You absolutely adore your Staffy and you want to take him/her with you wherever you go. After all, even a quick trip to the shops is always more enjoyable when your best friend is by your side.
Unfortunately, travelling with a dog can sometimes be a challenging experience. Whether you’re taking a short road trip or heading overseas, there are several risks and potential problems that could derail your journey. Anxiety, motion sickness and international quarantine laws are just a few of the issues that may arise, so it’s important to plan ahead.
In this guide, we’ll look at the ins and outs of travelling with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier so that you can enjoy safe and stress-free journeys with your pup.
Preparing your Dog for Travel
Travelling with a Staffy isn’t as simple as just jumping in the car and hitting the road. For the journey to be safe and successful, you’ll need to make sure that you and your dog are fully prepared for what lies ahead.
Happily, there are a few easy things you can do before leaving home:
Take your dog to the vet to make sure it’s safe for him to travel. This includes ensuring that his vaccinations are up to date, that he’s protected against parasites and that he doesn’t have any underlying health problems.
Travel can be a major cause of anxiety for many pets, so it’s important to reduce your pet’s stress before planning a trip. For example, if your Staffy is anxious about riding in the car, take him on some short, fun car rides to exciting destinations. Teach him that hopping in the car doesn’t necessarily mean going to the vet, and reward him with treats and praise so he comes to see travel as a positive experience.
Ensure that your Staffy has a good grasp of basic training commands before hitting the road. A reliable sit-stay, coming when called and greeting strangers in a calm manner are essential skills that can make travelling much less stressful.
A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog calm while in the car, while your dog will need to travel in a crate if boarding a plane. Crate training your staffy and teaching them that his crate is a safe and comfortable space will go a long way to ensuring a successful journey.
Pack the essentials
Make sure you pack everything your dog needs for a trip away. This includes his regular food, any medications he may require, a bowl, a lead and some toys.
You’ll find plenty of useful tips about taking your dog on holiday in this guide from the RSPCA.
Travelling with a Staffy by Car
Taking a road trip with your dog is one of life’s great pleasures. Whether you have a destination picked out or you’re just seeing where the road takes you, your dog will love the opportunity to share the adventure with you.Of course, for a safe and relaxing car trip, you’ll need to plan ahead.
Before You Leave
Remember to take care of these essential tasks before attempting a long car journey with your dog:
Help your Staffy get used to riding in the car. Sit in the car in your driveway to get your pet used to the idea of car travel. Take lots of shorter trips before tackling any longer adventures.
Check room rules. Unfortunately, dog-friendly accommodation isn’t always easy to find. If you’re planning on staying overnight at your destination, make sure you sort out your accommodation well in advance and check to make absolute certain that your dog is allowed.
Pack a first-aid kit. Prepare a first-aid kit with essential medical supplies you may need in case of an emergency. You should also spend a bit of time learning some basic dog first aid. It’s also a good idea to know the location of the nearest emergency vet hospital around your destination.
This handy little kit has all the essentials:
Tire your dog out. Give your Staffy a walk, a run or some play time before hopping in the car. A tired dog is much less likely to get up to mischief while on the road.
On the Road
These simple tips will help make your car trip itself as safe and pleasant as possible:
Make regular toilet stops. Stop frequently so your Staffy can answer nature’s call. This also gives him a good chance to get some exercise and fresh air.
Avoid carsickness. Travelling on an empty stomach will help your dog avoid motion sickness, but your vet will also be able to recommend medications to combat travel nausea. There are also car sickness products available like the one below that could be worth trying. They don't seem to work for all dogs are cheap enough to worth trying if your dog suffers with travel sickness.
Safety first. Make sure your pup is securely restrained or in a crate, and never let him ride with his head out the window. Adequate fresh air and ventilation are also essential to prevent overheating, and remember to never leave your dog in a closed vehicle.
Travelling Abroad with your Staffy
If you want to travel overseas with your dog, things can get a little more complicated. From confusing airline pet policies to customs requirements at your destination, there’s plenty to wrap your head around.Of course, if you get to explore the world with your furry friend by your side, all the hard work and preparation is well worth it.
Flying with a Dog
There’s plenty to consider before flying with a Staffy. Here are some key points to remember:
Travel risk. Flying can be dangerous for brachycephalic (flatter-faced) breeds like the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, so chat to your veterinarian about the risks of air travel before deciding to fly. Some airlines will even refuse to carry your Staffy.
Consider the weather. Avoid exposing your pet to extreme temperatures on the tarmac and in the cargo hold by choosing flight times wisely. For example, choose early-morning or nighttime flights to avoid the summer heat.
Vet check-up. Your vet will need to give your pup a clean bill of health — it’s your responsibility to make sure it’s safe for your dog to fly, not the airline’s. Your vet can also advise you whether your dog should be sedated before boarding.
Your dog will need to travel in the cargo hold. While some airlines allow small breeds to fly in the cabin, larger breeds like Staffies are typically confined to the cargo hold. Please note that this can be a stressful and even frightening experience for your pup.
Airline rules vary. The rules around flying with dogs vary from one airline to the next based on factors like a dog’s breed, age and size. For example, your pet may need to be in a certain age range or be kept in a crate that meets specific requirements. Make sure you read the fine print closely before booking any tickets, and check out British Airways’ pet policies here.Know the rules at your destination. It’s also important that you understand the rules around flying with dogs to your destination. For example, your Staffy may be required to serve a quarantine period before he can enter the country. Other countries have regulations to prevent animals being exposed to extreme temperatures for long periods. In some countries, staffies are on the dangerous dogs list. This site is helfpul for checking what dogs are banned in different countries.
Consider Pet Transport Companies
If all of this sounds a little overwhelming, you may want to consider using a dedicated pet transport company that specialises in moving pets overseas.
Pet transport companies can take care of the complex airline and customs rules that must be met when travelling internationally with your dog. They arrange all the necessary documentation for your dog to fly and often provide a door-to-door service.If you need to fly overseas with your Staffy, they are designed to make the process a lot less stressful. I have not personally used any of these kinds of service so can't make any recommendations. Just be sure to do plenty of research and review-reading before choosing one.
Leaving your Dog Back Home When Travelling
Of course, you’d love it if your dog could come with you everywhere you go but sometimes the safest and easiest option is to leave your Staffy behind. If you can’t take your pup with you, there are a few different options for keeping them looked after while you’re gone.
Dog Sitting Services
A popular option is to look into hiring a professional pet sitter. The biggest advantage of this option is that your dog gets to stay at home in a familiar environment. This will help relieve any anxiety he may be feeling about being away from you, and give you the peace of mind of knowing your Staffy is in a safe place.
Rover features a database of pet care service providers along with reviews from previous customers. Their handy search makes it simple to find providers in your area. Click here to do a quick search on Rover.
However, finding a good pet sitter isn’t always easy. There are several websites that help match dog owners with professional sitters, but it’s still important to do your research before making your final decision.
These simple tips should help you find a reliable pet sitter:
- Get recommendations. Ask your veterinarian, your dog groomer and your family and friends if they can recommend a pet sitter. Even though it’s easy to find pet sitters online, word of mouth still goes a long way.
- Check their experience. Find out how much experience the pet sitter has caring for dogs. Have they cared for Staffies before? Do they have any qualifications, for example pet first aid training?
- Understand what you’re getting. Some pet sitters will stay in your house the entire time your away, while others will drop by to spend time with your dog each day. Find out exactly what service you’re paying for and what sort of care your dog will receive on a day-to-day basis.
- Ask loads of questions. Take the time to interview a prospective pet sitter to find out whether they’re a good fit. Ask them what sort of care they’ll provide for your dog and check whether they can provide any references. If possible, arrange a meeting with the sitter so you can see how they get on with your Staffy.
Friends or Family
Alternatively, you might like to ask a trusted friend or family member to look after your Staffy while you’re away. If you’ve got a friend or family member who loves your dog, and who your dog is already familiar with, this can be an excellent option.
Staying in a familiar home with someone he already knows could help relieve your Staffy’s anxiety about being away from you. If the person you choose is familiar with your pup’s personality and care needs, they’ll be able to make him as comfortable as possible during his stay.
Just ensure the dog minder you choose:
- Has enough time to devote to caring for your Staffy each day.
- Has enough space for your dog. Some energetic Staffies won’t do well in a cramped apartment if they're used to larger spaces.
- Understands your dog’s care needs, including diet, exercise and attention.
- Is happy to take on the responsibility of looking after your Staffy.
If none of the above are suitable, you might need to book your Staffy in for a stay at a boarding kennel. This removes the stress of travelling with your pup and allows him or her to be looked after by staff who are animal experts.
But don’t just assume that the closest boarding kennel to your home is the right choice. You want to be sure that your Staffy is getting the best possible care while you’re away, so keep the following tips in mind when choosing a kennel:
- Ask for recommendations. Check with your veterinarian, your family and your friends to find out whether they can recommend a quality boarding kennel.
- Do your research. Find out how long the kennel has been operating, what qualifications its staff have and whether other dog owners recommend it.
- Take a tour. Ask to take a tour of the boarding kennel’s facilities. This is the best way to be sure that the kennel is clean, hygienic and safe, and that your Staffy will receive a high standard of care.