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The following Guest Post comes to you from Spencer, a Yorkshire Terrier and self-proclaimed “Ambassador of Small Dog Travel.” Spencer has traveled the world with his dog parent and companion, Susan Gilbert, and has all the tips and tricks you’ll need when traveling with a small dog. Please visit Spencer’s blog at MySmallDog.com and LIKE him on Facebook by clicking here. Spencer not only shares his wealth of doggy travel knowledge, but discusses lots of other small dog topics, too!
Woof! That’s hello in dog talk. My name is Spencer, and yes I am a small dog, a Yorkie to be exact. Welcome to my exciting journey into – well, the world! It’s absolutely paw-fect as I share my secrets to traveling with your little fur baby, eh – I mean small dog.
When I say the world, I mean the whole world. I may be the most well traveled (and most adorable, or so I’ve been told) dog in the history of great canine adventurers! My Mom was wise enough to realize that though I may be small, my spirit of adventure is ENORMOUS! She loves to travel with me going everywhere in a very stylish, first class accommodation – my pet carrier.
Traveling with my Mom has been an exciting adventure, full of new experiences and fun. We are now closer than ever and get to share the beauty of a new arboretum or an unexplored lakeshore.
Today I am considered the “Ambassador of Small Dog Travel,” or All Dogs Big in Spirit, but Small in Stature. Now that I have this title my mom gave me the opportunity to spread the word through our book, Traveling with Your Pet – from Around the Corner to Around the World, which is for all small dogs with big spirits and for their moms and dads.
So here are my ten small dog travel secrets based on my experiences of traveling with my mom around the world. Are you ready? I am! Let’s go!
1. Be a good dog.
Hey, you can cut loose all you want in the park, or in your own back yard. Personally I just love to dig dirt with my front paws. But if you want to go human places with your mom or dad, you need to learn when you can bark and when you can’t. But you can still be playful, just lay low. You’ll have time for play later after your trip!
2. A small bag is your new home.
Did you know that if you learn to be comfortable in a small travel bag that you’ll get to travel to faraway places on an airplane? Or how about getting to go to more places in your home town? I get to go with Mom when she does her grocery shopping, eats out at restaurants, and I even have been able to go to a black tie event!
(Yes, I wore a tuxedo.)
I am so excited when I see Mom bring out the small bag. The soft lining is so soft and snuggly. When it’s zipped up I know it won’t be long until I’m able to pop my head out and check out the world! I call it my travel trailer or my home away from home.
3. Don’t eat a big meal before a long flight.
If you travel on an empty stomach guess what? It will be a lot easier to not have to go potty until you get to your destination. Yeah, Mom makes sure to give me only small amounts of water, and then she takes me to a tree or grassy area near the airport just before we go in. My favorite part is that she always has treats as soon as we arrive and so I get a big reward for waiting for my meal.
Here’s how this works: No water within two hours of flight time, and no food within six hours of departure. I’ve never had airsickness and don’t have to take sedatives with this plan. Some airports even have a dog area, like the one at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, AZ, called the “Bone Yard” – a great place to walk and feel some kidney relief!
4. Keep a low profile. Pretend you’re a secret agent!
It is so surprising to me that not all passengers like pets. Mom is so smart. She keeps me zipped up tight in my small bag. Because I’m so good she opens the zipper in the waiting area, and I get to sit in her lap. She’s super careful with people sitting next to us, and asks them it it’s okay beforehand. Most of the time I attract a lot of attention with pats on the head and ear scratches (my favorite) from wee humans to big people. Cool!
5. Bundle up!
It can get cold on the floor of an airplane, and so my Mom always brings a special red sweatshirt that she keeps in my small bag so it’s always there. I get to wear my sweatshirt before we board (so I don’t get too hot inside the airport), and then takes it off right after we land. I stay nice and warm and comfortable and can get some much needed zzzzz’s.
6. Go for a long walk.
Right before a trip my Mom takes me for a l-o-n-g walk, or a short walk if we are short on time. If that’s the case I just run for a few laps in the yard and stretch my legs so that I am ready for nap on the plane.
7. Have something of your Mom or Dad’s nearby, like their t-shirt.
Sometimes when I wake up in my small bag after traveling a lot I forget where we are! Having something of my Mom’s nearby my highly sensitive nose can make me feel like ‘everything’s’ okay even before I open my eyes.
8. Get a beauty treatment.
Let’s face it. Humans don’t like stinky animals. I get a special bath in the kitchen sink at least once a week, which is finished off with my favorite perfume. You’d be surprised the difference it makes! And I look more handsome. People love to be around me when I am all clean and fresh and even touch my shiny coat and scratch me a bit behind an ear. Gotta love all that attention!
9. How to pass through security.
It’s true. You have to go through security – just like humans. I have to be in an airline approved container inside the airport and on the airplane. But, you don’t have stay in it to go through the security scan! Instead, you’ll be treated like a star as you’re taken out of your container and are carried through the arch that your Mom or Dad gets to walk through. This is the time to turn on the charm and smile, smile, smile! After all, you don’t want to delay your flight because you made a fuss.
10. Train for safety
Practice not moving around in your small bag at home before you go out on a trip. This will keep you safe for sure. Trust me. I have learned this from experience. Once I decided to move around in my small bag when Mom set it on a counter, which sent me straight to the ground!
I hope you have enjoyed learning the secrets to traveling with your small dog and that your next trip is full of fun, excitement and safe travel. You will get to see lots of new places and hang out with your Mom or Dad much more. Happy traveling!
Woof-woof (for good-bye)!