Embarking on a journey with your dog can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With some careful planning and the right approach, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free adventure. In this article, we’ll explore some tips and advice for travelling with your dog, whether it be a Lhasa Apso (like our very own Poppy) or any other dog breed.
Preparing your dog for travel
Before hitting the road, it’s important to ensure your dog is comfortable and well-prepared for the journey ahead.
Health check and vaccinations
Schedule a visit to your vet for a health check-up and ensure your dog is up-to-date with vaccinations, flea and worm treatments. If you’re travelling abroad, discuss the necessary pet travel documentation, such as a pet passport and any additional vaccinations or treatments required for your destination.
In the UK, it’s a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped. Ensure your dog’s microchip is up-to-date with your current contact information, so you can be easily reunited if you become separated during your travels.
Crate training and familiarisation
If your dog isn’t already crate-trained, it’s a good idea to start the process well in advance of your trip. A crate provides a safe and secure space for your dog during travel, whether in a car or on public transport. Introduce the crate gradually, allowing your dog to explore and become comfortable with it before increasing the duration of confinement.
Travelling by car
Taking a road trip with your dog can be a fun and convenient way to explore the UK. Here are some tips for making car journeys stress-free and enjoyable.
Secure your dog
Your dog’s safety is paramount when travelling by car. Use a crash-tested crate or dog safety harness to secure your dog in the back seat or boot. This not only keeps your dog safe but also prevents distractions while driving.
Take regular breaks
Plan regular rest stops along your route to allow your dog to stretch their legs, go to the toilet, and enjoy a drink of water. Be mindful of the temperature inside the car, particularly during the warmer months, and never leave your dog unattended in a hot vehicle.
Gradually increase travel time
If your dog is new to car journeys, start with shorter trips and gradually increase the duration as they become more comfortable. This will help your dog adapt to car travel and minimise anxiety.
A comprehensive guide to keeping your dog safe in the car
For even more advice on travelling with your dog in the car, there’s a very handy guide over at Compare the Market. Their guide suggests that dog owners should:
- Use a crate or carrier that is well-ventilated, large enough for their dog, and strapped in.
- Buy comfortable restraints, such as specialised harnesses and seat belts for dogs.
- Gradually get their dog used to traveling in the car with shorter trips.
- Regularly check on their dog during the journey, looking for signs of overheating or motion sickness.
- Never leave their dog alone in the car.
- Pack the necessities, including food, water, and medication.
- Keep their dog hydrated with easily accessible water.
- Don’t allow them to hang their head out of the window.
- Microchip them and ensure they wear an ID tag.
- Make regular stops to stretch those tired legs.
Their research found that:
- It can be extremely dangerous to leave pets in the car, even when it’s not super hot outside. When it’s 22°C outside, temperatures can quickly reach 47°C inside the car.
- If your pet isn’t secured with a restraint when you’re driving, you could be fined up to 5,000 GBP.
Public transport and air travel
While car journeys offer flexibility, there may be times when you need to consider public transport or air travel with your dog.
Train and bus travel
In the UK, dogs are generally allowed on trains and buses, but rules and restrictions may vary between operators. Always check the specific guidelines before booking your tickets. Ensure your dog is comfortable with the noise and movement of public transport and carry them or use a crate for their safety and comfort.
Flying with your dog can be more complex, with airlines having their own rules and regulations regarding pet travel. If flying is necessary, research pet-friendly airlines and familiarise yourself with their requirements for crates, documentation, and fees. When possible, choose a direct flight to minimise stress and disruption for your dog.
Finding pet-friendly accommodation
When planning your trip, it’s essential to find accommodation that welcomes your dog.
Research and book ahead
Investigate pet-friendly hotels, cottages, and holiday rentals in your destination. Many accommodation providers in the UK are embracing pet-friendly policies, but it’s important to confirm their specific rules and any additional fees before booking.
Consider your dog’s needs
Choose accommodation that suits your dogs requirements, such as access to outdoor space for toilet breaks and nearby walking areas for exercise. Some pet-friendly accommodations may even offer special amenities, like dog beds and bowls, for added convenience.
Exploring your destination with your dog
Once you’ve reached your destination, make the most of your time together by finding dog-friendly activities and attractions.
Discover dog-friendly attractions
Many UK attractions welcome dogs, including parks, gardens, and historic sites. Research dog-friendly places to visit in advance and familiarise yourself with any specific rules or restrictions for dogs.
Enjoy local walks and hikes
The UK boasts an abundance of picturesque walking routes and trails suitable for all abilities. Whether you’re exploring the rolling hills of the countryside or strolling along the coast, your dog will love discovering new environments by your side.
Be a considerate dog owner
Always keep your dog on a lead when required, and be mindful of other visitors, wildlife, and livestock when exploring your destination. Carry dog waste bags and clean up after your pet to maintain a pleasant environment for everyone.
With careful planning and consideration, travelling with your dog can be an enjoyable and memorable experience. By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for stress-free adventures with your furry companion in the UK and beyond.