Are you hoping to bring your dog along on your next vacation? Traveling with a pet can be complicated, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely impossible. So, here are a few tips to help you and your pup have a great trip together.
Before you hit the road, bring your dog to the vet to make sure they’re healthy enough for travel and up to date on any shots. If you’re planning on international travel, research the rules for bringing dogs into every country on your itinerary, including back home. Nearly all countries (and many states!) require dogs to be registered and up to date on certain shots. Also, make sure you know what your dog needs, and bring documentation to back it up.
If your pup isn’t already microchipped, this is the time to do so. No one wants to imagine their pet might get away from them while on vacation, but if they do, it can be hard or almost impossible to find them through a regular search. Microchipping them will dramatically increase their odds of coming back safe and sound.
This is also a great opportunity to talk to your vet about anti-nausea or anti-anxiety meds if you’re worried about your pet’s constitution on the road. However, you can also discuss sedation, but a heads up: Some vets won’t be comfortable with this option unless travel is totally necessary, such as for a long-distance move.
Air vs. Road
There are pros and cons to bringing dogs along on any kind of transport. If you opt to travel by plane, make sure you check out the airline and the airport’s rules for dogs. These can vary from airline to airline, so don’t assume one journey’s preparations will be the same as another’s. Finally, check out airport maps for every stop along the way, and identify any designated walking/potty areas for your pooch.
If you’re driving, be sure to plan lots of stops throughout your road trip. This will give your dog an opportunity to move around, do their business, and smell a little something special all along the way. Invest in a good dog seat or seat-belt harness that has good reviews online — beyond being required by law in some places, a wandering dog is a danger to itself and to you. Finally, be wary about letting your pup stick its head out of the window. Even though dogs absolutely love this, there are a number of risks, especially at higher speeds.
There are a few items you’ll want to bring along on your trip to make things easier. For example, collapsible food and water bowls are helpful whether you’re on the road or at your destination. You can get dog-tailored luggage designed to all your dog’s food, treats, and accessories. Finally, consider picking up a pair of doggie booties, especially if you’re going somewhere warm. Nature trails and hot pavement alike can be dangerous for your pal’s paws.
Where to Go
First and foremost, make sure to find dog-friendly lodging. Many hotels offer pet-friendly rooms, but be sure to mention you need one while making your reservation!
Beyond that, match your vacation to your dog’s personality and energy level. If you’ve got a bundle of energy, consider a camping trip! Long hikes and plenty of things to see and sniff will keep your dog thoroughly entertained. Be sure to keep your pup’s safety in mind, as well. You might be tempted to let them explore nature unleashed, but there are many dangers for dogs in the woods. It’s best to keep them leashed so you always know what they’ve gotten into.
If you’ve got a couch potato, they may be happiest joining you on a low-key, relaxation-based vacation. A few days lounging on the beach or a cabin’s wrap-around porch can do you and your pup a world of good. Remember: Even relaxing vacations can hold some doggie dangers. The same rule about wildlife applies, and always use a dog life vest if you have them unleashed near a body of water: Even water-shy dogs can surprise you.
The important thing is to have fun with your dog! Pick some place you both will have fun, but also ensure you’ve got all the essential under control so you will have a wonderful trip.
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