It’s vacation time and you need to consider whether you will be traveling with your dog or leaving him behind. Part of your decision will be the kind of vacation you want to take and where. Make your decision with lots of time to plan, so you can make arrangements for him in either case. Below are the things to take into consideration when traveling with your dog.
Travel is Stressful on Your Dog
Traveling may be fun for you, but it is stressful for your dog, causing him confusion and anxiety. Dogs are creatures of habit and routine. They are happiest when they are in familiar surroundings. As much as you want to have your dog with you, this is the time to think of him and what he needs as opposed to what you want. There will be situations where leaving Fido behind is better than taking him with you. If your dog is not well-behaved and well-trained, it would be better to leave him at home.
If you are planning on taking him, you need to plan and make arrangements in advance to avoid any surprises or catastrophes along the way. Call all locations you are planning on visiting and ask if they allow dogs. If they do, also ask if there are any restrictions.
Make Sure Shots are Up-to-date
You will need a certificate of health from your vet and a record of up-to-date shots if you are planning on crossing the border or flying with your dog. Your dog should wear his collar at all times while traveling. Make sure your dog has an identification tag with your contact information attached to his collar along with another form of identification such as a micro-chip or tattoo.
BYOF: Bring Your Own Food
Bring enough of your dog’s regular food to cover the duration of your trip, plus a few extra meals in case you are delayed in returning home for any reason. It’s best to take the food with you, rather than banking on being able to find his brand of food in the location you are traveling to. If you are traveling within your own country, it is helpful to pre-portion his food into single-serve packages using Ziploc bags. Also make sure you have sufficient water for him. Bottled water is preferable as your dog can get sick from drinking water in a strange location.
Travel food and water bowls are convenient to have as you can fold them up and put them away when your dog is finished with his meal. It also saves having to carry heavier ceramic bowls, which can break in transit.
If you are traveling to another country, you’ll want to purchase a smaller sized bag of your dog’s food and make sure it stays sealed. Very often, foreign countries will not allow you in with an open bag of dog food as it could potentially be contaminated with pests. Purchase only the size you’ll need for your trip as you may not be able to return home with the leftovers either.
Clean Up After Your Dog
Remember to be a good citizen and be diligent about cleaning up after your dog. Nobody wants to stumble upon your dog’s poop. Make sure you pack lots of poop bags.
What to Pack for Your Dog:
- Food & treats (unopened if traveling out of the country)
- Bottled Water
- Food and water dishes
- Collar & Leash with ID tags
- Towels to dry off with
- Blankets or a dog bed
- First aid kit for dogs
- Grooming tools – brushes, de-shedding tool etc.
- Toys and bones
- Poop bags
- Any medication your dog may be taking
Staying In a Hotel with Your Dog
These days, there are many pet-friendly hotel options available to pet owners. It is still a good idea to book ahead. Let the reservation staff know that you are bringing a dog with you. Most hotels set aside specific rooms as pet rooms, so even though a hotel allows pets, once they sell out of their pet-friendly rooms, you may be out of luck. Be prepared to pay extra for having your dog stay with you. It will cost you anywhere from $15 – $75 or more, depending on the type of hotel.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone
Never leave your dog alone in the hotel room. Not even to just run out to grab a quick bite to eat. Your dog is in a strange environment, with new smells, people and sounds that he is not used to. Dogs in strange situations can bark more than they would if they were at home. No matter how well-trained a dog is, you may find that he barks continuously while you are gone, disturbing others. He may also cause damage to the hotel room out of anxiety.
Find a “Pet-Friendly” Hotel
Look for hotels that don’t just allow pets, but are pet-friendly. They will have additional services catering to your dog that will make his stay a little more pleasant and fun.