As pet parents, it’s hard for us to leave back our dogs while travelling abroad. But sometimes concerns about the comfort and security of our dogs compel us to leave our furry kids at home.
We all know that there are many dog friendly hotels and destinations available worldwide; however, for many dog parents, it is the dog friendliness of the journey, not the destination, that worries them.
With that in mind, here are four essential tips for smarter travel with your dog that will make the experience more comfortable for both of you.
1. Take a Trip to the Vet
Travel can be taxing on the body and immune system, due to different environments, schedules and food and sleep patterns. A quick trip to your vet a few weeks before your intended travel date can help make sure your dog is in tip-top shape and ready to travel.
Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date so he doesn’t risk picking up any illnesses, and ask your vet about any known health concerns in your destination city, state or country.
Even its nails can be a problem and it may scratch the seats while you are travelling. The best solution is an inexpensive but yet incredibly functional nail grinder.
Your vet can also suggest tips to keep your dog comfortable based on his specific health and physical characteristics. If your dog is not already microchipped, ask your vet to do it for you.
2. Pack the Essentials
You know how your favorite pair of PJs can make you feel at home, even when on the road? It’s the same for your dog. In the interest of packing light, many pet parents make the mistake of leaving behind most of their dog’s things while travelling. After all, you can always buy things on the way if need be, right? Wrong.
Just like a child is used to his own stuffed animal or favorite toy, dogs also feel more comfortable with their own special things, whether it’s a favorite toy, blanket or leash. So, in order to make travel as comfortable as possible for your pooch, make sure to bring their favorite chew toys, blankets, bowls and treats along with you. These familiar items will help them feel at home on the road.
3. More Exercise, Less Food
Don’t feed your dog just before traveling. While your parental instincts may urge you to do so — who doesn’t love snacking on a trip? — you must resist.
Traveling on a full tummy can make your dog feel nauseous and uncomfortable while on the move, and create some unfortunate messes for you to deal with. Moreover, motion sickness is common among dogs, and travelling on an empty stomach is one way to reduce that discomfort.
One thing you should do more of before traveling is exercise. Working off his excess energy will increase the likelihood that your pooch will fall asleep during the journey.
When travelling, a tired dog is definitely a happier dog, as dogs who can sleep through most of their journeys experience much less travel anxiety than dogs who don’t.
4. Safety Is Paramount
Your dog’s safety is of utmost importance when you are travelling. Get a clear understanding of what you’ll be doing on your trip, and make sure you have all the items you need to keep your dog safe. If you’re driving, make sure you have a seat-belt harness for your pooch. If you’re flying, make sure you have an airline-approved dog carrier. You may also want to bring a shorter leash than the one you usually use, so you can keep your dog right beside you at rest stops, in airports or anywhere else you may be on your journey.
Most importantly, make sure your dog has appropriate identification. Your dog should wear a collar with clear and up-to-date identification tags during the entire length of your trip. Make sure the tags have your mobile phone number or a number where you can be reached while travelling. If your dog gets loose at an airport, it won’t help you if someone calls your home number to let you know he’s been found. Microchips also contain critical contact information. Make sure not only that your dog is chipped (you can take care of this at your pre-trip vet visit), but also that the information it contains is up to date.