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Now you don’t need to leave your pet behind each time you travel.
With increasing awareness, growing number of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks, etc. you can plan your travel while taking your pet along!
Of course, it isn’t easy and all that glamorous as it may appear to be on the internet and we certainly don’t mean to give you that impression in any way. It is definitely a lot of work and preparation is the key, but it's so worth it for you and your furry friend.
For those who want to go that extra mile to have their furry best friends with them on their travel adventures, we’ve listed specific measures you can take to make your planning process more structured, less anxiety inducing for you as well as your furry travel companion.
In this article, we have answered a bunch of frequently asked questions around travelling with your pet dog/s. For the purpose of this article, the guide primarily caters to travelling with your pet within India via road (self) or the Indian Railways.
NOTE: Please do check the travel guidelines and rules in your state before planning to travel with your dog.
1). How to search and book pet-friendly hotels?
All major hotel booking platforms have pet-friendly hotels listed on their website. In India, there are a lot of good hotel booking platforms that you can choose to book a dog-friendly hotel stay.
To find dog-friendly hotels on any of the popular hotel booking website, you can filter the search results by selecting the ‘pet-friendly’ option under the ‘facilities’ section.
Once you book a room at a pet-friendly hotel, call the hotel and to confirm the booking and share your pet’s details. You should mention all the details about your pet like - size, weight, breed, age. If your dog requires certain extra care, then you must request the hotel staff about it in advance. Some hotels might charge extra for their services and extra arrangements they make to accommodate your pet, so you must ask the hotel staff in advance if there are any extra charges.
Traveling with Dog? Here are the Top Pet-Friendly Places in India
Bonus tip for pet-friendly hotels:
2). Pet food during travel
Before we get into the details of food during travel, let’s tackle food pre travel. Don’t feed them right before they sit in the car, you can feed them food and water at least an hour or two before the journey starts. This gives them plenty of time to eat, digest and pee/poop before hopping into the car/train.
Now coming to the concern you may have about how and what to feed your pet dog during the travel. You already know their food and water intake should be adequate and at the right time. Your journey can be joyful only if your pet is in a good mood or it can be a miserable experience if you miss planning for your pet in advance.
Here are a few tips we would like to suggest:
While you keep your pet well fed, if possible try and feed the stray dogs around as well. This increases the chances of friendship or at least reduces the territory rivalry aggression between them and your dog, and most importantly it will help them a lot!
3). Plan pit stops
Dogs are animals that like to be consistent with their daily routine. Once a routine is set, you should not disturb or change it. If you are planning to travel with your dog, then you must give high priority to pit stops while designing your travel itinerary. Make all your travel-related decisions in such a way that you give the highest importance to your pet’s comfort. Map out dog friendly outdoor and indoor places to mark the pit stops along with the ETA to match your pet’s usual poop time.
Take breaks in between and help them exercise to release pent-up energy, stress, travel anxiety if any. If you are traveling by car, then you will easily manage the stops for your pet’s pee and poop, but in case of traveling by train, or a public road transport, it becomes tricky to manage pit stop time as per your individual needs. So in that case, you can use pet travel friendly accessories such as, portable poop scooper, stool pickup box, tissues, papers, waste bags, rugs, clothes and also don’t forget to carry room freshener sprays for obvious purposes.
In longer train journeys, look at the train timetable and note the stations the train would be halting for five minutes or more. There are many stops for two minutes, which would be too less for you to step out on the platform with your pet. Ideal would be ten-minute stops. Put multiple alarms on your phone for all these upcoming long halts where you plan to step out with your pet. Also, once out, keep an eye on the signal. It would be red. As soon as it turns yellow, get back into the train.
Pro-Tip: Try befriending the train engine driver and other staff, so they can help you, as needed.
4). Keep safety & security as the first priority
Bonus tips to enhance safety –
5). Dog clothes and accessories during travel
Now let’s talk about how to choose dog travel clothing. When packing for your dog before leaving for a trip you must choose the right clothes that are not only the cutest but also serve the purpose of keeping them warm, dry, and comfortable based on the weather.
Do keep in mind that, almost all the common pet dog breeds have a fur coat on them. Hence they are equipped to handle most of the average Indian weather conditions, except the snowfall in north India and hot deserts in Rajasthan.
It is important to choose only the clothes and accessories that suit well in the weather conditions at the place of travel. Most likely accessories such as fancy personalised name dog collars, dog bandanas, dog bow ties, and belts will do just fine if you are traveling within India. However, you must carry a couple of shirts, wrap-around clothes, blankets, and foldable dog travel mats for them.
Bonus Tips –
6). Train and teach your dog
If you're someone who enjoys travelling regularly and would love to include your dog in your travel escapades as well, then it's best to start familiarising your dog to new situations early on. It's recommended to work with a canine trainer or a behaviourist to help you build a healthy relationship with your pet dog, which helps you understand and communicate with your dog better.
Here are some quick tips for all pet parents but especially those who would like to travel with their pet dog in the future.
Always remember – Your dog notices you all the time for cues on understanding what is safe and what is a threat.
Bonus tip – You can take your dog for a walk or play with them outdoors just before you make him or her sit in the car so that your dog gets tired enough to sleep in the car and not be too excited for the road trip. This applies to travel via any mode of transport
Important Note: Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. You must respect your dog for who they are and build a line of communication over time with the help of experts, who subscribe to humane and gentle practices. Never force your dog into a new situation they don't like or force your lifestyle on them against their will.
7). What’s inside your pet’s bag pack?
You can create a checklist that comes in handy while packing for your pet. This is a general checklist, you can edit and save it for your reference. It would be ideal to purchase a small backpack, which you keep packed always with the basic essentials for your pet.
Checklist for traveling with your dog –
8). Traveling Guide for – Road, Rail, Sea, and Flight
Plan your itinerary in advance to book travel tickets, complete the documentation procedure, get the necessary vaccinations plus medications, and book all stays.
For cats or puppies/dogs of small size, you can use a crate that has been secured to the rear seat of the car using a seat belt. This technique restrains your pet from unnecessary roaming around the car and being a cause of distraction to the driver.
For car journeys longer than three hours, you must take rest stops for walking them outdoors while they take a leak. Also, most importantly! – don’t ever forget them inside the car.
Divya Duggar whose Instagram handles is ‘chaos in a coupe’ stands for the messy but joyous chaos in a train coupe caused by her, her partner, their three rescued dogs and one little kid! Haha. This should be sign enough for you to go check out her travel adventures across India and find some much needed inspiration plus sound advice on how she manages to do this. She also conducts workshops on ‘train travel with your dogs’ frequently.
You may find some more tips in this detailed vlog on Travelling with pet in Indian Railways, How to travel with dog in train.
There are a few dog breeds such as bulldogs and pugs that have a narrow nasal passage. They are prone to have certain problems while traveling such as oxygen deprivation, indigestion, and heatstroke.
If your pet fulfils all the required criteria to travel on a flight, then look for the right pet-friendly airline for travelling. Now there are various rules and norms that you need to follow if you are travelling along with your pet within the country or internationally. As per an article posted by the India Today, Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Vistara allow pets on-board, however, they are not allowed on IndiGo and Air Asia. You can read the entire post here Carrying pets on an aircraft will require valid health and rabies vaccination certificates, followed by approval of the commander of the flight.
Your pet must clear the security check. The procedure for security check depends on the airport rules and airline rules. Most passengers get two options, i.e. your pet can be harnessed while airport authorities are performing the security check or if the pet is inside a pet carrier then you can request them to conduct a special secondary security screening that won't require you to take them outside the pet carrier.
Travelling by air with your pet requires a lot of planning and preparation. The travelling period could also be extremely stressful for your dog and thus it's best to choose this option when there's no scope of choose of the other two, more preferable modes of travel i.e. by road or train such as relocating to a new country.
9). Pet-friendly restaurants/ cafes/ hotels
In India, we still don’t have as many pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and cafés as we should have considering the number of pet dogs.
You must check this article - 10 Pet-Friendly Restaurants in India by NDTV Food. They have mentioned some of the best pet-friendly restaurants and cafés around India.
If you are from Mumbai and looking for pet-friendly restaurants in Mumbai, then you might like to read this blog post from Magicpin – 15 Best Pet-Friendly Cafes in Mumbai.
Tip – If you are traveling by car and looking for a pet-friendly restaurant for your dog then you must try and request the dhaabas located on the highways because they have plenty of open spaces and outdoor seating as well. During our own experience traveling with a pet, we found dhaabas or restaurants that have an outdoor seating area as the most convenient option.
10). Understand the your pet's personality and behaviour while planning your travels
Like us human beings, all dogs also have their own personalities, nature, and behaviour characteristics. As a pet parent, you need to observe and understand what is your pet’s personality in different situations by analysing their past behaviour in different scenarios.
Once you understand your dog’s behaviour, you can plan your trip along with them that suits them well. These are some ways to observe the behaviour of your pet -
We know that your life definitely revolves around your pet and you might enjoy having your pet’s company everywhere but it is definitely not as easy as it sounds/appears so you have to be a responsible pet parent taking conscious decisions.
Please bookmark and share this article if you found it useful. It can help others like you who are pet parents wanting to travel responsibly with their pet, people relocating to a new location with their pets, those who don’t want to keep pets at shelter home for long travels, or those who are not able to find a good shelter home.
Thank you for reading the article. You reaching the end tells us how interested you are in doing your best for your pet and we really appreciate it. Our pets enter our worlds and really redefine what it means to love unconditionally and be loved. Going an extra mile for them feels worth it. We wish you all the best for your future travels with your pet, if you choose to do so. Do share your experience with us. And first time travellers, we hope we were able to provide answers to all the questions you have. If you still have some questions unanswered, please drop a comment and we’ll be sure to respond with the right information.
Signing off with this article listing seven Indian pet parents setting travel goals online for your further research.