Travel with a Small Support Dog: Benefits and More!

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Traveling with your furry friend is quite an adventure. Thankfully, traveling with smaller dogs has become easier over the past few years and has increased in popularity. There are so many benefits to bringing along your small dog on your adventures, especially if they are a Support Dog. These pups can make your journey more enjoyable and stress-free. 

Benefits of Traveling with a Small Dog

Traveling with dogs can be a hassle, but a small dog eases some of those struggles on the trip. For example, large dogs (typically 50+ lbs) are often not allowed in hotels and restaurants. Likewise, larger dogs often can’t fit into small stores, tight places, and anywhere where a large tail could do significant damage. 

Easier to Manage During Travel 

We’ve all seen someone lose control of their pet while traveling. When a large dog loses its cool, the owner has to remove themselves from the area or leave altogether. When it’s a small dog, the owner can pick up their dog, which often calms them enough in the situation. Of course, you want to maintain control of your pet while traveling, but dog owners need to be ready for the unexpected. 

Likewise, smaller dogs are easier to manage in large crowds, such as at festivals and street fairs. Your small companion will be less maintenance and work when out and about. 

Flexible Traveling Options

When traveling with a big dog, you need to make space for an extra person. However, with a small dog, your options really open up. Small dogs can travel in a car or train on your lap or by your feet. On planes, small dogs can be kept in a small pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Of course, policies differ for each plane line, but having a smaller dog is more convenient on planes. 

Convenient for Housing Arrangements 

Bringing a large dog to a hotel or Air BnB is costly or not allowed. Fees can be anywhere from $15-$150, depending on the size of your dog. Avoid fees and restrictions while traveling by choosing a smaller breed to bring along with you. 

Support Dogs as Travel Companions 

A support dog is a pup who assists its owner with physical or emotional support. Emotional Support Dogs (ESDs) support their owners through their companionship. Service Dogs are pups who are “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.”

ESDs do not have the same rights and accommodations as Service Dogs. However, with the proper paperwork, ESDs are accommodated more than regular pets. 

The Benefits of a Support Dog while Traveling 

Support dogs are exceptional travel companions. Support dogs need to be well-trained, friendly, and social. With a well-trained support dog, you will never have to worry about losing control of your dog in an unfamiliar situation. They are well-behaved and much easier to travel with than a pet. 

Emotional Support and Companionship 

The bond between an owner and their support dog is unbreakable and unique. Emotional support animals provide companionship and comfort to their owners, especially in unfamiliar environments. 

Assistance with Physical Tasks 

Support dogs can offer a variety of assistance with physical tasks. These tasks provide peace of mind while traveling. They can also make traveling safe for their owner. This list covers only some of the incredible assistance provided by support dogs: 

  • Retrieving objects
  • Opening doors
  • Turning lights on and off
  • Alerting to sounds
  • Providing balance and stability
  • Assisting with day-to-day activities, such as dressing
  • Carrying items
  • Retrieving help 
  • Allergy detection
  • Stop physical reactions such as panic attacks 

Reduced Stress and Anxiety During Travel 

An Emotional Support Dog provides comfort to their owner while traveling. The dog can ease anxiety surrounding a phobia, such as fear of flying in planes. Likewise, they can reduce the panic of crowds, loud noises, and overstimulation. Some ESD dogs are trained to detect when someone’s heart rate or breathing pattern changes. They can then take action to calm their owner. 

Preparing for Travel with a Smaller Support Dog 

When traveling with a dog, you must plan before sailing off on your adventure. You must ensure your dog is as comfortable as you are during your travels. 

ESA Criteria

Some airlines and public transportation require specific documentation for traveling with an ESD. These documents can include doctors’ notes, vet notes, and identification tags on your dog. Follow the ESA criteria closely and arrange to complete everything well before your trip. 

Research and Make Arrangements 

Before booking your flight or hotel, ensure you research! Research is the key to traveling with small dogs. Each hotel, restaurant, festival, and plane line has its own rules and regulations for dogs. You’ll want to research your entire itinerary before booking your trip. 

Packing for your Pup 

Remember to pack a bag for your pup. Bring extra water, travel bowls, food, medication, and bedding for your pup. Remember, your dog will need a safe space to relieve itself before going on public transportation or while you’re away from home. 

Traveling with a Small Dog: Best Breeds 

Many excellent travel buddy breeds exist, but Whoodles and Schnoodles are our favorite small dog travel pups. Both breeds make incredible Emotional Support Animals, are family-friendly, and are hypoallergenic. 

The Mini Whoodle

Whoodles are a hybrid breed of a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier and a Poodle. These brainy pups are the perfect dog for someone who needs a hypoallergenic dog because both parent pups are non-shedding. 

Whoodles are highly intelligent and feel deep connections to their owners. They are fun to train and quickly learn new commands and behaviors. They are highly adaptable and feel comfortable in new situations. 

The Mini Whoodle, also known as “The Teddy Bear” Whoodle, are compact and strong dogs that weigh between 35-40 lbs. Their size is perfect for exploring new cities and outdoor adventures. They are comfortable riding in a car or plane. 

The Mini Schnoodle

The Schnoodle‘s soft and wavy coat resembles a Schnauzer but is hypoallergenic like their Poodle parent. Schnoodles are low maintenance and love to learn. They thrive when given a job to do. 

Schnoodle puppies make great support dogs and have been trained to do jobs such as retrieving diabetic kits and peanut detection. These brilliant dogs have a longer life span than other breeds and feel strongly connected to their owner. 

The Mini Schnoodle weighs between 15-20 lbs, making it a perfect dog for city travel. They are easy to accommodate because of their small size. With a mini-Schoodle, you’ll never have to worry about your pup exceeding the weight limit of a hotel, restaurant, or store. 

Traveling with a Small Dog: Final Thoughts 

Traveling with a small support dog is a rewarding and fun experience. The benefits of having these loyal companions by your side are invaluable. Don’t be afraid to travel the world with your furry friend, and enjoy every moment of it!