Friday, July 1, 2016

5 Tips For Keeping Your Small Dog Safe While Traveling

Hey, everyone!

July is Lost Pet Prevention Month, and just in time, too! With the 4th of July just days away here in the US, pets are in serious danger of becoming loss due to fear of fireworks, someone being careless with a door at a party, or escaping during travel. I've thankfully never lost a pet *knocks on wood with fervor*, and I plan to keep it that way!

This is also the prime time for me to share how I keep Nola safe while we travel - as you all know, we just got back from BlogPaws 2016, and experienced flying for the first time (as well as a cab and a shuttle), as well as keeping safe and secure in a very busy and hectic environment. In light of that, I'm going to share how I prevent the tragedy of my dog getting lost while traveling! These are my top 5 tips for keeping safe while traveling, and while they're small dog specific, you can apply most of them across the board.

5. Know Thy Dog

Before you even consider taking a trip with your dog, honestly access their personality and whether or not they're a good candidate for travel. If your dog is highly anxious or quite reactive, fearful or shuts down in new environments, ect, it may be best to leave them home. You don't want to add more risk to the situation with a dog that's liable to become fearful and bolt in an unfamiliar setting.

Nola is a great candidate for travel. Pike (5 months here), on the other hand, is not. On top of being horrifically carsick on even the shortest rides, he tends to become fearful at random intervals, and will bolt if startles. And he is the fastest dog I've ever seen. 

4. Don't Rely Totally On One Method of Control

What I mean by this is always having both physical and verbal control over your dog.Take the time to really train your dog to respond to and be focused on you in all settings, but don't rely solely on verbal control while traveling. Securely leash your dog unless the setting is safe, appropriate, and meshes with the dog's personality and training level. 

In this setting in Phoenix one evening, Nola was 100% under verbal control. However, I wasn't taking that leash off!

3. Up to Date and Multiple Forms of ID

This should be a no-brainer, but make sure your dog's ID tag is up to date with your current phone number. I personally don't have my address on Nola's tags, but I'm adamant that all are updated to my current phone number. 
I have an ID tag on her collar, on her harness, and one on her leash. #OverAchiever 
She has a lot of ID tags (like...13), and they generally say the following:
Her name
My number
Reward and/or microchipped

Snarky on the front, and all business on the back.

Which brings me to my next point: microchip your pet! If she's already chipped, verify that the info is current and applicable. 

2. When In Doubt, Pick Them Up

BlogPaws was a massive event, and was sometimes crazy and a bit chaotic. There were throngs of people and animals, and it would be easy for a small dog to get stepped on or tangled, panic, and slip their collar or harness if it wasn't fitted absolutely perfectly (and some dogs, like Nola, can slip most anything, even if it is sized correctly!).
 If you're in a situation like that, or any other overwhelming event for a smaller pup, pick them up, pop them in a sling or carrier, or use a stroller. You may get some funny looks, especially from non-dog people, but it's worth it to keep your dog safe and secure!

Tucked safely into her sling
Safe in her stroller

1. Consider All Scenarios, But Have Fun!

It's vital to think outside the box when it comes to traveling with a dog, making sure you're covering all bases of potential catastrophe and planning accordingly, but don't let it rule your time on the road (or in the air, or on the water). Be prepared, be safe, but have fun!

What about you? How do you keep your pet from getting lost while traveling?

- Dachshund Mommy


  1. Good tips. My dogs are well trained to voice control, but when we are traveling, they are leashed as well. I wouldn't even think about letting them walk around off leash at rest areas like I see other people doing. I do still need to get Ptera microchipped- maybe I should do that this morning at the drop in vet...

  2. Great tips Nola since you are a big traveler now
    Lily & Edward

  3. Great tips!! I'm a big believer in both physical and verbal control.

  4. good idea with the multiple tags! bailey has multiple harnesses and lots of tags. i will be adding a tag to each harness.
    wags, bailey unleashed

  5. Those are excellent tips. I really like the one about keeping the leash on. We do that whenever we are airing our dogs in strange places. I am always surprised by the dogs I see of lead and they are all excited and not minding. We also have all of our dogs chipped.

  6. You're right, 2 forms of control!

    I used to feel kind of jealous when I'd see people with unleashed dogs in public places - why wasn't my dog that well trained?
    But then I started noticing that a lot of the time, these dogs are not completely under their owner's control, especially as they dash up to greet my leashed dog. I realized that people who always have their dog off-leash aren't necessarily the best at controlling their dog, usually they're overconfident, and know their dog will come back eventually.. but eventually is not good enough when you're somewhere new and unfamiliar.

    I love long lines now, or multiple leashes clipped together, it's safe and fun, with the only risk of clotheslining people nearby. :P

  7. Those are FABulous! Ma wishes I was small enough to put in a sling...then again, she HAS been working out! BOL!!
    Ruby ♥

  8. Good advice! I lost Bentley at a dog show once because I was carrying other things in my hand and the lead slipped out of my hand unnoticed. When I did realize that the tension in my hand felt different I looked down and he was gone! I bolted through a crowd of dogs and people like crazy to go recruit helpers to search for him. Joke was on me because he had gone back to his crate and was already secured by one of the intended helpers! I learned to hold on tight and pay attention!


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