Vacation Travel: Tips for Traveling with Pets
Brought to you by the AKC GoodDog! Helpline – the AKC’s 7-day-a-week training support service
By Hilarie Erb, AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer
Are you planning a vacation or trip that includes your best friend? It can be a wonderful thing to have your dog along, but there are things to consider for his safety and well-being, and possibly your sanity.
Weather and mode of travel: In the summer, you must be prepared to keep your dog safe in the heat. If traveling by car, you will not be able to leave your dog alone in the vehicle for even a few minutes. Ever. Not even with the air conditioner on because sometimes cars and air conditioners malfunction! For tips on hot weather safety, read safety advice that can save your dog’s life during hot weather.
If traveling by air, check with airlines. They have specific rules, and you must make a reservation for your dog as well. Dogs too large to ride in a carrier that fits under a seat in the cabin are not allowed to travel during hot months in the cargo area of the plane. Brachycephalic dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs and other short-faced breeds) may not be allowed to travel by air at any time of year unless they fit in the main cabin.
Where you’ll stay: Will you stay in a hotel or a home? Is your dog comfortable being alone in strange places? You will need a crate, because it’s never safe to leave your dog alone, loose in a hotel room, or in the home of your host. She could accidentally escape in a strange place or cause damage to property. You will likely be going to restaurants and other places where dogs are not welcome so the crate will be your dog’s home away from home, with familiar bedding and special chew toys. Check ahead of time to make sure a hotel welcomes dogs as many do not.
Your dog’s temperament: Is he easy-going, enjoying going out and about with you on errands and short trips? Friendly or at least not reactive? You will not enjoy the trip if Fido barks crazily at every new being or thing he sees. If it’s going to be a trip that involves lots of bouncing from place to place and sightseeing, for example, Rover will probably have a better time and be safer staying at a nice boarding facility. There are many excellent ones that are like luxurious spas and theme parks for dogs!
But if you have decided that your dog is a good traveling companion and that you will be spending plenty of time with him on this trip, then start packing his bags. Here are some things to start with:
- Dog’s proof of rabies vaccine plus vet check before leaving
- ID – microchip and a collar with tag
- Dog’s medications, including heartworm and flea/tick preventatives
- Enough food for trip
- Bowls for food and water
- Window shades to protect your dog from the sun in the car
- Crate – the safest place for dogs to travel, and a familiar haven in a strange place. Tips on crate training: A Beginner’s Guide to Crate Training
- Extra bedding
- Sheets to partially cover crate to make it cozier and prevent him seeing things he might bark at and to go over the hotel bedspread if your dog will be joining you there
- First aid kit Dog First Aid Kit Essentials
- Clean-up supplies – be responsible and always clean up after your dog
- Toys, treats, chews – having favorites will help your dog feel secure
These are just a few necessities; your needs will vary depending on you, your dog and where you are going. She may end up with more luggage than you do, but the good planning and having what you need will make your trip better because your best friend joined you.
Join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline TODAY at the discount price of $59.99 – $40 off the regular fee. This provides lifetime training support for your dog. No renewals ever necessary.
For more tips and advice on training your dog, join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by experienced dog trainers: www.akcgooddoghelpline.org.