Since this article caught your eye, chances are you think of your dog as a member of the family, and the thought of leaving Rover behind while you’re off having fun is less than appealing to you. But, you’re just not sure if travel is safe for your beloved pooch, and even if it is, what do you need to bring? It’s all so confusing — is it really worth the trouble?
Your dog loves you and wants to be with you. Since you’re on vacation and you don’t have to worry about the hustle and bustle of your daily schedule, your vacation gives you the perfect opportunity to lavish a little extra love and attention on Rover. And, extra time with you aside, your dog will enjoy the new experiences he’ll encounter on his travels — all those new smells!
Packing Rover’s Suitcase
Of course, taking Rover on your vacation means you will have to spend a little more time packing than you would if you were taking just the two-legged family. Rover is going to need his own suitcase. Here are a few of the things you’ll need to bring:
· Food and water dishes.
· His regular food and treats. (Trying new foods should be a part of your vacation — not Rover’s! Unfamiliar foods may upset his stomach.)
· Water from your home or bottled water. (Some dogs will not drink water with a different smell or mineral content than they’re used to or may get sick from an unfamiliar item in the water. If you wouldn’t drink the water, don’t let Rover drink it either!)
· A sturdy leash and collar with ID tags.
· Recent picture of your dog in case he gets lost.
·First aid kit, including Rover’s regular medications.
· Toys. (Rover may get bored in the car — and if you think your child’s constant whine of “are we there yet?” gets irritating, wait until Rover starts chewing on the seat!) · Pooper scooper or a supply of plastic bags. (Please be considerate of those around you and clean up after your dog — failing to do so may make some vacation areas reconsider their policy of allowing pets. And, you may be breaking the law!
· Paper towels and disinfectant spray. (Ever spend an hour in the car with a smelly pile of….well, you get the idea!)
· Dog carrier.
· Rover’s bedding so he’ll feel at home.
Keeping Rover Safe
Traveling with Rover exposes him to all sorts of new things, and that’s the point, right? Just remember that it’s your responsibility to keep Rover safe!
Before you set out on your trip, take Rover to the vet for a thorough checkup to make certain he’s fit for travel. If he’s on a regular medication that will need refilling while you’re on vacation, be sure to ask your vet to do so before you go.
If you have questions about what you should include in a first aid kit, your vet can help you. You might also want to ask about anti-nausea medications if your pet suffers from motion sickness.
When you’re certain your dog is in good health and up to a vacation, take some time to think about how you plan to restrain Rover in the car. Never allow your dog to ride with his head out the window. Doing so makes him susceptible to the eye or ear injury from flying debris—even a small pebble kicked up by the car in front of you could blind your dog.
Rover should also never be allowed to ride in the open back of a truck. No matter how well trained he is, something could pique his interest and cause him to jump out. Or, he may fall and be injured or killed.
While traveling in the car, your dog will be safest in a dog carrier or using a dog seat belt. If you’re using a dog carrier, make certain it is large enough for the dog to sit, lie down, stand up, and turn around.
The dog carrier should also have adequate ventilation and be placed in the vehicle so that fresh airflow is not blocked and so that the carrier cannot move. You should consider seat belting the carrier or using other straps or cords to prevent movement.
If Rover is a small breed, a dog carrier is the safest way for him to travel. However, there are dog seatbelts available for small dogs that double as backpacks for you to carry the dog in when you’re outside of the car.
For the larger dog, there’s a wide variety of dog seatbelts available. Look for one that is padded for comfort. Some dog seatbelts can also be used as walking harnesses and may even come with side packs so Rover can carry his own food and water on hiking excursions.
Keep in mind that while you love Rover and know what a great and well-mannered dog he is, not everyone you meet will feel the same. Make certain your actions are not only safe for your dog but also do not interfere with the enjoyment of those around you.
You are responsible for keeping your dog under control and allowing him to show the world what a gentleman he can be. Again, your dog’s behavior may influence hotels and other vacation spots to rethink their pet-related policies — make sure it’s for the better!
Be sure to call ahead and determine if your pet is welcome at the resort, hotel, or campground you plan to stay at. Be prepared to place Rover in his crate if you plan to leave him in the hotel while you go out.
He may be the perfect citizen at home, but the unfamiliar surroundings may prompt him to misbehave. You could lose your accommodations and end up paying for damaged property.
When you’re out in public, keep Rover on a good sturdy leash or tie out. He may be accustomed to walking off the lead at home, but this isn’t home. The new sights, sounds, and smells will be stimulating to your dog and he may be tempted to run after a critter the likes of which he’s never seen before.
Don’t allow Rover to try to make friends with everyone around you — his objects of affection may be frightened of dogs or simply not appreciate the slobber that comes along with his loving kisses.
Keep him at your side and don’t allow him to approach strangers unless he’s invited to do, and then only if you’re confident he won’t bite or jump.
And, last, but certainly not least — clean up after your pet! You don’t want to step in someone else’s dog’s mess and no one wants to step in Rover’s either. Take your pooper scooper or plastic bags with you whenever you’re out with Rover.
These are just a few suggestions for traveling with your dog. You know Rover best and know what will make him comfortable during your travels.
The most important thing you should consider when you roam with Rover is his safety and the safety of those around you. Take some time to plan ahead so that Rover can enjoy his vacation as much as you do.