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Traveling With Your Maltese
traveling with your dog
How to Successfully Travel with Your Maltese Puppy or Dog

Whether you travel each weekend to a vacation home or you are planning a long trip, steps must be taken to ensure the comfort and safety of your Maltese. What do you do when your dog just won't get into the car?  Should you bring your dog onto an airplane? How do you make sure they are happy and safe?  We will discuss all of our travel tips.

The Car

In the past 5 years, 6% of dogs have suffered some type of injury inside the car.  ANY sized dog is just as prone, or MORE prone to injury from ANY sort of accident as a human is.  Why are so many hurt each year?  Because a restraint was not used.  Without a restraint even normal breaking can cause this breed to slide off of the car seat and onto the floor, this can lead to serious injury.

There are 3 methods of keeping your Maltese secure; we recommend only 2 of them:
  • You may use a dog car seat; this is very much like a baby car seat. Comfortable and cushioned without the feeling of extreme confinement, this is a great option. 
  • A dog seat belt.  This is a wonderful option that allows your dog to sit in the car just like everyone else.  He or she will be very safe and still be able to see what is going on.  Most adapt very quickly to this.
  • A crate is not recommended.  In the event of a car accident the crate will slide and your dog can be injured. If you will need to crate your pet at the destination, it is suggested to bring the crate along in your trunk but use 1 of the methods above for the actual car travel

Car Phobia

Does your Maltese resist getting into the car?  Desensitization training can resolve this.  Once you have the proper seat restraint, you can begin the training.  The method involves beginning with a small step and progressively adding on to the time spent in the car until your dog is accustomed to it.

To begin, you would announce that it is time to go in the car in a happy and cheerful tone.  Your dog will pick up on your verbal clues; it is important to relay that the car is going to be a pleasant experience.  Once he or she is tucked in safely, offer a new chew or toy.  Drive only a short distance, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes. 

Your destination should be a location that your dog will enjoy.  Perhaps to visit a friend who is a dog owner so the 2 of them can play.  Or perhaps a park where you can go for an enjoyable walk. You may even just park somewhere quiet, let your him or her out (with a leash on) and give them a special treat to eat.

Do this every couple of days so that they begin to understand that they are given a special toy only when inside the car and that going along with you equals something fun at the end.

pet friendlyEach week, add a bit of time onto your trip.  You should be able to work your way up to just about any distance.  When driving over 1 hour, it is vitally important to take breaks.  At least every hour, you should find an area to stop; optimally in a spot that has little traffic and offers a calm environment.  Allow your dog to walk or run around and stretch their legs.  Offer cool water for a refreshing drink.  Give your dog plenty of time to find an area to eliminate.  If it is feeding time, certainly take the time to set out their dinner and allow them to eat without rushing.

Traveling with Your Dog in an Airplane

Airplane travel can be a bit tricky.  Shockingly, some airlines officially consider pets to be luggage!  If strict rules are not followed, your Maltese could end up in the luggage hold at the bottom of the plane where you most certainly would not want them to be.  This would be traumatic (at some level) to them at best and cause severe health issues at worst; this area can become extremely hot or very cold depending on the altitude that the plane is flying and the location.

Planning must be done well in advance.  You must call the airline to confirm that you will be allowed to bring your dog on board with you.  Most important? The size of the dog crate.  There will be very strict guidelines regarding the size of the dog crate.  Usually only toy and small breeds will be small enough to fit in a crate that would be able to fit under a seat...There are a few medium sized breeds that would fit....But do take care to not stuff a dog into too small of a crate, as they will not only be uncomfortable, but can have muscle cramps and others....Additionally, barking could be intense.  

Once you find out the rules, call 2 or 3 more times to double check.  Your vacation can be ruined if you arrive at the airport only to then learn that your dog would be taken from you and put with the checked in luggage!

The Problems With Planes

Even if you have your Maltese in a crate right next to you, there are still some issues to handle.  They will need to  eliminate and you certainly cannot take them for a walk!  Allowing them to do this inside the crate is not the best option, as this is confusing for them and the passengers would not appreciate the odor.  The best method?  Use a dog diaper.  This will at least allow  them to relieve themselves without dirtying the crate.

Toys, food and water are essential while your dog is patiently waiting for the flight to land.  An alternative?  Some owners who go on very long flights (over 5 hours) or have pets that strongly resist staying calm can give a sedative.  This will be a prescribed medication, given to you by your dog's veterinarian.  As long as you follow dosing instructions, this a good method to keep everyone happy.

If you have connecting flights, try to schedule them so that you have plenty of time in between to bring your dog outside for a nice walk, a bite to eat and plenty of water to drink.  You can also use this time to change the diaper, should you use that method.

To Bring or Not to Bring

One question that Maltese owners should ask themselves is should they bring their dog with them on their travels, if it is an option to keep them at home.  While no one wants to be away from their best friend, even for a day, sometimes it should be done if it is in the best interest of the dog.  If your destination is a spot in which they will not be able to join in on the activities, it may be best to leave him or her at home.  Additionally, finding a hotel that will allow you to bring your dog into your room will not be easy.  There are very few quality hotels that allow pets.

Leaving your Maltese home does not need to be a negative experience for either of you. You have several options:
  • Your home:  Your dog will feel most comfortable in your home. If a friend, family member or paid watcher can stay at your house with them, this is the best option.  If you are able to do this, be sure to write out the daily schedule. Also keep a list of important numbers such as their veterinarian and the closest emergency animal hospital.
  • With friends or relatives.  While your dog would be away from their house and need to become accustomed to a new environment, they would be with people that you love and trust.  It is best if their schedule can remain the same, such as feeding, walking, play, grooming and sleeping times. 
  • A canine hotel.  This is quickly becoming a widely popular option.  Gone are the days of dark and lonely  kennels!  Top quality dog hotels treat your pet like a king or queen!   You can find the closest ones to you with a quick online search.  Some of these dog hotels are quite simply: amazing.  Clean, brightly colored and with a huge staff standing by to keep all pets happy.  Some allow each dog to have their own beautiful rooms, they have play time with other animals and the working staff will keep them active, happy and safe.
Note: How do you keep your Maltese safe, happy & healthy?  You get yourself the PetMaltese Book , the most helpful Maltese book that exists! Click Here to Learn More

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