For most Americans, dogs are not just pets, they are family. Leaving them behind while the entire family goes on vacations cannot be easy for true dog lovers, so taking them along would be ideal. Millions of animals have the opportunity to go with their owners on road trips and adventures, but not everybody knows exactly how tasking it could be for their canine friends. Unlike humans, dogs are not fully equipped to stay long hours in cars and planes.
Because of this certain culture, the travel industry started making vacation packages designed around animals and their guardians, from the sale of items such as canine backpacks to major hotel chains changing their attitudes toward animals in their premises. In fact, according to the American Automobile Association, the number of lodgings that accept animal companions in the United States now surpass 12,000.
Things You Need to Know When Traveling with Dogs
Ask yourself, should you bring your dog this time?
Sick, injured, and pregnant animals are required to stay home in order for them to recuperate properly without the stress of traveling with dogs. The same can be said for those who suffer from motion sickness, are easily over-stimulated, or unable to adjust with disruptions in their daily routine. This is especially applicable for quick trips that could be very stressful for them.
Trips that are fun for you are not necessarily fun for your dog, especially if he gets cooped up in a hotel room while you’re on the beach or having fun riding roller coasters.
Find the perfect companion-animal sitter
Dogs should be left where they are most comfortable. Leave them curled up on the couch at home with a trusted sitter, relative, or close friend who you can trust. In times like this, it is important to leave them with responsible adults and sitters who will not leave them unattended for too long.
You may love your dog, but not everyone else would have the same amount of adoration for him compared to you. If you are still worried about his manners, especially outside the home, you may want to brush up on dog training. Untrained dogs are frequently punished and restrained to keep them from trouble. PETA supports humane and interactive learning, but despite their best interest, you may want to steer clear from training camps, as it could invite unknown abuse or fail to teach effective communication for your dog. Because of this, you should, as an owner, be the prime trainer for your pet.
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Prepare properly for the trip
Whether you are looking into quarantine laws and transport restrictions, it is necessary to research information regarding traveling with dogs. Double-check that your hotels and other locations are also pet-friendly, unless you want to abandon your pet in the car or scramble to find another hotel that will allow him in the premises.
You may also want to have your pet microchipped by the veterinarian. The process is virtually pain-free, and it contains all the identification information inserted under the skin, making it easier to confirm his identification in case he goes missing while on vacation.Veterinary checkups are also important especially when traveling with dogs to a new place that may require shots, or require that all the vaccination are up to date.
Whether it requires soft-mesh carriers to canine flotation devices and doggy lunch boxes, going on vacation with your pet requires animal travel treats and gifts to ensure their happiness and safety, even during travel.
Be careful when traveling with dogs on the road
Driving is no more or less risky for animals than flying in a plane; however, there are still some precautions that need to be taken when going on a road trip with your pooch. The following are some pet travel tips and other important things to keep in mind when traveling with dogs on the road:
- Heatstroke. Even on mildly warm days, it is not acceptable to leave your dogs alone in the car. Because of the materials and structure of a car, a 78°F day could feel like 90°F in a shaded car, and can reach up to 160°F if outside. The temperature rises remarkably fast, so your dog could succumb to heatstroke within 15 minutes. When going on a long drive, you may also want to make sure that your air conditioning works properly and use window shades when necessary. Excessive heat is not good for you or your dogs.
- Sickness. When traveling with dogs, you may want to feed them early so that they don’t start asking for food a few hours before departure. Also remember to let them exercise before departure so that they don’t feel hot and thirsty and so that they won’t have to “hold” their pee after gulping down water.
- Sudden movements. You may want to avoid the bed of the pickup truck for your dog. An abrupt stop could cause them to be propelled into the street, and the sun could heat up hot metal, where they can burn their feet.
- Water spillage. Carry your pet’s water and ice in containers for when you go for rest stops. No-spill travel bowls can be bought in supply stores or online.
- Car sickness. If your dogs tend to get carsick, you may want to check with the veterinarian to get them preventive medicine like ginger capsules, which are usually available at health food stores.
- Car accidents. When traveling with dogs, remember to use a kennel or restrain your dog with a seat belt, all of which are available at pet supply stores. This way, he will be kept safe in case of accidents or sudden stop. If you don’t have either one for your dog, you may want to avoid opening the car windows. Countless dogs have become lost at tollbooths and rest stops this way. Don’t let your dog hang his head the out the window either. Even though this looks good in movies, it can be dangerous, so make sure that your car comes with a protective shield to avoid excessive breeze on your dog’s eyes.
Remember that planes are not your dog’s best friend
Flying may seem like the fastest way to get your dog from Point A to Point B, but it’s not always the least stressful for your pooch, especially if they are forced to fly in the cargo hold. No animal should suffer through these conditions, so this should be avoided unless you’re relocating or if all other options are unavailable. Transporting by cargo is dangerous, terrifying, and potentially deadly for pets, so you may want to avoid doing such thing, especially for short vacations.
But now there are some airlines that are pet-friendly, so if you deem it necessary to take the plane, look some of these airlines up and choose the ones that will best suit your dog’s needs.
Additional Reminders for Dog Vacations
Dogs need to keep their routines, and they thrive on this. Being away from home does not mean you can neglect your dog’s needs. Provide him with his regular walks, keep his playtime, and remember to give him access to water at all time. He should also keep his diet, and if there is a need to switch, you may want to do this slowly to avoid an upset stomach.
Training your pet is especially important when you’re traveling with dogs. Help your pooch be a good guest by being one yourself: follow leash laws and don’t leave him in the hotel room for long periods, especially if he tends to get loud. If in case you do need to leave your dog in the room, you should let your hotel’s front desk know.
In case of emergencies
In case your dog gets ill, the American Animal Hospital Association can refer you to local veterinarians. However, it is best that you ask your dog’s doctor for references before you travel.
Dogs are natural swimmers, but when you put yours on a boat, you may still want him to wear his flotation vest. They can tire easily and may drown, so safety is of utmost importance. This is especially true for dogs who are prone to seizures ad medical problems and especially those who are new to boating.