Travel Tips for Dog Owners

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Summer means vacation time. Bringing Fido along on vacation can sometimes be more of a challenge than people expect. From deciding whether to take the family road trip or to be jet-setters, making plans for your canine companion is part of many people’s vacation planning. There are several options for your pets while you are taking a vacation, anywhere from leaving them at home to bringing them along.

Should he stay or should he go?

Depending on your dog’s health, temperament, where you will be going and the options for your pet there, you will need to plan for your pet during your vacation. There are many hotels and motels that are pet friendly, although some may charge a small (or not so small) fee for your dog staying with you in the room. If you are going to be taking a trip which most of your activities would be dog friendly, taking your dog along is a good option. However, if you are planning a second honeymoon or another type of trip that would involve leaving your dog alone in a strange room, looking for a trusted caregiver might be the best option for you.

If you decide that your trip is not really in yours or your dog’s best interest, you can have your pet tended at a local kennel. (Make sure and do your homework about the kennel beforehand.) If your pet suffers from separation anxiety or is otherwise a nervous sort, you may want to hire a pet sitter or leave your dog with a trusted friend or family member. If you go with a pet sitter, this can be a person that comes and stays in your home with your pet or comes by several times per day to feed and walk your dog. Make sure to establish this routine for a few weeks ahead of time so that your dog will feel less anxious.

If you decide to take your pet, it is advisable to have your pet travel without eating (hydration is important though). Using a dog crate designed for travel is important for your dog’s safety. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in, and should be comfortable for your pet. Putting a favorite blanket and toy can ease the anxiety that your pet may feel while travelling. Small pets can often travel in the cabin of an airplane; check with your airline ahead of time.

Whether you decide to take your pet or leave it at home, with the proper preparations the stress on your dog can be minimized. As the motto of the Scouts is “Always Be Prepared,” so does the smart pet owner at vacation time.

By Rich Ahlgren