Traveling with your dog can be very rewarding. It can, however, present several obstacles such as lowering expectations for hotel options or being completely barred from others. Sightseeing and shopping may also be off the table or tremendously curtailed in favor of more outdoor-friendly venues and sights.
PLAN. PLAN. PLAN.
- Assess your dog’s health and temperament. Is your dog older with bladder control issues? Does she get bored easily chewing everything in sight? These behaviors are tough to manage away from home. Before you move any further with your travel plans, make sure you have these under control.
- Don’t assume that because your destination is outdoors like a National Park that your dog will be welcome. Call ahead — or better yet email (to have it in writing) — to inquire in advance. While you have their attention, also ask if there are any predators you need to be aware of.
- Be sure to check if hotels or campgrounds can accommodate your pet.
- Have the number and address of the nearest emergency animal clinic.
- Update your information on her tags and make sure her microchip is registered (if applicable).
For Road Trips
Make sure your dog is up to the long drive. If your pooch doesn’t join you in the car regularly, start by taking her out on short car rides a few weeks before you leave. Make sure to create a comfortable place for her along with any harnesses, blankets, wee-wee pads or car seats you may need to make time in the car bearable.
On the day of travel, make sure she gets plenty of exercise before hopping in the car so she can get the crazies out. Of course, be sure to pack her food, any medicine and fresh water.
For Air Travel
Flying is another animal. Â Large dogs are considered cargo and will require an airline-approved crate. If you have a small/toy dog, she can travel in a carrier that fits under the seat. A carrier with wheels will make getting from point A to point B a lot easier on you. Remember, there’s a fee associated with traveling with a pet and you must reserve a space in advance.
Family vs. Hotel
Just because friends and family love your dog when they come over for a visit doesn’t mean they want her on their turf. So if you are planning to stay with friends or relatives, make sure to find out if they are okay with you bringing your pet and if there is room for her. Most of the time a hotel is the better choice.
These days lots of hotels are okay with your canine friend accompanying you. Bear in mind some hotels have weight limits and some have restrictions on certain breeds. Remember that when dogs are barred from certain locations or establishments, it’s because a negligent pet owner screwed up, so be mindful and responsible. Clean up after your dog, make sure she doesn’t destroy the place and don’t be the reason they make a new rule about not accepting dogs any longer.
Start Her Early
If you’re planning on making your pet a regular traveling companion, starting her early goes a long way to years of joyful pet travel. Bringing your puppy everywhere you go during its first 18 weeks is said to have the most impact on how future excursions shape up. That is a puppy’s most critical social growth period. The earlier a puppy can learn to adapt to the unpredictable nature of traveling, the better it will be for you both going forward.
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