Springtime is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning your spring and summer vacations. Wait! Do not forget about your dog! Nothing is quite as fun as planning a vacation, packing up and heading out of town for a weekend or longer trip. It is always nice to get away. A change of scenery from time to time is always good for you and is good for your dog as well. Why wouldn’t a dog love to travel and be exposed to new places? When planning your trip with your pup, there are a few things that will help you make the trip a positive experience for everyone.
1) Visit your vet and make sure your pup is healthy and caught up on vaccinations. Make sure to bring these records with you when you travel, just in case!
2) ID your dog. Whether you microchip or just have his and your name on his collar, make sure that all of the information is current.
3) When packing, include your dog’s food, food and water dishes, treats, blankets, dog bed, leash, grooming supplies and toys. Providing familiarity can assure the physical and mental comfort of your dog. Do not forget a container of drinking water for the vehicle and a first aid kit.
4) Make sure to research “dog friendly” accommodations. Find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many hotels do not accept dogs, or have size or breed restrictions. If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff and the property. Remember that one bad experience with a canine guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs in the future. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds in good condition.
5) Consider the climate of your vacation. Depending on the dog the change in climate might cause your dog to struggle to adapt. He can become uncomfortable and irritable and this could really be a bad experience for everyone on vacation.
6) Plan on frequent breaks. Frequent stops are not only good for bathroom breaks, but dogs need to stretch their legs just as much as we do. This is especially essential if you are traveling in hot weather. You need to make sure that your dog is staying hydrated.
7) To keep your pup safe in the car, make sure to use a dog seatbelt and /or harness or a crate. A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car, and is required for airline travel. A crate can also keep your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host's home. Stock the crate with a comfortable mat, your dog’s favorite toy and a water bottle.
8) Like humans, some dogs experience motion sickness. Take along ice cubes for your dog to lick and mouth, which are easier on your dog than a large amount of water all at once. Keep feeding to a minimum during travel to prevent stomach upset, and only allow small amounts of water periodically in the hours before the trip.
9) Finally, vacationing with your dog can aid in dog training. By spending a vacation together, you will have the time and the opportunity to take advantage of your and your dog’s undivided attention. Enjoy this time and be safe!