Service dogs are used around the world to help people with both physical and mental conditions get through each day. One of the most common of these is dogs for the blind which, are one of the best tools that can help a blind person live an independent and safe life. We know just how difficult it would be for anyone with a disability or mental illness to travel without their furry friend’s help. So we’ve come up with some of the best tips and tricks for service dog owners to take into consideration when traveling.
Make sure you know all the rules
No matter what you may think a company will not change its rules to suit one person’s needs. So make sure you know all of the rules when it comes to bringing a dog, or service dog onto their property. It is more than likely a business (Plane Company, public transportation service, Coach Company etc) will have separate rules for service dogs when compared to their guidelines surrounding regular pets. So if you can’t find anything for your Service dog then don’t be afraid to give them a call and ask about the rules!
Tips for Traveling on a plane
When it comes to different forms of transport, planes are probably the hardest to use for a disabled person. There are a couple of things you can do to make the trip easier for both them and their dog. First of making sure you’ve/they’ve got all the necessary paperwork/information to prove that the animal is, in fact, a service dog and not just a normal pet! This will make everything much easier on your trip and speed up the overall approval process. Airlines like to know in advance that there will be a service dog registration on the flight; in many cases, you must legally notify the company 48 hours before the flight is due to take off. This is only to ensure the safety of all passengers including yourself throughout the flight.
Just to be on the safe side make sure that all the medication information on your service dog is up to date and complies with traveling rules. If your Dog has missed out on vaccination or has a medical issue they may not be allowed on the flight, and airlines wouldn’t take that risk. Although most of these tips and tricks may seem pretty obvious they are the thing which usually catches people out!
There are a couple of other things you can do to ensure your dog also has a pleasant and enjoyable traveling experience. Firstly make sure you’ve packed enough food, water and some treats for him/her. We know that service dogs have been trained to stay calm in all situations but traveling on a plane can be stressful for a person never mind your furry friend! Also, make sure you let them go to the toilet at every opportunity before leaving.
Using another method of transport?
You may not be traveling by plane and instead be using one of the many other methods of transport which include Rail, Car, Buses/Coaches, Boats and much more. The rules on these are usually much less strict and you should be fine taking your service dog on a trip with you. If you’re traveling by car the rules will be set by the drive. This also gives you the opportunity to have a bit more freedom throughout the trip.
Traveling by train could be an issue when using certain companies but just ensure you’ve checked up on all of the rules before purchasing your tickets. It’s pretty much the same story when traveling by Boat/Ferry. You should be fine as long as you have the needed documentation and have checked the company’s guidelines. Traveling by bus or coach may be slightly more difficult as there will be passengers entering and leaving the vehicle on a regular basis. Give the company running the service a call before buying a ticket and make sure you’re allowed to bring your service dog on the trip with you!