What Frequent Travelers Should Ask Themselves Before Getting A Dog – Part 2

This is the second part of a series about what frequent travelers should ask themselves before getting a dog. To get the complete checklist read what frequent travelers should ask themselves before getting a dog part 1.

Once you’ve gotten past the first three major questions about whether or not you should get a dog (which you’ll need to ask whether you’re a traveler or not) it’s time to get to the travel-specifics. You may be ready to be a dog owner but are you ready to be a frequently-traveling dog owner?

Ask yourself the following three questions to find out.

4. Are You Ready To Be Restricted?

Traveling with any pet, even with the most travel-friendly one (dogs), restricts your schedule, where you can stay, and how you can travel at times. You will face and have to deal with the added work of finding a pet friendly place to stay, a suitable airline (try Pet Airways), and dealing with the dog stereotypes you’ll face. For every well-trained dog there are ten others who are giving your pup a bad name. Most of these restrictions are easy to adapt to if you’re will to accept them.

5. How Old Will Your New Dog Be?

As I mentioned, if you’re planning on getting a puppy you’ll need to stay in one place and establish a good routine for them for at least 1-3 months. The younger your dog is the easier he or she will be to train and you can get your puppy used to traveling in their adult lives. (If you’re training a dog for the first time I highly recommend Cesar Millan’s two books Cesar’s Way and Be The Pack Leader.) The first year of any dog’s life is critical to shaping their behavior. Get a puppy and not training him will make traveling with them difficult if not impossible.

dog sleeping in a backpack pug on phone

Also, you can consider getting an older dog who is already trained. Shelters are full of older dogs who need homes and would love to follow you all over the world. Older dogs are often calmer as well making them it easier to prepare your dog for a road trip.

6. What Size Or Breed?

Smaller dogs under 25 pounds can usually accompany you in airplane cabins, are easier to wear out on shorter walks, and eat less food (which will help your travel budget). If you’re thinking about pugs, bulldogs, or other dogs with breathing issues you’ll need to beware of airline breed restrictions.

Also, large breeds like pit bulls, St. Bernard’s, and dobermans may be restricted at your destination (some states in the US and a handful of European countries). You don’t want to end up with your dog being quarantined or confiscated so make sure you do your research thoroughly and look for breed-specific information.

Can You Wait?

Finally, getting a dog is something that nobody should rush and travelers have even more to consider. The answer to this last question, “can you wait”, is always yes. You don’t have to get a dog now or ever. Having a dog can be an extremely rewarding and dogs are natural travelers but if your answers to these questions make you realize that now is not the time, wait until it is.

[photos by: heather]

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