Most dog owners consider their canine companion to be part of their family, and therefore, loathe leaving them behind, even in the hands of a trusted caretaker, when they go on vacation or other trips. However, traveling with your dog can also seem quite daunting, especially if you feel that you will be constantly stressed with concerns about whether your dog is doing well. It is possible to safely travel with your dog, and for both of you to enjoy it, there are just some things to keep in mind:
- Locate pet-friendly establishments at your destination point, and ask them three important questions: whether they have weight or breed limitations on pet guests, whether pet guests incur an additional fee, what that fee is and whether it’s refundable, and what amenities are included in their “pet-friendly” package. Some hotels say that they are pet-friendly, but all this really means is that they are willing to accept your pet for a fee, and they don’t really have any amenities to make it more comfortable to stay with your pet. Locating truly pet-friendly hotels can be well worth the time and effort.
- Travel with all the basic items you may need for your pet, like a first aid kit, medications, hydrogen peroxide, tick remover, extra leash and collar, flashlight, emergency contact information and veterinarian records. One of the main sources of stress that can occur while traveling with a pet occurs when your pet needs something that you are unable to rapidly provide. By coming prepared, you can handle just about any situation that may arise.
- Remember to never leave your dog alone in a car–even for a moment–and protect them from the sun. A cool, air-conditioned car is certainly important and comfortable, but the sun’s ultraviolet rays can be just as harmful to pets as they are to humans. Some options for sun protection include veterinarian approved and recommended sunblock and in-car sun shades.
- Do not force your dog to come traveling with you. You may really to have your dog join you on your road trip, and you may even believe that as resistant as he initially is he will eventually enjoy being with you more than he would like to be left at home, but the fact is that some dogs are really quite traumatized by car trips. This may possibly be due to the fact that most car trips have led to the veterinarian or the groomer. You can try to change this way in advance of your road trip by taking your dog for increasingly longer rides around the block or to a favorite park. However, if your dog continues to worry about getting into the car, consider living him behind with a trusted caretaker.
- Research veterinary care options in the vicinity of your travel destination, and even along the way if you are taking a somewhat long road trip. Ideally, your canine companion will be entirely well the entire time you are traveling, but the fact is that emergencies can and do occur for dogs, just as they can and do occur for humans. The experience of such a pet emergency can be disconcerting even when you are at home, let alone when you are miles from home and feel you have no options. By having a connection with and information on a nearby veterinary clinic, you can better help your dog receive the critical care they may need in an emergency.
There is no reason why you cannot take vacations simply because you own a dog, and there is no reason why you cannot take your dog with you on some of these vacations. However, by following the basic tips outlined above, you can ensure that you both have a fun and safe trip.