Travelling With Your Dog

Pooches of Leisure: Travelling with Your Dog

With an estimated 78 million owned dogs, America is most definitely a nation of devoted animal lovers. From chic Chihuahuas to robust Rottweilers, many consider their canine companions as fully fledged members of the family. As such, more and more dogs are joining us on vacation than ever before, with owners determined to make sure they don’t miss out on any quality family time.

Taking your dog away with you can be great fun and really enhance your vacation. Whether you’re jetting off for some sun soaked tranquility, or roughing it in the wilderness for a camping adventure, there are many things to take into consideration and plan for. Like every member of your family you want your dog to have a positive, safe, and stress free vacation experience.

Bon Voyage!

Getting to your destination is perhaps the biggest hurdle when it comes to taking your dog on vacation with you. If you’re travelling by plane you’ll need to put your dog in a crate. Whilst this might not seem like the most pleasant of things to put your dog through, there are ways to make it easier:

  • Let your dog get into the crate on their own accord. Don’t just push them in and lock the door. It’ll feel less intimidating to them if they’ve gotten in voluntarily, and the crate isn’t seen as a negative thing.
  • Ensuring your dog has been well exercised prior to the flight will allow them to use the next few hours resting, as opposed to feeling frustrated and confined.
  • Ensure they’ve had a chance to go to the toilet as near to departure time as possible.
  • When leaving your dog display positive body language and speak to them in an upbeat way. Speaking in melancholic tones and showing you’re upset at leaving them will only make them worry.
  • If possible leave your dog for a while in the holding area and then return to them once again before the flight – this will reinforce to them that you’ll return again.
  • Place your dogs favorite toy in their crate with them. As with children, objects can be hugely comforting to dogs.

Is my dog ok to travel by plane?

This is a common concern for dog owners, particularly if they’re considering flying with an older pet. Airplane travel can be particularly stressful on older dogs, so it’s always worth seeking advice from your veterinarian before you make any concrete plans. Even if your vet declares your dog safe to fly however, owner discretion is still advised. If you have a dog that is naturally very nervous, then ask yourself – is it really worth putting them through so much potential stress? You know your dog better than anyone. Some people recommend medicating dogs prior to air travel, but this isn’t always the safest thing to do. In a healthy dog with a good disposition, you as an owner have all the tools needed to ensure your dog is comfortable enough to fly. If you do decide to medicate your dog however, make sure you’ve sought professional advice from a veterinarian first.

When flying it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of travelling with a pet. For example if you’re flying internationally with your dog, you need to ensure that you have a health certificate no older than 10 days. Receiving countries sometimes request one even more recent, so these are all thing you might need to take into consideration prior to booking your vacation.

Travelling by car

If flying is out of the question for you, then are plenty of vacation destinations accessible by car – and we all know how much dogs adore that form of travel. Advice on travelling with your dog by car can be found here.

The Vacation

Once you’ve reached your pet-friendly destination it’s a good idea to take your dog for a walk as soon after arrival as possible, especially if they’ve had a long flight. When entering your hotel room for the first time, it’s essential that you assert yourself as the master of that new environment; otherwise the dog might command control of the situation. Tell your dog to sit whilst you go about unpacking, showering and settling in. It’s important throughout the vacation that you pay particular attention to what your pet gets up to – for example lizard eating or swimming far out into the sea are hazards that most dog owners have never had to look out for before. With an unusual environment bursting with new people, sights, sounds, and smells your dog will probably be experiencing something of a sensory overload at first. If this causes your canine to behave unusually (either with excitement or fear) then make sure to reassure them and keep them calm. Taking your dog on a family vacation can be such a rewarding and enriching experience. From pet-friendly villas to pet-friendly cruises, there are plenty of vacation options nowadays for dog owners; allowing you to relax as a family unit without having to worry about how your pooch is getting on in a kennel. Whilst it may be a little hassle getting there, when you’re all together playing Frisbee on the beach, or looking up at the stars by the campfire – it’ll all seem worth it.

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