What can be better than vacationing with your bestfriend? Experiencing relaxation without the worry of how your dog is faring away from the family can provide the ultimate getaway experience. However, before leaving home for an extended period of time with your pup in tow, there are a few considerations that must first be made.
Before you arrive to your destination, there is plenty of planning and packing that must take place to ensure safe travels.
Make sure your dog’s microchip and tags are up to date and that you have a recent photo of your pet on your phone in case he happens to wander off. Also be sure to print vet and vaccine records in case of an emergency, as this paperwork can greatly expedite an unplanned veterinary visit. Research your destination and locate nearby veterinary clinics, dog parks, daycare or boarding facilities (should you decide to spend a day without your pup), and dog friendly restaurants to avoid hassle down the road. If staying in a hotel, check whether management requires your pet to be crated if you are not present in the room.
When packing for your pet, include items that will make him feel safe, such as a favorite toy, blanket, and bed. Portion your dog’s meals into plastic baggies to make feeding time easy and convenient, and do not forget any additional items, such as dental chews or treats. Look ahead and make sure you pack any necessary medications or preventatives, such as heartworm pills or flea and tick treatments. An interactive dog toy, such as a KONG, is also recommended, as this will help ease boredom during travel or downtime.
When traveling with your dog, you should determine the best way to safely transport your pet. If flying, look for an airline that will allow your pet in the cabin or choose a reliable pet shipping service. Avoid placing your dog in the cargo hold of an airplane, where temperature, air pressure, and noise levels are not controlled. If driving, be sure to crate or restrain your dog in the car. Not only can a loose dog be distracting to the driver, but the dog’s chances of sustaining serious injury in the event of an accident are drastically increased. Never allow your dog to hang his or her head out of the car window, either.
Every year, veterinarians treat serious head and eye injuries caused by collisions with branches or road debris.
After arriving to your destination, be sure to keep your dog’s routine as normal as possible. Unless you have traveled to this location with your pet before, he or she will likely become anxious about the new surroundings. If possible, keep meal time and exercise routines the same. Even if your dog typically behaves well off-leash, keep him leashed when exploring. New experiences can cause your pet to spook more easily, resulting in your pup running off and potentially becoming lost. New sights, sounds, and wildlife may also pose too much of a temptation for your pet, and he may decide to explore but not be able to find his way back in unfamiliar territory.
Ultimately, remember to enjoy your free time with your pet. Planning ahead will keep your vacation stress free, as will knowing that your dog is enjoying time spent together with the family, instead of in a kennel. Happy travels!