To Grandmother’s House We Go: What About the Dog?
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
Being without your furry best friend during the holidays sounds a little sad, doesn’t it? You may not like being without your dog while traveling for the holidays but consider whether you will have enough time to manage your dog in the chaos of spending time with far-flung family and friends.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget about your dog, and it only takes a moment for a friend or relative to accidentally let him escape in a strange place, give him a piece of food he shouldn’t have, or have a potentially dangerous encounter with a child. And though he may be a perfect angel at home, in a strange environment he could cause damage. Making the right choice for your dog will make the holidays better for everyone.
Weather and mode of travel: In the winter, there is a bigger chance of getting stranded somewhere because of bad weather and lots of travelers. If traveling by air, check with the airline when making your reservation – they will have certain requirements and fees. If by car, pack extra food and other necessities for your dog.
Where you’ll stay: Will you stay in a hotel or a home? Is your dog comfortable being alone in strange places? Will there be children around? 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. When you go on outings where dogs are not welcome, the crate will be your dog’s home away from home, with familiar bedding and special chew toys. Make sure a hotel welcomes dogs. Call the front desk of the actual hotel you’ll stay in, even if their website says they are pet-friendly. Sometimes websites are wrong!
Your dog’s temperament: Is he easy-going and enjoys going out and about with you? Friendly or at least not reactive? You will not enjoy the trip if he barks crazily at every unfamiliar being or thing he sees. If it’s going to be a trip that involves bouncing from one relative’s home to another, your dog 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 make those reservations now because good boarding facilities fill up fast. A reliable pet sitter who takes care of your dog in your own home is another option.
If you know your dog is a good traveling companion and that you will be spending plenty of time with him on this trip, start packing his bags. Some things to start with:
- Dog’s proof of rabies vaccine plus get a vet check before leaving
- ID – microchip and/or collar with tag
- Dog’s medications, including heartworm and flea/tick preventives
- Enough food for trip if car travel
- 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
- If you have a wire crate, a sheet to cover it to make it cozier and prevent him seeing things he might bark at
- 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 basics; your needs will vary depending on you, your dog and where you are going. He may end up with more luggage than you, but it’s best to be prepared.
Join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline TODAY at the discount price of $59.99 – $20 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.