Travelling with a dog: Safe journey to your holiday!

Dog owners love to travel with their four-legged friend. If you're planning your upcoming holiday in anticipation, we've got the most popular ways to travel with a dog for you here and show you how to make your furry friend's journey as safe and stress-free as possible.

Transporting a dog in the car

Your dog is already a frequent passenger in the car? Great! Then the basic requirements are already there. However, a long journey differs in many ways from a short trip. Here are some tips and advice on driving with a dog:

  • Enough space for your dog:

It's not just your luggage and your family that need sufficient space. So that your dog can travel relaxed in the car, you can either provide him with a sufficiently large transport box or place him strapped in the back seat.

  • Feeding:

It's better to skip the meal before the journey. If your pet has a full stomach, it might get sick on the way and throw up.

  • Work out:

If your dog plays extensively and romps around in the meadow before the journey, he is at best tired and sleeps during the journey.

  • Hand luggage:

Drinking water, a mobile drinking bowl and waste bags for walk breaks are must-haves for the road. The dog accessories are always within reach in the footwell on the passenger side. The harness with leash is best kept on the dog at all times, so nothing can happen.

  • Travel time:

Allow enough time every two hours for breaks where you can walk your dog and let him really let off steam and relieve himself.

  • Heat:

Is your car not air-conditioned? Then listen to the traffic reports on the radio regularly, because cars heat up quickly, especially in traffic jams - your dog could overheat. So plan an extra break and keep an eye on your dog. If your dog is acting conspicuously or is panting excessively, stop at the next rest stop as soon as possible and cool him down.

  • Draught:

Draughts from open windows and strong temperature differences are not ideal for your four-legged friend; they can cause ear and eye infections or a cold. Therefore, it is best to air-condition your car only a little at first and gradually lower the temperature.

Hund mit Autosicherheitsgeschirr

Our tip: As nice as it would be if your four-legged friend could hold his head out of the window and enjoy the breeze with his tongue hanging out - he must not sit unsecured in the back seat or on your lap. It's best to get your dog used to driving in his carrier at an early stage. During the first short journeys, you will also notice whether your four-legged friend gets motion sickness.

Travelling by train with a dog: Travel in comfort

Travelling by train is not only a climate-friendly alternative to driving: You can also really savour the anticipation, because you travel in comfort and can keep yourself and your pet busy in a relaxed way instead of having to concentrate on the surrounding traffic. We have 6 tips for travelling by train with your dog:

  1. If you are travelling across the border, find out well in advance about the travel requirements and the entry permit for your dog.
  2. So that your dog can relieve himself, allow for a few breaks and travel in stages. This way, you'll also get to know some nice places away from your holiday destination.
  3. Choose a seat that meets your needs, e.g. not so close to the door, as there is a lot of bustle there and it is often draughty.
  4. Small dogs travel for free and can be comfortably carried in a dog carrier as hand luggage.
  5. Practise travelling on the train with your dog at an early stage and get him used to strange smells, unfamiliar noises and crowds.
  6. Take waste bags and wet wipes with you in your hand luggage in case of a mishap in the train compartment. That way you're well prepared for all eventualities!

By the way: Deutsche Bahn provides detailed information on costs and travel conditions for your four-legged friend.

Flying with a dog, but safely!

Some holiday destinations are best reached by plane - but for your four-legged friend, such a journey is very strenuous. Many people, new smells, possible turbulence and the difficult pressure equalisation could take a lot out of him. Perhaps, for once, a holiday without a dog is an alternative? The regulations of many airlines are not ideal for many dog owners: dogs weighing more than seven kilos are not allowed to travel in hand luggage, but must make do with the cargo hold. The transport box for your four-legged friend must then comply with the following IATA (International Air Transport Association) guidelines:

  • waterproof
  • air-permeable
  • stable
  • can be filled with water and food
  • absorbent base (e.g. changing mat)

The box must be labelled with your contact details and the name of your pet. Any health certificates and the vaccination certificate (EU passport) should be attached to the box in a transparent film (e.g. freezer bag).

Our tip: Get your dog used to the transport box at an early stage so that he learns to lie in it for several hours. You will not be able to train your dog for loud noises and turbulence during the flight. Therefore, it is best to consult your vet on how to make the flight as stress-free as possible.

dog next to ship

Dog on board: Ship ahoy!

If you want to spend your holiday with your dog on an island, for example, you will travel by ferry for part of your journey. Your dog can spend a short crossing on deck in the outdoor area, sniffing the fresh sea air and enjoying the Nordic wind in his fur. Alternatively, these are some of the options:

  • Car: Your dog can also spend the crossing in the car. However, as you usually do not have access to the car deck during the crossing, this option is more suitable for short crossings.
  • Cabin: For long journeys (e.g. overnight) it is best to book a cabin. There you can relax and enjoy the time overseas together.
  • Inside deck: Here your dog can travel in a carrier next to your seat.

Our 3 tips for a relaxed crossing:

  1. Safety: Your dog may be anxious or very excited and pull strongly on the leash. Calm him down, be by his side and secure him with a panic harness just in case. If you then wrap the leash tightly around your wrist or use a belly strap with a snap hook, you are perfectly secured.
  2. Seasickness: Your pet can also get seasick - and then your relaxation on deck is over, because no dog owner can bear to see his dog suffer. Therefore, before you travel, ask your vet what to do if your dog gets seasick.
  3. Walking the dog: Many ferries have a special "dog walking area" on deck (don't forget waste bags and wet wipes!). Please also note the general leash and muzzle requirement here!

Conclusion: As you can see, you can travel with your four-legged friend in different ways. While travelling by train is the best option for some, others find it most relaxing to travel in their own car. If you take your furry friend's character, fears and state of health into consideration when planning your trip, nothing will stand in the way of your holiday. How do you travel with your furry friend? We look forward to your road trip reports!

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