Travelling with a dog? Read this blog

9 May, 2020

Travelling with a dog? Read this blog

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Homeowners with pets always tell us that they would much rather take their pets with them on holiday. Travelling with a dog can be easy, they are often quite portable in a car, and sometimes public transport. Other pets can be more difficult to transport and keep with you in a new environment. While most airlines will take your pet with you, take a moment.

Think carefully about your plans. Here are some tips to consider before you book that trip…

4 Things to keep in mind when flying or travelling with a dog

Travelling with a dog is something that many individuals have at least considered doing. People love their canine friends, and you might not want to board yours if you’re going to be gone for more than a couple of days.

If you’re thinking about doing it, though, remember that in 2017, 24 animals died, while 15 more were injured as they were engaged in air travel. This should not necessarily dissuade you from going this route, but you should use a great deal of caution as you decide whether it’s something you want to pursue.

travelling with a dog
Think and plan carefully when travelling with a dog

With that in mind, here are some areas on which you should focus if you want to bring your dog on a flight with you.

Tips to note when travelling with a dog

There are more pet deaths on some airlines more than others

United has a poor reputation if you want to bring your dog with you on a flight, or some other kind of animal, for that matter.

The reason seems to be that in many cases, dogs in crates, as well as rabbits, cats, etc., are stowed in overhead cabin compartments. This is a situation that is very conducive to the animal suffocating since there is a limited amount of air in such a small, enclosed space.

United has expressed that they will train their flight attendants better following some of these highly-publicized incidents. Still, if you plan on taking your dog along on a flight, you should probably think twice if you’re flying with them.

 Some airline companies will not accept all breeds

It’s also true that some airline companies will not allow you to take any kind of dog you like with you on a flight. You really need to prepare before travelling with a dog. Do your research before attempting the journey.

Preparation for travelling with a dog may require a visit to the vets to decide if it is possible with your particular breed of pooch. Some dogs are called brachycephalic. 

Pekingese dogs are brachvcephalic

This means  that they are a snub-nosed or short-nosed breed. Before travelling with a dog think carefully about your own pet, travelling with a dog can be a challenging experience if they become short of breath with restricted nasal passages.  Some dogs who are in this category include:

  • Pekingese
  • Mastiffs
  • Boxers
  • Pugs
  • Boston Terriers
Travelling with a dog
Boston Terriers are brachvcephalic. Travelling with a dog like this is much more of a challenge.

These dogs have more compact airways. In short, they don’t tend to breathe very easily. Because of respiratory issues, they don’t do as well on planes, where the oxygen supply is limited. This make travelling with a dog more difficult and quite risky.

Some airlines will leave it up to you, the passenger, as to whether you want to take the risk. At the very least, it is something to consider very carefully.

 Your dog might become agitated on the flight

Just like people, dogs can have all kinds of temperaments. There are ones that are quite docile, while some are high-strung. Sometimes this can be explained by the breed, although there are always outliers.

You’re the one who knows your dog best, and you know how well they are trained. You probably have a sense of how your dog is going to react in an unfamiliar environment.  Remember an airplane will add air pressure issues and you may be separated so do think about that too.

Prepare for travelling with a dog

Some dogs are more portable than others

You’ll also likely be able to guess how well your canine companion will respond in a place like the cargo hold. They will be alone, you will not be at their side to reassure them everything is fine.

If you know that your dog is not likely to react well to the stress of being on a plane for a few hours, then make other arrangements. We always recommend you find housesitters through a reputable platform.

You might want them to come along, but if it is going to be that stressful on them, not to mention the baggage handlers, then it’s probably best to board them or get a dog sitter.

Airlines do let some dogs accompany you to your seat

Some airlines will allow you to bring a small dog with you in a carry-on bag, provided that the dog behaves well and does not get agitated during the flight.

Some dogs get nervous and their size makes travelling difficult

Again, whether this is a viable option for you is going to depend largely on your dog’s temperament. Obviously, you can’t bring a 170-pound Great Dane with you if you’re flying coach. However, if you have a Dachshund that you know won’t get overexcited during a flight, then it is not inconceivable that this could be a way of handling the situation.

Pet sitters

Of course you might well be better off finding a pet sitter to come to your house. Perhaps look for a live in dog sitter.

A dog sitter that comes to your house

A dog sitter that come to your house will care for your dog and other pets in their own home. Some might be professional others could offer a free service as house and petsitters.  You would make an arrangement for them to come and dog sit for you.

What is a dog sit?

A dog sit is when a dogsitter comes to your home to care for your pets as a temporary arrangement. Some are free dogsitters others are professional pet sitters. Either way their role is to care for your pet, in their own home.

travelling with a dog
How portable is your dog – the size may help you decide if travelling with a dog is viable

Free housesitters

This could be part of a housesitting assignment with the free housesitters or in a professional arrangement with a pet sitter.

Professional pet sitters

If you are paying for pet sitters remember to check out the going rate for a pet sitter in your location. Also check that they have full insurance and pet first aid training and client reviews for you to check.

A live in dog sitter gives peace of mind

travelling with a dog
If you have multiple dogs it really becomes more affordable to leave them at home with a dogsitter

Knowing you have chosen your dogsitter and that they are staying with your pet dogs can help you relax. It can help if you know what to look for in an ideal petsitter. Some of the main characteristics of great live in petsitters include:

  • Flexible
  • Calm
  • Trustworthy
  • Experienced
  • Reliable
  • Loves animals, especially dogs!

A final thought on dog’s and travel

Everyone cares about their dogs, and you want what is best for yours. If you think that your canine friend can handle airplane travel, then the first thing to do is to check on the policy for the airlines that you’re going to be taking. Next, consult with your vet and see if they might want to prescribe a tranquilizer to keep the animal calm.

As long as you approach the situation sensibly, there is no reason that you can’t travel with your dog.

Further reading about pet dogs, petsitting and their care

At we always try to share useful and informative blogs and practical advice with our members whether you are travelling with a dog or leaving your pets with a housesitter. Read on to find some helpful articles with useful tips for dog owners and dogsitters about dogsitting.

Top dogsitting tips for beginners

Dogsitters’ tips – Dog’s body language and how to read it

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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