If you dream of pet friendly vacations, dream no more. Here are some essential pet travel tips for dogs owners to help make your next trip with Fido the best it can be.
15 Essential Pet Travel Tips for Dogs Owners
You want to bring Fido with you on your next trip but aren’t sure if what to do or even if it’s possible. Before you plan your next vacation, consider these very important dog travel tips:
1. Know the Current Health of Your Pet
Sometimes leaving a pet in a kennel due to health conditions is no-go. So what to do?
First, you’ll want to be sure to bring along any medications he’ll need. And, be sure that the meds are left in their original packaging, just in case you run out and need to refill them.
Also, if you are bringing insulin, you’ll want a cooler to keep the medicine refrigerated.
Finally, don’t forget to query your veterinarian should any emergencies arise–what to do and where to go to get the help you need for your pet. It’s always best to play it safe not sorry.
2. Include a Pet Travel Bag
When traveling, it’s best to bring along a pet travel bag. Include food and don’t forget to pack a day or two extra–just in case your travel plans change.
Also, put it all in a sealed container so you can travel stress-free knowing that you won’t have dog food all over the car, if you have spillage.
You might want to also include several of your pup’s favorite toys, toenail clippers, along with an extra long leash.
And, if your pup needs their favorite pillow or blanket and you have room, bring it. Be sure to pack an additional towel or two to dry him off if it should rain or if he decides to take a dip in a lake (or puddle).
3. Reserve Pet-Friendly Hotels and Lodging
Finding pet-friendly lodging is as easy as Googling: “Pet Friendly Hotels.” There are also websites like BringFido.com that host listings for these options, too.
For me, I searched via Google Maps along the route we were going to take and I had a plethora of lodging sites that allowed pets. You will, however, need to contact each hotel directly to inquire about their pet policy and if they charge on a per pet or per night basis. Some hotels also have a number and size limit. Be considerate of these requirements and follow them.
Cross-Country Travel with a Dog – One Owner’s Experience
One Dog’s Owner Experience in Pet Travel
True story: I was lucky in the past with my other dogs in that I could leave them in a kennel and travel without them as a family. But this last pup hasn’t been so accommodating. Because of his health issues, we cannot leave him.
So what to do? I’m not going to forego having our annual family vacation, because of a dog. So my husband and I decided that we’d sacrifice some of our freedom and bring our pup along.
Now, I’m not suggesting that this is ideal, because having a pet with health concerns can and does limit you in many ways, so keep that in mind. But, knowing what I know about my special pup, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
4. Bring a Pet Carrier or Crate
Here’s something to consider: What would you do with your pet in an emergency? Having something to safely place your pet temporarily is always your best bet. That being said, make sure that your pet’s crate is large enough for your pup to turn around and stand up in. Comfort is key.
5. Doggie Passport or Documentation
Crossing international borders? Always check with the governmental entity that oversees the international borders to make sure you follow their pet-friendly rules. At the very least, you will need to bring along a copy of your pet’s immunizations schedule that includes proof of being up-to-date with the rabies vaccination. (Note: the form must be completed by a licensed veterinarian.) (See: Canada Welcomes You)
6. Microchip and ID Tags
I know there are those pet owners who’d argue against microchipping your dog, but hey, the worst nightmare I can think of is to have to face a runaway pet with no identification.
A microchip at least ensures that it will be identified as a family pet and if there are any health issues, your vet will be notified and Fido will get the care they need until you can be found. I also highly suggest a good collar and identification tags (with pet’s owners current phone numbers) for added security.
7. Do Some Practice Trips
If this is your first time traveling with Fido, you’ll have more success if you take some practice runs with him. This will help him get used to the car, as well as giving you some practice harnessing him in with a pet-friendly safety harness.
8. Review Your Itinerary
It’s always best if you run through your itinerary to see if there is anything that is not pet-friendly. Case in point: when we went to Yellowstone National Park, we couldn’t walk our pup in certain areas and he had to be on a short lead. This was for his and our protection. Wild animals and domesticated pets don’t mix, no matter what we think. And, even when pets are allowed like walking down a city street, there will always be people who are afraid of dogs and will try to avoid confrontation. This is all a part of traveling with your family pet.
Pet Travel Tip: Be a considerate traveler so that you and your pet will always be welcome no matter where.
9. Never Leave Your Pet Unattended – Part 1
It’s not okay to tie up your pet while you go swimming, shopping or sight-seeing. There are laws and ordinances governing against it, and for obvious reasons (safety for you and others), this is a definite no-no. It’s best if you visit those destinations where Fido will be welcomed.
10. Never Leave Your Pet Unattended in a Vehicle – Part 2
Did you know that temperatures in a car can reach over 125 degrees F in a matter of minutes during summer? It can. Don’t put your pet at risk of dying needlessly. (Also, never leave your pup in a car during freezing temps. Animals, like humans, can experience hypothermia and die just as quickly from this too!)
RELATED: Pets and Car Safety
11. Bring Portable Bowls and Bottled Water
It’s always a good idea to bring a portable bowl and bottled water for Fido. Vehicles can get really hot, especially in summer or super dry in winter, so you don’t want your pet to become dehydrated.You’ll find that you don’t have to lug a big bowl around. In fact, whenever our family travels, we use a collapsible bowl that also has a hook option that we can attach to a belt loop or even our dog’s harness.
12. Pack a First-Aid Kit
Accidents do happen but that shouldn’t put a damper on traveling with your pet. So be prepared, not scared with a first-aid kit that is made for you and your pet, too.
13. Check Your Leashes
Before you leave home it’s always a good idea to ensure that the clasp on Fido’s leash isn’t bent or loose. You don’t want your only link to your pet to fail when you are far from home.
14. Keep an Eye on Fido
Most hotels won’t allow pets to be left in your hotel room unattended, so keep that in mind when deciding when and where to travel.
15. Be Camera Ready
You’ll want to capture each and every moment with your pet, so be sure to take plenty of photos of you and your pet to remember the fun you had on your trip.
For more pet travel tips be sure to check my Pinterest Board: Travel Tips and Destinations from Wisconsin Homemaker.