Written by: Nick Burton of OurBestDoggo.com
Do you love the idea of traveling with your dog, but find it’s a hassle in practice? As wonderful as it is to have a travel companion that’s always up for an adventure, traveling with a pet requires a lot of planning. Pet-friendly travel resources like Bring Fido and GoPetFriendly make it easier than ever to plan a pet-friendly trip, but a lot of pet owners still make these common mistakes when traveling with their dog. Here’s what you need to know.
Not Scheduling Time for Exercise
Traveling means long hours in a car or plane. We can cope with a day of sitting still, but without exercise, your pet becomes a bundle of nervous energy.
Make sure you schedule adequate time to exercise your dog while traveling. Roadside rest stops are a great place to stretch legs, but not enough to meet your dog’s daily exercise needs. Look for dog parks at your destination so your dog has room to run in a controlled environment. Current vaccinations and ID tags are a must when visiting dog parks, as are the close supervision of your pet and picking up all pet waste.
Forgetting to Pack Enough Dog Food
Tasting new foods is one of the best parts of traveling, but don’t share your love of adventurous eating with your dog. Food changes can lead to stomach upset in pets. If your pet is already anxious or car sick from traveling, adding a new food on top of that is asking for trouble. Be sure to pack plenty of food for your entire trip, and if you run out, search for the same food at a local shop or order dog food online.
Not Searching for Dog-Friendly Destinations
Don’t bring your dog on a trip only to leave him in a hotel room while you explore. Not only is it more stressful for your dog than staying home with a pet sitter, but it could also get you in trouble with the hotel (more details on that later).
Instead of making every trip a pet-friendly vacation, restrict your four-legged travel companion to trips with dog-friendly activities. When your destination is flush with walking trails, parks, and pet-friendly eateries, both you and your pooch have plenty to do.
Not Preparing Properly to Leave Dog in Hotel Room
If there are activities your pet can’t join in on, make arrangements with a pet sitter or doggy daycare. It is possible to leave your dog in your hotel room but set them up for success.
- Choose a room furthest away from most
- Take your dog a long walk before you leave so they are tired and ready for a nap
- Give them access to their water and food
- Have their favorite toy and/or time-consuming treat game or bone available for entertainment
- Leave the TV or radio on for some background noise
- Keep your time away short
Don’t trust your dog completely? Utilize a crate to prevent damage to the room. Practice with the crate at home before your trip so they are used to their ‘den’. Worried about barking? Get a citronella collar.
Not Updating Your Pet’s Vaccinations and ID Tags
Any kennel or doggy daycare worth using requires dogs to be current on core vaccinations. So, update your dog’s shots before the trip and take copies of the vaccination records in case you need to board your pet. Veterinary records will also come in handy if you’re traveling by air or if your dog gets sick or injured on the go.
After updating shots, hang the new rabies tag on your dog’s collar and double-check that the ID tag has up-to-date contact information. If your pet has a microchip, update that information too.
Dogs are always up for a trip, whether it’s to a park across town or a destination across the country. However, traveling with your pet isn’t as easy as grabbing a leash and loading your pup into the backseat. Before inviting your dog along on vacation, ask yourself if you’ve taken the right steps to prepare for a pet-friendly trip.
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