When a family brings their pet dog on vacation, it can be fun for everyone — including the dog. You keep the whole family together, and you don’t have to worry about your pet while you’re gone. Unfortunately, our cars and planes are not designed for our four-legged companions. So, to have the best trip possible, you need some advance preparation.
Even before your trip starts, you should do the following to ensure the health and safety of your dog:
- Get a full checkup from the veterinarian. Make sure all vaccinations are up to date and get a copy of the shot records. Airline travel requires health reports.
- Make sure your pet has identification. The collar should have tags with the dog’s name, your name, phone number, and proof of rabies vaccination. Consider a microchip for a permanent form of identification.
- Practice crate training your pet. Make sure your crate is the proper size, well ventilated, and clearly marked, so your dog will be comfortable during travel. Also, practice using the crate well in advance of travel. Doing this will alleviate separation anxiety and help your pet to adjust before the trip. Crates are required for airline travel and are recommended during car travel. And if your dog is not accustomed to car rides, begin taking him on short rides get him used to the motion.
- Ensure your destination is dog-friendly. Check hotels to see if they allow pets, and make sure you can include your pet in your daily activities. No one wants their pet to be stuck in a hotel all day.
- Begin the ride on an empty stomach to avoid car sickness.
- Provide plenty of water during the trip and opportunities for exercise and bathroom breaks.
- Do not allow a dog to ride in the bed of the truck or with its head out the window.
- Car rides can be stressful for everyone; do not allow children to pick on or tease the dog.
Airline procedures vary, so call your airline for clear instructions.
- Dogs must be in an airline-approved crate if traveling as cargo. Small dogs must be in a crate or carrier and must fit under the seat if traveling as a carry-on.
- There may be seasonal restrictions for pets traveling as cargo: airlines may not be able to accommodate pets during unusually hot or cold seasons.
Other Forms of Travel
The restrictions are higher with trains, buses, and cruise liners, so call in advance make accommodations for your pet.
While staying at a hotel, it is important your pet is safe and happy.
- Do not leave them unattended. Crate your pet if you have to leave them. Dogs are more prone to destroy property when left alone.
- Be respectful of other travelers and keep your dog quiet.
- Clean up any mess your dog leaves.
- Make sure to allow plenty of opportunity for exercise during your stay. Take your dog on walks and let him run and play!
As long as you are prepared in advance, traveling with your dog can be a rewarding experience. Keep your pet healthy and happy by remembering these tips and have a great vacation!