When making travel plans and decisions, it is always best to weigh all of your options and decide on what is safest and most comfortable for your pet. The first thing to consider is that many dogs might be happier at home in the company of a family member or a close friend than tagging along with you, unless you are certain you will be able to spend a lot of time with your pet during the trip.

However, if you’ve decided it’s best to bring your furry friend along, read on to find out the dangers dogs can face on the road and how to avoid them for a calm and safe trip:

Travelling by ship

Whether you are cruising on a ship, kayak or a yacht, bringing your dog with you is a good idea, as long as it’s permitted. However, there are a few things you should consider before hitting the water with your pet. If your dog has never been around water or a boat, start by introducing it to them slowly, and give them enough time to get used to boat rides, as they can easily get scared or even suffer from seasickness. As pets can get sunburnt, especially around the ears, paws and nose, don’t forget to protect your pooch from the sun, and always have a pet flotation device on hand.

Apart from bringing plenty of water to avoid overheating, there are a few more supplies you need to equip yourself with. From cute leashes to keep your pet with you at all times to ensure they are safe and sound to any dietary supplements your dog might need, you can find many great dog supplies online. Just don’t forget to bring some toys to keep your furry friend occupied and happy, as well as some treats to reward them for good boat ride behaviour.

Travelling by car

Apart from being a distraction to you when they are riding shotgun or sitting in your lap, a dog freely roaming around your car, especially in the front, can be a serious safety hazard. If you happen to be in a moderate collision that’s hard enough to set off the airbag, it will likely do more harm than good to your dog. The safest way for your pet to travel in a car is in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seat belt or a specifically designed car harness.

Besides never letting your dog stick their head out the window or ride in the truck bed, it’s also essential never to leave them alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked car can become a furnace, easily leading to a heat stroke, while a car might hold in the cold and act as a refrigerator during the winter, causing the animal to freeze to death.

Travelling by train

Most countries around the world allow dogs to travel by train, but they usually require your pet to be carried in a crate or be on a leash at all times, with the exception of service dogs. Although it is up to you as the owner to feed and exercise your dog during the trip, preferably at stops along the way, there should be no major problems while travelling by train with your dog, as long as you don’t get in the way of other passengers. However, your pet might still get scared of the crowds and noises at the train station, and some obstacles along the way, such as steps, escalators and ticket barriers, might present a problem, which is why it’s always best to travel during quieter, off-peak times to minimize the potential harm.

Another option that trains provide are separate carriages where dogs are kept, usually alongside luggage. These compartments are often small and very cramped spaces, without any air conditioning to regulate the temperature, and no access to food and water. Such conditions can be extremely dangerous, if not even fatal to a dog, which is why it is never recommended to opt for this alternative.

Travelling by plane

Although air travel is usually not hazardous for dogs, it might be particularly dangerous for breeds with short nasal passages, such as pugs and bulldogs, as they are especially vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke. While most animals flown in the cargo area of the plane are fine, due to excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor ventilation or rough handling, a number of pets are killed, injured or lost on commercial flights every year. That is why it’s always best to choose the cabin whenever possible, if you decide to fly with your pet, as most airlines will allow you to take a small dog in the cabin for an additional fee.

As long as you take all of the necessary precautions to keep your beloved pet safe on the road, there’s no denying your journey will be stress-free, happy and enjoyable.

Story Sienna Penfold