Guest Post By: Emily Palmer
A lot of planning goes into preparing for a trip. Deciding on location, accommodations, and even transportation must be done before attempting a journey.
Additional planning is required when deciding if it is appropriate to bring your dog along with you on the trip. Here are some things to consider when traveling with your dog.
What is the purpose of your trip?
If you’re traveling for business, it may not be feasible to bring your fur baby with you. Long hours away at meetings or touring facilities could cause your pet to be left alone for too long. When your dog is left alone in an unfamiliar space, he/she may become a nuisance to others nearby by barking or yelping loudly and continuously.
Traveling for pleasure may make it easier to bring your dog with you. When you travel at your own leisure you are more able to choose activities that are pet friendly.
Where will you be staying?
When traveling with your dog it’s important to choose lodging that is animal friendly. If you’re staying in a hotel or motel, make sure they allow dogs. Some hotels and motels have size or breed restrictions if they allow you to bring your dog with you. Others allow pets but charge an additional fee.
Be aware that if you are staying in a nationally known chain hotel, local management may have the ability to set their own policies regarding pets. It’s best to call the office of the specific location where you’ll be staying.
If you have chosen to stay with friends or family, get their permission before allowing your pet to travel with you. Regardless of where you choose to stay, it’s a wise idea to puppy-proof the space your pet will call home for the time you are away from home. Make your environment as safe as you can before allowing your dog to run free in the space. Get any electrical cords out of reach and check under furnishings for toxic substances.
How will you be traveling?
Today, there are a variety of ways for you to get from point A to point B. You can travel in your car, by air, by train, by bus, or by boat.
If you plan to travel by air, check with the airline regarding their regulations for traveling with animals. Each one has regulations regarding how many animals can travel on each flight. There may also be regulations regarding size or breed.
If you plan to travel by bus or train, you may not be able to bring your dog at all. Many bus companies only allow service dogs on their buses.
Some cruise lines allow dogs aboard and even provide special amenities for your pet. It’s always best to check with the company in charge of your cruise.
If you are traveling in your own car, make sure you provide a safe, comfortable way to ride. Provide your dog with toys, water, and food for the trip. Make regular stops to walk your dog and allow him to go to the bathroom. When traveling by car, you can decide whether you’re going to allow the dog freedom to roam inside the car or if you’re going to confine him in some manner. Using a crate that is large enough for your dog to stand, turn, and lie down is sometimes a good option for confining your dog within the car.
Is your dog healthy enough to travel?
Consult with your veterinarian before traveling with your dog. Some airlines and hotels require that you provide them with a health record for your dog within so many days of your reservation dates.
Make sure your dog gets a clean bill of health and is up to date on his/her shots. Especially be aware of the last time your dog was vaccinated for rabies. Always carry documentation of rabies and other shots with you when traveling, so you can provide them if necessary.
How old is your dog?
If your dog is still a young puppy, traveling with him may be more difficult. Puppies may not be fully potty trained yet. Depending on their age, some puppies will chew on anything in sight. Replacing your friend’s sofa,dresser, or coffee table could be an expensive result of your trip if your puppy is still in the chewing stage of development.
How does your dog behave?
Some dogs, regardless of age, suffer from separation anxiety. When you leave their sight they may begin to bark, yelp, or destroy things. This behavior can cause issues with other guests, or even with your host. If you can’t guarantee your dog’s behavior, then it might be a wiser choice to leave him at home or with a sitter.
What items should you carry with your dog?
Regardless of your travel plans, you should make sure you pack certain items for the trip. Remember to pack a leash. Some towns have strict leash laws, and you should familiarize yourself with the laws for your destination.
Bring bags and a scoop for cleaning up after your pet. Make sure you clean up after him every time you give him a bathroom break.
Have toys for him to play with both on the road and at your destination. It’s a good idea to have both some of his favorites as well as some new items. Don’t forget to pack bowls, food, and water for the road.
After carefully considering your dog’s age and behavior, decide if traveling with him/her is a good idea.
Before attempting a long trip, get him/her comfortable with the car. Teach him/her to learn to use the bathroom on a variety of surfaces. Train him/her to a leash. Once you feel confident he/she can safely and calmly make a trip, enjoy your travels together.