Do you love your dog but dread travelling with them? You’re not alone. Many pet owners feel the same way. The good news is that travelling with dogs doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a little bit of planning, it can be a breeze!
Travelling with dogs can be a great way to bond with your furry friend and create lasting memories. However, it’s important to plan and be prepared for anything that might come up. In this guide, we will share our top tips for travelling with dogs by car, train, and plane. We will also give you our best advice for dealing with common challenges such as separation anxiety and motion sickness. By the end of this guide, you will be ready to hit the road with your furry companion by your side!
Tips for travelling with dogs by car
Here are some tips for travelling with dogs by car:
Prepare your dog for the trip: Before the trip, make sure your dog is comfortable with car travel. Take them on short drives to help them get used to being in the car, and gradually increase the length of the trips. If your dog has anxiety about car travel, talk to your veterinarian about ways to manage it.
Secure your dog: Your dog should be safely secured in the car while you’re driving. You can use a crate, a seatbelt harness, or a barrier to keep your dog in the back seat. Never let your dog ride in the front seat, as airbags can be dangerous for them.
Bring the essentials: Pack food, water, bowls, toys, and any necessary medications for your dog. Also, bring along a leash, collar, and ID tags with your contact information.
Plan for breaks: Plan for breaks along the way where your dogs can stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and get some exercise. Look for rest areas or dog-friendly parks along your route.
Keep your dog hydrated: Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water to drink throughout the trip. Bring along a portable water bowl and stop regularly to offer your dog water.
Don’t leave your dog alone in the car: Never leave your dog alone in a parked car, as it can quickly become too hot or too cold. If you need to leave the car, bring your dog with you or have someone stay with them.
Be respectful of others: Keep your dog on a leash at all times and clean up after them. Be respectful of other travellers, and don’t let your dog approach strangers without permission.
Provide exercise and mental stimulation: Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation, even when travelling. Plan stops at dog parks or safe areas where your dog can run and play, and bring along toys to keep them entertained during downtime.
Bring familiar items: Bring along your dog’s favourite toys or blankets to help them feel more comfortable in the car.
Stay vigilant: Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your dog at all times. Dogs can become overwhelmed or frightened in unfamiliar environments, so be prepared to remove them from any situation that may be too stressful or dangerous.
Be prepared for emergencies: Bring a pet first aid kit, along with your veterinarian’s contact information and any necessary medical records.
Travelling with your dog by car can be a great adventure, but it requires some preparation and planning to ensure your dog’s safety and comfort.
Travelling with your dog by train in India
Indian Railways allows pet dogs to be carried along in dog boxes in Second Class Luggage, Brake Vans, and AC First Class compartments. Carrying dogs on the train is not permitted if you are travelling in AC 2 tier, AC 3 tier, or sleeper class. It is recommended to choose a train with either an AC First Class compartment or a dog box. Indian railways do not permit advance booking of dog boxes or AC First Class coupes for your pet dog. You can proceed with the bookings just one hour before the train departs for its destination.
Official Indian Railways Guidelines for Pet Dogs on Trains: In the carriage with passengers
- The passenger must book accommodations in AC-First Class or First Class in a 2-berth Coupe or 4-berth Cabin exclusively so that the passenger(s) can travel along with the pet dog. It may be noted that passengers not in possession of AC-First Class/First Class Cabin/Coupe tickets are not permitted to carry their pet dogs along with them during the journey. Pet dogs are not allowed to be carried in any other class of accommodation other than AC-first class and first class
- Only one dog will be allowed per Passenger Name Record (PNR)
- The dog must be brought to the luggage/parcel office for booking at least 3 hours before the departure of the train, whether the passenger holds a PRS ticket or an online ticket booked through IRCTC, upon confirmation of the allotment in AC-First/First Class Cabin/Coupe after charting.
- Prescribed charges in luggage rates, as applicable, will be collected for the pet dogs to be carried along with the passenger in AC First Class/First Class coupe
- Dogs are not allowed to be carried in AC2 tier, AC 3 tier, AC Chair Car, Sleeper Class and Second Class Compartments
- If fellow passengers subsequently object to the dog remaining in the compartment, it will be removed to the Guard’s van, and no refund is given
- If a passenger is caught carrying dogs without a proper booking, a penalty will be levied. The owner of the dog will be charged at six times Scale-L luggage rates, subject to a minimum charge of Rs. 30 by Indian Railways
- A certificate from a veterinarian saying that the dog is healthy and doesn’t have any infectious or contagious diseases must be obtained 24-48 hours before the trip and must be given along with vaccination cards when booking
- Passengers will be solely responsible for the safe carriage of dogs. Owners should make arrangements for water and food for the dog during the journey
Official Indian Railways Guidelines for Pet Dogs on Trains: In Brake Van
- The passengers can book their pet dogs for carriage in the dog box available in the luggage-cum-Brake Van (of conventional ICF coaches), under the supervision of the Train Manager (Guard) of the train. Only one dog will be allowed in a dog box at a time
- The passenger must hold a confirmed or reserved ticket (for the journey on the train in which his pet dog is booked) and proof of identity
- The dog must be taken to the luggage office at least 3 hours before the train departs
- Prescribed charges in the luggage rate will be collected for dog booking. The receipt (the guard’s foil) obtained should be submitted to the guard of the train at the originating station
- The passenger or pet owner must ensure that the dog is properly chained with a muzzle before the dog is boarded in the brake van and kept inside the dog box
- At the destination station, the passenger’s foil receipt must be presented to the guard
- It is the responsibility of the passenger to provide drinking water and food for the dog travelling in the brake van
- A certificate from a veterinarian saying that the dog is healthy and doesn’t have any infectious or contagious diseases must be gotten 24-48 hours before the trip and must be given along with vaccination cards when booking
Travelling with dogs by plane in India (Domestic Flights)
Travelling with dogs by plane within India requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some steps you can take to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible:
- Choose the Right Airline: First, research the airlines that allow dogs to fly within India. Not all airlines have the same rules and regulations, so it’s important to choose an airline that will accommodate your dog’s size and breed. Also, check the airline’s pet policies, pet fees, and required documentation.
- Visit Your Vet: Before you travel, take your dog to the vet for a thorough checkup and to ensure that they are healthy enough to fly. Your vet can also give you a health certificate and any other paperwork that the airline needs.
- Get the Right Crate: You’ll need to purchase an airline-approved crate that is the right size for your dog. Make sure it’s comfortable, secure, and has enough space for your dog to move around. Also, put your name and contact information on the crate and attach any necessary paperwork to it.
- Book Your Ticket: Once you have chosen the airline and purchased an airline-approved crate, book your ticket and make sure to inform the airline that you’ll be travelling with a dog. You’ll also need to pay any pet fees or additional charges.
- Plan for the Journey: On the day of travel, make sure your dog has access to water and food before the flight. Also, take your dogs for a walk and let them relieve themselves before heading to the airport. During the flight, your dog will need to stay in the crate, so make sure it’s secure and comfortable.
- Follow Arrival Procedures: After you arrive at your destination, follow the airline’s procedures for picking up your dog. You may need to go to a specific location to retrieve your pet, and you’ll need to show the necessary documentation.
Here are some additional tips for travelling with dogs by plane within India:
- Book a Direct Flight: Whenever possible, book a direct flight to minimise the time your dog spends in transit. This can reduce the stress on your pet and make the journey more comfortable.
- Familiarise Your Dog with the Crate: A few days before the flight, let your dog get used to the crate by leaving it open in a familiar and comfortable location. Encourage your dog to go in and out of the crate, and place treats and toys inside to make it more inviting.
- Prepare Your Dog for Security Checks: Your dog will need to go through security checks just like you, so be prepared to take your dog out of the crate and walk them through the metal detector. Familiarise your dog with these procedures beforehand by practising at home.
- Pack Your Dog’s Essentials: Bring along your dog’s food, water, toys, and any medication they need. Also, bring a leash and collar for your dog, as well as poop bags and cleaning supplies in case of accidents.
- Check with your Vet: If your dog is particularly anxious or nervous about flying, you may want to talk to your vet about prescribing an anti anxiety medicine. This can help calm your dog during the flight and reduce stress.
- Check the Weather: Before you travel, check the weather conditions at your destination and along your travel route. Extreme temperatures or weather can affect your dog’s health and safety during the flight, so plan ahead.
By using these tips and making plans ahead of time, you can help make sure that you and your pet have a safe and comfortable trip.
Managing separation anxiety in your dog while travelling
Separation anxiety can be a common issue for dogs when they are away from their owners or familiar environments. Here are some ways to manage separation anxiety in dogs while travelling:
- Prepare your dog for the trip: Gradually introduce your dog to the idea of travelling and being away from home. Take them on short trips first, and gradually increase the length and distance of the trips. This will help your dog become more comfortable with the idea of travelling.
- Bring familiar items: Bring familiar items from home, such as a favourite blanket or toy, to help your dog feel more comfortable in a new environment. This can also include their regular food and water dishes, as well as their regular bed or crate.
- Keep a regular schedule: Try to keep your dog’s normal schedule as much as possible, including when to feed, walk, and play. This can help your dog feel more secure and less anxious.
- Provide plenty of exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce anxiety in dogs. Make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your dog to exercise and play during the trip.
- Consider medication: In severe cases, medication prescribed by a veterinarian may be necessary to manage separation anxiety. Talk to your vet about options for medication that may help your dog feel calmer and more relaxed during travel.
- Practise positive reinforcement: Reward your dog for calm and relaxed behaviour during the trip, such as sitting quietly or lying down. This can help reinforce positive behaviour and reduce anxiety over time.
Managing motion sickness in your dog while travelling
Motion sickness is a common problem for dogs when travelling by car, boat, or plane. Here are some ways to manage motion sickness in dogs while travelling:
- Start with short trips: If your dog is prone to motion sickness, start with short trips and gradually increase the duration of the trip over time. This can help your dog get used to the movement and make it less likely that he or she will get sick.
- Secure your dog: Make sure your dog is secured in a crate or with a safety harness while travelling. This can help reduce motion sickness by keeping your dog in a stable position.
- Avoid feeding your dog before travelling: Feeding your dog a large meal before travelling can increase the likelihood of motion sickness. Try to feed your dog a small meal or snack a few hours before travelling.
- Provide fresh air: Make sure there is plenty of fresh air circulating in the car. This can help your dog feel better by letting fresh air in and reducing the feeling of being sick.
- Consider medication: If your dog experiences severe motion sickness, talk to your veterinarian about medication options. There are several medications available that can help reduce motion sickness in dogs.
- Provide distractions: Providing your dog with distractions, such as toys or treats, can help take their mind off of the motion and reduce the likelihood of motion sickness.
- Avoid sudden movements: Avoid sudden movements, such as sharp turns or sudden stops, as these can increase the likelihood of motion sickness.
Travelling with dogs can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s doable with a little bit of planning and preparation. We hope that this ultimate guide gives you all the tips and tricks you need to know to make travelling with your dog stress-free and fun!
The information contained in VOSD Vet Advice™ is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical action which is provided by your vet. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For any emergency situation related to a dog’s health, please visit the nearest veterinary clinic.