Traveling with your dog
can be fun!
Are you planning on traveling with your dog? Whether you're planning to take a road trip with your four-legged friend, are moving house, or thinking about dog friendly vacations, this page will help you get on your way.
Having little Fido along for the ride can be great, but it does need a little forward planning. To make that just a little easier, we've put together a few tips and bits of advice that will help make your next dog travel trip a fun and memorable one!
Here's the lowdown on all the most important things you'll need to know (and do) before you and Fido set foot, or paw, on the road!
Have dog, will travel
Traveling with your dog can be wonderful.... but it can also be stressful and/or disappointing. There are lots of different factors that determine how your trip turns out but the following points are the most important -
- Your dog's personality
- Your organizational skills and level of preparation
- How flexible you can be
- Your sense of humor!
The idea of heading down the highway at a moments notice, while Fido sits happily in the passenger seat, is appealing but not very realistic.
If you have children you're ahead of the game, because taking a road trip with little Fido involves pretty much the same process as traveling with little Susie. And if you don't have kids yet, let me give you a clue - preparation, preparation and more preparation!!
Although there are many different modes of transport today, we're going to start with the humble road trip. That's because it's the easiest and most popular way of traveling with your dog.
You're in control of your vehicle, schedule, route, stops etc. and can tailor the journey to meet the unexpected eg. motion sickness, potty breaks or even that tempting bakery you just spotted!
If you have a new puppy it's important to make sure he's familiar with the car and has been on several short trips before you embark on that marathon drive to Tuscon. A few practice runs will give you the heads-up on any potential problems and give you the chance to adjust your plans accordingly.
If staying at a hotel is in your plans, be sure to pick dog-friendly accommodation and remember to double-check their requirements and regulations by calling ahead.
Some hotels have weight limits on the dogs they allow to stay in their rooms, pet deposits, higher room rates etc., and it helps to know what's expected ahead of time. Spending the night in your car with Fido on your lap is no way to start a relaxing vacation!
When traveling with your dog, there are certain things you can take along that will make the whole trip that much easier for both of you.
It's just not safe to let Fido travel unrestrained in your car. Depending on his size and personality there are several different options available.
Smaller dogs can use dog-carriers (pretty much padded, lined open-topped boxes) that are especially designed to be used with car seatbelts. For medium and large breeds a proper dog seat-belt is the safest option.
When you're traveling with your dog, it helps if your little furball is used to a crate. If he is happy in his crate and you have room for one alongside all that luggage they're a very safe way for him to travel.
Crates have the added benefit of giving little Fido a safe and familiar place to sleep when you reach your destination, very useful if you're staying in a hotel.
See a great selection of dog supplies and accessories here, including dog travel crates and carriers, harness and seat restraints, car seat covers and protectors, ramps, dog stairs, pet barriers to keep Fido safe... even doggie sunglasses/goggles for the pooch who absolutely MUST stick his head out of the window!
When traveling with your dog, plan ahead and find out as much as you can about the area you'll be staying in. Look for dog-friendly attractions, restaurants, parks, beaches etc.
Your hotel will most likely have lots of information and don't be afraid to ask other people you see out and about with their dogs - locals will know the best spots and other vacationers may have already had a chance to get 'the lie of the land'.
Better safe than sorry
A road trip with Fido can be tons of fun but to make sure it doesn't end in tears there are a few safety rules to follow.
Be sure that your furbaby is up to date on all his shots before you leave on your trip. When you're traveling with your dog he'll be coming into contact with all kinds of new places, dogs and people and you want to be sure he's properly protected from all canine illnesses.
Try to avoid busy rest-stops along the highway as many, many dogs use these - and you can't be sure their owners are as conscientious as you are about vaccinations. Get off the highway and find a quieter spot for Fido to relieve himself whenever possible.
When you're traveling with your dog, it's easy for your puppy to get confused or disoriented and wander off.
If Fido doesn't already wear an identification tag this is the time to get him one. Make sure it's firmly attached to his collar and has his name and your contact information - including your cell phone number - in clear view. His rabies tag should also be on his collar.
A micro-chip or tattoo is highly recommended when you're traveling with your dog. Collars can come off and ID tags can get lost whereas micro-chips and tattoos are permanent.
Many dogs die of heatstroke every year and in the majority it's due to owners leaving their pets in a car "for just a few minutes". NEVER, EVER leave your puppy or dog in a car during warm weather (even in cool weather it's not advisable).
The temperature inside your car will rise dramatically, a study done by Stanford University determined that even on relatively cool days the temperature inside a car can rise to 116F within an hour.
Short nosed breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs are especially at risk. Heatstroke is very dangerous and often fatal. Don't ever take the chance with your puppy's life.
Take a look at this important information to find out more about the dangers of overheating and how to keep little Fido cool and comfortable.
If traveling with your dog involves a destination where there's lots of lovely sunshine, you need to know that dogs can also suffer from sunburn. Surprising isn't it? White dogs and those with thin coats are especially at risk so be sure to keep Fido in the shade as much as possible.
Beyond the open road
If you want to be a little more adventurous or travel further afield, why not think about dog friendly vacations?
There are a lot of possibilities there, and with a bit of research and planning, everyone family member can enjoy a well deserved break!
Dog Friendly Vacations
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