You love spending time with your dog, so when you get the chance to travel together you wouldn’t miss it! But some dogs struggle with travel. It is a new and potentially scary experience for dogs that aren’t accustomed to it. However, proper preparation can help ease or even erase the anxiety relating to traveling so that everyone can enjoy the trip!
Choosing and Acclimating the Gear
Before you can set out on a canine adventure, you need to have all the right gear packed and ready to go! What gear you need will depend on your dog, your destination and the way you plan to get there. At the very least, you will need:
- A Carrier
- A Collar/Harness with your info attached
- A leash
- Your dog’s medical records
- Food, Treats, Medication, etc
- Toys, blankets and other comfort items
- Poo bags and pee pads
It is not enough to simply have these products on hand and pull them out right before your trip. If your dog is prone to being anxious, the presence of new items in new environments can be extremely overwhelming.
Instead, acclimate them to the items first, especially the leash, collar/harness, and carrier. You don’t want your dog to slip out of their harness and leash in a new and scary place.
If you have a small dog, a great way to avoid this is to use one of our stylish carriers to transport the dog in uncertain situations. In the weeks leading up to a trip, start allowing your dog to approach the carrier on their own terms. Add treats into the carrier for the dog, encourage any exploration of the carrier and even serve meals in it to make it a positive and safe place for your dog to relax during your vacation.
Many dogs LOVE taking a car ride, but for many others the idea of a big, moving metal box is not exactly their thought of a good time. Much like acclimating the gear, getting your dog used to cars in small, incremental amounts leading up to a trip is the best way to prepare your dog or a long road trip.
Dogs should still be restrained inside the vehicle for safety reasons, and using a carrier is a great way to make sure the dog is safely contained while also keeping the dog in a space that they feel safe in. Exercise your dog right before you leave and avoid feeding them a few hours prior to the ride to avoid motion sickness. Continually praise your dog’s calm behavior with treats while on the car ride. For extreme car anxiety, you may want to speak to your vet about sedation options or rethink that manner that you plan to travel.
Flying is certainly not a natural occurrence for dogs, so it’s easy to see how it can be overwhelming for dogs that are not used to the process. Flying with your dog takes some planning ahead, and that includes preparing your dog. Check out our 5 Tips for Flying with your Furry Friend blog for the best tips and guide for flying with your pup.
All airlines require that dogs stay in their carriers throughout the flight, even when riding in cabin. This is, yet again, another great reason to make your dog as comfortable as possible in their carriers.
Having a high quality, airline-approved carrier that can be carried for everyday use, (like our Hollywood or Country Club carriers) is invaluable in keeping your dog calm during potentially long flights, takeoffs, landings and taxi times. The more your dog uses a carrier, the more comfortable they’ll feel in it!
They are many, many hotels across the world that are pet friendly. The rules, fees and amenities vary by hotel, but any hotel or resort you stay expects your dog to have a sense of “etiquette” for staying in a hotel full of other guests.
To prepare for your dog for a hotel stay, be sure to have something for your dog to do, especially if you have an active or high energy breed. This will prevent any boredom or attention barking. You should also make sure tour dog has had a good amount of exercise before trying to settle for bed., especially if they’ve been in a car or carrier all day.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Most of the preparation needed for a great vacation with our dog are things we already should be doing, such as socialization. Keeping up with socializing throughout the dog’s life is easy when they feel comfortable traveling with you!
ALWAYS start small! Dogs enjoy their routines, so abruptly changing it for long periods of time can be too much too soon. You don’t want to plan a two-week vacation as your first vacation with your dog. Instead, try an overnight stay nearby or a short weekend trip and slowly ease your dog into longer stays aways from home.
Traveling with your dog really helps to strengthen your bond, among other benefits. Preparation, adaptability and patience can make or break a trip, but it's all about the partnership feeling of taking on challenges with your best friend!