Henry has been traveling with me both in airplanes and in cars since he was a very little pup, 8 weeks to be exact. He took his first trip to California on Southwest when he was just 10 weeks old. I'm pretty sure he's been on more planes than most humans. When we travel, people often ask me how do I do it.
Is he drugged? Does he like it? How much does he cost? What do you do with him?
The truth is, it's not the easiest thing in the world, but having my pup with me on vacation is totally worth any bit of hassle (or cost).
Dog Carrier: Amazon (Dream dog carrier linked here).
- Make sure it's safe for your specific breed to travel. There are certain pups that cannot travel. Certain pups have small nasal passages that make it hard for them to breath at that high of altitude. This website has a great article on short-nosed pups and why they shouldn't fly. Check it out here.
- Check the airline you are flying for their rules and policies. I usually fly Southwest. They charge $95 each way for your pup. (Save the gasp for later -- I know it's crazy). Each airline has their own rules and costs. Southwest is the cheapest!
- Get a great bag. We've been through a lot of different bags trying out which bags he likes the best. We've settled on the one linked here -- it's great because it's large enough and doesn't collapse on him. It's big enough that I can put Henry in it (obvs), a blanket and his chewer.
- Know your pup and talk to your vet. The first time I flew with Henry I chatted with our vet about what she thought I should do. Because Henry was so little she thought he could do it without any meds. Some dogs though are overly worried or panic so ask your vet about either an anxiety med or a proper dosage of Benadryl. I give Henry half of an adult Benadryl and it doesn't knock him out, it just calms him a little and makes him sleepy. By the time we land, it's worn off and he's ready to party.
- Bring something that will make your pup feel safe and happy (& treats). Ever since Henry was a pup he's had the same blanket and the same stuffed animal. I make sure to bring them everywhere because I know he's used to them and it make him feel a little more secure. Also, he gets a few extra treats on travel days.
- Get your pup used to his bag. Before Henry got used to it, I would take the bag out a few days before we left and let him feel it out. I would take him to the store in the bag. I would carry him around in it, so he got used to being in the bag and feeling comfortable in it. Now when it comes out, he automatically jumps in the bag without me having to ask.
- Give yourself extra time. This is key. Before we go in the airport, I make sure Henry has a little mini walk around to pee one last time. Then you have to pay for him, go through security ect. In regards to security - you have to carry your pup through the metal detector, no body scanner for you. Then they have to swab your hands and test them. I've had this go off a few times which in that case you have to have a full pat down in a private room. Most times the swab doesn't go off and we are good. But the few times it has, it has left us running to the gate.
- Check the airport rules. Some airports like Phoenix have dog parks you can take your dog too in the airport for them to use the bathroom. Phoenix even let's you walk your dog on a leash in the airport Some airports like Omaha don't allow you to have your pup out of the bag. Denver let's me hold him right up to the point of walking on the plane. It's important to know the rules for where you are leaving from and arriving in to.
- Be considerate of others. The matter of the fact is some people don't like dogs and don't want dogs near them. I always ask before I pick a seat if they are comfortable with a dog. 99% of the time, people are ecstatic. But I've had people practically yell at me that I couldn't sit by them. Their loss because I will 100% guarantee that my dog is quieter than the baby that they let sit by them. Oh and remember, when traveling with a pup, no emergency row for you!
- Be considerate of your dog Most dogs are not as airport friendly as Henry. Traveling, like for humans, creates a lot of chaos, anxiety and nerves. Like I said before, a lot of people love dogs and they will want to pet your pup. Remember that being a bag with tons of humans wanting to pet him can be nerve wrecking I try to keep Henry to myself most times just to make sure he stays calm. Hey, if people think I'm being a bitch, that's fine. The safety an well-being of my pup is way more of a concern than you wanting to pet him.
See, I told you he loves his bag. Do you travel with your pup or animals? What advice would you offer?