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Biking is becoming ever more popular, with people flocking to use bicycles for their preferred method of both exercise and relaxation. Union Cycliste International reported that 2020 was the biggest year for bicycling in the USA since 1973; and 2021 is poised to surpass that record. This is no surprise since cycling has a low impact on the environment, is a good way to get around quickly, and also opens up opportunities to experience the world around you. And why not enjoy biking with your dog? Indeed, there are few better ways to get around with your four-legged friend than on a bicycle.
Related: How to Travel Better with a Dog
Safety first when biking with your dog
As fun as it is to bike with your dog, choosing the right option that works for both you and your pet is important. For smaller dogs, a front or rear facing carrier or bike trailer are safe and simple ways to transport your under 20 pounder, especially if you live in a busy city. However, you will need to make sure that the carrier you choose can secure your dog with a restraint and is able to withstand the weight of your dog. You should also consider investing in a pair of Doogles or other types of sunglasses to protect their eyes from dust and dirt.
If you have a larger dog that enjoys exercise such as a Husky, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Spaniel, Weimaraner or a hyper cross breed (gotta love ‘em), biking with your dog is a great way to burn off that boundless energy. But there are things to consider before you hit the road.
Should my dog be leashed? Unless you are in an environment where your dog will not be distracted from your path, it is a good idea to leash your dog to the bike. There are many devices that allow for this safely. This bike leash is just one example.
How long can my dog keep a faster pace? Before biking with your dog, you should understand their limits as to exercise. Consider the need for training your dog to run next to a bicycle. First trips should be short and slow so your pup can understand the arrangement. Work your way to a pace that is comfortable for them. Watch them carefully for signs of fatigue, dehydration and distraction. Don’t encourage your pooch to sprint for too long even if they are enjoying the pace, especially if they are a snub-nosed breed. Don’t forget to offer them water after a good biking session.
Courtesy of Pixabay
Start biking with your dog on easy park trails
Before you head out on vacation, it’s a good idea to consider what’s on your doorstep. Many bike trails are also dog-friendly, and that extends to local parks and areas of natural beauty. The US Department of Interior has a very handy roundup of such areas, listed state by state. In particular, they recommend the Ridge to Rivers System in Idaho and the various National Wildlife Refuges set across the USA’s urban conurbations. Just make sure you know the local rules. There are times when you’ll want to let your pet off the leash, and there are several parks where this won’t be allowed. Also, and again, you’ll need to ensure you cycle at a dog-safe pace.
Off the parks and onto the roads is where many cyclists will opt to choose before their next big trip. For owners of smaller to medium sized dogs, who can be placed in a carrier on the bike as opposed to needing to be taken on lead, this is a real option and one that can help you to experience a bit of city history. Many cities have good policies on dogs when it comes to museums, and there are plenty of art installations outside, too, where you can easily dismount and go for a walk around. Cycling with your dog is not prohibited, either, but it’s important to be extra careful on city streets and among traffic.
Longer dog-friendly bike trails
Past your own front door, biking gives you the freedom to go pretty much anywhere you like, often to awe-inspiring places and backdrops, and doing so with man’s best friend in tow only enhances the adventure. The United States, with its many varied climates and sights, offers a few key trails to try out. For urban dog owners, The American River Parkway, California offers a quick way to get out. According to arpf.org, the trail has a dozen access points and an abundance of trees and wildflowers, making it a great area for your dog to explore.
Furthermore, it features areas in which you can fish, swim, kayak, or run, as well as paint, relax, or watch a sunset. For sure, your rest stops will never be boring.
Other parks offering pet friendly bike trails are
Arcadia National Park in Arcadia, ME
Katy Trail, Clinton, MO
Banks-Vernonia Trail, Portland, OR
Flume Trail, Lake Tahoe, NV
Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe, NV
Maah Daah Hey Trail, Waterford, ND
Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest, Asheville, NC
Withlacoochee Bay Trail, Crystal River, FL
Gatlinburg Trailhead, Gatlinburg, TN
WCU Hiking & Mountain Biking Trailhead, Cullowhee, NC
Losing yourself in the wilderness
If you and your furry pal are after something more on the wild side you can bike the George S. Mickelson Trail, South Dakota, where ghosts of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane still roam according to Parks.gov. You can explore the prairies, pine and ponderosa forests, all of which will provide a wealth of sensory adventures for your pet. Afterwards, you can stop off for a picnic while your dog enjoys a refreshing doggy paddle in the cool lake.
Other examples of wilderness biking trails that allow pets are Cowboy Trail, Norfolk, NE and The Great Allegheny Passage Trail from Pennsylvania to Maryland.
An honest to goodness road trip
Why not combine all these adventures together into a long road trip? The Active Times highlights one such trip which is 8,000 miles cross the USA trail cycled, over months, by one owner and their pet. Road trips are famous for their ability to help draw the travel experience out into a really long and enjoyable stretch – an opportunity to learn about yourself and, with your pet there, your best friend too. With the open view towards cycling and pets seen in the urban areas, parks, trails and wilderness of the country, you’re sure to have a good time.
Don’t be surprised if cycling becomes one of your favorite pastimes. Of course, you want your best friend there alongside you wherever you may roam. Biking with your dog is a great way to do this. Make sure that they are safe along the way and enjoy the time you share outdoors wherever you are. You and your pooch have fun while riding hand in paw.
Jane Sandwood is a freelance writer and editor who spent over a decade in the tourism industry.
So, it’s time to travel with your pet. Whether your trip is planned or unexpected, why should you understand that temperatures matter? Simply put, extreme weather outside your door, at any place you stop along the way or at your destination, can put your pet at great risk when traveling, especially when flying.
How does a cat or dog regulate its body temperature in periods of high temperature? Our fur babies do not sweat through their skin as we do. Their coat helps protect them, keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They can perspire through their ear canals and the pads of their feet, but they regulate their body temperature primarily through their respiratory system (panting). Excessive panting promotes dehydration, and that is why having water available to them when traveling is important.
How about low temperatures? If dogs and cats are exposed to low temperatures for long periods of time, body temperatures can drop and hypothermia can develop. As time passes, their body’s ability to bring itself back to normal temperatures diminishes. Depression of the circulatory, central nervous, respiratory and the immune systems commonly develop. It all leads to difficulty breathing, which is never good for any of our four-legged friends.
Every animal is different in how they handle changes in temperature. The size, age, breed, type of coat and health all play a part in protecting your cat or dog from variations in body temperature. Snub-nosed breeds are particularly at risk due to their inability to breathe efficiently.
Obviously, dogs and cats that have thick undercoats like Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes, Persians, and Maine Coon Cats, for example, are better protected in periods of cold weather while Chihuahuas, Sphynx cats and other small, short-haired breeds are more susceptible to cold temperatures. Makes sense, right? Does it work the other way around? Not necessarily. It depends on your pet’s normal environment and what temperatures they are accustomed to.
If your dog or cat is traveling from a warm climate to a cold climate, it is important to offer protection to them until they can become accustomed to lower temperatures. One way to help is with a self warming pad. This nifty pad can be used in a crate, carrier, cage or a car and will hold your pet’s natural body heat to be reabsorbed back into its body helping to keep it warm. Don’t forget sweaters for short-haired dogs and cats in low temperatures.
Let’s first consider ground travel as it is a less stressful way to travel with a pet. Obviously, if you are traveling in a car, conditions will be stable for your dog or cat because you will have control over temperatures in your car; that is, as long as you are in it. If you leave your pets in your car unaccompanied, know that temperatures can rise or fall very quickly in summer and winter, even if you leave the window open a bit. Takes only a few minutes to become risky for them, especially in periods of higher temperatures.
Remember, too, that our friends need pit stops when traveling and protecting their pads is important in both summer when asphalt is hot and winter when sidewalks are icy and snow is on the ground. Dry their pads well, removing any snow or ice that is caught in their pads. (Cats will especially love this.)
If your dog or cat is flying in an airline cargo hold, temperatures matter.
When flying in the hold, the time when your dog or cat is most at risk is not after take off at 30,000 feet but on the ground during periods of holding, loading and taxiing. Most cargo areas are not heated or air conditioned efficiently and it can get mighty cold or hot waiting for hours before loading. (United Airlines offers climate-controlled holding areas.) Live animals are generally the last thing loaded, so they wait on the baggage carrier or the tarmac until it is their turn. Also, if the airport is busy and there is a wait to take off, tarmac temperatures can affect the cargo hold until the aircraft’s heating or cooling systems kick in. (like conditions in the cabin)
If you are flying your dog or cat in the cargo hold, your airline will not accept live animals when temperatures on the tarmac fall below 45°F (7°C) or higher than 85°F (29°C) anywhere on your route (origination, layover or destination). Some airlines may accept an acclimate certificate issued by your veterinarian if your pet lives in a cold climate and is a breed that is accustomed to lower temperatures. No such certificate is available for higher temperatures and rightly so. Like a hot car, periods of high temperatures are extremely risky, even to healthy pets.
OK, so what can we do, as responsible pet owners, to avoid extreme temperatures?
Travel in Spring or Fall
The best time for pets to travel is the Spring or Fall when temperatures are not extremely hot or cold, no matter how you choose to transport your pet. Temperatures matter when it comes to your pet’s safety and comfort.
Travel During Non-Holiday Periods
Book your flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday when demands on the cargo hold are not as excessive. If driving, traffic will be lighter on these days. If you are traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas, go several days early before the rush and return during the week after the holiday.
Drive or Fly Directly
Unless you are traveling in an RV, get to your destination as soon as you can so you can introduce your pet to a stable environment. If flying, opt for a direct flight. It may be more expensive than a layover, but far less stressful for your pet. Never change airline companies along the way if at all possible.
Get Your Pet Acclimated to Travel
Lots of short trips in the car will help your dog or cat get used to leaving its environment and travel will become a bit less stressful. Get your pet a good restraint, whether a pet carrier or a booster seat. If flying, get a good pet crate and get your pet used to it as early as possible.
Life Happens – What to do?
Because, we do not always get the opportunity to plan our travels. Life brings sudden changes and all of us want our pets with us when it is time to go. If temperatures are high, then consider driving to an airport where temperatures are cooler if possible. Talk to your airline about holding and loading procedures.
If your destination is too hot or cold when you need to travel, you may need to leave your pet with friends or family until such time that it is safe for them to travel. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but safety is first and to lose a pet is surely a tragedy. Better to fly your best friend alone or go get them later when temperatures are more tolerable. Remember that temperatures matter!
Many animal lovers who can’t bother with energetic dogs or unpredictable cats opt for fish as pets. They require very little in terms of maintenance; you don’t need to walk them, and they won’t run around your home, potentially destroying your favorite vase, TV, or that unique gift your grandma gave you when you were younger. That said, we all like or need to travel at some point of time and we want to bring our pets with us. So, how do you travel with your fish?
Although you may think that transporting fish is just as easy as other pets; but, it?s actually much more difficult than cradling a kitten or bringing a puppy in a pet carrier.
Given that even a single fish requires daily feeding and regular monitoring in terms of water temperature, quality and pollution, if you can’t provide for that level of care while you are gone, you’ll probably want to bring your pet fish along when you’re traveling and certainly when you’re moving. Here is what you need to know to do it properly and safely.
What to do before your travel with your fish
Keep the tank’s water as clean as possible prior to transporting your fish
Any drastic change in the ambient quality of water can have devastating effects on your pet fish. Some fish can live in tanks that are pristinely clear while others actually welcome a bacterium or two. While you will be able to adjust, clean, and re-water the tank while it is stationary, you won’t get that opportunity as often while you’re traveling.
Your pet fish will need to get accustomed to the change in water’s temperature and cleanliness, and the smaller this change is, the better its odds of survival will be.
The best way to ensure that your fish will be in a healthy environment while you’re on the move is to keep your fish tank as clean as possible before filling the plastic bag with its water.
Do not feed your fish for a few days before you travel
Most fish types can survive approximately seven days without any food, so you should also time its last meal before the trip.
All fish types have different digestive systems, but most of them can digest food within a day. After that, your pet will contaminate its water. This is usually not a problem at all as most aquariums feature filtering systems, and even those that do not can be re-watered in a matter of minutes.
However, the bigger problem in this situation is the fact that most people don’t transport their fish in aquariums; plastic bags are far more practical. Plastic bags, however, contain a smaller quantity of water, which means that the effects of pollution through feces are far more impactful and dangerous.
Bringing an actual aquarium can be a viable solution if it’s decently small. Medium-sized and larger containers are not only impractical, but they’ll create bigger waves with each hard turn, which will stress your fish significantly.
Don’t place anything in your fish?s container
Generally speaking, the only thing that needs to be in the fish’s container (whether it’s an aquarium or a plastic bag) is your pet fish. Their bodies are fragile, and any item regardless of its weight can and will move with every turn, which can harm your pet.
Also, any outside object may end up polluting the water or even change its temperature. Any kind of temperature fluctuation can make your fish sick.
What to do when driving with your fish
Timing is crucial
The first thing you’ll need to think about is how long you’ll be on the move. Most fish will be able to survive approximately 48 hours outside of their fish tank. Traveling beyond this time limit will invariably increase the many factors that impact your pet’s survivability.
Making stops and resting between locations on longer trips will certainly benefit the driver and the passengers, and it’s absolutely necessary for fish. Even though they demand much less than most other types of pets, the restrictions in terms of feeding and water changing can be stressful for them, not to mention the shaking with each bump in the road.
Bring extra water
Fill clean and new plastic bags with water from your fish’s tank before traveling with your fish. Should your fish contaminate their water, you should have ample spare clean water they are accustomed to available to them.
Watch closely for signs of unease
You’ll need to monitor your pet frequently and check for signs of distress, and make a stop if you notice anything strange in its behavior. Here are some things to look for.
Gasping near water?s surface
The most typical sign that your fish is not feeling well during the trip is gasping near the water’s surface. It could be that the water had become polluted, or the environment is unsuitable (the temperature is either too high or low), or the beneficial chemicals in the water have evaporated.
Given that fish can only absorb a small amount of oxygen through the air, they may die fairly quickly if you don’t react.
The second most common sign is poor appetite, but that’s not something you’ll be able to notice since you shouldn’t feed your pet during the trip. If a fish is fed while on the move, it will inevitably soil the water and therefore contaminate it. Even so, if your pet refuses to eat once you’ve stopped, you may want to call a vet just to be sure.
Odd swimming patterns
Every fish has a different kind of swimming pattern. Some may be more energetic, some may be lethargic, and it’s important to note before traveling with your fish what is the default swimming pattern for your pet specifically. Obvious deviations from this pattern are usually a sign of distress.
Finally, try to inspect your pet fish’s color to the best of your ability. Healthy fish are always of the same color while those who are struggling with any kind of stress or disease tend to be bleaker. The color of any fish is dictated by its endocrine system, which will secrete corticosterone whenever it?s enduring huge amounts of stress.
What to do when flying with a fish
If you are moving a long distance or overseas, you may need to fly your fish in order to reduce its travel time. Due to security regulations, commercial airlines will not allow fish to fly in the cabin with their owners. Airline pet policies dictate that fish must fly in the cargo hold in secure containers that will ensure their safety. All containers must be able to withstand handling and flight conditions.
Smaller fish such as goldfish or tropical fish can travel in leakproof plastic bags filled with a minimum of one quarter water and three quarters oxygen. Your fish should be able to swim freely in the bag.
After filling with oxygen, the bag should be twisted, looped and secured. To protect against temperature fluctuations, the bag can be wrapped in a polyethylene sheet or two.
The bag should be placed in a rigid outer container made from material that will protect your fish during handling and loading. The container can be made from strong fiberboard or wood according to the regulations of your airline. No nails, screws of any hardware that could puncture the bag are allowed. Larger species or aggressive fish (betas, etc.) will require dividers.
The container must clearly labelled with Live Animal Stickers. Before sealing the container, the attendant at the cargo facility will need to inspect your fish’s container. Contact your airline’s cargo department to make reservations, discuss check in procedures, and any questions you may have regarding your fish’s safe transport.
What to do when you reach your destination
Put your fish back into its aquarium/tank
When you reach your destination, you should put your fish back into its aquarium as soon as possible. If you didn’t bring the exact aquarium your pet is living in with you, do everything you can to recreate the living conditions it has to offer.
Use the cleanest water you can provide; if tap water is out of the question, bottled water without any additives might be your best solution. Once your fish is in the bigger container, you can feed it again.
Monitor your fish for several weeks for any signs of illness
Any infections or results of stress can surface days after you return your pet to its tank. A new source of water may also cause an imbalance that could affect sensitive fish. Additional attention is good for both you and your fish once placed in a new environment.
It is also a good idea to research a veterinarian in your destination in case complications arise once you arrive.
We hope that this rundown was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on how to travel with your fish. A few simple steps can result in a safer and happier trip for both of you.
A poet, a writer, and a full-time nurse. When she’s at home, she spends her time with her fishy and four-legged friends. She grew up in Alberta with her parents and then moved to Ontario to take care of her only aunt. Kimberly dreams of moving to Australia and wants to spend at least a few years there.
Whether you are young, middle aged or retired, adopting a dog is an exciting prospect. Your new furry friend essentially will become a member of the family and a loyal companion who can’t wait to greet you when you walk through the door. However, the sad truth is that many dogs are abandoned because their owners are simply unaware of the amount of time and care needed for their long-term health and happiness.
Before adopting a dog, you need to evaluate whether you can commit to giving the care and attention that your dog will need for its lifetime. If you have never owned a dog before, it can be difficult to know what is expected of you as an owner. In this guide, we have put together useful information for what you need to know when adopting a dog.
1. Ask questions
The more you know about your dog?s past, the better you can be prepared to care for it. Before bringing your new friend home, ask your shelter about whether your dog has any medical issues, how long it has been in the shelter and what they know about your dog’s history. How they have been caring for your pooch is also important (feeding and walking specifically) and whether your dog gets along with other dogs.
2. Define who does what
Dogs need to be fed, walked, bathed, brushed and loved. It is important to define who in your household will be responsible for what duties when it comes to your new family member. Assigning different duties is a good way to teach your children responsibility and structure. Rules must be in place in advance for walking and feeding and consistency is the key.
3. Get ready
When bringing a dog into your home, you need to make sure that their surroundings are safe with minimal hazards. Dogs love to explore their environment, so it would be advised to create a dedicated dog zone where they are free to play and sleep. If there are any areas in the home that are off-limits to your pooch, it would be wise to install baby gates as a precaution. Some of the most important aspects to take into consideration include:
- Keeping electrical wires out of reach
- Removing any cleaners or chemicals that may be stored within reach (inside and outside)
- Storing away shoes, socks, and other chewable items
- Picking up any small items that may be tempting to eat
- Keep a lid on trash cans to prevent curious puppies from foraging for leftovers
4. Go shopping
Collars, leashes, bedding, food and water bowls, dog shampoo, treats, food, brushes, nail clippers, cleaners for accidents and of course, toys to play with are some of the basic items you will need for an adopted dog. You may want to go shopping with your new friend and let them pick out toys they lilke as well.
5. Find a good veterinarian
You might not be thinking of your dog getting ill as soon as you choose to adopt, but dependent on the age of your pooch, they may need to have essential injections for common illnesses. It is an excellent idea to take your adopted dog to the veterinarian to establish a baseline record for it and check for any health related issues.
Any dog owner needs to choose a vet that they have full trust in when it comes to diagnosing conditions; therefore, it would be wise to see how the vet interacts with your pooch and if they can answer your queries confidently. Your vet should be able to provide information on the widespread illnesses your dog is at risk of and the appropriate vaccinations that should be administered.
If your shelter has not already microchipped your dog, you should consider getting your dog a microchip. Either way, be sure and register your pet with the chip manufacturer and add your contact details. If they get lost, stolen or run away, the first thing that animal control officers will do is to scan for a microchip and contact you through the chip database. A microchip will also prove ownership and can’t get removed or lost like an ID tag can.
Take time for introductions. Your dog will need to process everyone in your home and decide where they fit in. Take time for as many strokes and hugs as your dog will allow, and don’t be upset if they don’t warm up immediately. Some relationships must be nurtured, and this takes time. Generally, a dog will bond to a trusted person first, then extend relationships with others when they feel comfortable.
7. Get to know eachother
Dogs learn a lot from experiences they have had and, in the case of an adopted dog, not all past experiences are happy. It is crucial that your family (or you) build up a cache of new and happy experiences from the very beginning. This is best done around your home so your dog will learn to bond with its new environment.
8. Stick around and set the rules
After bringing your adopted dog home, you will need to keep a close eye on your pup. Your home is a new place and they have no idea what the rules are. Be patient, firm and loving when teaching them what they can and cannot do. Reward them with treats when they display good behavior and be mild but consistent with discipline in the beginning.
Don’t plan an extended vacation, going back to work, or any type of excessive stimulation right away. This can add to the confusion that an adopted dog already feels when they come to a new home. Keeping activity low-keyed will help your pet relaxed and allow them to learn more about their new environment.
9. Commit to a high-quality diet
The number of different types of dog food on the market can be quite overwhelming as a newbie dog owner, and you may not know which one to choose for your pooch. There is a vast array of sizes, flavors, and textures that are suitable for various dog types, so if in any doubt, it would be advised to do some research on which type of food your breed should be eating or ask your vet for recommendations.
As an absolute minimum, the food should list real meat in list of ingredients, not meat-flavored or grain, as this indicates that the food contains protein which is essential for dogs. A poor diet can lead to a whole host of health issues, including sickness and diarrhea. Unless you are ready to dedicate your trips to the grocer and time spent in the kitchen fixing home cooked meals for your pet, you should aim to limit human food from their diet, as this can cause an imbalance in nutrients and vitamins which keeps your dog in good health.
Ask your veterinarian how much you should be feeding your dog. It is much easier to keep your dog trip and fit than dealing with health issues related to an overweight dog.
10. Keep them clean and tidy
While grooming may be considered a novelty for your pooch, it is, in fact, an essential aspect of maintaining your dog’s health and wellbeing. During the summer months, in particular, fleas and ticks can be an issue, as well as perspiration which can cause skin irritation and further scratching. Professional grooming can be a huge monthly expense; however, there are DIY dog wash options in which you can bathe your dog yourself. Before bathing, ensure that all knots and matting are cut and brushed out.
Not only will your dog feel better, it is a perfect time to bond with eachother.
11. Consider insuring your pet
You cannot predict when your dog may become ill or injured, so it would be highly advised to take out pet insurance as a form of financial protection if the worst-case scenario were to occur. Vets bills can be extremely steep, but a monthly premium policy should help cover costs up to a specific limit. Always ensure you research the very best premiums available in accordance with your budget to see what coverage they will provide.
12. Get lots of exercise
Some dogs need more exercise than others; however, all dogs should be getting some form of exercise every day. A small dog may be suited to playing fetch or short walks, while a large dog such as a Rottweiler or Golden Retriever may need a minimum 30-minute walk per day. Plenty of exercise burns off exercise energy as well as keeps their muscles and joints supple. The amount of exercise each dog needs may help you decide which type of dog would be best suited to your lifestyle.
13. Make lots of friends
Socializing your dog is a major factor in helping them become more well-balanced and well-behaved as they grow older. From as young as weeks old, your adopted dog should be exposed to a range of sights, smells, sounds, and as many different people as possible to refrain from building up fears later in life. If you have rescued your dog, try not to overwhelm them with too much too soon, as this can have the opposite effect and lead them to develop irrational fears. Nervous dogs need a gradual introduction to new experiences, which should help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. Acknowledge good behavior, so they become accustomed to being rewarded if a certain action is repeated.
14. Treat your dog with respect
It can be frustrating when your dog isn’t obeying your commands, but you should never use physical force to encourage them to perform. For example, in the early puppy stages, it’s extremely normal for them to urinate around the house and chew on objects as they haven’t been taught otherwise. Likewise, adult dogs may misbehave as a result of human action; therefore, you should always acknowledge how your own behavior may have led to bad behavior.
Giving a shelter dog a new home is certainly a worthwhile and gratifying experience. That said, it is not always easy. An adopted dog cannot tell you about its past, so you need to understand if it takes time to adjust to its new life. If you?re considering adopting a dog in the near future, we hope this guide has provided some useful care basics about what you need to know when adopting a dog.
Maggie Hammond is a proud mama to two little people and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.
Do you like traveling? Do you have a cat? Traveling with your kitty makes those days away from home more adventurous and fun! Whether you want to enjoy the outdoors or visit friends, don’t let your furry baby miss out on all the fun.
But there are lots of mistakes that you can make when traveling with your cat. Your fun adventure could end up frustrating if you forget to pack some of the necessities. We are here to help. Here’s a list of 13 things not to forget to pack before you leave.
1. Litter box
Of course, you’ll need a litter box. When she’s gotta go, she’s gotta go! You could opt to carry her litter box, but that could be bulky. Alternatively, try a portable litter box or a disposable one or two. They are lighter, easy to carry, and easy to clean. A portable litter box is also purrfect for long drives. Don’t forget to bring some of your kitty’s favorite litter along as well. Familiar items always make travel easier.
2. Other Toiletries
The litter box is only but one essential toiletry for your kitty. Here’s are other toiletries to include in the list:
- Litter scoop
- Plastic grocery bags. They make excellent travel poopy bags. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle!
- Big trash bags. Carry a few; you will need somewhere to put the disposable litter box.
- A small hand broom and dustpan.
Although your kitty’s surroundings will change, your kitty’s food should not. Changing a diet can cause digestional upset which is unpleasant for both of you. Treats can help a kitty who hesitates to eat during travel, as many of them do. They also can be a reward for good behavior. Remember, you are going on a fun-filled adventure together. Rewards are inevitable.
Make sure you carry her favorite canned food and plastic can top. She won?t finish the whole can in one meal, and you?d want to keep the rest safely in the fridge for later. Feeding in portioins also means that you should remember to carry the following items:
4. Water Bowl/Bottle
Since cats don’t drink that often, it is easy to forget about the water bowl/bottle. But it’s crucial. After all, how will kitty rehydrate during the trip?
Make sure you pack a collapsible water bowl and bring plenty of bottled water.
5. Mats or a Foldable Cardboard
We may want to say that kitty is purrfect. She doesn’t make a mess on the floor when eating or drinking. But we all know that’s far from true. Spare your host or the hotel staff the frustration. Carry a mat or foldable cardboard to place under the food and water bowls during feeding times.
6. Harness and Leash
Cats like to explore new environments. They are natural hunters and, unless restrained, they can stray and get lost. There is nothing that can ruin your adventure more than losing your precious pet. Don’t overlook the harness and retractable leash when packing, especially if your cat doesn’t like to be held. It could be the best item you included in the travel list when traveling with your cat. (see more on protecting your cat from loss below)
7. Safety During Travel
Are you planning to travel by plane? Check with the airline for airline compliant cat carriers. An airline cargo hold is a scary place for a cat. Some airlines are pet friendly allow you to fly with your cat in the cabin in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Of course, your cat must be in a high-quality carrier. But it’s much better than flying in the cargo hold.
Remember to check with the airline on their pet policy before making plans.
A high-quality carrier can also come in handy for long road trips. But pet safety during auto travel is a lot more complicated. For your cat’s safety (and your safety as well) your cat should be restrained when traveling in a car. A sudden stop at slow speeds can send your kitty flying. Better to ride in a crate, carrier or harness.
Remember to pack a pet sling or backpack with ventilation for your pit stops. Never leave a pet alone in a parked car. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can climb quickly and put your pet in harm’s way.
High-quality carriers also often double up as cat beds. If you can, carry something your cat is familiar with such as a cat cave, a comfy bed, or a pillow for her comfort while at the destination. Also, carry one of her blankets. It will have a familiar scent and help your cat get comfortable with their new surroundings.
9. Grooming Supplies
Cats get stressed when they travel and shed more when they are tense. Besides, all the travel and eating while on the go could cause her to look like a mess. Kitty may need a little help with grooming. So carry along a brush, cat shampoo, and a lint roller. If you want to learn more about grooming your cat as well as cat habits, diseases and taking better care of your cat, you could also consider taking a cat grooming course.
10. Your Cat’s Favorite Toys
Put one or two of your cat’s favorite toys on the packing list. They will help to keep the little kitty entertained while away from home. If you plan on a road trip, take time to stop and play with your cat. They need to get those muscles moving to counter the fatigue involved with limited movement.
11. Medication, Medical Records, and Veterinary Contacts
Does your kitty take medication? If yes, be sure to pack enough supplies and take a photo of the prescription and store it in the cloud or on your cellphone for easy reference. Make a list of veterinarians and veterinary hospitals in along your route or in your destination area. Note their addresses, operating hours, and telephone contacts. It will save you a ton of trouble and frustration if there’s an emergency and your kitty has to see a veterinarian.
12. Pack a Pet First Aid Kit when Traveling with a Cat
When we talk about emergencies, a first aid kit must be nearby. Be prepared to handle emergencies before you get to the vet. You could opt to buy one or fix one up from supplies you already have at home. Just make sure it has the following items:
- Non-stick Bandages
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Antibiotic ointment?
- Rectal thermometer?
- Blunt end scissors?
- Petroleum jelly
- A syringe
13. Identification and Paperwork
Lastly, don’t even think about leaving home without your cat’s identification and paperwork. Ensure that you fit the cat with a collar with an ID tag and a vaccine tag. Better than an ID tag, get your cat a microchip. A microchip is a great way to uniquely identify your cat and can help to reunite you if it gets lost. When you register your information in the manufacturer’s database, animal control agencies will be able to contact you if your kitty is lost. Before you leave, check the details registered with the chip company, and ensure they include a cell phone number you’ll have access to on the journey!
If you are crossing state lines, carry a copy of your cat?s health certificate and rabies certificates.
Traveling with a cat can be fun. Ensure that you include the above items in your packing list. That way, both you and the kitty will enjoy the time away from home. In case you have to leave her home on short notice, learn what to do to make her feel comfortable.
Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training, and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friends.
IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR DOGS ENTERING OR RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES FROM COUNTRIES CLASSIFIED AS HIGH-RISK OF RABIES
Effective July 14, 2021, the Center for Disease Control(CDC) will impose a temporary ban on dogs* entering the United States after having been in countries classified by the World Organization of Animal Health as having a high risk of rabies anytime within the past 6 months. This includes dogs who have resided in, visited, or cleared customs and these countries within 6 months of import. Dogs intending to enter or reenter the US from these countries will not be permitted entry without an import permit from the CDC.
*Cats are not included in this ban.
Why is the CDC banning dogs from high rabies countries?
Rabies is a serious disease that kills almost 60,000 people worldwide each year. Once symptons show, there is no cure. Government agencies responsible for the import and export of live animals take this disease very seriously. The US has been free of canine rabies virus variant (CRVV) since 2007. Since that time, only 3 dogs with CRVV have been imported to the United States. On June 10, a shipment of 34 animals, including 33 dogs and one cat, entered the United States from Azerbaijan at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. One of those dogs was adopted and, after showing tell tale signs of rabies, was diagnosed with CRVV. As a result, a large scale effort to track exposure of the dog to other humans and animals everywhere along the transport in multi cities and countries has commenced.
Ninety nine percent of all deaths in humans from rabies is as a result of a dog bite. In 2020, there was a 52% increase in the number of dogs that were ineligible for import to the United States, and 60-70% of all fraudulent/inaccurate rabies documentation were from dogs originating in high rabies countries.
When a dog is refused entry to the United States, it is returned to its origination country. The cost of returning the dog is born by the owner or the airline. In these cases, dogs are sometimes held in facilities that are not in accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Act, and are subject to lack of heating and air conditioning, warehouse equipment and machinery and sometimes the provision of sanitary needs is lacking.
When dogs are abondoned by their owners and the airline refuses to bear the cost of return, the responsibility falls on the Federal Government to bear the costs. The cost for housing, care, and returning improperly vaccinated dogs ranges between $1,000 and $4,000 per dog depending on the location and time required until the next available return flight. During the pandemic, airline service has been reduced, further increasing costs to house and provide veterinary care for these dogs.
How long will the ban last?
The CDC estimates that this ban will be in effect for approximately one year while plans to properly handle dogs who are denied entry are put in place. Import permits will be approved on a very select basis and cannot be appealed. The CDC’s decision on whether your pet will be approved for a permit will be final.
Who is eligible to apply for an import permit?
- U.S. government personnel who are relocating back to the United States with Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders or Temporary Duty (TDY) orders.
- A US citizen or lawful US resident relocating to the United States for employment or education. In this case,the application must include written documentation from an employer or other official source stating the reason for the relocation, such as a letter by an employer or university stating that the U.S. citizen or lawful resident is relocating for reasons of employment or education.
- Importers who wish to import dogs for purposes related to science or education or for exhibition or for an official law enforcement purpose.
- Owners of service animals, if the dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. In accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations at 14 CFR part 382. Emotional support animals, comfort animals, companionship animals, and service animals in training are not considered service animals and will not warrant approval of the permit due to those definitions.
Who Cannot Apply for an import permit?
- Dogs intended for commercial purposes, such as adoption, resale, or transfer of ownership.
- Dogs that will accompany owners on short-term travel to and from high-risk countries.
How can pet owners apply for an import permit?
Import permits will only be issued by the CDC on a very limited basis. Pet owners will need to apply for an Application for a Permit to Import a Dog Inadequately Immunized Against Rabies to the Director, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications must be received a minimum of 30 business days (6 weeks) in advance. Permits are valid for 3 or less personal dogs per permit. One permit per person per year.
The following information must be submitted with the permit:
- Proof of microchip AND
- Proof of age (must be over 6 months to enter the United States from a high-rabies country) AND
- Photo of identification page of the importer’s US passport or Lawful Residence card AND
- Photo of full body and face of your dog AND
- Clear photographs of your dog’s teeth:
- front view of upper and lower teeth
- side view of upper and lower teeth
- FOR PETS WITH PROOF OF RABIES CERTIFICATE ISSUED IN THE UNITED STATES:
- A valid rabies vaccination certificate that was issued in the United States by a U.S.-licensed veterinarian. The certificate must substantiate that the vaccination was administered to your dog not younger than 12 weeks of age and at least 28 days prior to import for primary vaccination (see below for definition of primary vaccination)
- FOR PETS WITH PROOF OF RABIES VACCINATION ADMINISTERED OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES:
- A valid rabies vaccination certificate from a non-U.S.-licensed veterinarian. The certificate must substantiate that the rabies vaccination was administered to your dog not younger than 12 weeks of age and at least 28 days prior to import for primary vaccination (see below for definition of primary vaccination). The certificate must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation*.
Serologic evidence of rabies vaccination from an approved rabies serology laboratory (RNATT – rabies titer test) with results greater than >0.5IU/mL. RNATT must be administered a minimum of 30 days after the primary vaccination (see below for definition of primary vaccination). Samples must be sent to approved labs in China, Korea, France, United Kingdom or Mexico. Test results must be in English. Test is valid for one year. Pets can enter the US no sooner than 3 calendar months after the date the blood was drawn for the test.
- A valid rabies vaccination certificate from a non-U.S.-licensed veterinarian. The certificate must substantiate that the rabies vaccination was administered to your dog not younger than 12 weeks of age and at least 28 days prior to import for primary vaccination (see below for definition of primary vaccination). The certificate must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation*.
There are two scenarios where your pet will receive a primary vaccination:
- It is the first rabies vaccination your pet has ever received after a microchip was implanted.
- Your pet’s previous rabies vaccination had expired when this vaccination was administered (even for a day).
If your origination country is classified as a high-rabies country, then the primary vaccination must be given at least 28 days prior to entry to the United States, not counting the day of the vet visit.
All subsequent rabies vaccinations are considered booster vaccinations. Booster vaccinations are not subject to the 28-day wait if they are administered in the United States before the previous vaccination expires. Be sure and have rabies certificates for both vaccinations.
*A licensed translator will issue a signed statement on professional letterhead incuding the name, address, and contact information of the translator attesting that the translation is true and accurate representation of the original document. The certified translation must have a signatory stamp or elevated seal with the translator’s license number included. A certified translator service can be found online.
Rabies certificates must be issued in English or be accompanied by a certified translation and include the following information:
- Name and address of owner
- Breed, sex, date of birth (approximate age if date of birth unknown), color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
- Date of rabies vaccination and vaccine product information
- Date the vaccination expires
- Name, license number, address, and signature of veterinarian who administered the vaccination
- Your pet’s microchip number (required if your pet received its rabies vaccination in a high-rabies country)
UPDATE: During the transitional period from July 14, 2021 – October 14, 2021, return travelers who left the United States (such as temporary travel for vacation) may apply for an Import Permit if they left the United States before July 14, 2021. Dogs who are granted import permits must enter the United States at one of these 18 airports: Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (ORD), Dallas, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York (JFK), Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle, and Washington, DC (Dulles). where there is an approved facility for inspection. There will be more Points of Entry announced.
All dogs entering the United States with an approved import permit who are vaccinated outside of the US must be revaccinated within 10 days of arrival.
What happens to dogs who do not conform with the new ban?
Any dog from a high-risk country arriving without advance written approval from the CDC will be excluded from entering the United States and returned to its country of origin on the next available flight, regardless of carrier or route. Dogs will also be returned to their origination country if they arrive at a port of entry without a live animal care facility (JFK) or if the dog presented does not match the description of the dog listed on the permit or if the documentation proves insufficient.
Pet owners who are planning to return to the United States from high-risk countries should take note of this ban as it will affect their return to the States.
More information can be found here.
Every person and their dog know that having a furry, four-legged companion just makes every trip just a little bit better. Got to walk into town? Take your dog. Heading to the beach? Take your dog. Need to get away? Take your dog. It’s quite simple really.
Of course, not everywhere will be suitable for your pet, but there are more than enough places in the UK that both you and your playful pup will absolutely love. So, if you’re after some advice on where to go when travelling with your dog in the United Kingdom, and what to do when you get there, then you’ve stumbled across what we could probably consider (humbly) to be the perfect article. From Cumbria to Cornwall, these places are guaranteed to get your pooch’s approval, so discover herein the destinations fit for canine royalty. There will be smiles and wagging tails all round.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cumbria is the first location on the list. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the single best place to take your dog in the UK, but it definitely isn’t far off. The Lake District is a pretty incredible visit anyway, but the fact that it’s dog-friendly almost makes this a no-brainer, even if you’ve been before. With about 25% of the land owned by the National Trust, you can be certain of not only picturesque scenery for you, but (more importantly) a hell of a lot of open space for the dog to play, explore, and claim as their own.
As well as all the potential walks, you can take your pup on the Windermere Lake cruises and the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway, or let them discover the gardens of castles Muncaster and Lowther. Even most of the pubs and cafes gladly welcome dogs, so having your loyal companion won’t inconvenience your trip in any way.
If your dog has too much respect for those that have already claimed the Lake District (or you just fancy something else), Cumbria is also home to plenty of viable alternatives. You can take your furry friend to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North Pennines for an equally stunning walk or settle somewhere in between and visit the National Trust’s Acorn Bank. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Cumbria, and whether they’ve been previously or not, your dog is guaranteed to have a barking good time.
Next up on the list of where to go when traveling with your dog in the United Kingdom, The Cotswolds. Covering 787 square miles, it is absolutely massive, so you’re definitely not short of things for you and your pup to do. The walks here really are second to none, with places like Painswick Rococo Garden and Bibury Trout Farm always excellent options, and picturesque locations such as Woodchester Park providing ample opportunity to turn your dog into the cutest model imaginable.
There are even some hotspots in The Cotswolds that offer so much more than just a walk, for a slightly more adventurous day out. Take your dog to Cotswold Wildlife Park and introduce them to all sorts of creatures from the animal kingdom, or visit Broadway Tower Country Park to really let them loose. As well as more open grass than they could ever hope to cover (although they will definitely try), these grounds boast a dedicated pooch playground with some obstacles that will have them running and jumping all day. Take treats, because they will need the fuel!
The Cotswolds is also a great spot to take your dog because of the huge range of pet-friendly accommodations that you’ll find, so there will be no unnecessary stress surrounding the trip. If I had to recommend one company to book with, it would undoubtedly be Plum Guide, because not only do they have loads of options, but the criteria that their homes actually have to meet before they’re made available for renting guarantees a quality experience every single time.
Heading West to Wales, Snowdonia is another place that will set tails wagging. I know I said that The Cotswolds was big, and it is, that wasn’t a lie, but Snowdonia National Park is even bigger, covering 823 square miles. So while your barking-mad companion will find endless joy in the open space, you can admire the majestic views and take the time to figure out when you’re going to revisit this wonderful place again next year.
The National Park is home to the tallest mountain in England and Wales, the largest natural lake in the entirety of Wales, and even historic sites like Dolbadarn Castle, so to say there’s plenty to do is an understatement. And while the National Park is arguably the go-to when travelling to Snowdonia with your canine companion, it is not the only option in this wing of the world. Criccieth Castle, Glasfryn Parc, and Llanberis Lake Railway are just three of the other dog-friendly attractions that are well worth your time, providing enjoyment for everybody on the trip. If you’re going to Wales, Snowdonia is the place for you.
Finally, rounding off this small list of top doggy travel locations, we have Cornwall. It might be at the bottom of this list, but you have to search very far and very wide for a better UK holiday spot even without your pooch, so bring the dog here for a trip they will never forget (especially if you treat them to a new toy or two? just sayin’).
You’ve got the Pinetum Gardens, Trelissick country house and garden, Land’s End, the Eden Project, and so on (and on, and on). The options for you and your four-legged friend are literally endless. You’ll probably need numerous trips to do everything you want to do, from walks, to museums, and even to the beach.
As a dog owner, you will know full well that dogs love beaches. The sand, the water, the drive there, everything is just amazing. So if you opt for a trip to Cornwall, then head down to a beach. There’s more than 100 to choose from, and whichever one you decide on, the pup will seriously thank you. Porthcurnick Beach, Hawkers Cove, Long Rock, Holywell Bay, and Port Gaverne are just a few of the options in front of you, so when you’re packing the lead, the food bowl and the doggy treats, don’t forget your flip flops.
A UK holiday is always something to get excited about, so a UK holiday with your dog is just unbeatable. Whether you’re travelling with a Chihuahua who lives in your handbag or a Mastiff that actually walks you, these destinations will have you covered. As long as you don’t forget to pack their favourite ball, your pup will have the break of a lifetime in these locations, and (crucially) so will you. You are already doing UK travel very, very right by travelling with your dog in the United Kingdom, so put the icing on the cake and visit one of these paw-some places (sorry). With endless walks and attractions to enjoy, there will always be something for everyone, from the boss of the house to their human.
Author: Matt Blogg: Matt graduated from University with a degree in English Literature and continues to enjoy writing in his free time. An avid sports fan, he frequently writes articles about football, and also has experience as a sports journalist. Additionally, as a proud pet owner, he loves nothing more than spending time with his furry friends and hopes to write animal-related content more regularly in the future.
If you have a fur baby, the chances are that you love the idea of bringing it with you wherever you go. However, if that fur baby is a cat, then traveling should not be taken lightly. Most cats are notoriously poor travelers and do not like being forced out of their comfort zone. It is inevitable that reasons for travel will occur, and who can leave their best friend behind? Know that there are things you can do ahead of time to help your cat be a better traveler, whether internationally or across town.
There are a few things that you should start thinking about well in advance of your trip if you want to take your feline friend with you. Here’s a look at some of the essential things you need to consider.
Consider whether you really need to travel with a cat
The first thing to consider is that cats aren’t like dogs. An important thing that people often overlook when trying to help their cat be a better traveler is that cats are extremely territorial animals, which means that they don’t enjoy going to new places.
Cats feel mosts comfortable when they are in familiar surroundings, seeing familiar sights and smelling familiar smells. Travel is highly likely to cause your cat panic and distress, so it’s important that you only travel with them if really necessary. If you are going away for a short period of time, a better option would be to arrange for a friend or family member to check on them while you are away or even pay a pet sitter to come and stay in your house with them. This task is a lot easier when looking after a cat than a dog, due to how independent your pet likely is. It will still need to be checked up on every day, with it’s litter boxed emptied regularly and it’s food and water topped up.
Consider your cat’s personality
Take a minute to evaluate your cat’s personality. Is your cat friendly and outgoing or very suspicious of strangers? Is it independent or does it follow you around the house much of the time? Has your cat been handled frequently, especially when young? If an indoor cat, does your cat long to go outside?
Generally, cats that are exposed to different environments during their lifetime can turn out to be good travelers. Also, cats that welcome visitors and new experiences may surprise you with their willingness to travel.
If you have a cat that is very independent, prefers its own company rather than the company of others and shows signs of territorial dominance, you will need to spend more time to help your cat be a better traveler.
How healthy is your cat?
Another thing to consider when planning travel is whether or not your cat is in good physical shape. If they aren’t, then traveling could put them at risk.
If your cat has a chronic health condition, they are overweight, or they are advanced in years, then traveling is likely to be difficult for them.
How do you know whether your pet is overweight enough to constitute a health risk? Some breeds are naturally heavier than others. Diamond Pet has provided a detailed source about if an overweight cat is an unhealthy cat which will give you a better idea on this.
Closely related to the health of your cat, you also need to visit your veterinarian to ensure that your cat is fit to travel, up to date on any vaccinations, treatments and health certificates that it needs for travel, primarily if you’re traveling internationally, as many countries won’t let live animals enter unless their pet import requirements are met. It’s a good idea to get your cat vaccinated for rabies, feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia (enteritis), feline rhinotracheitis before an international trip for it’s own safety, as there can be harmful diseases in other countries that it might not be protected against.
Keeping your cat comfortable while traveling
If you are going to be traveling with your cat, then it’s important to do all that you can to keep them comfortable. As cats gain a lot of their knowledge about what’s going on around them by smell, a good way to do this is by surrounding them with familiar smells while they are traveling.
So, if they have a favorite blanket or toy, be sure to put these in with them, and if you’re going to be using a travel pet crate or carrier, then have it in the house for a few weeks or more before you travel. Encourage your cat to sleep in it if you can. This will help the cat build up an association to the carrier and feel more safe and comfortable going inside it. It might also be worth using a different carrier when taking the cat to the vet, so that it doesn’t build up any negative connotations with the case you intend to travel with. If you’re traveling over a long distance, be sure to let your cat out of it’s carrier every now and again to stretch its legs to help with circulation but to also release some energy that it may have built up. Be sure to use a cat lead, so that you don’t lose it.
Flying with a cat
If you’re going to be flying with your cat, it’s important that you check your airline’s pet policies on pet travel as soon as possible so that you have time to plan everything you need to. Each different airline will have its own rules about whether they allow pet travel, and if they do, whether your pet will be allowed to be carried on as hand luggage or whether they will have to be put in the hold. If your cat has to be put on hold, consider how it might react to that. The hold of a plane can be loud a little chilly, creating a distressing environment, so if you haven’t booked a ticket yet, do try to find an airline that will allow your cat to travel in the cabin, as this will be more comfortable for them. There are also likely to be rules about the size of pet carrier that is permitted, but usually, most cat cases are fine due to their petite size.
They will generally require that pets be fully vaccinated and that you acquire a health certificate from your vet to confirm that they are in good health.
Every cat owner wants to help their cat be a better traveler when the time to relocate arrives. Time and patience are a must, especially if your cat is overly independent and territorial. Dothe best you can to prepare your cat ahead of time. Every minute you spend will pay off come travel day.
The regulation that provides protections for service or assistance animals on airplanes is the Airline Carrier Access Act ((ACAA), 49 U.S.C. Section 41705). Administered by the United States Department of Transportation, this statute prohibits discrimination of airline service based on a mental or physical disability of a passenger. The ACAA was enacted in 1986 for US-based airlines and amended in 2000 to include foreign carriers.
Anyone who has flown on a US-based airline in the past 5 years will attest that the number of animals flying in the cabin has increased notably. So have airline charges for small, non-service dogs and cats flying in pet carriers in the cabin. Oftentimes, pet owners pay more than their own ticket to fly their pet. All airline pet policies require many larger pets to fly in the cargo hold due to their size.
When passengers realized that they could fly their pet for free by claiming their pet as an emotional support animal (ESA) with only a letter from a doctor or other medical professional, the popularity of emotional support animals on airplanes soared. It is unclear whether it was the financial benefit or the anxiety that comes with flying a pet in the cargo hold that fueled the increase. What is very clear is that it became a real problem for the airlines very fast.
The variety of animals that were brought onboard under the protection of the ACAA was astounding. Passengers found themselves flying beside mice, ferrets, rats, birds, hamsters, squirrels, monkeys, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, miniature horses and peacocks to name a few. What followed were multiple incidents of offensive behavior, aggression to passengers and crew, damage to the aircraft and ultimately an end to the public trust for legitimate service animals.
Because the ACAA did not clarify the definition of a service animal, the airlines were basically helpless to stop the surge of requests from owners of ESAs. Additionally, because emotional support animals generated no revenue for the airlines, all damages and liabilities incurred by ESAs had to be borne by other airline resources.
On February 5, 2020, the DOT issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making providing notice of the amendment and seeking comments from the public, the airlines and various agencies. As the situation worsened, in May, 2020, the DOT issued an Advance Notice of Rulemaking which allowed the airlines to specify what animals they would accept as emotional support animals. This may have helped the airlines control the influx of non-domesticated animals they were previously forced to accept, but there were more issued to address.
In order to help mitigate the issues, the DOT sought to align the definition of a service animal to that reflected in the American with Disabilities Act with this amendment. This act does not provide protections for emotional support animals in public spaces such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, or airports. It does, however, include miniature horses which the DOT has deferred to the airlines to decide whether or not they will accept them.
Why did the DOT propose the amendment?
Aside from the inconsistent definition of a service animal in the ACAA, the DOT proposed the amendment for the following reasons:
- The large number of complaints from passengers with legitimately trained service animals, other passengers and airline employees and crews.
- Disruptions caused by the forced acceptance of non-domesticated and and other wildlife in a close environment of the cabin.
- The high number of passengers flying with documentation from online mental health professionals who were willing to provide pet owners with emotional support animal and psychiatric service animal documentation for a fee allowing them to misrepresent their pet as a service animal.
- The high number of incidents of bad behavior from emotional support animals on airplanes that were not trained to behave in the confined and stressful cabin environment. As no kind of confinement was required, the behavior of ESAs could put other passengers, crew and the operation of the airline at risk.
- To clarify how the airline should regulate with respect to these issues.
- A Congressional mandate that called for minimum standards for service animals through the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
What does the amendment cover?
These are the deficiencies in the legislation that the amendment addresses:
- Defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed, that is individually trained or able to provide assistance to a qualified person with a disability. Because dogs can be task-trained to perform many different tasks and functions, they would be most qualified to be a service animal.
- Requires the airline not to discriminate against any specific dog breeds.
- Requires the airline to treats psychiatric dogs the same as service dogs with regard to document provision, check in procedures and the like.
- Allows airlines to fly emotional support animals as regular pets, not service animals.
- Allows airlines to limit the number of service animals per passenger to two.
- Allows airlines to require the submission of a DOT form attesting to dog training and good behavior and health of the service dog.
- For flights more than 8 hours, allows the airlines to require that a DOT form is submitted addressing the service dog’s ability to relieve itself during the flight.
- Allows airlines to require these forms to be submitted at least 48 hours in advance, online when booking or at check in. The convenience of online booking and check in cannot be denied passengers flying with a service animal.
- Allows airlines to require that service dogs are harnessed, leashed or otherwise tethered.
- Addresses safe transport of larger service dogs.
- Allows airlines to hold passengers flying with service dogs liable for damage caused to the aircraft in certain circumstances.
Breaking down the comments
There were over 15,000 comments accepted from various agencies, associations and the public at large. About 10,000 comments were directed to the transport of emotional support animals, 3,000 in favor of the amendment and 6,000 against.
Predictably, airline associations and agencies that represent the disabled argued that untrained emotional support animals were substantially more likely to misbehave in a stressful environment causing a risk to operational safety. Because emotional support animals on airplanes are not required to be contained, they are more likely to encroach on other passengers and affect the operations of the crew.
Additionally, there was concern over the increased fraudulent documentation submitted to the airlines from owners misrepresenting their need for a service animal with a fee-based online evaluation involving minimal therapeutic interaction.
Other supporters of the amendment commented on the medical affects associated with more exposure to emotional support animals on airplanes such as allergies. This is not a new argument and has been mitigated on some airlines with enhanced air filtration; however, it merits consideration.
There were also comments from medical healthcare workers and professionals as well as individuals which did not support the amendment.
The primary concern was that changing the definition of an emotional support animal would discriminate against people with legitimate psychological issues such as PTSD, autism, debilitating depression, anxiety and other emotional and mental disabilities.
The financial impact of having to pay for pets who formerly could fly for free was also raised in the comments.
Disability rights organizations were split down the middle. Some argued that, due to the increased number of emotional support animals in the cabin was affecting public trust in legitimate service animals. Others argued that physical needs for service animals were taking precedence over mental disabilities.
Many organizations such as the Humane Society did suggest a separate classifications of service animals with stricter requirements such as behavior attestations and proof of in-office visits; however, they did not agree that containment should be required. These comments were not considered due to the confusion they would cause and the “continued opportunity for abuse and increased safety risk.”
Can my emotional support dog qualify as a psychiatric dog?
To qualify as a service dog, your dog must undertake a minimum of 120 hours of training over a period of 6 months according to the Association of Assistance Dog Partners. Thirty hours must be spent in public settings socializing the dog and enforcing acceptable behavior. Dogs must be sociable and trainable.
Training allows service dogs to perform specific tasks for their handlers such as guiding individuals with vision impairments, retrieving items for people with mobility issues, alerting to changes in glucose levels to name a few. The exposure involved in training will teach the dog how to behave in busy airports and crowded aircraft cabins thus reducing risks to other passengers in the terminal as well as passengers and crew in the cabin.
Psychiatric dogs are also defined as doing work or performing tasks for their handlers that involves training such as alerting for oncoming seizures or assisting those with mental or intellectual disabilities.
Advocates of the amendment argued that requiring an owner of an emotional support animal to qualify its dog as a psychiatric dog would be an incredible burden and, in the end, their benefit would not include a specific task but rather simply the comfort that their presence provides.
It is important to note that the DOT did recognize that the rule does not require service animal users to incur the cost of training by third party schools or organizations; service animal users are free to train their
own dogs to perform a task or function for them
What is the benefit of the amendment?
- Reduction of confusion as to the definition of a service animal by aligning with the ADA regulation.
- Overall reduction of incidents which previously were generally caused by untrained animals flying in the cabin
- Less liability to the airlines for damage to the aircraft caused by any animal, whether service or emotional support.
- Less potential allergic reactions from other passengers.
- Allows the airlines to fly other animals in the cabin pursuant to their pet policies should they desire to do so.
Commencing January 4, 2020, the airlines will have the right to classify all emotional support animals as pets, subject to their pet policies. Due to the container requirement, only small pets will be able to fly in the cabin in airline-compliant pet carriers. Larger pets will need to fly in the cargo hold as either checked baggage or air cargo.
We have not yet seen changes to airline policies related to emotional support animals; however, we expect the airlines to revise their policies very soon. Find airline policies for emotional support animals on airplanes.
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 14.
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 9
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 23 A psychiatric service animal, like a service animal, is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a passenger with a psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. (e.g. seizure disorder or diabetes)
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 23
 Service Animal Final Rule, page 23
Famously known as “man’s best friend,” let’s be honest! Who wouldn’t love to travel better with their dog? It only seems natural that our four-legged companions travel alongside us in our journeys, whether small or large. However, travelling with a canine may seem quite intimidating and it really is a test of their obedience and skills. So, how can you make your trips smoother and more fun for everyone?
We have put together our top training tips for travelling with your dog, just for you!
These training tips cover everything from car trips, to hotel visits, to new and exciting locations.
Hopefully, these tips on how to travel better with a dog can put you at ease so you can further prepare your travel plans for you and your furry friend.
Introduction to training
When you’re deciding what commands to use, keep your words short and sweet–“come” rather than “come here,” for example. Say your dog’s name to get their attention, and then give the command. Keep your commands consistent so your dog doesn’t get confused.
Always use positive reinforcement in training – never punish your dog for getting things wrong. They won’t connect the punishment to their action and will only learn to fear you. Instead, reward your dog when they get things right, with a tasty treat or a belly rub.
As for how long will it take for your dog to learn necessary skills, it can vary. Some breeds (like border collies and dalmatians, for example) are known for being intelligent and fast learners, and they may pick up skills in a matter of minutes. Other dogs will take a little more time and patience.
Now that you have an idea of how to train, we’ll move in what to train in order to travel better with your dog!
Condition your dog to car trips
One of the best tips we can offer for how to travel better with a dog begins as early as puppyhood.
Conditioning your puppy to car trips from a young age is critical to ensure that your pup is calm, comfortable, and without stress during car trips, both short and long.
John from Allthingsdogs explains to us just how essential the socialization period is in the puppy. Early socialization includes the exposure to not only other dogs and humans, but also different environments (i.e. car trips and various locations).
By conditioning your puppy to car trips, you ease any predisposition to fear, anxiety or even motion sickness woes which they may have.
You can help ease any initial or on-going car trip woes with toys and familiar blankets. An excellent idea is to have specific “car toys” which are made special by only being kept or used during car time. This helps create a positive experience when it comes to travelling with your pup!
Take short trips and build up to longer trips. And importantly, take trips to happy places like your dog’s favorite trail or park. If their only experience with the car is to go to the vet or groomer, they won’t be a happy camper in the backseat!
Just like us humans, our puppy friends may experience serious injuries from car accidents. We therefore recommend the use of harnesses or doggy seat belts when travelling with your dog.
Training your pup to “buckle up” and be familiar with the use of a harness or other car safety device is essential so that your dog is not put into an unfamiliar restricted situation which may cause distress.
A great idea is to allow your pup to get a feel of the harness or other device at home in a relaxed setting. Let them wear the harness around the house and give them lots of cuddles and treats. Your dog will begin to associate the harness with other positive things and therefore they will not find the restriction so intimidating!
Crate train your dog
Crate training your dog is a great training tip for travel.
Training your pup to sleep in a crate encourages your dog to sleep in one area. This is a great option when staying away from home.
Additionally, crate training also enables your dog to have a “safe-zone”. Many dogs begin to recognize the crate area as their safe zone which is a plus when they are in an unfamiliar environment or around unfamiliar people.
Crates are also useful for the car trips. In fact, some dogs prefer to be in a crate while traveling than to be buckled in on the seat. This is also a more relaxed approach as your pup will have free reign of the crate during travel.
Crates are the most common and often the only method of transporting your pup in-flight. As many of our pets will take to the skies at some point in their lives, the crate is an important tool that will help them feel safe in the air.
Again, positive reinforcement is the best method for crate training. When your pup enters the crate say “bed” or “crate” and then pass on over a treat and some praise. Soon your pup will make their way to crate on command, or just for a snooze on their own!
Train your pup with bathroom cues
Dogs can only hold their bladder for so long, although adult dogs hold their bladder better than puppies. Nonetheless, bathroom cues and stops are an important part of travelling with pets.
To make it easier, we recommend training your pup to go to the bathroom on command through bathroom cues. For example, using the command “potty” and popping a treat into their mouth once they go.
Potty training your pup is a common training step during puppyhood. However, we do recommend taking the extra step and practicing your dog to go bathroom on command. This will save a lot of grief during long-distance travel!
Ace your dog’s on-leash skills
Leash training is an essential tool to have down pat when travelling with your pup.
Begin leash training slowly from a young age. First, let your pup run around the house with their lead on. Then, slowly begin to lead him or her around home or the backyard. If they pull, then stop. Begin walking again once they are calm.
When they are walking nicely next to you, praise and send down a treat so that they begin to associate good behaviour with yummy treats.
A well-behaved dog on a leash is a blessing while travelling. There are so many new sights, smells, people, and other animals your dog will get exposed to on a trip. It can be frustrating, and even dangerous if your dog tries to pull toward everything that interests them in an airport or rest stop. Leash training can help greatly with this.
Teach more good manners like “wait” and “quiet”
Teaching your dog to “wait” is a great training tip to help them travel better. If your dog is an unfamiliar environment and runs off, this can be a dangerous situation. Teaching the command “wait” is simple and just requires some positive training methods.
We recommend to begin teaching “wait” before your pup enters a door way, or exits the crate. Ask your pup to “wait”, and slowly open the door, if he/she begins to head out, then close the door. Repeat until your dog finally waits and then give them a treat and some love.
A barking dog can cause a lot of angry holiday-goers, and it is not the most pleasant noise to hear when on vacation or travelling.
Dogs may bark to alert us, grab our attention, and to communicate. However, they can also bark if they are fearful or bored.
We recommend training your dog to be “quiet.” When training, it’s important not to yell or get upset, but actually ignore the barking. Don’t give them any attention. When they stop barking (even for a second!) quickly reward them with a treat and praise.
Keep your dog as comfortable as possible by bringing familiar blankets and toys, and it’s a great idea to exercise them before a trip so that they are tired and sleep through the flight or drive.
Travelling with your furry friend requires proper training and preparation in order for it to be a successful and smooth ride.
Conditioning your dog to the car and to handling new and exciting environments in a controlled manner is essential. Ensuring your dog’s safety along the way to your destination is also critical.
Through the use of positive reinforcement methods, a wide array of training is required in order to prepare your dog for travel.
A dog who is well-socialized and conditioned travels the best. We trust that our top tips will help you travel better with your dog!
Have a paw-tastic and ulti-mutt journey!
John Woods is a graduate in animal welfare and behavior, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.