Who doesn't love to go on a vacation? Tens of thousands of people every summer will pack their bags and go off in search of rest and relaxation away from home. And while some people will opt to find a dog sitter or board their pet somewhere, many will bring Fido along on the adventure!
While traveling with your dog is a dream come true for many, there are important safety steps you should take to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Keep reading for tips on traveling with your pet this summer!
Before you leave
We recommend having your dog’s health checked out by your vet before leaving. Hopefully you get a clean bill of health and can enjoy your vacation without concern. If your vet notices something a little off with your pet, you can not only receive advice on whether or not travel is recommended, but if you do take him/her with you you’ll have the most up to date information about their health. Always take your pet’s veterinary records with you, should you need to visit a vet while away.
Ensure that your pet can be easily identified if you two become separated on your trip. Affix a durable pet ID tag with up to date information to your pet’s collar that can easily be read and have him/her microchipped. A tag, like the WaggTagg from Bark Busters, will be the first thing someone will look for if they find your pet, and a microchip is a permanent form of ID that can be scanned and provide all of your contact information.
Pack a supply of your dog’s usual food with you – a vacation is not the time to change up their diet! We also advise trying to find out where your pet’s food is sold where you’re going on vacation so you will know that you have what they need.
The single most important piece of advice we can give for transportation by car is to ensure that your pet is properly restrained. An unrestrained dog is not only a danger to themselves but also to you. There are many safety harnesses or car seats on the market that you can purchase for the backseat of your vehicle. And if you must transport your dog in the bed of your truck, use a crate or carrier that has been properly and securely tied to the bed to prevent it from moving around.
If traveling by air or train, ensure that you have purchased an airline- or train-approved carrier. You can check the airline or train’s respective website to determine the requirements.
Exercise your pet before you leave and after you’ve reached your destination. This helps him/her to be more relaxed during the journey and to acclimate to their new surroundings upon arrival. When letting your pet out of the car or travel crate, it’s important to leash them immediately. Even the most obedient of pets can become disoriented during travel and react unusually.
If you have previously taught your dog toileting commands, it may help make traveling easier at quick rest stops or designated toileting spots at an airport or hotel.
When you get there
Let your dog explore their new accommodations and show them where they can find their food and water. Be sure to take them for a walk around where you’ll be staying so they can become familiar with their surroundings.
If you are staying in a pet-friendly hotel, check their policy on leaving your pet alone in the hotel room while you go out to a meal. Some may specify that this is not allowed and you will be held responsible for any damages to the room caused by your dog.
There is no question that bringing your dog along on a vacation can be great fun and an amazing experience. You may have to make some compromises on what you can do with your four-legged friend but with some planning in advance and having realistic expectations you all can have an amazing vacation together!