As summer vacations approach, you may be planning your next family trip or weekend getaway. And as any fur parent knows, a vacation just isn’t the same without your four-legged friend joining the fun. But before you embark on your next adventure, let’s look at five tips to ensure that both you and your pooch travel safely.
Provide a Safe Space for Your Dog
Whether you are traveling by car, plane, or train, it’s important to have a safe space for your dog that they feel comfortable in. Generally, this will be a crate that can fit in the car or plane and that contains all the things your pup needs for seamless travel.
When preparing for travel, teach your dog that the crate is a safe space weeks before the trip. Never force your dog to go into the crate and always approach it as a reward, not a punishment. Dogs benefit from having a dedicated space of their own, so crate training your dog before the trip will help both you and them.
When traveling with your dog in a crate, make sure he is always secure in the car or plane and that he is equipped with some of his favorite things. You might want to put in his favorite blanket or toy, for example, to make him feel right at home. The crate should also be big enough for your dog to comfortably move around, but not so big that he feels overwhelmed or unsafe in the space.
Exercise Before the Trip
Exercise goes hand-in-hand with crate training because after a long walk or play, they will be more likely to crash in the crate. If possible, exercise your dog a few hours before the trip to wear him out. This way, he will be less anxious when the time comes and hopefully sleep through the majority of the travel.
In addition to exercise, make sure your dog has time to go to the bathroom, especially before boarding a long flight or getting in the car for a long drive. There’s nothing worse than an anxious dog that also has to go to the bathroom, so by eliminating this factor you will make it a more comfortable ride for everyone involved.
Consider a Fast
Always talk to your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet drastically, but some animal experts recommend only giving your dog water for about six hours before the trip. Just like humans, some dogs are prone to sea, car, or motion sickness and having a big meal before a trip can worsen this effect. To save yourself the mess, try not to feed your pup any big meals right before you take off.
Again, this will depend on your dog’s diet, nutrition needs, and general behavior. But less in the stomach means less to be sick with during the trip.
Your attitude toward the trip may be one of the most important factors when you get your dog ready for travel. Always try to make them feel at home by using calm voices and comforting body language.
For example, when putting your dog into the crate before getting into the car, leave the crate door open so they can go in at their convenience and use calming tones to make them feel at ease. Similarly, if you are excited about the trip, share your positive emotions with your fur baby, rather than the anxiety you may be feeling about traveling safely.
In addition to the above tips, make sure you plan your vacation well ahead of time to guarantee you, your dog, and the whole family has a good time. Some things to consider before you head out include:
- Calling any hotels to make sure they are dog-friendly. If they are, find out their policies for room incidentals and any dog parks near by.
- If you are driving, plan out some pit stops to give your dog a chance to relieve themselves. Make sure to pack plenty of food and water.
- If flying, call the airline and double-check their animal policy. Some dogs may be able to fly in the cabin, while larger ones might need to be stowed underneath.
The summer is a time for fun, family, and adventures. By adhering to these tips, your fur baby can tag along!