The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #71 Car & Air Travel Tips for Dogs

April 21, 2021 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 3 Episode 71
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #71 Car & Air Travel Tips for Dogs
Show Notes Transcript

Today’s topic is something that comes up a lot as my team and I help a LOT of new dog owners.

Let’s say, you’re getting a puppy soon. You are driving several hours away to pick up your puppy which means you’ll have a long drive home with the puppy in the car. What should you bring? How can you help the puppy enjoy the trip? What about potty breaks? I will address these questions on the podcast today. 

Others of you I know are flying on a plane with your brand new puppy. What should you expect on the flight? What should you bring with you? How will the puppy handle the trip? I want to address these questions as well. Today is all about travelling with your dog. I’m also going to share a few general tips for travel as the weather warms up in many areas. 



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Car & Air Travel Tips for Dogs


Hi everybody! I hope you’re having a great week. Thanks for tuning in. Today’s topic is something that comes up a lot as my team and I help a LOT of new dog owners.


Let’s say, you’re getting a puppy soon. You are driving several hours away to pick up your puppy which means you’ll have a long drive home with the puppy in the car. What should you bring? How can you help the puppy enjoy the trip? What about potty breaks? I will address these questions on the podcast today. 


Others of you I know are flying on a plane with your brand new puppy. What should you expect on the flight? What should you bring with you? How will the puppy handle the trip? I want to address these questions as well. Today is all about travelling with your dog. I’m also going to share a few general tips for travel as the weather warms up in many areas. 


Today’s topic is on my mind as we are bringing our own new puppy home in a few weeks. It is a two hour car ride and I’ll share with you my plan for the trip. I’ve also flown with dogs in the cabin and can offer my advice there as well. 


Let’s start with the car ride as even if you’re flying your puppy home, there will be a ride following to get you to your home. 


First, spend time with your puppy at the breeder’s home or at the meeting spot before getting in the car. Meet your puppy, help them feel safe with you by sitting on the ground and letting them come up to you. Let them investigate you without the pressure of you overhandling them initially. If they are interested in you, reach out to pet them and engage in play with a simple toy. When it is time to leave, take puppy potty before you get in the car.


After a successful potty trip, time to get in the car. Do what you feel is best for you and your dog. Often the puppy will feel the most comfortable sitting in someone’s lap, but you can also have them in a crate which is securely fastened with the seat belt. A soft sided crate with a top opening makes it possible for you to pet your puppy while they are in the crate to offer some comfort. We recommend sitting in the backseat with a blanket or towel in your lap. Having a crate nearby is also nice so you can place your puppy in if they get restless or need a break from being held. 


Things to bring

  • Blanket or towel
  • Crate (soft sided or plastic - easier to clean if your puppy gets car sick)
  • Chew toys (soft and hard) - one long furry squeaky toy with room for you to hold one end while they chew the other; 
  • Collapsible water bowl and water 
  • Pee pads (1 per 2 hours)
  • Ziploc bag with paper towels, Clorox wipes, poop bags, hand sanitizer
  • Puppy’s kibble - use as food rewards or distraction if needed.


Other tips would be to bring a blanket from mom or toy with littermates scent on it can help. A Snuggle Puppy with the heat pad and heartbeat can go in the crate with them so it feels like they are not alone.


Bring a soft chew toy and a hard one so you can give him those when he starts to mouth you. Also bring your own water in a jug and water bowl for your puppy. When stopping to let him stretch his legs choose wisely. Pick places where random dogs don't roam. No rest stops, gas stations, or pet related places. Grass outside of a restaurant usually is a better choice. You'll also need a leash and collar, crate, poop bags, hand sanitizer, paper towels and Clorox wipes in a gallon size Ziploc bag, just in case.


Let’s talk about flights next. 


You’ll want to take them potty close to boarding time. Most airports have designated potty areas mapped online so you can plan before you go or ask someone when you get there where to find one. Bring pee pads to set down on the floor and wipes to clean off your dog's paws afterward, as your puppy is not fully vaccinated and we want to keep them safe. Line the floor of the carrier with a pee pad wrapping the edges underneath so your puppy is less likely to chew it. This will help in case of an accident. 

Ask the breeder not to feed the puppy in the morning to decrease the chance of an accident. You can feed them as soon as you land.

Bring 1-3 mentally stimulating toys to swap out throughout the flight. I like a mix of soft and hard chews with different textures. When your puppy gets a little mouthy you can use the toys as distractions. 

Send the carrier you’ll be using to the breeder - have it shipped to them instead of you - and ask if they’ll help get your puppy comfortable in it before you arrive. This will help a lot if the puppy is familiar with the carrier before the flight. Making it a positive thing goes a long way in helping your puppy feel safe and secure. 

If the puppy barks, don't get upset or anxious. Your puppy is having a stressful day, as is expected. Do your best to distract them with toys, put your hand in the crate to pet and console them, give them a piece of kibble here and there if you can capture their attention and moments of calm. 

In case of an accident I would also pack a gallon size ziploc bag with extra pee pads, paper towels, clorox wipes, a poop bag and hand sanitizer in it just in case. 

 

Most likely they’ll take a nap. Simply petting them will help calm them as will slowly rubbing their ears. A tired puppy is a happy puppy on a plane. The extra white noise of the aircraft assists in calming the dog down. 


What about general travel tips for dogs?

 

Summer is approaching and many people like to take their dog with them on trips. Whether you are headed to a local park or on an overnight adventure, here are some tips when taking your puppy with you in a vehicle.

 

The best place for your puppy to ride in a car is in the back seat in their crate, safely anchored using a seatbelt or a crash tested car harness. This prevents your puppy from roaming around the car, causing distractions or from leaping out of an open car window. By putting them in the backseat, it prevents airbag injuries in case of a crash. 

 

Take caution in letting your pet hang their head out the window while traveling. Airborne debris may cause injury and some animals actually leap from the window. If you are not going to use a crate, then attach your puppy to the seat using a puppy car harness and keep the windows up enough to prevent such occurrences. Never hold them in your lap while you are driving.

 

Be sure to provide rest stops along the way on longer trips. Give your puppy a drink of water using a portable water bowl . Never share water bowls with dogs you do not know to prevent illness. Walk your puppy around for at least five minutes then take them potty. Always clean up after your pet. I bring doggy poop bags and a bag with hand sanitizer, paper towels and clorox wipes as a clean-up kit in case my pup gets car sick. By the way, plastic travel crates are much easier to clean than wire!

 

Also, NEVER  leave your dog alone in the vehicle. In the summer months, your vehicle heats up very quickly. Even if you leave the windows cracked, in 80 degree weather that car can warm up to over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes. If you take longer than you thought in getting back, even as little as half an hour, temperatures could reach over 120 degrees, causing significant harm or even death to your pet. Spread the word on this to your friends as well! It’s better to leave your dog home if you don’t have someone to sit outside in the fresh air with them while you shop. 

 

That’s it for today! I hope you learned something new and have some tips that will be useful to you as you travel with your dog! Happy training! I’ll talk to you next week.