Jetting off into the sunset this summer

Your dog deserves a break too, right? All that running around, chasing birds and rolling in mud can grind you down. But what do you do when you want to get some summer sun abroad, especially when your dog is of a certain age?

A change is better than a rest

Just like humans, as they get older dogs get set in their ways. They crave routine and might prefer the comfort and familiarity of home to a new adventure.

Flying can be both physically and emotionally draining to an elderly dog, so as much as you want to bring them along on your family trip, consider these things first.

Nose to tail health

Speak to your vet before booking anything. Get your dog looked over so you can be sure they’re fit and healthy enough to travel, and seek advice from an expert about whether they’re up to it.

Practice makes perfect

If you’re boarding a plane ,your dog is going to have to get used to a crate. And if they’ve not used one in the past and they’re getting on a bit, teaching the old dog new tricks may take some time. Start familiarising your dog with their crate well in advance – we’re talking six months here.

Make your dog’s crate a happy place to be with toys, a comforting blanket or a jumper that smells like you. This will help keep their anxiety levels low during the journey, as well as keep them feeling content when settling into your holiday digs.

And beware of bathroom breaks. Older dogs need to pee more frequently, so if it’s a long flight consider a dog nappy for your pooch to prevent any accidents on board.

One size doesn’t fit all

Read the fine print: while most airlines follow the same standard rules, there might be slightly different requirements depending on your breed. Check what size dog is allowed in the cabin, whether there’s a standard carrier you must use and if you need to bring certificates of vaccinations or anything.

Smaller dogs may be able to fit inside the plane cabin and travel with you. You might want to use a tranquiliser to keep your dog calm or asleep during the flight, but make sure you give them plenty of small sips of water throughout to stop them getting dehydrated.

If your dog can’t sit comfortably on your lap (in your eyes, not theirs), they’ll almost certainly need to travel in the cargo section of the plane. Prepare for this by getting a crate with a secure locking system and ensuring all vital information along with your phone number is attached to their cage.

Keep calm and carry on

Your dog will easily pick up on how you’re feeling, so if you’re anxious about the flight try to calm your nerves. Stick to a regular schedule that incorporates time in the crate, journeys in the car and time spent apart to get your pooch as accustomed as possible to the journey ahead.

Happy holidays!