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February 20, 2019


Our free time is scarce, so it makes sense that we would want to vacation with our dogs. However inconvenient, there are times when the appeal of including Snoops in our family vacations is simply too great to ignore. Next thing I know, my stress level rises as I remind myself to pack an extra suitcase for the dog.

To reduce Snoopy’s anxiety and my own, I have compiled RULES TO TRAVEL BY to refer to when hitting the friendly skies with my best friend.

RULE 1, RECONSIDER: if you’re not going to spend a ton of time with your dog while traveling, then what’s the point? Leave him/her home where they will surely be more comfortable.  

RULE 2, THE CABIN: Can your dog join you in the cabin, even if for an additional fee? Leave ample time to call the airline in advance to reserve a spot. Remember, only a certain number of animals are allowed in the cabin.

RULE 3, YOUR DOG'S HEALTH RECORDS: Does the airline have specific health or immunization records you must provide to travel?

RULE 4: THE CARRIER: What are the size requirements and other regulations around the carrier. See AIRLINE PET CARRIERS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW for more info on that. Rest assured, most airlines are okay with soft-sided carriers, but certainly double check.

RULE 5: SECURITY: Snoopy’s carrier gets scrutinized during the security process. Leaving his  carrier in public places makes him nervous, so I take extra care to ensure he’s secure and harnessed during these moments.  

RULE 6, SEDATIVES: Don’t give your pet downers unless their doc gives it to them. We don't really know how they will react.

RULE 7, FOOD: Do not feed your pet for four to six hours before the trip to avoid motion sickness and gnarly vomit session you will have to clean up later.

RULE 8, WATER: Keep your dog hydrated. When traveling in cargo, try the PET DINETTE & LEASH, which ensures you always have water and a serving bowl on the go.

RULE 9, SHORT-NOSED BREEDS: Do you have a breed with a “pushed in” face, like a Frenchie or a pug? If so, leave them home. Remember their short nasal passages leave them especially prone to oxygen deprivation and stroke.

RULE 10: CARGO HOLD: What are the restrictions around the cargo hold if your pet cannot travel in the cabin with you.

RULE 11, GOING INTERNATIONAL: If traveling abroad, what are the rules of the country you're traveling to? Google this for sure.

RULE 12: CARGO HOLD PRECAUTIONS: We’ve all heard the horror stories, so let's do what we can to avoid them. Dangers include hot or cold temps, poor ventilation, rough handling. That’s why RULE 12 has sub-rules to cover this charged topic:

a. Minimize travel time in cargo hold by opting for direct flights when possible.
b. Be sure you’re on the same flight as your pet, this way you can keep an eye on things (especially the loading and unloading of cargo). Ask the crew to let the pilot know there are pets down below. Sometimes the pilots will take special precautions. Sometimes.
c. If you have a brachycephalic or short-nose dog, like a pug or Pekingese, don’t ship them. Period.
d. Try to select flights to avoid temperature extremes (eg, early morning or late flights during the summer and afternoon flights during the winter).  
e. Avoid busy travels times if possible (eg, holidays and summer), since they are more likely to undergo rough handling during hectic travel periods.
f. You will be separated from your pet when they go cargo, so be sure to clearly include two pieces of ID on their collar: a permanent ID with your name and home address and telephone number, and a temporary travel ID with the address and telephone number where you or a contact person can be reached.
g. Label the crap out of the carrier with all your details.
h. Dress your pet in a collar that can’t get tangled or caught in the carrier door.
i. Get your pet groomed before sending them in the carrier. You don’t want long hair or nails to get caught in the carrier door. Ouch.
j. Ideally make sure your dog is comfy in the carrier. They should get to know the carrier at least a month before.
k. Send your dog with small amounts of water. It’s been recommended to me to put ice cubes in the water tray attached to the inside of your pet's crate or kennel. (Do not fill the bowl to avoid spills.)
l. Carry a current photograph of your pet in the event they get lost.
m. Upon arrival, inspect and examine the carrier and your pet. If anything seems amiss, take your pet to the local vet and get all diagnosis and test results in writing in case you need to follow up with the airline.

That’s the scoop. Hope these  RULES TO TRAVEL BY prove to be as helpful to you as it was for me.

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