Tips for Traveling with Dogs
Bringing your pet on vacation requires a bit of extra planning and care. Whether you plan to vacation close to home or a bit further away, below are some things to consider when traveling with dogs.
Air travel is very uncomfortable, and some would say unsafe, for dogs. While there are some situations, such as a cross-country move, in which you have no choice but to check your dog into baggage for a flight, if you are flying for vacation, you should consider simply leaving your dog at home.
Air travel for dogs may be more stressful for the dog than it is worth.
A road trip, on the other hand, is like heaven to many dogs. There are things that you can do to make the travel as smooth as possible.
It is a good idea to get your dog used to the car well in advance of a road trip. Practice by taking your dog on increasingly longer trips. Some dogs do fine with short drives, but may get sick on longer drives. Taking the dogs for longer rides will get him used to the car and will give you an idea of what to expect during your journey.
Allow a LOT of extra time in your travel schedule. Plan on stopping as much as every hour to allow your dog to go to the bathroom and stretch his legs. Some dogs may be able to handle stopping less frequently, but it’s best to plan for frequent stops.
How do you plan to handle meals while on the road? What will you do with the dog while you are eating in a restaurant? Will the weather be such that it will be safe to leave your dog in the car? These are all important questions to consider.
Some people simply eat their meals in the car or at a rest stop picnic area. A rest stop is also a good place to feed your dog rather than having him eat in the car. Be sure to plan to stay at the rest stop for about an hour after eating to allow your dog time to digest his food and relieve himself.
If your dog gets car sick ask the vet if there is a prescription your dog could take to ease his symptoms during your vacation.
Some dog owners purchase a dog harness (a sort of doggy seat belt) for their pet to wear while riding in the car. There are several types of such restraints, so you might want to do a bit of research before deciding on one.
Also, it is a very good idea to have your pet microchipped before taking him on vacation. If your pet gets lost close to home, there is a good chance he may find his way back to your door. If he gets lost in a strange place, your only hope of being reunited is if he has a microchip.
When traveling with a dog, you will also need to find suitable lodging. Happily, more and more hotels, cabins and even bed and breakfast locations are opening their doors to travelers with pets.
You absolutely want to plan ahead for lodging. Even if you know a certain hotel is pet friendly, you should still make a reservation. Some pet friendly locations have a limited number of room in which pets are allowed. Plan your journey carefully, so you will know when and where you need to stop along the way.
Be sure to ask the hotels about breed or size restrictions as well as about any extra fees or deposits that will be required.
Unless you want to be with your dog every minute of your vacation, make some plans for pet sitting. One option is to try and find a hotel that offers pet sitting on site. While not yet terribly common, some hotels offer such a service.
Another option is to find a high quality doggy daycare very close to the hotel. This will allow you the chance to drop the dog off for a few hours each day rather than leaving him alone in the hotel (which is forbidden by many pet friendly locations).
Bringing your dog along on vacation can be a lot of fun. Just be sure to take the time to prepare and plan ahead so the journey can be pleasant for both your human and animal companions.