Dogs are a part of our family and many of us want to include our furry little friend on trips and vacations. However, you need proper preparation to take them along with you so that both you and your dog are able to make the most out of your trip. While you may enjoy something, due to their nature, your pet baby, might find it uncomfortable.
Vacationing with your dog can be an amazing experience if planned properly. The world is full of amazing countries with lots of places to visit. It’s also a great way for you to bond with your dog or any other pet.
Make Sure Your Pet Is Up for the Trip
One of the first things you should remember that just like you, your pet also needs to be prepared for the trip. Sick, injured and pregnant dogs should stay home and rest.
Before a few weeks from your trip, start by taking your dog on short car rides and get them used to the feeling. You can take a backpack to carry your dog and a harness, or crate along with you. Remember that the age of the dog matters as puppies and senior dogs might act differently than typical adult dogs.
The best thing you can do is create a pet-friendly space in your vehicle where your dog will feel safe. This will make them calm and comfortable on your actual trip.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recommends a few trip-tips that will keep your dog happy and make the trip more enjoyable.
1. Re-check Microchip and Tags
Before you hit the road, you should check and update your dog’s tags and microchip with the latest information. There have been many cases where dogs ran away in stressful situations. Updated tags will maximize your chances of getting your pooch back.
2. Do a Checkup
Always do a checkup and get a health certificate stating that your dog is healthy, good to travel and has all required vaccinations. It’s very important if you and your dog are traveling internationally as this document is required by many airlines.
Some communities and hotels also require this certificate before admittance. In addition, if your pet is on some medication, carry paper copies of the prescriptions so that you may refill them.
Some breeds are banned in certain countries and cities, research well before making a booking a ticket or room.
3. Picking the Right Vehicle
If you are going on a road trip with your rover, then you might consider renting a vehicle appropriate for your dog. If you have a large breed dog such as a Saint Bernard or a German Shepherd a spacious car/truck will make the journey more comfortable.
Always secure your dog properly in the car. Secure all harnesses and crates before starting the car. Don’t ever let your dog hang his head outside the window; many dogs have been lost on toll booths and rest stops. When the car is in motion, windows should be set in such a way that he can’t jump out.
4. Pack Food, Medication and Water
Pack plenty of food if possible, suited to your dog’s breed or something you regularly feed him. Your dog will be in a new environment while traveling and familiar food will bring normalcy in that routine. Take a little extra in case your return home is delayed.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, then consult your vet before making the trip. Giving him a variation of foods may cause an upset stomach.
Be sure to pack lots of water and required medication on your journey. Feed them at times when you would feed them at home.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to pack other essentials on your journey – water, food bowls and toys keep him busy.
5. Take Sufficient Amount of Breaks
No dog likes to stay cooped up for long. So during the journey make sure to take breaks to walk your dog. It will do both you and your dog good to stretch out your legs and enjoy the surroundings.
The walks will fulfill the daily exercise routine your dog needs to lead a healthy life. It will also help digest some of the food and burn that excess energy and make your dog relatively docile.
Don’t ever leave your dog alone in the car. Even on a mildly warm day, the temperature inside the car can go from 90°F- 160°F. In such temperatures, dogs can suffer from deadly heat strokes within 15 minutes.
6. Dogs on a Plane
While flying is the fastest and the least stressful way to travel for humans, it can be very stressful for a dog. Airplanes have various regulations regarding pets. Read the guidelines before making a decision.
In most cases, dogs are put on crates and placed in the cargo hold. Without proper training that can be dangerous, terrifying and potentially deadly. Flying should be considered only when relocating or where no other alternatives are available.
7. Dogs on a Boat
When traveling by boat, don’t forget to put on a floatation vest and make sure your dog has one too.
While dogs are natural swimmers, stressful situations may cause them to tire easily and drown. The flotation vest is highly recommended for dogs that are new to boating, on medication or prone to seizures.
The safety of your dog should be one of your primary concerns while traveling. Look for signs of distress and make sure that he is comfortable.
Before starting on your journey, print out a map from the internet that shows various veterinarians or animal care places on route to your destination. This will come in handy in case of an accident or emergency.
If there is no such map available, you can call American Animal Hospital Association at 1-800-883-6301 for a referral to a local vet.
There are some other measures that you can take that will help you travel with your dog more comfortably. You can get a backpack to carry your dog if you have a small breed dog. They are handy and will help you keep your arms free.
We hope these tips helped you and remember the first time is always the hardest. It may sound overwhelming, but just go through this step by step and look forward for a great adventure with your pooch!