There is a time in every dog-owners life when they need to decide: should I take my best friend on a trip? A lot of times people don’t want to bother the dog (and themselves) when traveling as of course, traveling with a dog does require some additional planning and itinerary adaptations so very often family / friends / doggysitters are put to action. Sometimes, you just don’t want to bother your little one with the transport or it is not possible to take them. However, traveling with a dog can be a lot of fun. Now, with more and more hotels, restaurants, beaches and even cities becoming dog-friendly it is totally understandable that you would want to travel with your best friend. However, though you are probably very well used to all different types of transport and can’t wait to get to your chosen destination, maybe the same can’t be said for your dog as they don’t know what thrills to expect. And some, especially if not used to travel, can be scared of new environment, noise and vehicles.
If anything, I am a travel addict and an animal lover. If, like me, you are absolutely in love with your dog – mine is Harry, a black and white fluffy darling – and don’t want to part except when necessary, here are couple of tips for traveling with a dog that will make both your lives easier and traveling together fun. Whether you are going on a one-day, weekend or a longer trip, the imperative is that your dog is safe and comfortable.
1. Choosing the transport
Wherever you travel and no matter which means of transport you use, safety always comes first. If traveling by a car, make sure that your dog is either in a crate or has a special safety belt on. No matter who is driving, you would want to avoid having the doggy going around and distracting the driver. There are special rules for when traveling by a plane, be sure that you check the ones of your airline. Usually, on shorter flights, only two dogs are allowed in the cabin and the pet needs to be in their transport bag the whole time. In any case, if your dog prefers one type of transport over the other, e.g. Harry really doesn’t mind train travel but is sometimes scared of flying, be sure to choose wisely to cause the least stress possible.
2. Making your dog comfortable
When traveling it is absolutely necessary to make your dog as comfortable as possible. To start with the basics, be sure you take enough water and food with you. Some dogs tend to get very excited and the environment temperature also changes throughout the trip. Always have a bottle of water with you so your loved one could hydrate. Bring a bit of (dry) food even if you are not going for a long trip, you never know when you could need it. One of my favourite things I bought for Harry is this perfect water bottle that the dog can drink directly from as it contains the bowl as well – very handy to put it just in your backpack. The more advanced versions have also a compartment for food or snacks. Any yes, when mentioning such important thing as snacks – definitely bring some on your trip, you never know when they will come in handy and they can be very reassuring for your best friend.
To make your dog as comfortable as possible, you can also bring his blanket and his favourite toy, especially if they need to be in transport bag during the trip. In this way, the surroundings will be familiar and reassuring. If possible, let your dog look out of the window if they’d like to – it is interesting for them and sometimes reduces the travel sickness if you dog is prone to it. In case your travel is taking longer, try having a break for a quick walk and to cater to other physiological needs of your dog. Last but not least, the most soothing thing for your dog is definitely your presence and any dog-lover knows it – the sound of your voice and a touch of your hand are the most reassuring means that will make the trip comfortable.
There are a number of things that your dog could need on a trip – not sure if it calls for a special suitcase but there are things that your friend will need, also depending on the trip. Besides the blanket and the toy, there are some more basic things not to forget – be sure that you have all the documents needed like passport and health card, just in case. The poop bags I don’t think even need to be mentioned – I know I always have a spare roll in my pocket.
4. Being mindful of other people
Last but not least, when traveling with a dog it is very important to be mindful about other people. Sure, we know that our beloved pet is the best and wouldn’t hurt a soul, but people have different experiences with dogs and it is possible that some people don’t like them (omg, is that really possible?) or are just afraid of them.
Make sure that your dog is always close to you and on a leash and that it doesn’t go around people, unless they specifically express such a wish and you are ok with it. Wish you fun and safe travels!
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