Most dog owners love spending time with their dogs and don’t want to be without them. For many, going on vacation without their dogs is simply out of the question. Whether it’s a road trip, a camping adventure or a luxurious stay at a hotel, your dogs are ready and willing to be there with you. However, taking your dog on vacation also poses some challenges.
Of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way – so we’re going to talk about how you can ensure that your next vacation is a success for both you and your dog.
Dogs have tendencies and preferences, just like humans, and not every dog is suited to every type of vacation. Your dog’s size, energy level and personality will dictate what kind of vacation will suit them. While a companion dog like a well-socialised Blue Staffy might be just fine relaxing with you in a beachside hammock, an energetic working dog such as a German Pinscher will need a more adventurous vacation.
Perhaps you’ve already got some destinations and activities in mind. You know your dog best, so you’ll have to judge whether or not your dog is cut out for the type of vacation you’re planning. There are tons of dog-friendly options available, it’s just a matter of selecting the one that fits for your pooch.
Aside from you, your veterinarian will be the person who is best-suited to determine whether your dog is ready for travel. Ensuring your dog’s vaccinations are up to date is key if you expect to meet other dogs or animals at your destination. Even if you aren’t, there are several types of diseases and bacteria that can live on the ground for months at a time, such as the canine parvovirus.
This tip is also important if you’re going to be bringing your dog on public forms of transportation. Underlying medical conditions may make your dog agitated or anxious in unfamiliar environments, which can make it difficult to control them. Additionally, bringing your dog on commercial aircraft has its own specific set of requirements that need to be fulfilled, and is something that should only be done with your vet’s approval and a significant amount of preparation.
Dogs are animals that thrive on routine, and a vacation is a big disruption to that routine. It’s risky to plan big adventures if you haven’t already gotten your pooch used to the idea that going away from home means a fun time. If your dog is going on their first vacation, it’s a good plan to do a couple of test runs before you go on a multi-day trip. Maybe try spending the night at a friend’s house or at a hotel nearby so that you can observe how your dog reacts. If they enjoy themselves or at least aren’t shaking in fear at the new experience, then you can gradually build up to longer stays away from home.
Most dogs will have all sorts of items that they love – toys, treats, their crate and so on. Bringing some of these things along can remind your dog of home and give them some comfort. Even simple things such as your dog’s bowls and bedding can help calm down your dog when they start to get agitated or anxious from being away from home. If your dog’s normal items are too big or bulky to bring along, one thing you can do is to get travel versions and let your dog play with or use them at home. That way, when you bring them on the trip, they’ll still have the same effect.
Dogs can learn to sit still for long periods of time, but they will get restless at some point. Most dogs are okay to sit in a car seat for around 4 or 5 hours, but then they’ll be itching for a potty break. If your vacation plans allow it, schedule pit stops for your dog to get a short walk and go potty. This won’t necessarily be possible if your dog is going to be on a plane or train, so make sure that they’re able to go potty beforehand, and do it first thing when you get them.
One upside of this tip is that you’re pretty much forced to take in the sights with your dog, instead of just speeding past everything to get to your destination. Give yourself time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, while your dog does the same.
Before the trip, look up the location and number of reputable veterinarians and animal hospitals at your destination. If you’re going to be taking a car, it can be useful to look along your route for veterinarians and animal clinics. Having this information on-hand can be a lifesaver if anything happens to your dog on the trip or if you notice that your dog isn’t feeling well. Of course, that’s a worst case scenario, but being prepared doesn’t cost you anything.
We believe that dogs are just as much a part of the family as people, and that they deserve to go on vacation as well. If you keep our tips in mind, we’re sure that your vacation will be a success, and your dog will be raring to go on the next one. Have fun, and stay safe!