Our dogs are part of our family, so it’s natural for more and more pet parents to want to take their fur babies on vacation! However, it’s important to consider your dog’s health and emotional needs while traveling and to stay prepared for your time away from home together. If you plan on bringing your four-legged buddy along for the ride, here are tips pet parents can consider so that your travels run as safe, smooth, and enjoyable as possible.
Plan Before You Travel with Your Dog
Before heading out on your trip, you’ll want to review a checklist of items to best prepare your furry friend for the travels ahead.
Schedule a Health Check with Your Veterinarian
You’ll want to make sure your dog is in tip-top shape before taking off, and that all vaccinations are up to date. Make sure to bring your dog’s vaccination records with you, especially if you travel by plane.
Book Pet-Friendly Hotels
Before arriving to your hotel or place of stay, check the website or call ahead to confirm your home-away-from-home allows pets and if there are additional charges. When staying in pet-friendly abodes, be courteous and clean up after your pooch on the grounds and in your room. Do your best not to get your dog overly excited by playing in the hotel room either, as this could cause barking or noise that can be bothersome to other guests.
Bring Your Dog's Regular Food
Though your routine may change slightly while you’re on vacation, it’s important to keep your dog’s nutrition and feeding schedule as consistent as possible. Be sure to bring your dog’s typical dog food, such as Bil-Jac, and some bottled water to stay hydrated throughout your trip. Travel can be stressful for some dogs, so why add another variable. This is what your dog is used to eating, so bringing the same food can help you skip digestive issues that can occur.
Bring Your Dog's Identification
Don’t head out on your trip without making sure your dog has his ID tags or is microchipped. It can also be beneficial to bring along a recent photo of your dog. While we know loving pet parents do their best to always keep their eye on their furry family members, it’s no fun if your dog were to become lost while traveling. Microchipping or wearing an ID tag is a responsible way to make sure your pooch can be safely returned to you, no matter at home or on the road.
Plan for Emergencies
We never want to imagine our best buddy could be hurt or ill while enjoying a nice vacation, but a little preparation can go a long way. Your veterinarian may be able to refer you to another vet that practices in the area to which you’re traveling. If not, try contacting the American Animal Hospital Association.
Pack the Essentials
You want to make your favorite furball as comfortable as possible throughout your time away from home. Consider bringing the key essentials with you so that your pal feels at ease:
- A leash
- Dog car seat, seat belt, or crate/kennel
- Water and dog food, as well as bowls for each
- A few of your dog’s toys
- Waste bags
- Your dog’s medical records
- Any medication your dog currently takes
Prepare Your Dog for Traveling on the Road or in the Air
Whether your dog will be traveling with you in a car or in an airplane, you’ll want to take the right steps to keep your pooch safe and comfortable throughout the duration of your trip.
Traveling in a Car
If you are driving to your destination, it may be best to buckle in or crate your dog during the ride. It’s safer for both your dog and for you, too, as you’ll be less distracted while driving. At the very least, consider placing your dog in a car seat or use a dog seat belt.
Be sure to take plenty of driving breaks at rest stops or other areas where your pooch can walk safely. If you need to stop for your own restroom break, never leave your dog in the car, particularly if it’s hot outside. The interior of your car can heat up quickly and place your dog’s health and well-being at risk.
To keep your furry friend comfortable throughout the drive, consider bringing along items that can soothe him, such as a blanket or favorite toy. You will also want to avoid feeding him while the car is in motion to avoid motion sickness. Of course, his favorite Bil-Jac Dog Treats are a great way to reward him for good behavior during the trip!
Traveling in a Plane
If you are traveling by plane, be sure you’ve checked ahead with the airline about their policies and rules on pet travel especially since some of the requirements have changed. You will likely need to crate your pet or have the appropriate carry-on bag if he is traveling in the cabin with you. Talk to your veterinarian in advance about whether a sedating medication is a good idea for your pooch. Many airports have “pet relief” stations for potty breaks although you may need to ask about where the closest one is to your gate.
Have a Dog-Gone Good Vacation!
Taking a little time to properly prepare for your trip can make traveling with your best friend much easier and more enjoyable for you both. There’s no better feeling than a happy dog and spending time making exciting new memories together!
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