There aren’t many experiences that leave an indelible impression like quite vacations. However, given the hassles of long-distance travel – traveling with pets may not always seem that feasible. But for pet people, traveling without dogs seems a guilt-laden idea, doesn’t it?
See Also: How to choose the right pet-boarding?
What if we were to tell you that traveling with a dog can be a memorable experience for both of you? The trick here lies in preparing for the same.
In this blog post, let’s explore how to travel with your dog so that a fun-filled vacation awaits you!
How to travel with your dog?
What should you consider before you plan a trip with your pet?
Discuss your travel plans with your vet first. In case your dog hasn’t traveled before, it is always good to check if he may have issues related to respiration, motion sickness or anxiety.
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If you are planning a trip via car or airplane, you should consider familiarizing your dog to carriers and crates via positive reinforcement and treats. Make your dog feel comfortable in this safe space as he’d have to spend a significant journey time in it.
Tips for Traveling with dogs in cars
- Don’t overfeed your dog before the trip as they are prone to motion sickness. It is also not a good idea to feed them while in motion. Instead, you may take pit stops and give him a small snack, preferably high in protein.
- To keep your dog calm during a car ride it is always a good idea to have him well exercised before he boards the car.
- Put your dog in the back seat as it would mitigate his chances of interfering with the drive. Putting him in a crate (if he’s small) or put to safety via a harness would ensure that he doesn’t become a projectile in case you’ve to apply emergency brakes.
4. Keep your dog’s favorite toy or any familiar item — that will comfort and relax him.
5. Pack sufficient food, water and don’t forget the bowls.
6. Bring waste disposal bags.
7. Don’t leave your dog in a parked car as it can get very hot in there for your pooch to handle!
How to travel with your dog on Indian Railways?
Did you know you can take your dog along with you in the first AC compartment? For this, you’d have to book a first AC coupe/cabin.
Indian Railways offers two options to take your pets with you. First is, Brake Van which places your dog in a designated area within the brake van. However, limited cleanliness and lack of access make it undesired.
The preferred choice should be First AC with Your Dog as it lets your dog travel with you in comfort. However, the process demands planning:
- Book First AC: Choose “Coupe” (for 2) or “Cabin” (for 4). Booking for 4 ensures a space just for you and your pet.
- Request a Coupe: Write and submit an application to the Chief Reservation Officer at the main railway office 1-2 days before travel. Mention your PNR, contact details, and pet’s health certificate.
- Prepare for Booking Your Pet: On travel day, visit the baggage/cargo office to book your pet and pay the fee. If you didn’t secure a coupe, they may refuse booking. Be ready for potential penalties if found with an unbooked pet.
- Cross Your Paws: While coupes are prioritized for VIPs, hope remains!
- Consider flying if your train lacks a brake van or First AC. Remember, airline crates can be expensive.
- Ensure your dog has a valid health certificate.
- Be patient and polite throughout the process.
Pro Tip: Book the tickets in even numbers such as 2 or 4. Since you are only allowed to take the dog if you have an entire coupe in train to yourself.
The ticket for the dog will be issued at the parcel counter of the railway station from where your train is leaving. It is booked only after the reservation chart is prepared which is around 4 hours before the departure of the train. One has to reach the railway station along with the dog at least 2-3 hours before train departure so that you can get the ticket from the parcel counter.
If you do not get a coupe/cabin to yourself, then your dog might not be allowed in the first AC compartment (in case fellow passengers complain) and he’d have to travel in the luggage car. In the latter case, you’d have to provide food and water for the dog and keep a check on him at stations where the train stops.
You can take the dog out on stations for relieving himself. It is better to know beforehand at what times the stations arrive so that you can plan accordingly. Also, keep a tab on the time since you do not want to be left on the station in case the train leaves.
Flying with your dog on an airplane?
If you plan to take your dog on a flight, always research before booking an air ticket as every airline has different policies about transporting dogs. Some airlines may also require your dog’s health certificate. Similarly, some carriers may allow dogs in the cabin as part of the carry-on luggage while others would only allow dogs in the cargo.
- If you have the choice, always go with in-cabin travel.
- Book direct flights if possible for less chance of mishaps and a smoother experience for your dog.
- Get an airline-approved crate for your pooch. (Make him feel comfortable in the same by training in the weeks preceding the flight.
- Make sure your dog has access to water.
- In case your dog isn’t flying with you in the cabin, please be calm as it would, in turn, pacify your dog.
Traveling with pets in India?
Air India – Pet animals can be carried as accompanied baggage or shipped as Cargo. You will have to make this request at the time of making your booking. The staff will advise you about certain formalities that you will have to complete.
Spice Jet – Carries live animals on the Boeing B737-800 and 900 series aircraft.
Vistara – Accepts seeing-eye dogs in every cabin class on their aircraft.
Jet Airways – Your pet can be transported either as ‘Accompanied (part of checked baggage)’ or ‘Unaccompanied’ (shipped via Cargo).
Other handy tips:
- Put your contact information on the dog collar as it would help in the unfortunate case of your dog getting lost.
- Book dog-friendly hotels in advance and call them to confirm that you will be bringing your dog along with you. Use search filters to shortlist the hotels based on them being pet friendly.
“From our experience, we have found that people in India are not hostile towards dogs as the general perception might be. People have been welcoming in giving our dog boat rides and even letting him in their restaurants. However, be sure that your dog does not dirty their premises and is well behaved. If the dog is pretty hyper and has a tendency to run, it’s better to keep him on a leash at all times. You do not want to scare away people which in turn can create problems for you and your dog.”
~Neha Bhardwaj, avid traveler
Be careful, be safe – and have fun!
While you’re here, we have a summer vacation special contest for all the pet parents. Simply email us pictures from your trip with your pets and you may win awesome goodies!