Last Updated on December 20, 2023 by Fumipets
Navigating the Journey with Your Large Canine Companion
Embarking on a travel adventure with your large dog is an exciting prospect, but it requires careful planning to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend.
Whether it’s a road trip, a vacation, or a relocation, thoughtful preparation is key. In this guide, we’ll explore essential ways to prepare while traveling with your large dog, addressing common concerns and providing valuable insights to make the journey as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
Do you have a large, cuddly companion of your own? If you answered yes, you are incredibly lucky. Big dog breeds are well-mannered, more emotionally stable, and easy to care for.
Golden Retrievers and American Staffordshire Terriers weigh between 50 to 70 pounds. Larger breeds such as the Great Dane can grow past 100 pounds.
Large dogs tend to bark less than smaller dogs and make great pets. They are intelligent and can protect you during emergencies. Best of all, they are affectionate, devoted, and fun cuddle buddies.
However, if you are a first-time traveler, carrying the big boy around may be difficult. Use the following methods to prepare before traveling with your large dog.
1. Do Not Take Them Against Their Will
If it’s your first journey with your dog, chances are they will be scared and anxious. Train your dog to remain calm in small, confined spaces.
Do not travel with them unless you have trained them well in advance. Even with training, some dog breeds may become restless and seek your attention through touch. Visit We Love Doodles to learn about your canine friend’s breed type and characteristics.
You will need to train your pet by repeatedly making them go through the same process. Start with letting them hang out in your car. Provide treats to pique their interest and do it over and over again. They will need to get used to the environment in which they will be traveling.
Share the details of your travels with your veterinarian if you are unable to control your pet. Under extreme conditions, sedatives or other medications might be an option to calm your large dog during the journey.
2. Get Them Ready for the Trip
If you have a hyperactive dog you need to prepare them ahead of the trip. Start by going on short trips to places that are fun for your dog. Take them to a dog cafe or to a park to throw some frisbees.
For a long trip avoid feeding them just before you depart. Feed them at least two to three hours prior as dogs get motion sickness from car or plane journeys.
Do not feed them human food. It will lead to an upset stomach. Add one teaspoon of exemplary fiber supplement to their usual meals. Fiber helps to control loose motion and tighten your dog’s stomach which is essential in tackling motion sickness.
Take your large friend on a walk to exercise before the trip. You will be confining them in a small space and an energy-filled dog will be difficult to convince. Tire them out before the journey begins.
3. Restrain Them in a Crate
Some dogs find it difficult to settle in a moving vehicle. You can either restrain them on the back seat or the trunk of your SUV. Travel-rated carriers are available for all sizes.
Secure the crate in the back seat or the trunk of your vehicle to avoid sliding around on bumpy roads. Buy a spacious carrier that allows your dog to stand or move around. Line the crate with blankets to make it more comfortable for your pet.
Add padding on the sides for extra security. Your dog might try to chew on it so be careful of the material you select. A crate should be safe and provide distractions like toys for your dog.
Install pet-proof seat belts in your car if putting a carrier at the back is not an option. If your dog enjoys the fresh air, then a seat belt is a better option.
4. Pack a Pet Travel Kit
You will be surprised by how much you have to pack for your big pup. It is not possible to find everything they may need while you are on the road.
Pack ample healthy food for them for the entire stay; make sure you avoid certain foods that are harmful for your dog, such as cat food. Take some treats in addition to their regular food. Bring bowls for food and water, preferably the ones you use at home. Carry towels for your dog if you are going on vacation in the monsoon or near a beach.
A different place may induce anxiety in them. You will need to bring their favorite toys and if possible, throw in some new ones.
Poop bags are important to clean up after your big friend. Bring prescribed and precautionary medical supplies and toiletries, including a toothbrush. Have a spare leash, harness, and collar with tags as a precautionary measure. You want to be extra safe with your dog while traveling.
5. Prepare Your Car
A car is a small, confined space unlike what large dogs are used to. Prepare your car before embarking on a long journey.
You might be thinking about sitting your dog on the front or back seats if you are unable to place a crate. Dogs will salivate or urinate under stress. Line your seats with a protective cover to avoid lasting damage.
Carry cleaning supplies in your car even if your pet is potty trained. Keep sprays to remove stains or odor, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, and plastic bags. Accidents may happen.
If they can’t keep their excitement in check, they may scratch the seat material. There is no need to buy expensive scratch-proof covers. Simply put old towels or bed sheets to prevent bite and scratch marks.
Keep your windows closed in case they try to jump and hurt themselves. Lock your windows to block your dog from accidentally opening them.
6. Fly Direct and Avoid Extreme Temperatures
You might be planning to travel on-air with your dog. Carry-on dog cages are limited to those that meet the size, age, and destination requirements. Others may be transported by cargo.
Check with your airlines on the paperwork required for the flight. You will need clearance from a veterinarian. For safety, contact reservations at least 48 hours prior.
Take a direct flight to your destination. Long flights will agitate your canine friend. Prescription anxiety medicine or a pheromone-calming collar may help reduce their stress. However, it is best to avoid flights with long layovers.
Traveling from one extreme temperature to another will also be difficult for your dog. If you are traveling from scorching summer weather to a harsh winter climate, or vice-versa, your large dog will have a hard time.
7. Book Your Lodging Arrangements Accordingly
Your dog’s behavior may matter a lot depending on where you will be staying. If you are traveling out of town to a family or friend’s house in the suburbs with a huge backyard, that will be great for your pup.
Daily exercise is essential depending on their breed, which is why a large play area where they can run around will be beneficial. Throw in some toys and they will be entertained.
However, if you are looking for lodging in an unfamiliar city, you need to plan well in advance. Check through the list of pet-friendly hotels available in the area. Most hotels have size or breed restrictions on dogs, even if they are pet-inclusive hotels.
Make a few phone calls to find out the hotel’s details. Your dog’s comfort should be prioritized.
8. Have Their Collar on at All Times
It is extremely important to keep track of your pet’s whereabouts, especially when you go out of town. Update their collars with your information as well as the location of your stay.
Have your contact information, such as phone number and name, printed on the back of the collar. This will be beneficial in case your dog gets lost in a new place.
Collars are also important markers that your dog is not a stray. Many countries consider pets without a tag as strays and even send them to shelters. For safety, carry multiple collars and harnesses. You might need a new one in case they are lost or broken due to wear and tear.
It is very difficult to control dogs in a new environment, more so if they are a large breed. So prepare in advance to keep your large dog safe in an unfamiliar place.
If you are traveling accompanied by your large dog there are some things you must pre-plan.
Get them accustomed to your car seats or small crate spaces if they are going to be traveling in SUVs or planes. Speak to your veterinarian in advance to check if they are okay to travel.
Feed them much earlier than you intend to leave to avoid motion sickness. Take them on long walks as a well-exercised dog will be easier to handle on the road.
If you are traveling in a car with a hyper dog, restrain them in a crate or use a harness. Prepare your car in advance for the trip. Line your car seats with scratch-proof and waterproof materials and keep your windows secured.
Carry all your pet essentials and some extra. It is better to be prepared for unknown situations. Make sure they have collar tags on them at all times to mark them as yours and also as a safety measure.
If you are flying with your dog, try to book a direct flight as they will be traveling in cargo due to size restrictions. Check whether your accommodation is pet friendly before embarking on a fun journey with your large dog.