Planning a trip is quite stressful, no matter the circumstances. Add your dog into the mix, and there is a whole new list of things you'll need to worry about when you're making travel plans.
This includes training your pup to stay in the crate, packing the right equipment, ensuring your pet meets the travel requirements for the state or country you're visiting and checking the hotel's pet policies. Traveling with your dog can quickly become overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be! Below are some pet travel tips and guidelines to keep your pets safe as you travel locally or abroad.
Crate Train Your Dog
Having your pooch in a crate, especially when traveling in a car or plane, will keep them safe in case of sudden stops or accidents. If you're staying at a pet-friendly hotel, you may need to crate your dog when you're out without them. Even if crating isn't mandatory, it's a great idea to have them crated since you never know when housekeeping will open the door to your room.
Pet Travel Tip: Teaching your pup to love their crate before you leave for vacation helps ensure they feel secure and relaxed inside. Help your dog associate the crate with wonderful things by giving him special toys or feeding him inside the crate, such as a kong stuffed with their favorite treats. You can begin training them by closing the door for short periods, then slowly increasing the time they’re inside.
Know Your Pup’s Behavior
You won't know how to travel with your dog until you try it, but understanding your dog’s behavior is extremely crucial when staying overnight at a hotel, driving in a car, or flying on a plane.
For instance, if your pooch likes to bark at people walking past a window, it's best to request a hotel room on a higher floor. Or, if they tend to get anxious during car trips, you can roll down the window slightly to let them take in the fresh air from the outdoors. If you’re traveling with your dog and you know you’ll be out in the sun for long periods, make sure to carry a portable water bowl or drink holder so your pet doesn’t dehydrate.
Stay at a Pet-Friendly Hotel
It's important to know that just because a hotel accommodates your pet doesn't mean that it's necessarily a "pet-friendly" hotel. The hotel may allow you to bring your pet but not offer any extra perks.
Most pet-friendly hotels offer amenities such as toys and treats, but some go the extra mile to make the experience as enjoyable for pets as it would be for owners. Some pet-friendly hotels will offer dog parks, leash-free play areas, towels, special food, beds, gift baskets, and blankets.
Pet Travel Tip: If you're traveling with a small dog, then a standard hotel chain will suffice. However, if you have a hyperactive larger dog that requires a lot of attention, you will research to find the right pet-friendly hotel. In many cases, boutique hotels offer more amenities, especially if they pride themselves on being pet-friendly.
Pack the Essentials
As much as you'd want just to grab your pet and go, there are several things you’ll need to bring along. This includes their leash and harness, poop bags, ID tags, portable water bowl, pet first aid kit, and more. Make sure to pack your dog's essentials in case you can't find them while you're on the go. The essentials may vary for each dog. For example, some dogs may need a pet calming medication for their anxiety, while others won't.
Here's a checklist of things you may need to bring when traveling with your dog:
- Dog food and water
- Dog bed
- Collapsible bowl and water bottle
- Travel documents and medical records
- Flea and tick medicine
- Pet first aid kit
- Tote bag to carry these essentials
Additionally, make sure your pup is microchipped and up to date on their standard vaccinations.
Always ensure your dog has a sturdy collar and dog harness leash. While you should always keep a close eye on your pet, you should have implanted microchips and ID tags when traveling with your dog. This ensures that runaway pets return back to their owners. The dog collar should always have identification tags with your dog's name, your name, proof of rabies shot, and your cell phone number. It also doesn't hurt to carry a photo of your pet, so others can easily identify your pet.
Receive Proper Vaccinations
All pets traveling should be healthy and free of potentially communicable diseases. Before traveling, it's important to take your dog to be examined by your vet to ensure they're up to date on their vaccinations, such as flea and tick prevention and heartworm prevention. While you won't need papers for interstate travel, it's recommended to have proof of current rabies shots in case it's ever requested.
Consider Using Calming Pet Products
Another way to improve your pet’s mood while traveling with your dog is with calming treats. It's best to look for calming treats that use all-natural ingredients that aren't harmful to dogs. There are also calming sprays made with pheromones to calm your pet and keep them at ease. Typically, you'll want to spray it on a blanket your dog will use before you introduce it to them.
Calming products that use synthetic pheromones help to comfort your pet by sending reassuring messages and reducing anxiety. These are perfect to use whenever your pet is undergoing any stressful situation, such as being around unfamiliar people, traveling for long periods, or even being stuck inside the crate for hours.
Calming dog pheromone products come in many formats, such as collars, sprays, wet wipes, plug-in diffusers, and more. You can even plug the diffuser into the wall and calm your pet prior to traveling with your dog.
Always Be Prepared When Traveling
Traveling with your pet might be some of the best memories you’ll ever make. They provide a source of comfort as your charter to unknown territory and even protect in remote areas. Not to mention, their affection, empathy, and enthusiasm ensure that you’re never lonely. In addition to these pet travel tips, make sure to create a packing list. It’s vital not to forget even the smallest things like luggage straps, fanny packs, and other essentials.
Now that you’ve finished our guide on traveling with your dog, you’re now prepared to take your furry companion along for the next adventure!