Dogs make a perfect travel companion. However, it is not always easy and smooth as most reality shows depict. Traveling with dog safety in mind requires a lot of effort and preparations, especially when doing so via plane. Unless you have a private jet, you must first comply with lots of rules regarding traveling with pets.

You also need to be extra vigilant as there are many risks involved when traveling with a pet. In some cases, pets get injured or even die during flights. Statistics indicate that at least 85 pet deaths have been recorded on flights between 2015 and early 2018. Pretty alarming, right?

Whether it is by air or on land, you should be mindful of these 5 things you shouldn’t do to keep your furry friend safe.

1. Don’t Put Your Pet in the Luggage or Cargo Area During Summer and Winter.

While putting your dog in this section helps give you the ultimate convenience and freedom when traveling, this should not always be an option. Extreme weather conditions during summer and winter can have a negative impact on your dog’s health.

The temperature in the cargo area is rarely controlled. This means that your dog will be subjected to the scorching heat during summer and cold during winter, both conditions can affect the well-being of your lovely canine.

The safest option is to sit with your pup in the cabin. Do comprehensive research on different airlines and choose the ones that allow pets in that area. Alternatively, select flights that are not subject to extreme temperatures, for instance, you should make arrangements to travel early mornings and evenings during summer and afternoons during winter. The temperatures may not be extreme during such hours regardless of the season.

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2. Don’t Tranquilize Your Pet.

This is a temptation that most people find hard to resist when traveling with their pets. While you can use mild sedatives to calm down your pet, tranquilizers should be avoided, especially when traveling by air. Tranquilizing your dog during flights has numerous adverse effects.

The drug will affect the normal functioning of your dog’s brain. Hence, other body functions such as heart rate, temperature and respiration will also be affected. When combined with the unfavorable conditions in the plane, your dog’s health condition will be in jeopardy.

The safest option is to use herbal stress relievers instead of sedatives. You should also seek advice from a qualified vet before using any painkiller.

3. Don’t Feed the Dog Right Before Traveling.

Pets, especially dogs, get sick during air travel. And the worse part is that you cannot predict which part of its body can be affected by the flight. For this reason, you should be traveling with dog safety in mind. It pays to be ready for anything, right?

Make sure not to feed your dog right before traveling. This is because it may end up having an upset stomach during the flight. If this happens and you’ve opted to keep your pooch in the cabin, then you would surely regret making this decision.

Your dog will vomit and might even have severe diarrhea. It will start burping and show signs of being thirsty. In short, your otherwise smooth flight will turn into a nightmare. This is way far on what an ideal flight experience should be.

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The safest option is to feed your dog at least four hours before the flight. This will give it enough time to digest the food, and prevent any food-related complications.

Additionally, do not introduce your dog to a new food variety before traveling as this may still cause an upset stomach. And most importantly, ensure that your dog has easy access to clean drinking water during the flight.

4. Don’t Leave Your Canine in the Car.

Although it sounds obvious, it is one of the rules that most people break when traveling with their pets. You should never leave your dog inside the car no matter what. Temperatures in the car can shoot up with high margins, and this will be a disaster waiting to happen.

Do not be fooled by a cracked window because a dog’s breathing system is not sophisticated. More often than not, a wisp of air that may get into the vehicle may not be enough to keep the car interior cool in case of a drastic temperature rise. The car will turn into a furnace.

Similarly, the car can turn into a portable refrigerator during winter. If your pooch happens to be inside, then chances are it will freeze to death. If you’ve decided to bring your pet dog along when running errands, then the safest option is to tag it all the way instead of leaving the poor thing in the car.

5. Don’t Let Your Dog Put its Head Out of the Window

When visiting new places, it is always exciting to see new landmarks, and other beautiful sights and the same applies to your dog. It will yearn to explore the new streets and look forward to many things as much as you do. It will stick its head out of the window while in a car or even a train. No matter how cute it looks, this is not advisable.

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Your dog will be exposed to a lot of risks by doing so. If you are traversing a narrow road, then the dog is at high risk of being hit by other vehicles. Furthermore, if a situation arises wherein you need to step on an emergency brake, then the sudden stop might throw the dog outside the vehicle.

Another risk is that your pet might be tempted to jump off when it sees something exciting outside the vehicle. Yes, pets can be this unpredictable that is why traveling with dog safety precautions should be always observed. The safest option is to keep the windows locked or leave a minimal space that only allows some air.

Make Dog Safety a Priority

These are just some of the worst-case scenarios. Whether you have heard of more tragic stories or not, traveling with dog safety measures is a must and should be a top priority. If you love your pet and are willing to take extra precautions to keep it safe, then the five don’ts are a good start.