20 Tips for Traveling the Globe with Your Dog

It wasn’t until I read Sheron Long’s adorable book, Dog Trots Globe: To Paris & Provence, that I began to consider bringing my dog with me on my travels.

Dog Trots Globe is a new travelogue by Sheron Long that recounts travel adventures through France with her Sheltie, Chula. After dozens of trips, Sheron and her husband decided to take their dog, who was nine years old at the time, with them to their house in St. Rémy-de-Provence in France. Chula got to hike off leash in Les Alpilles (Little Alps), visit farmers markets, enjoy sunny lunches outside and make friends in Paris. Chula has since flown to France a few more times and has her crate packed in hopes of another adventure.

The best trip, Sheron said was when Chula came along. “I wrote this book to share the joie de vivre I relish when I’m in France and to help others know how easy—and how much fun—it is to travel with your pup,” she said.

Below are some tested travel tips from Sheron Long that she kindly shared with us.

1. Consider the time of year

If it is too hot or too cold, it may not be safe for your pup to fly, and some airlines may not agree to board your pet.

2. Research Airlines

Find out about airline safety records and regulations before getting your tickets.PetFlight.com offers safety records and PetTravelStore.com provides pet policies and regulations for each airline.

3. Make Phone Reservations

Make your reservations on the phone to guarantee a spot for Fido on your flight since most airlines limit the number of pets in the cabin and the hold.

4. Choose Non-Stop Flights

Whenever possible book non-stop flights so that your furry friend doesn’t have to change planes or end up caught at an airport during delays. If you have to switch planes, find out about the airline’s policies on keeping pets safe during a layover. Some offer pet hotels and air-conditioned vans during the wait. Avoid at all costs airlines that leave your pet waiting on a hot tarmac.

5. Waiting to Board

Some airlines allow owners to keep their dogs in the lobby area until boarding. Sheron chose Air France, which allowed them to keep Chula with them until 20 minutes before takeoff.

6. Proof of Vaccinations

Make sure to have your pet’s health certificates (issued within 10 days prior to flying) and proof of vaccinations handy for international trips. Forms for a “Pet Passport” to various countries are available here, and here you can also find out the signatures you need and the fees that apply.

7. Microchip

Make sure your pet is microchipped so that no one gets lost on the trip. Place a GPS device on the collar so you can track your pet in case she gets out of sight. Some countries require that the pet is microchipped, but not all have the scanners to read them. Bring your own portable scanner to provide proof.

8. Pet Relief Areas

Many airports have animal relief areas, but some do not. Find out where you can walk your dog before boarding and after arrival before booking.

9. Cabin Pressure

Find out ahead of time whether the plane’s cabin for animals is  heated and kept at the same temperature and pressure as the cabin for humans. Most 747’s and other wide body jets have forced air ventilation in the cargo holds, while smaller planes such as 737’s and 727’s do not.

10. Choose the Right Crate

Your pet’s size will determine travel in-cabin or in the hold. If your pet will need a crate to go in the hold, be sure to get one (preferably with wheels) that is airline-approved. Go to Pettravel.com for list of carrier requirements.

11. Crate Comfort

Your pet should be able to stand, lie down, stretch out and turn around in the crate. Click here for info on how to choose the right size. Put a comfortable matt, and add a few favorite toys or something that carries your scent so the pet feels safe. Most importantly, bolt a food and water bowl to the grill to minimize spills.

12. Information Sticker

Affix a sticker to the top of the crate with information on the pet’s name, airline and flight number, departure and destination cities, the planned departure and arrival times, and a mobile phone number where you can be reached.

13. Freeze Water Bowl

Dehydration during flight is the greatest danger. Freezing the water bowl before boarding really helps eliminate spills and ensuring that your dog has water during flight. Also, a product called Waterbites offers a hydrating gel that doesn’t spill out. Another option is to fasten a drip bottle if your dog knows how to use it. If not, put a bit of peanut butter at the end of the tube so your dog gets acquainted with the process quickly.

14. Do Not Medicate

Experts in the pet transport industry do not recommend sedatives as they increase dehydration.

15. Emergency Pet Clinics

Go to PetFlight.com for a list of vets and emergency pet clinics in the USA. If you’re traveling internationally, ask your hotel or a local tourist office for a vet recommendation as soon as you arrive.

16. Bring Food

Pack your pet’s favorite food to bring with you so she can have a treat shortly after landing. It’s one way to bring along a little bit of “home.” But, if you’re coming back into the USA from a foreign destination, do not bring any food as the officials will confiscate the food or, worse, fine you.

17. Pack Two Leashes

Bring two leashes because they are so easy to lose. Invest in a good harness that goes around the dog’s body and makes it easier to walk.

18. Bottled Water, Portable Water Bowl and Paper Towels

Get the plastic kind that pack flat and then inflate. Have paper towels handy for airport “accidents”.

19. Arrival

Dogs arrive in a separate area with the oversized luggage. As soon as you get to baggage claim, find out where the oversized luggage arrives so your pup won’t wonder where you are.

20. Itinerary

If you need help planning your trip, visit BringFido.com for dog-friendly places and events.

Note that airlines will no longer transport snub-nosed dogs.

Below are some resorts offering pet friendly accommodations:

  • Montelucia Resort & Spa Scottsdale in Arizona is an expansive resort nestled at the foot of Camelback Mountain with plenty of pet-friendly areas and guestrooms with plush pet beds, doggie bowls and baked treats.
  • The Lazy Dog Inn in New Hampshire is a charming inn located in near the White Mountains. It caters specifically to dogs and their owners. Furry friends can enjoy hiking and playtime with other dogs.
  • Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid is a premier luxury hotel providing customized services to fit your dog’s needs. Pups get new accessories like a plush Yagu pet beds and stylishly decorated food and water bowls waiting in their rooms.
  • The Kimpton Firesky Resort & Spa Scottsdale in Arizona is considered one of Arizona’s most pet-friendly hotels, and there is no additional charge for pets.
  • Dream South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida is an ideal Art Deco oasis for both travelers and their pets. The Doggie Hautel Couture Package is only for dogs 30lbs and under.
  • The W Scottsdale offers four-legged guests a pet toy, treat, chic W Hotels pet tag and W pet beds.
  • The beautiful pet friendly Inn At Perry Cabin, located in St Michaels, Maryland is the place where Wedding Crashers was filmed. The Inn offers delicious dishes specifically made for your canine companion.
  • At the Paw House Inn in Vermont, the theme is No Dog Left Behind. This historic inn is near dog friendly restaurants, outdoor concerts, swimming, and hiking trails.
  • Find out if the hotel you booked welcomes pets by visitingPetswelcome.com.image

Dog Trots Globe is available from Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Enhanced eBook with audio and video embedded is available in the Apple iBookstore.

Where are you planning to take your dog on vacation? Share in a comment.

Published by Lavanya

Lavanya Sunkara is a writer, animal lover, and globetrotter based in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Fodor’s, Forbes, USA Today and many more in a career spanning ten years. She covers travel, eco-lifestyle, culture, pets, and wildlife conservation.

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