It can be fun to bring your dog on vacation, but it requires planning so everything goes smoothly, eliminating possible complications that may put your dog in danger or in distress.
Making sure your dog is healthy
Make sure your dog is healthy before you go. Visit your vet for a checkup and get some last minute advice on how to keep your dog healthy while traveling. Your vet can customize advice for you, and if your dog gets motion sickness, he can prescribe anti-nausea medication for her.
If you’re traveling by air, airlines require certification of health within 10 days of travel, including up-to-date rabies and vaccination certifications. Keep copies of documents with you, especially if you travel internationally.
Traveling by air
Be sure to make reservations for your dog when you make reservations for yourself. Airlines have different rules and different pet accommodations, which you will want to thoroughly investigate. Choose the airline that will make your dog most comfortable. Some airlines will allow you to bring a crated pet in the passenger section if the crate fits under the seat.
Check pet policies carefully, and check again as your trip approaches, because pet policies can change suddenly. Confirm your dog’s safe travel yet again before you go.
Taking a road trip
If you’re taking your own car, make sure you’ve gotten your dog acclimated to long rides and you have a comfortable arrangement for her. As tempting as it may be, don’t let your dog hang her head out the window when you drive! She loves to catch all the exciting smells that wiz by, but she could also get debris in her eyes, exhaust up her nose, and might even be hit by something flying up off the road. Crack the window, but don’t let her stick her head out.
Since you don’t want your dog wandering all over the car while you’re driving, for her own safety and for yours, make sure she is restrained. For small dogs, you may want to have a comfy crate strapped into a seat belt to keep your pup safe while traveling. For larger dogs, consider a “doggy seat belt.”
You need to plan frequent potty breaks that also allow your dog time to stretch her limbs. You and your passengers will also appreciate the stretch, especially children. To minimize risk of nausea or vomiting, skip your dog’s breakfast, and feed her lightly during the trip, but make sure she has plenty of water when you stop. Give her an occasional treat while driving and tell her what a good girl she is being! Our Saint Rocco’s Sprinkles are perfect for this. Save our larger treats, like Cheeseburger, Chicken and Sweets, or Carnivores Choice for the rest stops. You can even use one of our treats to coax her back into the car if she is reluctant to get back on the road. One of our Venison Bones to chew on during the ride would keep her happy and occupied.
Make sure the kids don’t stress the dog with too much attention during the drive, even with too much hugging, because she won’t be able to get away. Secure her away from any younger children who may entertain themselves by giving her too much-unwanted attention.
And never, never, never leave your dog alone in the car! Not only can she easily overheat, but dog thieves also steal dogs from cars daily. Don’t let your pup be a victim.
Make sure the place where you will be ultimately staying is pet-friendly. This means more than just allowing dogs. This means having a positive environment for dogs and having other vacationers who are also dog-friendly. In such a location, your dog may even have some friendly dogs to play with! If you have to stop at hotels or motels along the way, do your research ahead of time and find what hotel chains are pet friendly. There are several.
When you arrive at your destination, give your dog time to get used to the new environment. Remember, she has no idea what is going on. Be sure to bring familiar items: her bed or crate, her favorite toys, her favorite treats and food, and her own familiar food and water bowls. Set up her food area, put one of our treats in her bowl so she has a positive experience in the new environment, settle her in her sleeping area, and let her relax. Don’t leave her until she is comfortable in her new surroundings.
Plan fun dog activities
Wherever you go, don’t leave your dog at the hotel or resort all day while you go out having fun. Make sure every day includes an activity in which your four-footed friend can participate. If she is crate trained, you should be able to leave her in the crate for a few hours (getting her used to it gradually) but don’t leave her all day. You brought her along so you can have fun together!
With some advanced planning, you can make sure that you, your family, and your beloved dog will all have fun together!