How to Have an Amazing Vacation with Your Dog

The only time in a year when you get to relax and enjoy is the holiday season. We all need to disconnect from the materialistic worries and spend quality time with our loved ones, cherishing their presence. Well, how can pet parents have fun without their fur-babies by their side, right!

We dog parents can never relax without having our pooches with us. Leaving them behind means continually having to worry about their health, if they are getting enough to eat or if they miss us, of course, we miss them too. Well, then why not take them along? After all, they also deserve a vacation.  Here are fantastic tips that can help you plan a vacation with your pooch:

Travelling by air

A few years ago the travel rules regarding traveling with pets were quite strict but now as more parents want to take trips with their dogs, the complexities have eased quite a bit. Statistics gathered from a recent survey done by TripAdvisor show that 53% of the respondents traveled with their pets and wanted to stay at hotels that accommodated them. Due to this increasing demand, most airlines and hotels have begun to facilitate pets. There were times when your pooch could only travel in the cargo, but now they can sit in the cabin with you. However, there are rules that pet-parents strictly need to follow.

Getting the tickets

While booking a ticket study the rules each airline has regarding dogs. Most airlines allow dogs that could fit under a seat and are not more than 20 pounds, some charge a fee while others let you travel for free. Furthermore, for each type of dog, there are specific USDA approved carriers that you need to use. There are specifications such as the material of the carrier (should be plastic), the size (your pup should be able to stand up, lie down and turn around and other conditions regarding ventilation, empty food dishes, etc. Study all the regulations and make sure you comply with them.

While booking a ticket for yourself make sure the airline has a seat available for your pooch, book both the tickets at the same time. If you have another pet, make sure the air service allows multiple pets.

Choose a time of the day when the temperatures aren’t extreme if your pet is going to travel in the cargo hold and make sure he can cope up with the stress of being alone with baggage.

Try to find a direct flight, so there are no stopovers and try to fly on weekdays when there is less rush at the airport.

Choosing an establishment

Selecting a pet-friendly hotel is a must. You can research accommodations that welcome dogs, call them up and ask about the fees, also try asking for a room close to the elevator.

Confirm if the pooch will be allowed on the furniture; also ask if there is a separate area to walk your dog.

Make sure they use the right cleaning procedures after a pet family has checked out to avoid contracting any diseases.

Search for vets and emergency hospitals in the area just in case you have to pay a visit.

Preparing for the vacation

If you are traveling internationally, you need to have all your pet’s updated documents and a health certificate signed by your vet confirming that your dog is free of diseases. Each country has different regulations for bringing a pet and for taking them back home, some even require you to microchip your dog. Each state needs a specific set of vaccinations too such as rabies and other declarations. Complete all the paperwork beforehand as some processes might take a long time.

Go shopping and buy all the essentials you might need for your pet. Here is a list of the things you should buy:

  • Flea control products
  • Name tag with emergency contact number
  • Pet wipes or grooming products
  • A First aid box that contains a gauze bandage, thermometer, Neosporin, tweezers, styptic powder, cotton balls, antibiotic soap and any particular medicine your dog might need
  • Food and treats that your dog loves to eat. You can also make his food yourself and pack it along with your stuff.
  • Food and water dishes
  • Leash and poop bags
  • Crate that your pooch would find comfortable
  • His favorite toys

Before the flight

Double-check the reservations by calling your airline and the hotel; withhold your pup’s food about 4 hours before the flight to prevent vomiting in case your dog gets nauseous. Don’t follow the same practice if you have a small breed or a young puppy. Give your pooch water until the time of flight; make sure you leave the empty dishes in his crate so the flight attendants can give him food and water.

Make sure you have all the documentation ready, buy a USDA approved carrier that is comfortable for your pet has proper ventilation and can be easily handled by the airline staff. Also, ensure that it doesn’t leak, put a tag on the carrier with your pet’s name, your name, contact details and even mark “Live Animal” on it

Accustom your pooch to his carrier; it will make it easier for him to travel in it.  After his daily walks, make him spend some time in the crate, it will help reduce the stress at the time of the actual trip.

Before leaving take your pet for a grooming session so he can feel better and fresh.

Reaching the airport

It is better to reach the airport early, not more than 4 hours before the flight time though. To check in you’ll have to go to the passenger terminal if your pet is traveling in the cabin. Otherwise, you would have to check in at the air freight terminal. Afterward, go to the checkpoint, take your pooch out of the crate and put him on a leash before going for the security check.

Don’t give your dog tranquilizers for relieving anxiety and calming him down. At high altitudes, your pooch might face respiratory issues due to these medicines. Only give your pooch anxiety medication if it has been prescribed by the vet, follow the exact dosage as recommended.

If there are any stopovers you can take your dog to the airport pet relief area, most airports do have such dedicated spaces; you can also take him for a poop if he needs to.

Reaching the destination:

Once you have landed, let your pooch relax and familiarize with the new city. Afterward, you can take him for a long walk so he can get a chance to see the city.

Search dog-friendly restaurants and tourist attractions so you’ll get to spend more time with your pooch. Not all countries have such facilities so do your research before planning a vacation.

Going on a road trip with your dog

Of course, going on a road trip might seem easier due to the involvement of fewer rules and regulations. However, it still needs quite a lot of preparation.

Things to do before hitting the road

You need to gather all the needful items, such as health documentation, contact information for your vet, first-aid box, poop bags, leash, and lots of food, treats & water.  You’ll also need a crate, flea control products, your pooch’s toys and his blanket.

It is better to get your dog microchipped before heading out for a trip in case you lose him in another city. Save his microchip registration number too.

Just as we need seat belts to protect us from accidents, our dogs need to be protected too. There are many harnesses available that can secure your dog with the seat belt and prevent your fur-baby from flying out of the windshield in the instance of you applying the brakes. You can also load your pooch in a crate and secure it to the car seat.

Thanks to technology all sorts of information can easily be accessed within seconds when you are on a road trip, you might need to go to a vet in case your pet gets sick. Of course, you can’t imagine finding a vet in an entirely new city; therefore download any app that can help you find vets in the nearby area. You can also use Google Maps to track veterinarians, dog parks, and dog-friendly places when traveling with your pup.

Preparing your dog for the road

There is no point of taking your pooch with you on a trip if he doesn’t enjoy it. You need to ensure your dog doesn’t get motion sickness or anxiety due to car travel. Take him for a few short trips, so he gets comfortable with the car.

When you hit the road

Make sure your dog has released his energy by exercising and other activities before getting seated in the car.

Once you hit the road, make sure you take frequent potty breaks so your pooch can take a poop. Give your dog treats for being a good travel companion and make sure you and your fur-baby have a wonderful time.

About the Author:

Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.

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