Dog lovers like to take their four-legged best friends everywhere with them. As long as it's just ventures within the city, it's self-explanatory that our four-legged family members go everywhere with us. But what's the situation when it comes to holidays? What are the possibilities for animal lovers when moving a long distance? Is there the opportunity to take a dog on a plane? Or is it better for dog owners to tackle long journeys by car?
Travelling with your Dog – Car vs. Airplane
© Javier brosch / stock.adobe.com
The legal side
In the car and off you go – of course, things aren't so straightforward if you're travelling by plane. A plane journey with a dog needs to be well prepared. Regulations depend on the airline and destination country. In principle, animals have to be registered during the booking and payment of a fee will be required in most cases. Some airlines don't allow any animals in the cabin whatsoever, whilst others carry them in the luggage compartment from a certain weight upwards. For larger dog breeds in particular, travelling in the luggage compartment is obviously rather uncomfortable and often unsettling too...
Travelling by car is evidently less complicated in this respect. Nevertheless, if you're travelling abroad, you also need to consider the entry requirements of the destination country. You can find relevant information on the homepage of the country's embassy. Depending on the entry requirements, your dog may need a health certificate or certain vaccinations. An EU pet passport is also essential. Please don't forget to carry all documents during your journey and have them at hand until you reach your destination!
Planes are the safest means of passenger transport. If you transport your dog in the luggage compartment though, you can't keep an eye on it, meaning that you can't spot potential problems and react quickly. This makes travelling by plane slightly unsafe for four-legged passengers!
Incidentally, sedatives and medication are discouraged for travelling by plane. Many airlines even explicitly ban them. Medication has a more powerful effect in the air and it's impossible to foresee the impact. As a result, many airlines have decided to no longer transport sedated animals – either in the transport area or in the cabin.
If you're travelling in your own car, your pet will always be within reaching distance. You can react to panic attacks or nausea and reassure your pet the whole time. Contact with humans alone makes many dogs more relaxed! In this sense, travelling by car is much safer. For this too though you should look out for a boot grille permitted for cars, dog belts or a stable transport basket. High-quality car accessories make travelling more comfortable and can save your dog's life in case of accidents!
Pulling up when you wish to and going for walks as your dog's bladder dictates: car journeys are much more pleasant for dog and owner. You can both stretch your legs throughout the journey and aren't confined to a plane for hours on end. Whilst your dog can't eat during a flight and is probably also not keen to drink, this is no problem in your own car.
Travelling by car is therefore much more pleasant for your dog than flying. There are of course exceptions to the rule and some dogs love to fly, but they are probably in the minority.
Costs are another argument in favour of car travel. If you're travelling by car, you will have already factored in the costs of petrol, oil and wear and tear. It generally doesn't make a great difference whether your dog is in the car or not. On the other hand, travelling by plane can get expensive! Fees vary depending on the size and weight of your dog and the particular airline. This can soon become expensive, especially if there is more than one dog in your family! If you're watching your budget, you're best advised to travel in your own car.
Dogs frequently travel in the boot of a car throughout their lifetime. As a result, it's relatively easy to prepare them for longer car journeys. It's a different story if you're aiming to take a long flight. You can get your dog used to the transport box, but not the situation of actually being on a plane. Hence, the flight and associated controls are often a shock for dogs...
Even though there are many factors in favour of travelling by car, distance is one important reason for flying with dogs. You can perhaps travel to Spain or Italy by car and even cross half of Europe, but if you're heading to America or Africa, you have to get on a plane.
Nevertheless, travelling by plane is rather uncomfortable and very stressful for your dog. If you're going on holiday, a good boarding kennel is preferable to a flight. However, there's often no alternative if you're actually planning a trip of several months or even moving abroad: your dog has to come with you. In this case, prepare your dog well for the long journey by getting it accustomed to the transport box and attempting calming products in case of doubt. Supplement foods with the amino acid tryptophan should also encourage the production of the wellbeing hormone seratin, thereby making your dog more relaxed.
Regardless of what you choose, we wish you and your dog a wonderful journey!