Bringing your new puppy home, visiting family, or holidays with your dog are likely to involve some car travel with a puppy and may even involve flying with a puppy. You may be asking can I fly with a puppy?  We’re here to make travelling with your puppy a breeze with our top tips for a stress free journey from A to B, whether it’s long or short. 

Before we take you on our travelling with a puppy journey, have you downloaded the Zigzag puppy training app? It’s packed full of everything you need to know about raising a happy, healthy, confident puppy. We even have a team of experts available 24/7 to answer all your questions or help you deal with any puppy dramas. 

The basics of travelling by car

Car travel with a puppy can be pretty scary for them. Their first experiences of travelling by car can cause puppy car anxiety, going to the vet for a first vaccination or moving to their new home are scary. It’s therefore important to introduce your puppy to the car slowly making it a positive experience for future car travel with your puppy. 

Here are our tips to prevent puppy car anxiety.

  • Don’t rush – Spend some time just sitting in your stationary car, letting your puppy explore their travelling crate or area giving plenty of rewards to prevent puppy car anxiety.
  • Short Journeys – Start with really short journeys, keeping it positive and giving plenty of praise and rewards
  • Keep it slow – Don’t scare your puppy with speed, keep the drive smooth and steady to avoid puppy car sickness.
  • Sing – If your pup gets upset and maybe can’t see you from where they travel, sing and talk to them to offer reassurance and so they know you are there. 

When can my puppy travel by car

It’s important during the 8 to 12 week socialisation period that your puppy gets out and about as much as possible. They often can’t walk during this time while they wait for vaccinations so car travel with a puppy is often essential. Travelling with puppies while they are young is recommended to give them a variety of different experiences and help their confidence grow into adulthood. 

Best travel crates for car 

The UK highway code specifies that dogs travelling in the car should be suitably restrained. This can be a seatbelt or pet crate or carrier. You can read our full guide on safe travel and car carriers here.

Puppy anxiety in car – dealing with car sickness

Puppy car sickness is common. Young puppies’ inner ear and balance isn’t fully developed, so they can suffer from motion sickness quite often. Most dogs will grow out of puppy car sickness by around a year old. Your vet can help with anti sickness medications and there are things you can do to help your pup cope, such as :-

  • Restrict your dog’s food intake before travel.
  • Keep your car cool and well ventilated.
  • Having a window open, the fresh air can help. But don’t let your pup have their head out of the window. 
  • Keep the journey smooth save the rally driving for when you’re on your own to prevent puppy car sickness.
  • Use pheromone sprays to help reduce any anxiety relating to travel

The basics of flying with puppies

So can puppies travel on planes? Flying with a puppy probably seems unusual in the UK, we don’t often have to ask ourselves can I fly with a puppy? but it is common in other countries. The short answer is yes, but it will depend on a few things such as which airline you are flying with, how far and how old and big your puppy is. You’ll need to check all this with your airline, when you plan your trip. 

Can my puppy travel by plane?

Yes they can, but again restrictions can vary across airlines some airlines allow pups to fly from 8 weeks whilst others require them to be 12 weeks old. There may also be regulations around where they travel on the aircraft, in the cabin with you or in the cargo hold. 

What does my puppy need to travel by plane?

In order to fly with a puppy, your puppy will need a suitable travel crate approved by your airline along with a harness or collar and lead. You will also need your puppies vaccination records and microchip details, along with a full ID tag on them and on their crate including all your contact information for home and at your destination. 

Your puppies age and size will likely determine where in the aircraft they are permitted to travel. Smaller breeds or young puppies tend to be allowed in the cabin. But they will still need to travel in a crate. 

Top tips for travelling with a puppy

Whether you are travelling with a puppy by car or flying with a puppy, here are our top tips and things you’ll need to bring for a safe and stress free journey.

  • Prepare your puppy for travel 

Do what you can to prepare your puppy for their journey, make sure they are used to their travel crate and are happy and content in it well before you travel. Our guide to crate training will help you. 

  • Be organised

Have all your puppies travel documents organised and ready to travel. Even if you are travelling by car within the same country, it’s still a good idea to have your pet’s vaccination certificate and any medical information with you, should you need to access a local vets. 

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped 

Microchipping is a legal requirement for flying with a puppy and most puppies are microchipped now before they leave their litter. If for whatever reason your puppy isn’t microchipped, have this done before you travel. Should the worst happen and you get separated, it’s much more likely your pup will get returned to you if they have a microchip. 

  • Bring a portable water bowl 

It’s vital that your pup has access to water whilst travelling so you’ll need some form of water bowl and a bottle of water with you to help them stay comfortable.

  • Have chews and treats

You don’t want your pup getting bored or hungry on their journey. Providing your dog isn’t prone to puppy car sickness then giving them small amounts of food is fine. Stuffed kongs and chews can help relieve any boredom or agitation your pup might feel. 

  • Bring toys

You won’t be able to start playing fetch on a plane or in a car, but if your pup likes soft toys and finds them comforting then bring them along to help them settle.

  • Schedule toilet breaks 

Not possible if you are flying with a puppy but if you are travelling with a puppy in a car then toilet stops for long journeys will be essential. Have puppy pads with you and bring plenty of baby wipes, wet wipes and paper towels, with younger puppies accidents can and often do happen. 

  • Keep your pup comfortable

If your journey is long or if you are flying with a puppy then your pup may get too cold, have some extra blankets for if they get too cold, or if they are hot have a fan to hand to keep them cool. 

Puppy socialisation phase: how does socialisation training affect travel?

A well socialised puppy is more likely to be confident and calm when dealing with new experiences. Travelling with a puppy and especially flying with a puppy is something that they may not need to do very often, but if your puppy experiences travelling by car or train regularly they are more likely to be comfortable flying too. 

Introduce your pup to car travel, busy roads, trains and train stations as early as possible to expose them gently to the variety of sights and sounds. Remember to have plenty of rewards and treats with you to make the experience even more positive. 

How can Zigzag help with your pup’s training

Zigzag is a complete step by step guide to all your pups training needs. The chapters build upon each other so your pup is always learning exactly the right skills at the right time. It’s also tailored to your pups breed type so those breed specific traits are taken into account too. For extra guidance we have a team of experts available 24/7 to help you back on the road.