One of the hardest parts about taking a trip is leaving your dog behind, which is why so many pet owners are choosing to take their pups along with them, wherever they go. Whether you are traveling by car or plane, you want the experience to be comfortable and pleasant for both you and your dog. Even if your pet is always ready to hop in the car and ride along with you, you can make a few easy changes in how you travel to accommodate the needs of your dog.
Here are six suggestions for calming your dog’s anxiety about traveling to make your trip a success.
- Know Your Dog
- Get Professional Help
- Get a Little Practice
- Pack Smart
- All About the Destination
- Take Your Time
Know Your Dog
Before you hit the road, you should do a little dog soul-searching to make sure a trip is feasible with your pet. Is your pup-friendly with strangers? Does it enjoy car rides? How does it react in new surroundings or with other dogs it doesn’t know? If your dog prefers the comfort and safety of familiar spaces, then you may want to rethink traveling with it. Your anxious pup may be calmer staying with a friend or a boarding kennel that you know and trust.
Get Professional Help
A visit to the vet is also a good idea before you take a trip with your dog for an examination to determine if your pooch is healthy enough to travel. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date, and any medicine taken regularly has been refilled. If you are flying, you may need to provide the airline with a certificate of health signed by your veterinarian, so be sure you check to see what paperwork is required.
Get a Little Practice
Before you head out for a long drive, you may want to take your dog on shorter trips to get it accustomed to the feeling of riding in a car. Some animals can get motion sickness just like humans do, but you don’t want to find that out in the middle of a ten-hour road trip. Establish safe driving practices, such as using a crate or seat restraint, so that your pet understands the rules, such as no riding in the driver’s lap, no hanging heads out the window, and absolutely no free-riding in the back of a pick-up truck. Get into a routine for car travel now, and your dog will know the drill when it comes time to hit the road.
Do you make a packing list for yourself before you go on a trip? It’s a great way to help you remember everything you may need while you are away from home. Make a list for your dog too; while it may be easy for you to pick up a toothbrush or other essentials at your destination, the same may not be right for the items your dog regularly uses. This pup packing list can get you started, but you may want to add some unique things just for your pet:
- Food and dish
- A water dish, possibly a collapsible one designed for travel
- A crate or pet carrier
- An ID tag with your current information
- Collar or harness and leash
- Pet wipes or old towels
- Shampoo and brush
- A blanket or dog bed
- A favorite toy or two
- Any medications
If you make your list on your smartphone or another device you carry with you, you can recheck it before you head back home to prevent leaving anything behind.
All About the Destination
You are not alone in wanting to travel with your dog; so many people like to take their pooches with them that lots of hotels and restaurants cater to their crowd. You can arrange pet-friendly accommodations before you go so that you don’t run into any problems when you arrive. Keep in mind that the same may apply to staying with friends or family; it would be less than ideal to show up and find out your hosts did not know your dog was coming with you.
Take Your Time
Any time you travel with your dog, you should plan stops along the way. Your dog may not be able to communicate when it has physical needs, so it is up to you to anticipate hunger, thirst, potty breaks, or even just a walk to use up some energy. Build these breaks into your itinerary or research where you can stop on your route that your dog can get out too. You should never plan on leaving your dog in a parked car!