The logistics of traveling with an animal in tow can seem daunting, which is one reason why people board their dogs when they go on trips. However, leaving your dog behind can be heart-wrenching for both of you. If you would prefer to bring your furry friend along on your holiday travels this year, then keep reading for some ideas on how to make your trip go as smoothly as possible.
You already know that loyalty is one of your dog’s key traits. He wants to be with his family in a setting he understands. Disruptions to his routine may scare him, but there are some things you can do to keep him comfortable. For example, if he has a toy that is extra special to him, make sure it comes with you on your trip. This will help him feel content when things get confusing.
Unexpected situations are par for the course when you are traveling, but they can be more difficult to handle if they upset your dog. Keeping a treat bag on your person can help you placate your pup if you get a flat tire or have a rough flight. Before you leave, make sure his ID tags are up-to-date and easy to read. You should also double check on his microchip status and information. That way, if anything goes wrong, you will be able to reunite with your buddy quickly.
You may not be able to stick to exactly the same walk and potty routine on your vacation, but you can try to keep it as close to normal as possible. Of course, your dog will be over the moon about all the new areas to sniff—and to mark his territory. Make sure you have plenty of waste disposal bags on hand so you can discreetly clean up during your escapades. It doesn’t hurt to bring a small bottle of pet stain and odor remover with you, either.
Traveling by Car
If you have decided that a road trip is your best bet for traveling with your dog, then there are a few steps you can take to make it as fun and safe as possible. If your dog does not travel by car often, try to take him for a few drives in the days before you leave. This will help him know what to expect when you take your big trip.
You probably do not want your dog climbing in your lap as you drive, so be sure to choose a restraint system that is a good fit for both your dog’s needs and your car’s layout. These options include:
· Seat belt harnesses or adapters to keep him in place on a seat.
· Hammocks that give him full use of the backseat.
· Barriers that allow him to spread out in the cargo area.
No matter how you restrain your dog within the car, make sure he can see and hear you and has access to plenty of toys. Consider installing a seat cover to keep him comfortable and protect your car’s interior from scratches, slobber and fur, and don’t forget to bring along some extra cleaning supplies. Most importantly, build plenty of fun into your trip. Look up dog-friendly stopping points along your route, and take advantage of the opportunities to stretch your legs together in new locations.
Traveling by Plane
Before you can book a cross-country flight, you need to know how your dog fits into the plan. The specifics of dog travel vary slightly by airline, but there are some general guidelines to be aware of:
· Dogs small enough to be stowed in a carrier beneath an airplane seat may be brought on board as carry-on luggage. You can expect to pay around $125 for your dog on each leg of your travel.
· Larger dogs can sometimes be checked as baggage. This costs around $250, but that sum can vary depending on the size of your dog.
· If there is no way to bring your dog on your flight, then you can ship him as air freight.
Checking or shipping your dog poses a variety of health and safety hazards, so educate yourself about the risks. Make sure his kennel is both sturdy and comfortable, and put a sign with his name and your flight and contact information on the outside.
If you can keep your dog with you during your flight, then try to get him familiar with his travel carrier several weeks before your trip. No matter what type of air travel you choose for your dog, you should avoid feeding him for up to four hours beforehand. This will minimize the chance that he will eliminate during the flight.
Arriving at Your Destination
Getting to your destination is the hard part, but it is still important to make sure you will arrive to a good situation. Pet-friendly hotels are widely available, but carefully review each hotel’s policies before you make your reservations. Some hotels offer leash-free play areas, which can be just what your dog needs after hours of cramped traveling. Be aware that you may be required to provide your dog’s immunization records upon check-in.
If you and your dog will be houseguests, then talk with your hosts ahead of time to identify any potential issues your dog may face at their home. For example, if there are other pets or small children in the home, have a contingency plan in case of clashing personalities. Make sure you clean up all your dog’s messes, and offer to vacuum during your visit and before you leave.
No matter where you stay, your dog will need a cozy place to hunker down at night. Depending on how big he is and your travel situation, you may be able to bring his regular bed with you. If you need something more compact, then bring a travel cot or a collapsible crate.
Now that you have armed yourself with the essential knowledge, you can start planning your holiday visits with enthusiasm. Whether you are flying to your destination or hitting the open road, a little planning will help you and your pup get the most out of your trip.
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