Travel Essentials for Your Dog
As much planning as we put into our own travels, travelling with a dog requires at least as much planning and preparation. Inasmuch as you want to go away for a lovely vacation, your dog probably isn’t very interested in travelling all that way with you, only to be left in a lonely, strange hotel all day. Likewise, not having all that you need to make your furry friend comfortable can place real stress on your time off and then no one’s having a good time. We’ve been there, done that, bought several of those t-shirts, so grab your favorite chew toy and prepare yourself for a great trip with your best friend…
Packing for a trip with your dog requires a few necessary items. This is what we make sure we pack for Chelsea, including any toys she has decided will make the journey with her! She is very happy for us to carry it for her. We usually plan for 2 full days of food, which gives us enough time to find the correct food for her once we arrive, and she doesn't do without.
A brush is always in order and we travel with this brush; it is compact, light, and does the job. We believe in good oral hygiene and so Chelsea gets a tooth brushing every morning. We carry enough toothpaste for our trip, just like ourselves and this toothbrush kit does the job.
A microfiber towel if you have a furry splasher, is a very useful item to carry, they take up little space and wash easily.
Chelsea needs to stay healthy and gets monthly applications of Frontline. It's easy to use but itis not always enough. This flea and tick Spray helps a LOT and she gets an every other day application when we’re near woods and sheep.
Chelsea’s most popular fashion accessory, this collar, is made for the long haul, machine washable, and is just precious.
A good leash is important. The dog school instructor advised against any material other than leather and we know why; it’s durable, doesn’t burn the hands, and keeps Chelsea on a firm hold. She’s had the same leash since she was first rescued so we know it’s quite durable. A good supply of biodegradable poop bags are as essential as a good leash and they go quickly so keep a good supply tucked in socks or shoes when packing.
Train is our main form of transport when we move to a new location. In Great Britain dogs can travel on trains free of charge. Obviously they have to stay on the floor! On trains in mainland Europe animals traveling require a ticket, usually the equivalent price of a child’s fare.
For International travel there are requirements for every country and you would be wise to research before traveling. They have no problem turning you away for failing to know their rules and regulations. In general though, you can count on needing the following:
- a passport for the country(ies) you will be entering (yes, for the dog, not you- you'll need your own)
- shot records, especially rabies vaccinations (countries like Great Britain, Norway, Ireland, Australia, and others are rabies free, and they like to keep it that way)
- a microchip and recorded microchip number that is acceptable is that country
- a muzzle for transport where required.
We eat snacks, she eats snacks, especially on long journeys, so we always carry a bag of treats for her, varietal depending on where we are and what we can get our hands on. Her collapsible water and food bowls with hooks for day pack is another essential. We like these bowls for travel, so does Chelsea.
Making your pet comfortable once you arrive at your destination is important, and having a comfortable place to lay with a blanket or sheet can help. We carry a flat bedding sheet that we can put down for Chelsea. It doesn't take much room in our bag and can be easily washed.
Something to consider is how much your dog participates when you go sightseeing. Checking ahead online can provide helpful information. Some countries are super dog friendly, for example when we visited Austria and Italy, dogs were welcomed in shopping malls, restaurants and pubs without question. Other countries such as the US have restrictions on where exactly your dog is allowed.
We usually carry a bottle of water for Chelsea, especially during the Summer months. It can get hot out there. Avoiding the main heat of the day is also something to bear in mind – tarmac and concrete can get hot for paws. During our travels we have stayed in places where it snowed. Chelsea loves a good romp in it! If your dog isn't so keen on snow and cold weather and usually wears a coat or boots, don’t forget to pack them!
Lastly don't forget any medication your dog may need and your vet's phone number. The only time Chelsea needed a visit to the vet last year was on our return to Great Britain from Germany. If a dog travels to mainland Europe and comes via Great Britain or other rabies-free countries, it will need a tablet, administered by a vet, to prevent against tape worm. The dog passport needs to be stamped by the administering vet. Remember to check your specific country/region for the rules.
Traveling with Chelsea is a lot of fun. We have met countless dogs and their humans during our travels, some are now life long friends. We realise that not everyone can or would want to take their dog traveling with them, but if you are considering doing so, from our experience-it's really worth it.