Travel like a dog
Since hunters began to take dogs along with them, canines have been traveling next to humans in cars, boats, trains, buses, and now on planes as well. This should come as no surprise when you recall that the first animal in orbit was a dog (Laika, aboard the Soviet Sputnik 2 in 1957).
You can imagine your dog exclaiming, “Hooray! My best friend is going on holiday and wants me to join him.” But before you decide to take Fido or Fifi with you on a plane, check airline rules and regulations, along with any restrictions in the countries you are traveling to or from.
If your dog is small, you can bring him with you as your carry-on. Just don’t expect him to get his own window seat. SAS encourages you to contact its Customer Contact Center within 24 hours of ordering your ticket to reserve a spot for your dog, as availability is limited. SAS also has an age minimum of eight weeks for a traveling dog.
If your pooch is too large to fit in a carry-on bag (maximum size on SAS is 40 x 25 x 23cm), he will have to fly with the cargo. This is pressurized and is the same temperature as the cabin where you are seated, so no worries; the airline does not take the safety and security of your pet lightly. If the travel cage does not meet the required size and quality, or if your dog does not look healthy and comfortable, he won’t be able to fly.
Dogs react differently than humans
Remember, dogs react to travel differently than their humans. A trip can be one hour or 12, or maybe you have to change to a connecting flight. Nobody knows your travel plans or your dog as well as you, so if you’re in doubt, consult with a professional. It is also a good idea to do some training with your dog so that he will feel safe when the big day arrives.
Most dogs are not used to traveling. Approach training as a learning curve, perhaps even beginning when your dog is just a puppy. Start by making him comfortable around people, big crowds, other dogs, and children. Also remember that an airplane is noisy and filled with different smells. Try to picture the different aspects of the trip and train your dog to feel safe in them.
The number of hotels offering their own dog service is growing. Most hotels and restaurants encourage you to contact them before your stay. But since they want you to enjoy your stay with them, they are likely to welcome your dog as well.
Text: Øystein Tronstad
Published: March 9, 2015
Last edited: May 20, 2017