When it comes to traveling with your dog planning can mean the difference between a memorable, trip and a nightmare vacation that you’ll never forget. Before you board that train, plane or automobile here are a few things to consider.
1. Microchip your dog. If (heaven forbid) the worst happens and you’re separated make sure he is wearing ID and has been chipped. You can contact one of the many companies that perform the service ( Crystal Tag , HomeAgain , Microchip ID (AVID) or you can ask your local pet store if they offer microchipping. It can seem like an expensive luxury but the peace-of-mind it affords is priceless.
2. Training. Unruly, uncontrolled behavior will often be amplified in unfamiliar environments. If your dog is scared or uncertain he will express these emotions by being uncooperative, impatient and excitable. Your dog will look to you for reassurance and calm so if you have trouble providing that for your dog it’s time to attend an obedience school. You will be taught how to handle a variety of situations but most importantly you’ll be taught how to exert your authority as leader of the pack and nothing calms a dog more effectivly that knowing he is in the good hands of his pack leader.
3. Make sure you are armed. With poop bags, a leash some treats, and it’s also a really good idea to have a bath replacement spray like Dry Dog Instant Clean to deal with the odors of a confined dog. However if the smell is emanating from the inside of your dog opening the car window will only help so much. We always prep our traveling dogs with Dog Smog Remedy a few days in advance of the journey. Not only does it help with bad breath but the digestive enzymes in the formula diminish bad gas, and I’m sure I don’t have to point out how that can ruin a road trip.
4. Should he even come along? If you’re on business or won’t have a lot of time to spend together it may be a better idea, no matter how painful, to leave your little guy at home. If you have a friend or a family member willing to take him that’s always preferable however there are many excellent kennels available that will provide a welcoming environment for your baby. The best way to find one is by referral, from your vet, someone at the dog park, from a friend; it’s hard to beat experience when looking for someone to watch over your most precious possession.
5. If you’re flying, can you bring your dog in the cabin with you? If he’s small enough it’s much better option for all concerned. Check with your airline about the regulations regarding traveling with your best friend and make sure you have an airline approved carrier .
6. Prepare for calm. There are many products on the market that will help to calm your dog before traveling but if you’re looking for an all-natural, highly effective solution Sleepytime tonic is perfect. It’s a great idea to start the program a few days in advance of departure with a few drops twice a day in your dog’s mouth, (or if he resists this you can put it on a treat or in his water). By the time you leave he’ll be much calmer, more relaxed and ready for the adventure.
7. Road trip!. The car is by far the best way to travel with your dog. Usually the back seat is a familiar location and perhaps he even has his own blanket and car toys. However if your dog only rides with you to the vet it might be a good idea to prepare for the trip by taking him to the dog park, or to the store (for treats) so he starts to associate the car with good things. Needless to say take plenty of water and stop often for a walk and a bathroom break, and don’t forget the poop bags and the leash.
8. Stay! Remember that just because a hotel allows dogs that doesn’t mean that they actively welcome them, and here the internet is an invaluable tool. Do plenty of research before you leave the house. Make sure that the hotel has an area to walk and play with your dog. Check the fine print about liability associated with bringing your dog to the hotel.
9. Camping. Now here is a great vacation for a dog; back to the wild, lots of open space and room to run off leash. But beware, many state and national parks do not allow dogs. If you have a smaller dog please be vigilant and make sure your little guy does not stray too far into the woods alone. Nature can be cruel and uncompromising; You see a wonderful ball of love and fluff but there are plenty of creatures out there who see a tasty morsel.
10. Emergencies. The last thing you want on any vacation is a medical emergency but it does happen and it’s smart to be prepared. If your dog has medical issues don’t forget to bring any medication and it’s always a good idea to bring his medical records and the phone number of your vet back home.
Vacation can be a relaxing, rejuvenating experience for the whole family and a little planning can be the difference between getting away from it all and feeling all alone and helpless