Traveling is already stressful enough for most of us out there. But, if you have a four-legged best friend, it only makes hopping between state (or country lines) that much more difficult.
When traveling—be it by a car, boat, or plane—with your pet, it’s imperative you take his or her own well-being into consideration. This means thinking about everything from how they’ll handle the duration of a flight to the carrier they might find themselves in—and everything in between.
So, suffice to say that there is quite a bit of ball to juggle in the air when thinking about traveling with your pet. But, don’t fret, we’ve got you covered.
Here are six tips, tricks, and insights on how to (safely and successfully) travel with your fur-baby.
1. Test it Out, First
Planning on doing a cross-country road trip with your pup, hitting-up the many glorious state parks our country has to offer? Well, before you set off, try doing a test run, first.
If you’re a new pet owner and aren’t quite sure how your dog might do on such a long trek, consider doing a test run before setting off. Drive around town for an hour or so, maybe bouncing between dog parks, and gauge how he or she’s doing.
It’s much better to know up front if you have restless pup before and...rather than somewhere down a country road in Yellowstone National Park. (We’ll get to how to handle a car-phobic dog, later on.)
2. Make a List, and Check it Twice
A successful trip, more or less, is predicated on the fact on how organized you’re not. The same, too, carries over when bouncing between borders with our dogs in tow.
Think about jotting down everything you might need for your pup days in advance of your trip. This not only gives your brain the space to make sure it’s fulfilled but also the time to ensure you’ve got all the specifics.
And, yes: Make sure you double check said list before saying “bye” to your home or apartment for a hot minute. Pay specific attention to not forget things like medications, food, and other niche things like outerwear and booties.
3. Go See the Vet
Just like how many of us need to go see the doctor before we set off to newfound destinations, the same applies to a man’s (or a woman’s) best friend.
Getting your dog a quick check-up by your vet is a good idea before traveling, especially if you’re going someplace far away and for a long time. Doing this can safeguard your pet from experiencing certain medical emergencies, helping you steer clear of catastrophes on the road or at cruising altitude.
Also, if you have a pet that gets anxious about traveling, your primary vet can prescribe a light sedative for him or her. Taking it (correctly) prior to hopping into a plane, boat, or car will take the edge off.
4. Get Your Pet-friendly Accommodations Squared-away
There’s no more frustrating feeling in the world than getting to the front desk of a hotel, leash in hand, only to find out that they’re, actually, not pet-friendly.
To avoid such inconveniences, it’s crucial you have all your pet-friendly accommodations all set in stone before leaving. Double-check things like weight and breed limitations, needed deposits, you name it.
If you have a partially messy pup, think about bringing excess paper towels and a “burner sheet” to lay across the bed or floor.
5. Make Sure Their Tags are Up-to-date
This one of the most overlooked things most pet owners overlook before going on a trip.
Make sure your dog's tags are all up-to-date before heading out of town for any length of time. Also, if they are, make sure they’re eligible. Should something go array and someone find your lost pup, you’ll want to make sure that their tags can’t be misunderstood.
It’s also a good idea to have your dog microchipped, as well. Think of these microchips as a permanent tag that they can’t chew off. That being said, your dog should always sport regular tags, regardless if he or she is also microchipped.
6. Embrace Technology
Long gone are the days where we had to resort to physical roadmaps to get around. The same, too, carries over to how we travel with our canines.
And being that everyone these days has a super-computer in their pockets, there is a bevy of habits that can help make traveling with your pup a piece of cake. Below are a few of our favorites:
? Bring Fido an app that allows you to look at pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, events, and more.Dog Park Finder Plus, an app that aggregates thousands of dog parks into one directory, allowing you to find a dog parka dog park anywhere you are traveling!
? Red Cross Pet First Aid an app that will connect you to a nearby or local veterinarian in the case of a pet-related emergency.
? Dog Vacay an app that links dog sitters and walker to owners who, unfortunately, can’t take their pup with them on a leg of their vacation.
In Conclusion: Stay Prepared, Play Ahead, and Enjoy an Effortless Adventure with Your Four-Legged Best Friend
By now, it’s pretty clear to see that a lot goes into planning a pet-friendly vacation. However, the key to any successful vacation boils down to one thing: Preparation.
Making sure things like your accommodations figured out, needed medications and foods packed, dog-park-filled driving route planner, and more will make for an easy vacation.