The Digital Nomad Guide to Traveling Safely With a Dog

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If you are a digital nomad with a dog, you must be taking extra care to ensure that you and your furry friend find comfort on your trip.

Safely traveling with your four-legged companion can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. As a matter of fact, you can have a great time traveling with your dog — you need to ensure that you get the basics right.

This post will help you understand the essentials of traveling worldwide as a digital nomad with a dog.

Key Takeaways

  • Prioritize comfort and safety for your furry companion.
  • Pack favorite items, update ID tags, and consider medication for nervous travelers.
  • Seek pet-friendly places and allow time for adjustment.
  • Plan for these necessities during travel.
  • Health certificates, suitable carriers, and awareness of breed restrictions are crucial.
  • Ensure health records, vaccinations, vet consultation, and airline compliance.
  • Avoid stressful activities, prioritize vet consultation, and prevent leaving dogs alone in hotel rooms.

Basics to traveling with dogs as a digital nomad

Remote jobs have made traveling with dogs easy for pet owners since you can work from almost anywhere in the world. For a digital nomad traveling with their dog, one great thing is that they won’t have to worry about where they should have their floofs fostered.

However, there are still some basic facts that cannot be overlooked if you are traveling with your dog. So before you hit the road, here’s what you should know to ensure a safe, fun, and fruitful trip for both you and your dog;

Pack their favorite things

Traveling to new places is always an exhilarating experience, not only for pet owners but also for dogs.

Photo by Jesper Brouwers / Unsplash

This can also turn out to be a little stressful at times, and it’s imperative that the dog feels safe and comfortable. Familiar things from home, like the dog’s favorite toy, can help soothe their nerves, so remember to throw this in the suitcase when you pack your bags.

Update ID tags and microchips

Being separated from your dog is a pet owner’s worst nightmare. In relatively new and unfamiliar environments, it’s easy for the dog to get lost.

Regardless of taking every precaution to ensure this doesn’t happen, it wouldn’t hurt to update the information on their ID tags and the information in the microchip company.

Consider their medication

Is your puppy or adult dog a nervous traveler? If so, talk to your veterinarian about safe medications to calm their nerves while you’re en route. The last thing you want is your dog freaking out in the middle of the flight/open road.

Find pet-friendly accommodations

Most hotels do not extend their hospitality to dogs or pets in general. However, this has changed over time, and many accommodation establishments have dog-friendly policies.

Before booking your stay, ensure that your dog is welcome. If you are a digital nomad traveling with a dog, try not to move too quickly between destinations. Give your dog some time to feel comfortable around. Not all dogs can be so adaptable.

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Prepare their potty breaks and exercise time

Traveling with your dog is much like traveling with your kid. They both need to relieve themselves and exercise enough to get a good stretch.

If you are on the open road, look for a dog-friendly rest stop along the route. If you are flying, you are looking for where your dog can tinkle at both the arrival and departure airports.

Have a leash handy

Arriving at a new destination is pretty fun and awesome. Still, it is easy for the dog to wander off during excitement — just sniffing things around and following new trails.

Photo by Dominik Kempf / Unsplash

Having your dog stay on a leash is essential, even if you trust them to roam without one. When outdoors, not everybody around you would be comfortable at having an untrained dog come at them — some people start feeling quite anxious at the sight of a dog approaching them.

Things to know before traveling with your dog

The travel industry has had to evolve to people constantly traveling with their furry companions — it’s no different for digital nomads who want to include their loved dogs and pets in this experience.

The journey becomes even better for travelers if they keep a few crucial things in mind.

How is your dog’s health status?

This goes without saying—plan to visit your veterinarian and ensure that your dog is in perfect health for traveling. If you had scheduled a check-up previously, make sure to get it done before hitting the road.

Get a health certificate in place

If you travel by plane, a health certificate should be presented at the airline before travel. This as well includes rabies and vaccination certificates.

Get a suitable carrier

A comfortable carrier is essential. If you travel by air, each airport has its requirements for the type of courier your pet should travel in.

Moving Day
Photo by Erda Estremera / Unsplash

However, some airlines accept dogs (big or small) to travel comfortably while in a cozy carrier in the cabin, while others do not. Be sure to understand the policies that regard your pet’s crate size, fabric, and weight before traveling.

Make sure your dog’s breed is not restricted

This has become a norm in various airlines worldwide, where restrictions are placed on dog breeds such as bulldogs and several other breeds. To avoid being restricted from traveling with your best friend, check with the airline beforehand.

If you are traveling long distances on a train, make sure the train officials are aware that a dog is traveling with you. In this case, you’d have to take care of certain requirements which you will have to know by inquiring at the railway station and speaking to the authorities.

Steps to follow while traveling with your dog as a digital nomad

Traveling as a digital nomad means that you are responsible for your safety. And if you have a dog with you, it’s your added responsibility to ensure that they are safe.

Stressing over it is not a good option, as there are some basic steps that you should be aware of before hitting the road with your loved dog;

Step 1: Get the basics right

Start from scratch. Go through the points below to see if you are ready for the journey with your dog.

Present copies of your dog’s health records

If you plan to travel overseas, you must prove that your dog is well enough to travel. Such documents are crucial because they prove your dog is vaccinated, in perfect health, and can handle the trip.

You may carry the original document since the officials will make a copy to keep. Also, when visiting a new veterinarian, producing previous medical records of your companion becomes much easier and gives the doc a good idea of where to begin the diagnosis.

Ensuring security

A crate or carrier is a great way to keep your dog safe in the car and is necessary and mandatory when traveling by plane, train, or ship.

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These items are available at most pet stores. They should be not only large enough to allow the dog to stand up, turn around and lie down but also strong, with handles and grips, free from internal protrusions.

Travel documents and permissions

Since the health certificates act as a pass for the dog, other documents such as passports, flight tickets, and travel itineraries are essential for the digital nomad with dogs to have at hand. It would be best if you double-checked to confirm you have them.

Make it comfortable

As a digital nomad, try to ensure that your furry friend is as comfortable as possible when traveling and adapts to your lifestyle.

Make sure that they are well-trained and securely attached to you. You do not want them to wander away and should be able to call them as per your need.

Encourage traveling by treating them with their favorite snacks. Keep them entertained with their favorite toys, and use a soft and absorbent fabric on the carrier.

Step 2: Get vaccines in place

If you realize that your dogs need more shots before traveling, them make this point a priority, and do it well before you decide to travel.

Vaccinations are essential for your dog’s health, especially when you want to travel together. However, it can be a bit complex to wrap your head around which ones they need, when they need, and how they are administered.

Whenever you receive the vaccination card reminders from your veterinarian’s office, you’ll see a list of vaccines for which your dog is due. To help you decode them, the vet typically gives you a breakdown of all the vaccines needed and the dates to be administered.

Being in the loop and clearly understanding your pet’s vaccination and health needs is vital when it comes to you as the nomad. So why not take the time to form a solid foundation and develop a clear understanding of your pet’s vaccinations and their dates with your trusted vet?

Step 3: Talk to your vet

You know the phrase, “doctor knows best?” This applies to dogs, but as the digital nomad, you must know how to communicate effectively with your vet.

When it is time to examine your furry friend, ask if you can help since you know your dog best. Some dogs may feel agitated or nervous when being checked out by the vet, but their owners participating in the exercise helps reassure them.

Consistent visits to the vet are also important. This keeps the dog’s medical record up to date, allows the dog to get used to the experience, and gives the vet a chance to know your dog better.

Step 4: Check airline requirements

It’s no mistake that we found ourselves here.

As mentioned earlier in the post, you need to double-check, if not triple-check, the requirements of your local airline before you travel. This includes their policies regarding traveling with pets since they tend to change from time to time and across different airlines.

Aside from the airline requirements mentioned earlier in the post, here’s a list of some other things you ought to bear in mind;

Charges/Fees

When flying, there are some “add-on” fees you need to be aware of before traveling. At the airline, you may only pay your pet’s travel fee using a credit card or a voucher (if you have one) since cash payments aren’t acceptable.

Also, remember fees may vary from other airlines, so to avoid recurring charges on your pet’s travel fee, look for partner airports usually indicated on the travel ticket.

Temperature restrictions

Most airlines have temperature checks to ensure that pets and pets traveling with cargo aren’t exposed to extreme heat or cold.

Designated checkpoints are set up around various parts of the airline, such as the animal holding area when moving animals between the terminal and the plane.

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The don’ts when traveling with your dog

Now that we mostly covered all the right things to do when traveling with your dog, there are a few things you shouldn’t do as well;

Don’t travel without talking to your vet

Traveling with a sick friend is the last thing you want. Avoid stress or health issues by speaking with your vet before traveling.

Don’t engage in stressful activities

Instead of going on a city tour with many people, why not go to a state park and connect better with your dog?

Photo by Anna Dudkova / Unsplash

Getting to know your dog better and having them understand your life as a digital nomad will help form that bond that will ease traveling in the future.

Don’t forget about potty breaks

Try to avoid any unwanted surprises when traveling. Ensure your companion gets to relieve themselves as often as possible and get plenty of exercises.

Don’t leave your dog alone in hotel rooms

Most hotels do not like guests to leave their dogs alone while they go outside. Ensure you check your hotel’s policy before leaving your dog alone, even for a short time.

Luxury hotels might even have a dogsitting service for you while you are away.

What to do when you reach your destination

You’ve now arrived. It’s time to have some fun.

A travel itinerary, like having a pet-friendly accommodation center, is essential at this stage. It will help if you fit pet-friendly attraction sites in your itinerary to avoid any temptations of trying to sneak them in case they don’t extend their hospitality to pets. Remember, not you alone who is having a good time, but your dog.

The breeze
Photo by Ignacio Amenábar / Unsplash

Remember not to go to an attraction site at the same time when tourists visit. This influx of people could cause discomfort to your pet since they aren’t used to being around many people. Plan to visit them at low peak hours to have a better chance to commune with your dog as you enjoy the destination.

What experts say about traveling with a dog

Here is what a vet had to say to people about traveling with their dog:

Chat with your vet about any concerns you may have for Fluffy or Fido well in advance of your trip. I would say 6-8 weeks before you’re scheduled to depart if you can. This will allow time to update any necessary vaccinations, try out any medications prior to travel day and sort out any preexisting health concerns. Plus, if your destination requires travel paperwork, it may need to be on a very strict timeline.

DR. JEREMY KIMMELSTIEL TO USA TODAY

What We Think

Traveling as a digital nomad with a dog requires meticulous planning and attention to detail. Prioritizing the pet’s comfort, safety, and necessary documentation is paramount.

Adequate preparations, from health check-ups to airline compliance, ensure a smoother journey.

Emphasizing cautionary measures against stress and being mindful of pet-friendly accommodations are key to a successful and enjoyable travel experience for both the nomad and their canine companion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most asked questions about traveling with a dog and their answers.

Is it safe to travel as a digital nomad with a dog?

While it can initially seem challenging to travel with a dog, you can get used to the lifestyle and find comfort in the process. You need to ensure that you prioritize safety throughout the trip.

Is it safe to fly with a dog in a cargo?

Traveling in cargo can be stressful for your dog, but it should be okay if it is not such a long journey. Ensure your dog is ready for the trip by talking to your vet.

Is traveling with a dog as a digital nomad expensive?

Most airlines have clear instructions on how much it would cost. So it is best to consult your airline before the trip.

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