Travelling with man’s best friend can be an incredible experience—this is one travel companion who won’t argue with you over which attractions to visit, but may stop you to smell new and exciting fire hydrants. However, vacationing with your dog requires a little bit of advance planning. Here’s how to do it.
Before hitting the road with your dog in tow, you’ll want to make sure he’s in good health. Take him for a check-up before the trip, make sure all his vaccinations are up-to-date and get his nails clipped.
You’ll also want to check that your transportation can accommodate your pet, particularly if you’ll be flying. Don’t book your hotel until you’re sure Rover is going to be able to accompany you on the plane, train, bus or boat.
Your dog isn’t going to be sitting in a seat like his human companion, so you’ll want to procure an appropriate travel container, particularly if you’ll be flying. Make sure your container conforms to airline regulations if you’re travelling by plane.
Just in case something unfortunate should happen, locate an emergency vet clinic in the area you’re visiting. Emergencies can happen and make sure your dog insurance provider has a provider in the area as well. Your dog might be invincible, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
You’ll need to add a few additional items to your baggage if you’ll be travelling with Rover. Bring along his medical records if necessary—these can be a life saver should he need emergency medical attention. Also bring along any medication or supplements he has to take. A pet first aid kit is highly recommended.
Some additional travel supplies will also be needed to transport your pooch and ensure he arrives at your destination without tears. A crate with attached photo ID will help you move him from place to place in situations where he can’t walk alongside you. Keep another copy of his photo ID in your wallet. Finally, you’ll want to include one of his favourite toys or items to help him reduce anxiety.
You’ll also need to pack some of the doggy supplies you regularly use at home. These might include extra food, a harness or leash and plastic bags for waste collection. Bring along some bottled water as well, just in case Rover gets thirsty when you don’t have access to water.
If you’ll be travelling a long distance, flying is the fastest and most convenient way to do it. Airport and airline professionals have a standard protocol to follow when handling dogs, which reduces confusion.
The most obvious disadvantage of air travel with a pet is that it is usually more expensive than other forms of transport. You’ll also have to obtain a crate that’s approved for air travel. Then there’s making sure you don’t fall foul of the many regulations, going through customs and doing all the necessary paperwork.
There’s also a chance your dog might not even be allowed to fly at all if he’s hampered by restrictions on size, age and health. Some pets also get very anxious or stressed out by flying.
If you’re taking your dog on a road trip and travelling by car, both of you get to enjoy a more manageable schedule—no running around airports! You get to enjoy toilet breaks and walk breaks along the way, and you won’t have to worry about as many regulations. A major plus is that many dogs enjoy riding in cars, so the experience can be great fun for Rover.
There are some minor inconveniences to put up with, of course. If your dog is a shedder, expect to spend quite a bit of time vacuuming up dog hair. You’ll also have to deal with a longer travel duration if you’re travelling far from home. In addition, just like humans, some dogs do get anxious or carsick in vehicles. If that sounds like your pet, it’s going to be a long journey for him.
No matter where you’ll be staying, Rover will be coming along, so choose only accommodation that’s pet-friendly.
Some pet-friendly hotels prominently declare on their websites that they accommodate pets, while for other hotels you might have to call in advance to find out. When you make your booking, don’t forget to ask about deposit charges or surcharges pet owners might have to pay.
Check for pet-friendly activities in and around your accommodation so Rover doesn’t get bored. Staying close to parks or nature trails can be enhance your pet’s experience, and pet-friendly cafes or vineyard tours enable your dog to join you every step of the way. The internet is the most obvious way to find out about such locations.
Keeping Rover Sane
Travelling can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a little stressful. Keep Rover well-exercised before, during and after your trip. A lack of exercise will make your pet irritable and more easily stressed out. Find the time to let him run around. After all, you want him to enjoy the trip as much as you do!
Finally, your pet might not be able to speak, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have his own opinions on your holiday activities! If he seems tired, bored or stressed, that could be a cue that it’s time to try something else.
Your vacation doesn’t have to be a dog-less set of days. Taking steps to ensure your dog’s health is top notch will give you peace of mind. Like any adventure, packing the right supplies is crucial. Whether you are flying or driving, knowing your transportation options are important to the planning of your vacation. And finally, make sure the accommodation you chose will let your four-legged friend stay the night. It’s your time off, and with these steps you can spend it with your best friend!