Most dog owners consider their four legged friends a true part of the family and treat them as such in every way until vacation time rolls around. Pets are frequently left behind simply because owners don’t know how to travel with animals in tow. If you’re tired of coming home to a pouty or sick dog and want to take him along, here are a few dog travel 101 tips to help make the adventure of traveling fun and stress-free.
What to bring
- Health Certificates – Your vet can provide necessary health certificates for traveling. Even if you have a rabies tag on the dog’s collar, you need the health certificate for checking in hotels, kennels and airports.
- Vet Info – Have your vet’s information handy or programmed into your phone. Tuck a couple of business cards into different bags for quick access.
- Updated I.D. Tags – Your dog’s collar and leash should have your name, dog’s name and a good phone number. These can be special ordered, monogrammed onto the leash and collar or written in indelible ink. Personally, I like the metal tags for the leash.
- Flea & Tick Prevention – You never know what your pet will come in contact with while traveling. Even city dogs need flea and tick prevention so don’t forget to take and use it.
- Clean Up Bags – Be a considerate traveller and bring your own cleanup bags. They’re lightweight and a small roll should get you through a couple of weeks easily.
- Food and Water – Obviously, you want your dog fed and hydrated but you may not be able to depend on finding the particular food your dog likes in your vacation destination. Take your own in the quantity needed for the length of vacation plus a day. We use bottled water for traveling for our dog and us. It keeps the stomach bugs at bay.
- Medication – If your dog takes medication regularly, make sure you have an adequate supply plus a little extra. For flying or driving through mountainous areas, anti-nausea medicine is a good idea. Many dogs are fine riding around close to home but when changing elevations or cruising a winding road, they become sick and miserable.
- Photo Of Your Dog – A recent photo of your dog will be handy in case you’re separated. The chances are slim to none but better safe than sorry.
- Blanket, Toy, Brush – Don’t forget to bring along your pet’s favorite blanket, pillow, a toy or two and a good brush to keep his coat pretty for vacation photos.
On The Road
Tempting, as it is to let the dog look out a partially rolled down window, it’s a dangerous practice. Paws can bring that window down far enough to allow the dog to jump through. A safer option is a pet carrier. That way, if something excites your dog, he won’t be jumping out, from seat to seat or get between your foot and the gas or brake pedal.
If you absolutely cannot leave your dog in the pet carrier, put a dog proof seat cover in your car. Nervous dogs tend to chew and drool more than usual but that’s no reason to let them destroy the interior of a car.
In The Air
When crated for a flight, include in your pet’s carrier a small water soaked chew toy of some sort. The moisture will keep his mouth from drying out while flying.
Look ahead for pet-friendly hotels or rentals. Some accommodations allow dogs up to 30 lbs. while others accommodate larger breeds as well. Always find out prior to arrival if your dog’s size and breed is welcome. Many hotels that allow pets have exceptions for particular breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweiler’s and Doberman Pinschers.
In some ways dogs are easier to travel with than kids. They don’t ask, “How much longer?” every 3 minutes and are generally happy just to be with their humans. Unlike kids, they are restricted from certain places but, if planned correctly, a vacation with your dog can be a very rewarding experience.