International Pet Travel Country Questions

Pet Passport for International TravelTraveling internationally with a pet? Have questions about country requirements for entering with a pet?

  • Will my pet be quarantined?
  • What vaccinations does my pet need?
  • Will my pet need a passport?

Post your questions here and we will respond within 24 hours. You can also find information on international pet travel here: international pet travel

Airline Pet Policy Questions

airline pet policiesFlying with a pet?   Have questions regarding airline pet policy?

Need to know what type of carrier you will need?

What does your pet need to fly as cargo?

Will the airlines transfer your pet from one plane to another?

Post your questions here and we will respond within 24 hours. You can also find information here: airline pet policies.

Why it is Crucial to Vaccinate your Dog or Cat

Girl and Dog during travel

When you’re traveling with your pet, the last thing you want to think about is what happens if they get sick. But unfortunately, there are many pet diseases and illnesses that are incurable and can cause death if left untreated. This is why it is crucial to vaccinate your dog or cat, even if they are not traveling. The best thing you can do for your best friend is to vaccinate them and prevent these diseases in the first place.

If you are planning a trip with your dog or cat, then good health vaccinations are required to enter most all countries worldwide. All vaccinations must be administered in advance so planning is the key.

How will you know exactly what your destination state or country requires? And do those rules change when you’re traveling around? Here’s what you need to know about pet travel and vaccinations for your pet. 

Rabies

Rabies is the single most common vaccination required by all countries around the world. Why? Because rabies is a disease which kills over 59,000 humans in over 150 countries every year. Over forty percent of those bitten by a rabid animals are children under 15 years of age. And rabies is almost always contracted through a dog bite.

What is Rabies?

Put simply, rabies is a viral infection. It’s caused by a virus secreted in saliva. This virus gets into your dog’s or cat’s nervous system, including their spinal cord and brain, and causes them to lose control of themselves. Rabies is fatal once symptoms become evident.

This virus belongs to the order Mononegavirales. And while it’s preventable, thousands of people die each year from rabies, 99% of which come from the bite of an infected dog.

Rabies is a dangerous and unnecessary virus to catch. Early symptoms can include a fever, unusual tingling and pain, and a burning sensation at the wound site. From there, the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. These progress until death, about 1 week to 1 year later. And while humans can get a rabies vaccine, it’s also highly recommended that all domestic animals — including dogs and cats — be vaccinated as well. 

How did rabies prevention start?

Rabies vaccinations started with the intent to stop the virus from spreading to humans. Louis Pasteur, a French chemist, and microbiologist developed the earliest effective vaccine against rabies. It was first used to treat a human bite victim on July 6th, 1885. 

From there, rabies has been tested on many animals, including dogs, cats, and ferrets. But rabies vaccinations didn’t become common practice until well in the 1970s when states started passing laws against not vaccinating pets. 

In humans, if the vaccine is given immediately to someone who was bitten by a rabid animal, it is 100-percent effective. However, it works a little differently in pets. They should be vaccinated against rabies before they’re bit, as the vaccine is more powerful when it has a chance to be in their system longer. 

Now, all states in the United States have laws about rabies vaccinations and if they require them for your pet or not. The required frequency of rabies vaccinations varies from state to state, so it’s important to know your state’s law. And, if you move or travel, a kennel or hotel usually requires proof of vaccination before boarding or housing your pet. 

Why Your Pet Needs Their Rabies Vaccinations

Rabies vaccinations are a necessary part of a healthy and happy animal. Rabies is a fatal viral disease, and it’s easily transferrable. Since it can’t be cured, that’s why it is critically important it’s important to vaccinate your dog or cat to protect them from potentially getting it. 

If your pet isn’t vaccinated, and they get bit by a rabid animal, it will cause serious and dire symptoms. These will last anywhere from 10 to 42 days, and then your furry friend will die. It’s that serious. And this is why it is crucial to vaccinate your dog or cat. There’s no way to save their life if they become infected. 

It’s safer to vaccinate your dog ahead of time, and hope they never get bit than to try to vaccinate them after the fact. So don’t take the chance on your furry friend. 

Did you know that your dog or cat will also need to keep up with their rabies vaccinations? They’ll usually get their first one when they are about 3 months old, and then another one a year later. After that, they’ll need one every year or three years depending on what type of vaccine your veterinarian uses. 

SYMPTOMS:  fever, difficulty swallowing, foaming at the mouth, excessive drooling, staggering, seizures, and even paralysis.

Is A Rabies Vaccination Required? 

Yes, in most states, and even in all other countries, a rabies vaccination is required. Usually, your vet or adoption agency will give your dog or cat a rabies vaccination when they microchip them. But if not, it’s vital to ensure that your pet gets it as soon as possible, and every three years after that. 

Every pet traveling to a foreign country must be vaccinated for rabies between 21 days and 90 days prior to travel, depending on the country.

Related: Find vaccination requirements for over 220 countries worldwide.

Not sure what your city, county, state, or country requires? You can just search “rabies vaccinations + your state” and find the information you need. And, if you plan on traveling to a new state or country, and are taking your animal, check with them as well. 

For example, Hawaii has a unique set of requirements since they are a “rabies-free” state. You’ll need to prepare several months in advance if you want to take your pet with you. At a minimum, they require:

  • At least 2 rabies vaccines and the original rabies certificates (or signed carbon copies)
  • Rabies titer test
  • Microchip
  • 120-day waiting period after primary vaccinations 
  • A USDA-endorsed health certificate 
  • Tick treatments 
  • Submission of documents (at least 10 days prior to arrival)
  • Fee payments 

Of course, not all states and countries are this strict. But this is why it’s important to check in before you even plan on bringing your pet along with you. 

Many kennels also require that a vet administer your dog’s or cat’s vaccinations at least 24-48 hours before boarding. The most common requirements are a rabies vaccination, bordetella shot, and a distemper vaccine. But if you have a puppy, see if your veterinarian can space these out since too many at one time can be too much. 

However, if your pet has had their vaccinations within the year (or three for rabies vaccination), you usually don’t need to do this. Instead, you’ll just need to prove that they’ve completed the shots. 

One of the easiest ways to keep your pet’s information together, and to ensure that they are able to go where you go, is to get a pet passport and medical record. While not required, they do come in handy and can help keep all of your pet’s medical information in one place. 

Other vaccinations for your pet that may be required

Distemper Vaccination

First, distemper (also known as parainfluenza) is a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus, just like rabies. It is fatal and incurable. Instead of neurological damage, it will attack the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems of your animal. They will need 3-4 shots during the first year of their life. From there, a booster every year is recommended. 

SYMPTOMS: lethargy, nasal discharge, vomiting, coughing, reduced appetite and vomiting.

Hepatitis Vaccination

Another vaccination that may be required is the hepatitis shot. Like in humans, hepatitis in dogs and cats affects the spleen, kidneys, lungs, liver, and lining of blood vessels. If left untreated, it can lead to death. The best thing to do is vaccinate your pet. They will get their first shot during the first 7 weeks of their life, with recommended boosters every year. 

SYMPTOMS: Watery discharge from eyes and/or nose, slight fever, blindness, loss of appetite, increased thirst, enlarged tonsils.

Leptospirosis Vaccination (Dogs and Cats)

The leptospirosis vaccine isn’t a core vaccine for dogs or cats, but some countries require it. This is because this bacterial disease can affect both humans and animals. In humans, it can cause many symptoms, including damage to the liver and kidneys. Your pet will get two doses, once at a month old and one two to four weeks later. After that, they will only need this vaccine when traveling extensively. 

SYMPTOMS: fever, vomiting, refusal to eat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, inability to have puppies.

Parvovirus Vaccination

Parvovirus vaccines are part of the “core” vaccines that many vets recommend that your dog or cat get. Canine parvovirus is a contagious virus. So, it can be spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact. And while this disease isn’t always deadly, mortality affects 91% in untreated cases

SYMPTOMS: lethargy, appetite loss, fever, vomiting and severe diarrhea (sometimes bloody).

Vaccines can prevent this infection and are usually recommended for pups between six and eight weeks. From there, they will get two more shots, and these function more as “boosters”. This should protect your pup or kitten from parvovirus, but they may need boosters throughout their life if recommended by their vet or entering a new country. 

Viral Rhinotracheitis Vaccination (Cats)

Rhinotracheitis only affects felines but is still a serious (and contagious) condition. It’s a major cause of upper respiratory infections. It’s caused by an infection from feline herpesvirus type-1 (FHV-1). Luckily, it doesn’t affect other species. But cats who contract it will have a lifelong infection. These cats are susceptible to respiratory problems, long-term eye problems, and pneumonia. 

SYMPTOMS: sneezing, nasal congestion, eye redness, discharge from eye, loss of appetite, fever and lethargy.

To protect your kitten, they should receive their first FVRCP vaccination between six and eight weeks old. Then they will need a booster shot every three or four weeks until they are about four months old. 

Calicivirus Vaccination (Cats)

Calicivirus is another feline-only virus. This virus is a main cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in kitties. Symptoms will usually include sneezing, nasal congestion, and even conjunctivitis. 

SYMPTOMS: sneezing, nasal congestion, fever and discharge from eye and nose.

Just like with the other vaccinations, vets recommend that you vaccinate your cat against Calicivirus while they’re a kitten. Their first shot should be between four and eight weeks. Then, they will need two boosters between the ages of eight and 16 weeks. Last, they’ll need at least one other booster a year later. From there, they can move the booster to once every three years. Talk to your vet about the best schedule for your kitten to ensure they are protected from this disease. 

Feline Leukemia Vaccination

Feline leukemia virus is another virus that only infects cats. It depresses the immune system and can lead to persistent infections. It’s also a main cause of anemia in cats and can cause multiple cancers. 

There is no treatment or cure for FeLV. And the disease is fatal. So, preventing infection via vaccination is always recommended. This vaccine is usually part of a set of core vaccines, so it makes it easier for your cat to handle potential side effects. 

SYMPTOMS: Loss of appetite, weight loss, poor coat, fever, pale gums and skin, urinary bladder, and upper respiratory tract infections.

Your kitten will get two doses of vaccines administered one month apart. From there, your veterinarian may recommend a booster once every two to five years, depending on your cat’s lifestyle and needs. 

CDC Requirements

The rules and regulations for pets entering the United States are administered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

While every state and country is different, the United States has a pretty straightforward policy on traveling pets that are flying back into the country. While their rules for cats and dogs differ slightly, they do keep it as close as possible. Of course, it is strongly recommended that your cat be vaccinated for many viruses, including the feline-only diseases as well as rabies. Dogs must be vaccinated for rabies unless they are entering from a country that is classified by the United States as having a high risk of rabies.

According to their regulations, based on 2022 traveling, your pet will need to; 

  • Have a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate
  • Have proof of a microchip
  • Be at least 6 months old
  • Be healthy upon arrival
  • Arrive at an approved port of entry

Keep in mind that expired US-issued rabies vaccination certificates will not be accepted. If the US-issued rabies vaccination certificate has expired, you’ll need to apply for a CDC Pet Import Permit, if eligible.

Pet Travel Tips

Before you go on your trip, there are a few things to keep in mind. These tips can help keep you from being stressed about your pet’s vaccinations and travel plans. 

Before traveling with a pet, you should; 

  • Make sure your pet is fit to travel (visit to your veterinarian)
  • Consider switching to wet food temporarily (or add as a topper) to avoid dehydration during traveling. Just remember to make the switch a week or two before traveling to give your dog time to adjust!
  • Look up the state or country you’re visiting, and their vaccination requirements for your animal
  • Talk to your veterinarian about any vaccinations they will need
  • Get your pet vaccinated well in advance of flying to your destination
  • Pack their vaccine information, plus other records if needed, in a clear pouch in a place that you know you’ll have access to 
  • Microchip your pet (if not already done) to ensure their safety and to meet requirements in certain countries and states 

This may seem like a lot of things to do all at one time, but they’re fairly easy to manage as long as you plan ahead. And remember, travel is stressful for animals too. So try not to add extra stress with their dog food, schedule (if possible), or daily activity. 

As soon as you decide if your pet is coming or not on vacation, you can follow these tips step by step. 

It can seem confusing and difficult to keep up with your pet’s needed vaccinations, especially if you plan on traveling often. But it’s crucial to keep them on the right schedule and avoid potential problems; including them getting sick or you being forced to leave them behind or being turned away at the border. 

Luckily, you can find vaccination requirements for over 200 countries here. This makes it super easy to learn what your pet will need and schedule a vet appointment to vaccinate your dog or cat with confidence. That way, you can travel with your furry friend, worry-free, and know they are fully protected.

Mark has a background in web publishing. He loves dogs and has a lovely young Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, named Steve. Mark’s wife is a dog trainer and so Steve is a good boy, most of the time. Steve likes to protect the house from the mailman, door-to-door salespeople, and anyone coming within visual range of the window.

Hydrating Your Pet for Travel – Why is it Important?

Dog drinking water for hydrawion

Let’s face it. Traveling can be stressful. No matter how much your prepare, you are always on edge on or before travel day. Well, so is your pet. Their anxiety level can run high knowing something is up but not understanding what it is. You are running around taking care of last minute details and you don’t notice your pet’s water bowl is empty. Rats! Another thing to think about! So, why is hydrating your pet for travel so important anyway?

All mammals need water, including dogs and cats. Water assists in regulating body temperature. It lubricates joints and helps eliminate waste. Every cell, organ and tissue in your pet’s body needs fluids to function properly. It is a known fact that many people don’t drink enough water and likely your pet may not either.

It is incredibly important to hydrate your pet before and during travel. Dehydration is very risky side effect of stress and more common in traveling pets than you would think.

How much water does my pet need?

The amount of water that your pet should consume for good health depends on your pet’s size, their body weight, diet, age and activity level. It also depends on temperatures around them. Generally, dogs with a low activity level should consume 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day under normal circumstances. A 10 pound dog would need about a cup of water a day and a 50 pound dog would need about 3-5 cups per day. Cats should drink about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of their body weight. A 10 pound cat would need a cup of water per day.

Puppies need more water than adult or senior dogs and offerings of water to puppies should be frequent.

But here’s where things get off the norm a bit for many pets. Considering the stress involved in traveling, especially when your pet is away from their owner in the aircraft’s cargo hold or even with an experienced ground pet transporter, breathing can be shallower and more frequent. Excessive panting caused by stress can quickly lead to dehydration if it continues for a long period of time and water is not available. Add summer temperatures and the need for water increases.

Owners of snub-nosed dogs should be the most sensitive to dehydration issues when traveling as these breeds are shallow-breathers, even at rest. This condition is exaggerated during travel which is why it is important that your French Bulldog or Persian cat be fully hydrated before the trip starts and travel with a larger than normal water bowl attached to the door of the larger than normal crate.

Senior and smaller toy breeds are also more at risk for dehydration than larger dogs.

On the other hand, many dogs can over drink when exposed to stress leading to water intoxication. Monitoring your pet’s activities prior to travel is a good way to prevent this condition.

How can I be sure my pet is getting enough fluid?

Although it is important not to feed your pet within 4-6 hours of travel, the same does not hold true for water. Pets should have access to water to and through their trip. Here are some suggestions to hydrate your pet before traveling:

  1. Always offer your pet multiple bowls of water and place the bowls in frequently visited places around the home like next to their food bowls, by the back door, next to their bed, by their crate, next to the TV, outside and anywhere else you can think of. Check the water levels often and change the water frequently.
  2. Keep water fresh and clean. Use filtered water if your city’s water is overly treated.
  3. Consider adding electrolytes to your pet’s water as dehydration can cause loss of electrolytes. (sodium, chloride, and potassium).
  4. Add ice cubes or unsalted chicken stock (or tuna juice for your cat) to your pet’s water to encourage them to drink.
  5. Offer your pet a treat after drinking. This training technique will establish a positive relationship between drinking and rewards.
  6. Get your pet a fountain water dish. The movement in the water will add interest to the drink (especially to cats) and keep water circulating.
  7. If you feed your pet dry kibble, consider adding wet food to its diet several weeks before travel. Granted, this is not as convenient as dry food; however, your pet will benefit from the additional moisture as wet food can be up to 80% water.
  8. Avoid long exposure to outside temperatures in the summer months leading up to travel.
  9. Keep your pet brushed, bathed and groomed. Dogs with thick coats should have their undercoat thinned when summer approaches.
cat drinking water

What are the signs of dehydration?

Here are the signs that your pet is dehydrated.

  1. Dry nose
  2. Sticky gums
  3. Thick saliva
  4. Excessive Drooling
  5. Loss of skin elasticity
  6. Sunken eyes
  7. Dark or strong smelling urine
  8. Vomiting
  9. Diarrhea
  10. Lethargy

The easiest way to test for dehydration is to lift your pet’s skin in the back of the neck like a mother grips its young, then release. If the skin returns to a normal quickly, then your pet is well hydrated. If the skin falls more slowly, then it is time to encourage your pet to drink or take it to the veterinarian for a drip.

What should I do if my pet is dehydrated?

If your pet is showing signs of dehydration, get your pet to your veterinarian as soon as you can. A drip is the best way to rehydrate a pet. If you can’t get to a vet, then offer them a big bowl of water, dip your hand in it and let them lick your hand. Lower your hand each time closer to the water. You can also wet down their coat or offer them chips of ice. Obviously, stay in air conditioning and keep the activity level low until they recover. Recovery can take hours or days.

What else can I do to ensure my pet is healthy and hydrated for travel?

A trip to your veterinarian is essential before traveling. Dehydration can be a sign of a more serious disease. Have your veterinarian verify that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Both Parvo and leptospirosis can affect dog’s appetite for water and also deplete water in their bodies. Conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or kidney disorders can also cause changes in drinking habits.

Get your pet an oversized water bowl for its crate. If you have a smaller dog, here is a good water bowl. If you have a larger dog, here is a water bucket that you can attach to the crate door.

Freeze water in your pet’s bowl before travel. This will prevent excess spillage during handling and provide your pet a constant source of cool water.

Acclimate your pet to its crate. This is the single-most important thing you can do to reduce your pet’s stress level when traveling.

Travel in the Fall and Spring when temperatures are not at their peak levels. If you travel in the summer, then avoid the mid-day. Early morning or evening temperatures are a bit more tolerable.

Get your pet a good pet pad sized specifically for their crate that will keep them dry and comfortable for the trip. Blankets and newspapers are not meant to absorb enough liquid.

These are some of the reasons why hydrating your pet for travel is so important. This is one thing you should add to your pre-travel list. It may make a big difference in your pet’s health when traveling.

Pet Friendly National Parks in the United States

As the world slowly recovers from the pandemic and we tire of confinement, pet owners are planning for vacations their best friends. If fresh air and camping or hiking in a national park is your thing, and you plan to take your furry friend with you (of course you do because, for sure, it is their thing), then consider enjoying the wonders and beauty of nature by visiting one of the great pet friendly national parks in the United States.

Pet Friendly Parks in the United States
Photo Credit: Spencer Hurley – Pixels

While there are many parks that allow your pooch to explore trails and other park attractions with you, ignoring rules and regulations imposed on both pets and their owners while planning your travel is not wise. Keeping everyone safe and happy is important.  Don’t try to avoid park rules as they are posted for very good reasons.

The first rule to know when visiting any national park is that your dog must be leashed at all times. Federal regulations require all pets to be restrained on a leash no longer than six feet (2 m). This is for your dog’s safety as well as the safety of others. Why? Because you never know what type of animal you will bump into when hiking in national parks. Also, straying off trails can be dog-gone dangerous!  Make sure your dog as well as other dogs, people, and wildlife stays safe by obeying all park regulations.

As with bringing your dog any public place, make sure you clean up after your pet. No one wants to step in a smelly mess when walking along the trails. Outdoor activities bring fleas and ticks, so make sure you take proper precautions to protect your dog.

Acadia National Park – Maine

Pet Friendly Acadia National Park

At 3.1 million visitors per year, Acadia National Park is, not surprisingly, one of the top 10 most visited national parks in the country, and there is a good reason why. Referred to as the Crown Jewel of the Atlantic Coast, its rich cultural heritage and natural habitats make for a beautiful place for both you and your dog to be in summer or winter.

When bringing your dog to this beautiful park, there are a few limitations as to where they can explore.

The park has 158 miles of hiking trails total, and there are 100 miles (161 km) of hiking trails and 45 miles (72 km) of carriage roads in the park where pets are permitted. Make sure to check with park rangers to find exactly which trails your pet is permitted to explore with you.

There are also some areas that are off-limits to all dogs except for seeing-eye dogs and service dogs. 

  • All lakes
  • Some trails
  • Sand Beach – from June 15 to Sept 8.
  • Echo Lake – from May 15 to Sept. 15
  • Duck Harbor Campground (dogs are permitted in Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods campgrounds)
  • Public buildings 
  • Ranger-led programs. 

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Ohio

Pet Friendly Cuyahoga Valley National-Park

Located only a short distance from Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a great place to escape. Its namesake, the Cuyahoga River winds its way through all sorts of surroundings, from forests to hills to farmlands.

There are some rules for your pup at this Ohio park. There are many trails your pet can walk with you on a leash, including 30 miles of the Towpath Trail. This trail follows a historical canal and was once used for mules to pull boats through the canal.

Even though your furry friend is like family to you, they will not be allowed in any public building, or the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train, or the East Rim mountain bike trails. 

There are no restrictions as to when you can bring your pets to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona

Pet Friendly Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most famous pet friendly national parks in the United States. There is no need to describe the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Its immense size, picturesque geologic color and amazing erosional forms are jaw-dropping, but it is extremely important that you follow all park guidelines for your dog to avoid any issues.

Your pets are allowed on the trails above the South Rim, Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, Trailer Village, and throughout developed areas. 

The Grand Canyon only has one lodge with pet-friendly rooms. That is the Yavapai Lodge. If you are planning a day trip to hike down to the Colorado River or the North Rim, boarding them at the South Rim Kennel may be the best solution as this hike is not suitable for our furry friends.

You and your pet can visit at any time, however, proof of vaccinations is required before entering this pet friendly national park. The North Rim is closed during the winter; however, the South Rim is open year round.

Hot Springs National Park – Arkansas 

Pet Friendly Hot Springs National Park

Something out of paradise is best used to describe Hot Springs National Park. Located just north of the city of Hot Springs in Arkansas, this national park has 143 degree thermal waters to relax and soothe your every aching muscle. The park even provides pet waste stations for your convenience. Amply nick named “The American Spa,” you will leave this park in a better frame of mind.

The only places pets are not allowed are the visitor’s center and other public buildings, and of course, the hot springs. Rest assured, your dog will be ready for a rest after exploring all of the trails in this park and so will you!

This is another park that welcomes you and your pet, and there are no restrictions on when pets can enter.

Mammoth Cave National Park -, Kentucky

Pet Friendly Mammoth Cave National Park

With over 400 miles of underground caves, Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the world’s longest known cave system on earth! But that’s not all. There are over 70 miles of trails, 13 back country campsites, three campgrounds, and a river that is over 20 miles long for you and your pet to explore and enjoy.

If you are thinking of bringing your pet to this park, you should know that service animals are the only pets permitted in any of the caves; however, there is a kennel for your dog available. You can crash with your pet at the Woodland Cottages.

Check the park website for more information. It looks like this is another pet friendly national parks in the United States that would love your pooch anytime!

Natchez Trace National Parkway – Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee 

Pet Friendly Natchez Trace Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. This historic road follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a road used by American Indians, European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and even past presidents.

While you and your best friend cruise along this parkway, you can enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and horseback riding.  This is a great place for a vacation, and if you bring your dog, there are very few restrictions. You can enjoy the park trails and viewpoints with your dog; however, keep them out of public buildings. You must always keep your pet on a leash and remember to pick up after them.

Shenandoah National Park – Virginia

Pet Friendly Shenandoah National Park

Two hundred acres of protected lands are awaiting you and your pup at Shenandoah National Park. This is a pristine place with cascading waterfalls, vistas, and wooded hollows and well worth a visit. It is a beautiful park and very pet friendly.

There are over 500 miles for you and your four-legged hiker to enjoy and only a mere 20 miles are off limits to pets. Check the website for exact locations.

The other pet-friendly areas in the park are the campsite and pet friendly lodging locations. Remember to always keep your dog on a leash and to pick up their mess.

Unfortunately, the Ranger family programs such as The Wild About Bears program and Shenandoah Kid Explorers are off limits to pets.

Although there are no limits on what time of year your pet can accompany you, keep up to date on the weather conditions, and make sure you have enough water for you and your pet at all times.

White Sands National Park- New Mexico

Pet Friendly White Sands National Park

Known as one of the world’s great natural wonders, the 275 square miles of white gypsum sand in White Sands National Park is truly worth your time to visit.

If you are heading here and are bringing your pet, there are a few things you should know.

Although there are not a ton of restrictions for your dog, you may not bring them into any public building such as the visitors center. Keep in mind that the temperatures may be high; so remember to bring plenty of water for both you and your dog to avoid overheating and dehydration. Of course, never leave your pet in the car unattended, not even for a minute. 

There are only a few simple rules, but these rules can make a huge impact on the safety of your pet. White Sands National Park would love to have your pooch visit any time of the year. Keep in mind the hot, dry climate, especially in the summer. 

Yellowstone National Park- Wyoming 

Pet Friendly Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most iconic national parks in the United States. Hosting millions of visitors each year, both winter and summer seasons offer an abundance of hydrothermal and geologic wonders. After all, who hasn’t heard of the famous geyser, Old Faithful?

As this park is so popular and your dog will be around many other people, park pet policies are very important.

Pets are only allowed in developed areas. They must remain within 100 feet from roadways and campgrounds to lessen the chance of getting lost. For the safety of your dog and others, it is necessary to keep your dog either on a leash, in a crate, or secure in your car.

Because this park hosts so many “look but don’t touch” natural attractions, and, because the park is full of wild animals, your dog will not be allowed on trails, in thermal areas, the back country or on the boardwalk. These rules are made for the safety of all people and animals.

There are no kennels in Yellowstone National Park. Pet owners will need to find accommodations for their pets in nearby communities should they want to venture into the back country or wander along the boardwalk.

Lassen Volcanic National Park – California

Pet Friendly Lasssen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is full of geologic wonders like clear mountain lakes, jagged peaks and, of course, many volcanoes. There are also fumaroles which are holes in the ground where steam escapes. (Who knew?)

Generally, your pet can go anywhere in the park in an automobile. It can be in the campgrounds, picnic areas, and along the shoulders of roads. Because the wonders of this park can also be dangerous, your dog is not allowed on any hiking trail, in the back country, or anywhere that is snow-covered. Swimming is also out, so if your furry friend loves to swim, best to distract them with other attractions. 

You need to keep your pets physically restrained overnight at your campsite. They may be left unattended in your vehicle, providing the temperatures are safe to do so. Your pet is welcome anytime; however, in order to get the full experience, it is probably best to come during the summer. Fewer snow-covered areas equals more exploring!

These are just a few of the pet friendly national parks in the United States. You can enjoy the wonders of nature with your pet in 61 recognized parks in the national park system. Just make sure you are aware of the pet policies beforehand. Remember, clean up after your pet, and keep them on a leash. It is respectful and makes for a better trip experience for all.

Marina Yoveva is originally from Bulgaria but she considers herself a citizen of the world. Having traveled to over 20 countries and counting, she loves writing about her adventures, experiences, and advice on her blog Exploreist.

Is Your Pet Transiting the EU on its Trip? Here’s Something Important You Need to Know

Courtesy of Adobe Stock Images

In January, 2021, the European Union (EU) adopted legislation to protect livestock and animals that enter or transit the EU in order to prevent and eradicate disease. This law also “allows greater use of new technologies for animal health activities – surveillance of pathogens, electronic identification and registration of animals (1)” according to the European Commission. The Animal Health Law otherwise known as Regulation (EU) 2016/429, applies also to the movement of companion animals like dogs, cats, small mammals, reptiles and the like. This is why, if your pet’s itinerary calls for transiting the EU and it is flying as air cargo, this law will apply and it is important that you understand it.

What is air cargo service?

There are 3 classes of service available that live animals can fly under on a commercial airline. Some commercial airlines may not offer all three services. They may offer only one or two or they may not be pet friendly at all. That is why it is important to research airline pet policies before booking your pet’s travel.

  1. In-cabin – your pet is a small cat or dog (or sometimes small bird or other pet) flying in the cabin with an adult paying passenger in an airline-compliant pet carrier.
  2. Checked Baggage – your cat or dog under 75-80 lbs (or sometimes other animal) flying in the cargo hold whose itinery is connected with an adult paying passenger on the same flight
  3. Manifest Air Cargo – for very large pets and otheranimals flying unaccompanied or flying to countries that require that live animals enter as air cargo (UK, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, etc.)

Currently, the Animal Health Law applies to all air cargo transports; however, the law will apply also to in-cabin and checked baggage transports in April of 2026. Depending on how you route your pet’s trip and whether your route involves a country that is classified as an Unlisted Third Country by the EU, this law will have significant impacts on how your pet is prepared to travel.

What is a transit?

A transit is when your pet remains on the same airline in and out of a layover airport. If the flight numbers on your itinerary remain the same on your itinerary on both legs of your trip, then your pet will remain on board the same aircraft. This is an uncommon occurance, especially if the layover is in the airline’s hub airport, but it does happen. As long as your pet does not need to depart the aircraft, then this new regulation will not apply. If your pet must change aircraft when transiting, as it will in most cases, then the new regulation will apply, even if your pet is staying on the same airline.

What is a layover?

A layover is when you have a non-direct flight, and your pet will be changing aircraft in the layover airport. If your pet is changing airline companies in the layover airport, (Lufthansa to Brussels Airlines, for example), then your pet will need to clear customs and enter the layover country to check it on the next airline. The reason for this is because airlines do not interline pets between airline companies. The new regulation will absolutely apply in this case. Your pet will need all documentation required to enter the layover country.

Comfort Stops

Your airline may mandate a comfort stop (kenneling) for any pet whose itinerary exceeds a certain length of time in the cargo hold. This mandate will vary from airline to airline depending on the animal welfare regulations in the country in which they are based; however, as an example, most US-based airlines limit the flight time for pets 8-9 hours. Airlines based in Asia are longer. The transit time can start at tender (check-in) time through recovery (which could be up to 2 hours after arrival at the layover airport or final destination). Basically, the amount of time your pet will spend in its crate. You should work with your airline regarding comfort stops if your pet’s trip will be lenthy. If your airline requires a comfort stop, then this new regulation will apply if the comfort stop takes place in an EU airport.

My pet is flying as air cargo and will be stopping at an EU airport. What documents will my pet need to conform to the new regulations?

If your pet’s itinerary includes only rabies-controlled countries, then your pet will need the following documentation to transit or layover in the EU:

  • all required documentation for your destination country
  • proof of microchip implanted on or before rabies vaccination
  • current rabies vaccination
  • Endorsed EU Health Certificate for the layover country
  • Tapeworm treatment (UK, Ireland, Finland, Malta and Norway)

If your pet’s flight plan originates, has transit, layover or comfort stop in or your pet terminates in a country classified by the EU as high-rabies, then, in addition to the above documents, your pet will need proof of a rabies titer test with results greater than 0.5 IU/ml administered more than 3 calendar months prior to travel. If your pet is traveling to a high-rabies country and will be returning to your country with a layover in the EU, you should get the test done before leaving the for your trip.

Let’s look at some examples.

EXAMPLE #1: Your pet is flying from YYZ (Toronto) > CDG (Paris) with Air France, then CDG (Paris) > AMS (Amsterdam) with KLM then returning AMS > CDG > CDG > YYZ

Requirements for YYZ > CDG > CDG > AMS

  1. All documents required for entering France including the Commercial or Non-Commercial EU Health Certificate for France (valid for 10 days after issuance)
  2. Proof of microchip implanted at the same time or before rabies vaccination
  3. Proof of current rabies vaccination

Your pet will be able to use the same health certificate to enter the Netherlands that was used to enter France.

Requirements for AMS > CDG> CDG > YYZ

  1. All documents required for entering France including a Commercial or Non-Commercial EU Health Certificate (new certificate)
  2. Proof of microchip implanted at the same time or before rabies vaccination
  3. Proof of current rabies vaccination

EXAMPLE #2: Your pet is flying JFK (New York) > FRA (Frankfurt) > BOM (Mumbai) then returning BOM > FRA > JFK:

REQUIREMENTS FOR JFK > FRA > BOM

  1. All documents required for entering India
  2. Proof of microchip implanted at the same time or before rabies vaccination
  3. Proof of current rabies vaccination
  4. Commercial or Non-Commercial EU Health Certificate for Germany (valid for 10 days from issuance)

REQUIREMENTS FOR BOM > FRA > JFK

  1. Import Permit (unless proof of current rabies vaccination in administered in the US is available)
  2. Proof of current rabies vaccination
  3. Export Health Certificate from India
  4. Proof of microchip implanted at the same time or before rabies vaccination
  5. Commercial or Non-Commercial EU Health Certificate for Germany (new certificate)
  6. Rabies Titer Test administered 3 months prior to transiting in Germany

All EU health certificates issued for transit as well as entry must be endorsed by the government agency in the departing country that is responsible for the import and export of live animals. Generally, veterinary services is a division of the Department or Ministry of Health. Exporters should submit both the health certificate for the transit or layover country (marked TRANSIT) as well as the health certificate for the destination country. The certificate numbers for both forms on the health certificates should be the same, if required.

EU health certificates are only valid for 10 days after issuance, so, very likely, a new certificate will need to be issued in the departing country when returning home.

Remember that currently this new regulation applies for all pets transiting the EU as air cargo, even if both transit or layover country and destination country are located in the EU. Pet owners who cannot fly with their pet or flying with their pet to any country that requires pets to enter as air cargo should be aware of these new requirements for EU transits, layovers or comfort stops in the European Union.

Quick Tips for Preparing Your Pet for Auto Travel

Travel with a dog in the car

Thinking of hitting the road with your pet in a car this spring or summer? Believe it or not, now is the time to start preparing your pet for that family trip, especially if it will be the first time that your pet travels with you. Here are a few good tips to preparing your pet for auto travel and making the trip easier for everyone.

Take short trips in the car – get your pet used to their restraining device. If you have a small pet, a carrier or bolster seat may be the right way to go. If you have a larger dog or a well behaved cat, a harness will keep them safe as well as other passengers riding in the car. The best way to protect any pet in a car is a pet crate or carrier buckled into the seat. Whatever you decide, your pet will need time to get used to riding in the car.

Take a trip to the vet – travel is stressful, not only for us but for our pets. Make sure that your pet is healthy and all vaccinations are current, especially rabies. Get refills of any medications that your pet is taking. A health certificate is always a good idea and may be required depending on your country and your trip.

Plan to stop frequently – although most older and larger dogs can last between 10 to 12 hours before a rest stop, it is advised to stop and allow them to stretch their legs every 4-5 hours. Puppies and kittens can last about an hour for every month of life, so a puppy that is 3 months of age can last 3 hours between breaks. As this can vary between breeds and puppies, planning more frequent stops is a good idea.

Route your trip carefully – if your trip will be long distance, then highway driving may be the best option as it will mean less time in the car. Try to avoid high-traffic areas where you may encounter bumper-to-bumper traffic. Coming to a standstill will trigger “it’s time for a walk” and your pet is likely to get restless.

If you are planning a relatively short trip or you are not in a hurry, then consider taking the back roads and enjoy the scenery with your pup or kitty. There will be more opportunities to stop and explore along the way.

Find a pet friendly hotel early if you will need one. Many pet friendly hotels reserve a fixed number of rooms for pets, so reserving early is important. After finding a pet friendly hotel, call them to be sure to confirm their pet policy. Make sure you have a room on the ground floor for easy access if this is possible. Ask if there are pet friendly amenities nearby.

Socialize your pet – take them to a neighborhood dog park or walk your dog so they are exposed to other dogs and people. You will be stopping along the way on your trip and you want to be sure that your dog will not be aggressive towards other dogs.

Pick the right place in the car for them – your pet will suffer less anxiety on the road if you position them where they can see you. It is safest to restrain your pet in the backseat of the car; but put them behind the passenger seat if you will be driving. Having you in their line of sight will reduce their level of anxiousness. Removing them from their normal environment is stressful enough. Knowing that you are with them will comfort them.

Related: Traveling with an Anxious Pet in the Car

Groom your pet – dog grooming is extremely important right before a trip. A bath and clip will make the trip more pleasant for everyone, especially your pet. Your pet needs to be accustomed to being groomed and handled so start early if you can. Be sure and treat your pet for ticks and tapeworm (dogs) as your pet will be exposed to new environments. Tick repellant collars may also be useful.

Get the right equipment and get your pet accustomed to using it prior to travel. You will need a strong leash at hand at all times. When stopping for a rest, be sure and do not let your pet out of the car until they are leashed and you have your footing. Do not use a retractable lead if possible as you sacrifice control with larger dogs. You will need portable water and food bowls, bottles of water from home, towels or wipes and a portable kitty litter tray if you are traveling long distances with a cat. Bring enough of your dog’s food to last the trip. Changing food can upset a pet’s digestive tract and may result in unpleasant consequences.

If you are crossing country borders, be sure and plan a trip to your vet to fill out the required documentation for the country you will be visiting. Have your pet microchipped and register the microchip so officials can find your contract information should your pet go missing.

Preparing your pet for auto travel will make your trip so much more enjoyable for everyone traveling. Your dog or cat will know what to expect and will be very happy to be included in your family trip. Safe travels!

Explore 7 of the Best Dog Friendly Cities in the World

Dog friendly cities

Is there anything greater than seeing a happy dog wagging its tail, playing fetch, and enjoying a day out? Even if you don’t have your own four-legged friend of your own, there’s no denying that even five minutes with a dog can make your day that little bit brighter. And the great thing is, with so many people out there who feel the same way, the world is slowly becoming a much more dog-friendly place. That said, some places are better suited for a day out than others. 

So, whether you’re a dog owner looking for a dog friendly place to take your pooch, or you’re just a dog lover looking for a city where you can see lots of happy pups going about their day, this guide is for you!

Read on as we’ve pulled together a list of seven of the best dog friendly cities in the world for dog lovers.

Tel Aviv, Israel

It is estimated that there are around 30,000 dogs currently living in the city of Tel Aviv, and the city has made it to the number one spot on our list for a very good reason. In August of every year, a huge festival called Kelaviv takes place, organized by the locals, dedicated to pampering your canine friends with massages, sushi, and other irritable treats!

Not only this, but an event is held at Gan Meir Park every Friday to encourage adoption and tempt passers-by to consider taking home their own furry friend.

The city also has a number of cafes where dogs are welcome, so don’t be surprised if you pop in for a latte and leave having made a new furry friend.

It is not difficult to import a dog to Israel, although a microchip, proof of rabies vaccination, rabies titer test and a health certificate are required. Good news is that there is no wait time after acceptable titer levels are received before your dog can travel.

Related Content: Pet import requirements for Israel

Toronto, Canada

From High Park in the west to the beaches in the east, Toronto has lots of off-leash play areas where dogs can explore and have fun together. But the Canadians have even taken it one step further, creating a massive dog-inspired fountain in the middle of Berczy Park to honor our furry friends.

Better still, there are plenty of nice places in the city for you to sit and do a bit of dog watching. For example, you could sit and enjoy a pint at Black Lab Brewery right opposite Berczy Park as you watch the neighborhood pooches go about their day.

Canada is super pet friendly. Pets entering Canada with their owners over 3 months of age will only need proof of current rabies vaccination. Check with your airline for the need of a current health certificate. It is always a good idea to travel with one, and your country may require it as a result of export procedures.

Related Content: Pet import requirements for Canada

California, United States

California, but more specifically, Huntington Beach in California, is a dog lovers dream. As well as your furry friends being able to play frisbee on the sand, they can also relax at Surf City Dog Spaw where a range of snacks, including Top Dog Barkery’s pup pastries, are on offer.

And as the home of the paw-some Surf City Surf Dog Competition, there is a good chance you’ll get to see a wave-loving pooch balanced on a surfboard – and who doesn’t want that!

And not far from the beach is Fred’s Mexican Cafe which hosts a regular Monday Doggie Date Night, as well as Sandy’s Beach Shack which serves meals for dogs, including delicious grilled meats.

Unless you are entering the United States from a country classified as high rabies, the export requirements for your country and your airline’s pet policies will apply.

Related Content: Pet import requirements for the United States

Sydney, Australia

The sheer amount of space across the nation makes Australia a great place for dogs anyway, but the city of Sydney is a particular highlight. This is because there is an abundance of open space for dogs to roam and play, and there are also plenty of dog friendly places to grab a drink and something to eat.

And have you ever heard of doga? That’s yoga + dogs… Yep, you read that right! Doga classes are available in the city, and if you don’t have a pooch of your own, that’s OK. You can always convince your friend that does to come down and take part with you (or just watch as others embrace their zen).

Then you can refuel post-workout with coffee at the Grumpy Baker or stop for brunch at the Laneway Cafe, where dogs are welcome, as they are in so many places across the city.

Although it is worth the effort, importing a pet to Australia is challenging and will take 6 months of preparation, so pet owners should plan ahead. The entry point to Australia for pets is Melbourne. After a short quarantine, you and your pet can head to Sydney.

Related Content: Pet Import Requirements for Australia

Kathmandu, Nepal

As part of the Diwali Festival celebrations (which is called Tihar in Nepal), the entire country comes together to honor dogs, and nowhere is this more prominent than in the nation’s capital of Kathmandu.

Throughout Diwali, dogs are given wreaths of flowers and a red mark on their heads to celebrate. And best of all, if you’re visiting the city at this time, you can watch pets and strays alike as they enjoy the delicious plates of food left out for them on doorsteps by lovely locals.

Nepal is not a difficult country to enter with a dog if it has proof of microchip, rabies vaccination and an endorsed health certificate. Know, however, that Nepal is classified as a country with a high risk of rabies, so pet owners should check the requirements to reimport their pet to their origination country if they intend to return after their visit.

Related Content: Pet Import Requirements for Nepal

Prague, Czech Republic

Although Prague is not traditionally thought of as a dog-friendly location, they have made lots of changes over the last few years and dogs are now welcome to explore most places. From the top tourist sites to local restaurants, dogs can explore the city just like their humans can. Some places are even kind enough to cook small meals, especially for your four-legged friend.

Not only this, but Prague’s Letna Park is a great place for off-leash walks where you can watch dogs play with one another, and you can enjoy a beer from the various beer gardens en route as you walk through the park.

What’s more, if you love the cinema, you’re in luck. For a truly unique experience, you can take your pooch along to see the latest blockbuster at the dog-friendly Aero cinema, where they even host a film festival each year. If you don’t have a dog, you can still join in and watch as other’s dogs get cozy and settle down, ready for the movie.

To import your dog to the Czech Republic, your dog will need proof of a microchip, rabies vaccination and an endorsed health certificate. If entering from a country classified as high-rabies, then your dog will need a rabies titer test 3 months prior to travel.

Related Content: Pet import requirements for the Czech Republic

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Last but not least on our list, we have Amsterdam. While the Netherlands as a whole has been praised as a dog-lover’s location, Amsterdam goes above and beyond. Throughout the city, dogs are allowed in most establishments apart from museums and galleries, which means you can pretty much get your doggy fix wherever you go, whether you have a dog with you or not.

Plus, dogs can ride most public transport for free, or you can buy a doggy day pass for the train for just €3! Which mean you can spend your days exploring the city with your dog and not have to compromise on where you both go or what you see.

Regulations to import a dog to the Netherlands are the same as they are for the Czech Republic. The good news is that pet owners can use their health certificate to visit all EU Member States for 4 months after entering the EU provided that their dog’s rabies vaccination does not expire during their trip.

Related Content: Pet import requirements for the Netherlands

No matter where you travel with your dog, be sure to visit your veterinarian for a health certificate and have your pet microchipped. There is no better way to protect your pet.

As the world opens up and travel restrictions for pet owners ease, it’s time to explore international destinations and don’t forget to bring your best friend along to some of the best dog friendly cities in the world.

Stuart Cooke is the Marketing Manager at MyBaggage.com. They are luggage shipping specialists who help travellers and home movers take the stress out of their journeys.

Microchips for Dogs & Cats: Why should you microchip your pet?

pet microchip

Why do we love our pets? It could be because their love and loyalty is so unconditional. Whether we have had a good day or bad, they are always there offering support. In return, they trust in us to provide for them. Pet identification is part of that protection and pet owners should know why they should microchip their pet.

Obviously, pets need to be fed, exercised and directed. They also need to be identified should they become separated from you. An open door, a hole under a fence, a simple distraction is all it can take for your pet to wander. As many as 80% of unidentifiable pets are never reunited with their owners should they get lost.

Additionally, if you are planning a move or international travel, your pet should be microchipped. Most of the world’s countries require this form of pet identification.

MIcrochipping your pet

A pet microchip is the most permanent form of pet identification available today. About the size of a grain of rice, it is inserted painlessly by your veterinarian between your pet’s shoulder blades. There are several different types of microchips on the market in the United States. The 15 digit ISO pet microchip is the world standard. Many countries require this type of pet microchip for entry. Even if you don’t plan to travel with your pet, animal control agencies in cities and towns all over the United States have microchip scanners that can read a microchip, and that is the first thing they will do when capturing a lost pet.

Register your pet’s microchip

After microchipping your pet, the next step is registration. All manufacturers have their own database with owner contact information associated with every microchip number. Some manufacturers charge pet owners for registering, but some don’t. Datamars is a manufacturer of the ISO pet microchip. Their database can be accessed at PetLink.net and provide pet owners with free registration and unlimited changes to their contact information.

Regular scans

Every time you take your pet to your veterinarian, have them scan your pet’s microchip to make sure it is functioning properly and has not migrated. These are uncommon occurances but they do happen.

Remember to keep your information up to date

Set a reminder to check your pet’s identification information whenever you relocate or travel. Entering your cell phone number is essential as this will likely not change when you move. If you are traveling overseas and your cell phone will not be functioning, contact the administrator of the database and ask that a note be put in your pet’s file with a temporary phone or email address.

Pet Identification

The concept of pet identification is quite simple but often misunderstood. It is the pet owner’s responsibility to be sure that their pet can be identified if they get lost. You must stay current on microchip registration information. If you plan to more or switch phone numbers, update your pet’s registration information with your cell phone number.

Other useful tips

  • Keep rabies tags on your pet
  • Keep a collar ID tag on your pet with your current address and phone number
  • Keep the pet microchip manufacturer’s tag on your pet if they have one
  • Always keep a picture of your pet handy (better yet, one of you and your pet) in the case that identification is necessary.

Pet identification is a simple thing. Ask your veterinarian about implanting a microchip for your dog or cat. Most importantly, don’t forget to register!

Why is it important to microchip your pet? Simply put, microchipping your pet could mean the difference between finding your pet or not if it is lost or stolen. This is a small, painless step toward keeping your pet safe at home or on the road.

Why You Should Not Change Your Dog’s Food When Traveling

What you feed your dog is important. A healthy and well-balanced diet is an essential part of good health which is especially important if you are planning on traveling.

dog eating food

A change of environment and schedule can upset any dog. The goal is to keep the routine similar as much as possible prior to and during travel. If you change things too much, then your dog may become unsettled and perhaps even a bit nervous. As your dog is accustomed to the diet and the food that they receive every day, introducing sudden changes may cause effects more significant than you may expect. So, why shouldn’t you change your dog’s food while traveling?

Why do pet owners change their dog’s food?

Some typical symptoms that motivate pet owners to change their pet’s food are refusal to eat, nausea, unexplained itching, upgrading to a higher quality pet food or for convenience when traveling. Certainly, it is advisable to speak with your veterinarian before changing pet foods to confirm there are not underlying issues that could be causing these problems. Some pet owners just want to upgrade to a better quality of food for their pet or transition from wet to dry food for reasons of convenience.

There is a right time to change food, and there is a wrong time. The wrong time is before you are planning to travel or perhaps doing something else that necessitate changing your pet’s schedule.  Why is that?

Your dog may already be confused with watching you pack and get organized for a trip, and, if you then proceed to change their diet too, you could end up with a distressed and distracted dog. Before making changes, you have to ask yourself “is this the right time to change my dog’s food?” Your answer will establish when to change foods and why. Taking time to change your dog’s diet and not doing it just prior to traveling will help avoid digestive issues and tummy upsets.

Related: Changing Your Pet Food: Why and How?

Digestive Issues

Another reason why you should not change your dog’s food when traveling is, if changed suddenly, you can trigger problems such as a twisted tummy or other digestive issues such as small intestinal malabsorption, colitis, or even acute gastroenteritis. When you change your dog’s diet, this can affect their health more than you realize, and this can have a domino effect on other areas of your dog’s body. It can affect their stools, cause vomiting and weight loss.

When you are integrating a new food into your dog’s diet, or you are changing food completely, you need to make sure that you do so slowly by mixing small amounts of the new food with their current food, increasing the ratio over time. It is a good idea to have access to a veterinarian, just in case of an emergency. These digestive issues can cause a great deal of stress for your dog and leave them in a lot of pain if the more serious issues occur.

Nutrition Matters

Your dog needs to maintain the level of nutrition that it gets daily. If you start altering what food you are giving them (especially if you have not researched options beforehand), then you could end up giving it food that is nutritionally bad for them. Foodstuffs that may be lacking in quality nutrients will have an effect on your dog’s mood and behavior, and this is simply not something that you want to deal with while you are traveling. Getting the nutrition for your dog’s diet correctly blended and managed is an art that you need to perfect when you are at home and not when you are traveling somewhere new.

What Your Dog Needs

It is important that your dog still has access to all of they need  when traveling. Changing up their food may mean they might not get what they need to support their good health.

Nutrients and Vitamins

When it comes to making sure that your dog gets the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that they need at all mealtimes, you need to first establish what they need. Things to consider are how much they weigh, what their nutritional requirements are based on their weight, the amount of exercise they get, and, of course, their age. Vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as calcium and phosphorus are essential for a balanced diet. If your dog does not get these important vitamins and calcium in its food, then it can affect their immune system.

As well as vitamins, calcium, and phosphorus, your dog also needs to get a certain amount of fat, proteins, and carbohydrates. Proteins help build muscle and assist in preventing excessive weight gain which can oftentimes be a result of feeding your pet too many carbohydrates.

The best rule of thumb is to calculate 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. So, if your dog should weigh 40 pounds, it should be eating 40 grams of protein daily.  Ideal body weight is the recommended weight for your dog, not its actual weight. If your dog is overweight, then you should not use its actual weight in this calculation. You can ask your veterinarian what the ideal weight of your dog should be.

Access to fresh and clean water

If your dog does not have access to fresh and clean water when you are traveling and at mealtimes, then it can affect its digestive system, as well as its overall health and wellbeing. A dog’s body can consist of as much as 60% of water, and if fresh, clean water is missing from its diet, it may struggle from lethargy, and it may also suffer from other digestive issues in the near future, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

The additional stress resulting from traveling can result in excess panting leading to dehydration. This is the major cause of airline incidents, especially with snub-nosed breeds like Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Chows, Persian and exotic cats and the like. If your pet is flying, get the largest water bowl that will attach to the door without interfering with your pet’s movement.

Weigh your dog’s food

When you introduce any new food to your dog, it is essential that it is weighed properly. It is very easy to underfeed or overfeed your dog, especially when using new food. To avoid uncertainty, it is important that you weigh food before you give it to your dog. If you are not giving your dog enough of a new food, it may not be getting the nutrients and vitamins it needs when traveling. It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, and this cannot easily be done when you are traveling. For example, it is advised to integrate the food over a period of time and increasing the amount a little at each mealtime, as opposed to a straight swap.

Bring your dog’s food with you when you travel

If you are traveling by car, then bring enough of the food that your pet is accustomed to eating with you to last the duration of your trip.

If you are flying domestically, then pack an unopened bag or can of food in a box and check it at the airport. If you are flying internationally, then it is essential to research country regulations as to the import of food. For example, pets traveling to Mexico can only import enough food for their pet’s need for one day. Canada also requires that the food be of US origin, that your pet enters Canada with the food, and that the purpose of the food is solely to feed your pet.

Take your time

When you are thinking about making a switch to your dog’s diet, or you are even considering changing your dog’s food, you need to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time. Time is crucial to preparing your dog’s food to ensure that it is high in nutrients and rich in protein, especially if you are switching to a dry food diet.

These are a few reasons why you should not change your dog’s food when traveling. Changes to diets need to happen over a period of a few days or weeks and not hours. This is not something that you should arrange when you are traveling. If changes are made too quickly, then your dog may struggle to digest the new food, and it may end up getting sick as a result. Slow integration when changing diet is always recommended.

Maggie Hammond is the proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. She is passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.

Keeping Your Pets Safe at Christmas

Cat looking at Christmas Lights - Keep Your Pets Safe at Christmas
Courtesy of Adorable Animal Photography

Christmas is a beautiful time of year filled with lights, decorations, parties and meals spent with friends and family. It is a time of distraction with lots to do and not as much time to relax and keep an eye on what everyone is up to. All of the trimmings of the season can also be dangerous to your pets. Here are some important tips on keeping your pets safe at Christmas.

The season is a time of wonderment for your dog or cat. There are new things to explore that they do not normally see in their day-to-day lives. Glittery things, things that light up and blink, new smells from holiday candles, Christmas trees and, of course, all of the goodies in the kitchen that go along with the holiday can appeal to their senses and encourage them to investigate. They need to know how these things fit in their world and, of course, whether they are good to eat!

Keeping your pets safe from Christmas decorations

Many of our typical holiday decorations can cause havoc on our dogs or cats’ digestive system. If ingested, and many of them can cause serious illness to your pet. Consider these tips when decorating for the holidays.

You should secure your Christmas tree with a stable stand. Avoid glass ornaments as they can be a hazard (and a mess) if they fall off the tree. Decorate the bottom of the tree carefully. Use decorations that cannot be eaten or will not entice your cat or dog to play with them. If you have a real tree, keep the water in the stand out of sight. That way, your furry friends will not be tempted to squeeze under the tree for a drink. Secure and hide all cords for lights on your tree.

Tinsel – can you imaging what this will do to a cat’s stomach and intestine if eaten? Eating or even licking tinsel can lead to a very unpleasant stomach.

Salt and Dough Ornaments – although ornaments made from salt dough don’t smell particularly appealing to us, your dog or cat may think differently. Salt toxicosis causes vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination and coordination issues. This can result from eating these ornaments, so hang them high on the tree.

Wrapping Paper – clean up bits and pieces of ribbon and wrapping paper that hit the deck when you wrap gifts. If it looks pretty, it must taste good, right? Keep wrapped packages hidden or out of reach until Christmas morning.

Snow globes – many imported snow globes contain antifreeze which can cause kidney failure and even death. If you have them, put them where they cannot wind up broken on the floor.

Lights and Batteries – those beautiful fairy lights you use for decorating can be harmful to a cat or dog. After all, to understand how something works, doesn’t it need to be chewed? Keep these out of reach of inquisitive minds.

Poinsettias, Mistletoe and Ivy – the leaves from poinsettias can cause your dog stomach upset and/or diarrhea if eaten in large quantity. Berries from mistletoe contain polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins. When eaten, mistletoe can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Eating ivy, amaryllis or Christmas cactus will cause the same symptoms. Certainly, this will go a long way in ruining Christmas for everyone.

Candles – you should light these only when you are in the room. Your pet can knock a candle over and cause a fire hazard. Keep candles out of reach from larger dogs who tend to eat everything they come in contact with. Some Labs and Golden Retrievers are famous for this. Opt instead for LED candles.

Christmas foods that can be dangerous for your pets

Dog-with-Christmas-cookie

Making cookies and other Christmas goodies is part of a traditional holiday for many pet owners. The smells that you create in the kitchen are simply irresistible to our furry friends. You can bet they will be waiting to taste your creations.

Here are some foods to watch out for keep your pet safe at Christmas.

Artificial Sweeteners – many bakers cutting back on sugar make recipes for Christmas cakes and cookies that use artificial sweeteners. These contain Xylitol which, even small amounts, can cause low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. There are many recipes on the Internet for cookies that are safe for dogs at Christmas.

Chocolate – contains theo bromide which can cause muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack.

Grapes and Raisins – keep both of these far away from your dog and cat. Eating these can cause acute kidney failure and even death.

Garlic, Chives and Onions – all of these are no-nos. They come from the allium family and are poisonous to dogs and cats. Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is also toxic to cats and dogs. It can cause red blood cells in your dog or cat to burst. That certainly gets our attention, right?

Macadamia Nuts – these little jewels are so good and many pet owners splurge on them for the holidays. No slipping one to your dog or cat. Eating macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hypothermia in dogs.

Blue Cheese – Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton all contain a mycotoxin called roque fortine that is naturally produced by various fungi. Why would we want to add mold to our pet’s diet? Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton are also high in fat, which is a danger to your pet.

Other tips for keeping your pets safe at Christmas

Set Rules – make the rules clear to your guests. There will be no feeding your pets anything except treats that you have made available for them. Bag up special treats for them before everyone arrives. Your guests will love to give your pet a special treat. It is great way to introduce them to your cat or dog. Some great yummies are a small piece of plain cheese, lowfat dog or cat treat or a carrot or biscuit that you have broken up. It is better than your guests slipping them what they think will make your pet happy.

Christmas Cheer – libations for your pets are out. Gather up any glasses left unattended, and watch out for those punch bowls. Alcohol can be deadly for a dog or cat.

Seasonal Grub – Salty, spicy and fatty foods should stay on your plate including turkey, stuffing, onions, casseroles and nuts. They are too rich for your dog or cat’s digestive system. Who wants to clean that up in front of your guests while dressed in holiday garb?

Watch the Trash – keep garbage cans closed securely. Scavengers can work fast and it is no fun to clean up garbage spilled all over your kitchen floor.

Safe Spaces – Make sure that your pet has a safe place to retreat to if things get overwhelming.Pets who are untrained, hyper, aggressive, territorial or just plain shy should be confined during holiday parties.

Get Moving – exercise your pet before the gathering arrives, if possible. A tired dog will be more likely to be less active during the merriment.

Traveling – find some great tips on how to keep your pets safe when traveling during the holidays here.

Some simple adjustments can go a long way when keeping your pets safe at Christmas. Who wants to rush their best friend to an emergency hospital during the holidays? Have a wonderful and fun season with your family and your pets.

Biking with Your Dog – Ready for some Outdoor Fun?

dog on bike in basket

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.

biking with a dog running alongside

Courtesy of Pixabay

Related: How to Keep Your Pet Hydrated when Traveling

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.

Urban biking

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.