must be informed in advance that your pet is a service animal, to determine your pup's spot on the plane. More specific traveling questions regarding a service pup should be directed to your specific organization- every service dog is trained differently! Crates, harnesses, and carrying cases might be uncomfortable for your dog at first; you will need to gradually train your pup before you travel together. In the weeks leading up to your trip, allow your dog to familiarize themselves with the safety equipment and gradually ease into using it. It will require a bit of extra training, but no doubt it is well worth the effort when you can travel with world worry-free with your favorite pal.

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