As a dog groomer, you’re used to working with animals in a new atmosphere. But your clients may feel the stress when they’re travelling with their pets for the first time. Whether they’re driving to a grooming appointment or going on a road trip, use this list to give your clients some advice on travelling with their dog!
Put safety first
When you’re travelling with a dog you need to make sure that, first and foremost, they will be safe throughout their travels. Safety comes down to making sure they are comfortable, secure, and cannot come into harm for the duration of the trip.
There are many products designed to keep a pet secure. Here are a few of the ways that your client can make their dog comfortable during longer periods of travel:
- Use the right-sized carrier bag to give your pet room
- Get a pet booster seat for your car
- Use a car harness to safely secure your pet while you drive
- Make sure your pet cannot access or open the windows
- Frequently check on your pet
Don’t feed dogs too late
Taking your pet on a trip means some sort of transportation will be involved. The best thing to do to avoid nausea or travel sickness in your dog is by feeding them early, with enough time for them to digest food and water. You’ll want to make sure you don’t overfeed him as well. Take time throughout the trip to give your dog food and water breaks rather than feeding him too much before or after the trip.
Even a pet that is used to travelling can become sick if they eat too much. Keep track of how much and how often you feed your dog to help avoid travel sickness. If your dog will be travelling in a separate area, use a timed feeder to keep your fed happy and comfortable!
Know the travel conditions
Whichever way you choose to travel, you need to know what the conditions will be like for your pet. Getting him used to similar conditions can help your dog relax during the ride. If you’re driving, allow your pet to explore the vehicle and get used to sitting in a crate or specific position. Doing this before you actually start your travels makes your pet familiar with this new space.
If you’re flying or taking the train, practicing with your dog at home can help calm them down. Make them comfortable in their crate and simulate the ride. Although you might feel silly, this can go a long way in helping your pet endure the trip.
You also need to know if your dog is unable to travel alongside you. Not having a familiar person with them can cause stress for your pet, which can lead to sickness or fear. Pamper their crate with some of their favorite toys and clothing that smells like you. Personal comforts can go a long way in comforting your pet during the trip!
In any travel situation, you need to prepare for your pet’s needs. From having a pet first-aid kit to being ready with cleanup gear, prepare early for any situations that arise on the road. Whatever happens at home will happen on the road, and there may be a few surprises if this is the first trip you’ve taken with your dog. Have a leash, food, and bags ready for your pet’s needs. You don’t want to be caught off-guard!
A good place to start is with your vet. Find out what the essentials are for travelling with a pet, or get their recommendations on products to help keep your dog safe and comfortable. A vet or professional dog groomer will have sound advice for travelling with a dog.
Do your research
Before you travel with your dog, research where you are going and what the recommendations and laws are for pets. For example, airlines require you to tell them beforehand that you are travelling with a pet, and a vet’s appointment is usually needed to make sure your pet is healthy if you’re travelling to other countries. Find information on pet travel in the United States and what the requirements are for type of travel and kinds of animals. Following government rules and guidelines is essential when travelling with pets, and you must follow the laws.
Remember: it’s up to you to do this research!
Give your pet a break
If you’re able to during your trip, giving your dog rest breaks and time to readjust can help them lower stress levels. Give them a walk outside or just time to stretch their legs in the car. Show them they are safe by petting them and allowing them to relax with you for a few minutes. This is the easiest for car travel, but make an effort to comfort your dog if they are with you on other transportation as well. Consider having treats on hand to reward your dog for good behavior. Giving them positive reinforcement will make the trip easier for them (and for you!).
And, if your dog really hates travelling, you can always consider asking a friend to watch over them for a few days until you return. Keeping your pet relaxed and feeling safe is the most important part of travelling with them!
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Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!