Traveling is a whole lot of fun. There is no doubt about that. For many people, there is just nothing better than traveling the world, meeting new people, exploring the tastes and cultures of various countries, and so much more.
That said, if you happen to be a proud dog owner, traveling freely may be a little more difficult for you.
Sure, leaving your dog with friends or at a boarding house is always an option, but that said, friends will probably be inconvenienced, and dog boarding houses are pricey and often don’t treat dogs right.
Therefore, for your next vacation, you might be looking to take Fido along with you. So, you might need some tips for traveling with your dog internationally, which is exactly what we are here for right now!
Knowing The Rules & Having Your Paperwork Ready
Something which many people may not know about traveling internationally with dogs, especially when it comes to air travel, is that there are quite a few hoops you will have to jump through.
Now, the exact requirements for bringing your dog out of the country of origin and into the destination country will depend on the countries you are traveling from.
Yes, there is quite a bit to know here, and there’s a pretty extensive list for you to check off before you can begin your journey.
First and foremost, something you need to be aware of is that pretty much all countries out there have a list of dogs which are not allowed in the country, some more than others.
The point here is that you do need to check the country you are traveling to in order to find out if your dog breed is even permitted to enter to begin with.
As long as you don’t have some kind of overly aggressive fighting-type dog, you should be fine.
Pet Quarantine Rules
The next thing to be aware of here is that many countries have pet quarantine rules. This means that upon arrival, pets may be quarantined for a certain period of time before they are released.
If you are planning to travel to a country with an extremely long quarantine period, you may want to rethink your vacation spot.
That said, if you follow the other tips we will outline below in this particular section, your dog should not get quarantined.
Rabies Free & Rabies Controlled Countries
Rabies free countries are ones which have eradicated rabies, and rabies controlled countries are ones which need to stop the deadly disease from spreading further.
There are some requirements in terms of rabies, mainly that your dog does not have it and also has all of the necessary vaccinations.
If you are traveling from a rabies-free country to a rabies controlled country, you should not have any problems, but the other way around is much harder, so always do your research.
Microchips & Vaccinations
Something else to be aware of is that most countries will require you to implant your pet with a microchip if you plan on traveling there.
Moreover, if you happen to come from a rabies controlled country, it is likely that your pet will need to be vaccinated for rabies
AFTER the microchip has been implanted. On that same note, every country out there has a list of mandatory vaccinations which your dog must have to gain entry, and you, therefore, need to research the specific country in question.
Getting Your Pet Passport
If you live in Europe or are traveling within the continent for an extended period of time, it should be quite easy as European countries do actually have passports for pets.
However, everywhere else, you will need to contact the embassy of the country being traveled to in order to find out exactly what kind of paperwork you will need.
Tips to Keep Your Dog Comfortable During Travel
Of course, the rules and regulations surrounding international travel with dogs is not the only thing you need to look into. You also need to ensure that your dog is ready for travel, as well, you need to take some steps to ensure that your dog remains comfortable during travel.
Getting the Dog used to A Crate or Carrier
When it comes to sticking your dog on an airplane, something you should never do is place it in the carrier or crate for the first time right on the flight. It takes dogs a while to get used to being in a crate, some longer than others.
Therefore, it is wise to start crate training your dog a couple of months before the trip, just to ensure that Fido is comfy and not too scared when it comes time to fly.
On a side note, a dog carrier or crate should always be large enough for the dog to fully stand up, stretch out, and turn around. Nobody wants to be cramped in a cage, so the least you can do is to try and make it comfy.
Crate training can be done at home with relative ease, and at a slow and steady pace. You can try taking the lid off the crate, so it is open at the top.
Then, keep moving the food bowl towards the crate, and also put a blanket in the crate.
Eventually, move its food and some toys into the crate, and after a few weeks, do so with the lid on the crate.
Then, after your dog has grown accustomed to this, you can then try closing the door for short periods of time.
Some Comfort Items
Even if you crate train your dog to the best of your abilities, airline travel is still nerve-racking. Many people are terrified of being 30,000 feet in the air, so just imagine what a dog must feel like.
It’s not like you can explain to them what is going on.
Therefore, you should leave your dog some of its favorite comfort items to keep it calm during the flight. A few of its favorite toys and a bone to keep it distracted, as well as a soft and familiar blanket to lay on are recommended.
We will touch on food and water below, but you should leave your dog with a little bit of water, just so they don’t get dehydrated during the trip.
Feeding Fido Prior to Departure
Now, to keep your pet comfy and happy for the duration of the trip, you may be tempted to give it lots of food and water before the flight. Well, this is a quick one-way ticket to disaster.
For one, dogs are known for getting sick during flights, and giving your pup a whole lot of grub before a flight is a sure-fire way to come out the other end covered in dog vomit.
Moreover, for long flights, you definitely want to limit food and water intake.
Unlike you, who can simply go to the toilet on the plane, your dog either has to hold it in or make a mess in the crate, and nobody wants to suffer through either of those scenarios. Don’t feed your dog for at least 6 hours before the flight. Don’t worry people, your dog won’t starve to death due to a few hours without food.
Pre-Flight Exercise & Potty Breaks
One of the absolute most important things you should do before going on a flight of any length with your dog is to go for a long walk, if not a run, before the flight.
The more energy your dog burns off, the less anxious it will be when it comes time to fly.
Tire your dog out enough and it might just sleep the whole time. It’s definitely a good idea to get some movement in before a flight, and yes, this goes for you the human too. Moreover, you definitely want to let your dog do its business before the flight, or else that dog carrier is going to smell to the high heavens upon arrival.
A Note on Certain Dogs & Air Travel
Something that is very important to note here is that not all dogs are fit for airline travel. It’s an unfortunate reality, but it’s just the way it is.
The main problem comes in the form of dogs with short or compounded snouts, anything that looks like a Pug with a crushed face.
These dogs don’t have an easy time breathing on a regular day, mainly because of short and constricted airways. This can be very dangerous for airline travel, and it is recommended that any such dog not be put on an airplane.
At the same time, any dog you want to travel with needs to have a moderate temperament, and it needs to be otherwise healthy too.
Best Pet Friendly Airlines
Alright, so unless you plan on traveling by boat, which could take you a few weeks or months to reach your destination, chances are that you will be flying.
Therefore, it’s probably a good idea for you to know about the most pet-friendly airlines out there and what they have to offer you and Fido.
- American Airlines
This is currently the largest airline in the world, one which flies to pretty much every destination out there. This airline, depending on the length of the flight and size of the dog, will allow the animal in the cabin or the cargo hold for between $125 and $200.
This is one of the most pet-friendly airlines out there, one which has many perks for pets. This airline is ideal for smaller dogs, as it allows dogs to fly in the cabin, usually in a carrier, all for about $100. That said, this airline does not allow pets in the cargo hold.
- Air Canada
Air Canada is another massive airline, another one of the biggest in the world, and they offer flights to virtually every destination in the world. If you arrive well before the departure time, have your paperwork, and your pet in the carrier, your pet should be allowed to fly with you in the cabin. Although, large dogs and long flights may require the pet to be housed in the cargo hold. Expect to pay between $50 and $150.
- Delta Airlines
Delta is a very pet-friendly airline, and while they do focus more on domestic USA travel, they do also fly to over 60 different countries across the world. Small pets are allowed to ride in the cabin in a carrier, while larger dogs will need to be crated and put in the cargo hold. With Delta, expect to pay between $75 and $200 depending on the size of the dog and the length of the trip.
- Swiss International Airlines
Swiss International Airlines allows pets to be taken on any route, both internationally and domestically. Funny enough, these guys allow rabbits and hares too! Either way, with Swiss International, you can travel with up to two pets, and generally speaking, as long as they behave, they should be allowed in the passenger cabin. That said, depending on the size of the dog and destination, you may pay up to 200 Euros, well over $200 USD.
Traveling Internationally with Your Dog – Final Thoughts
The bottom line is that while it is, of course, possible to travel internationally with your dog, there are quite a few hoops to jump through and requirements to meet. In other words, don’t just start looking into this a few days before your trip.
Start this process as early as possible, at least a month or more before your trip. You don’t want to get to your destination only to be told that your dog isn’t permitted to enter. Also, be sure to adequately prepare your dog for travel so it’s as comfy as can be.