These days, everyone is starting to feel the effects of cabin fever. It has a lot of families planning ahead for when they can move freely and explore the world around them. Planning a family vacation is a fantastic way to pass the time and focus on brighter days ahead.
If you have pets, the planning process gets a little more challenging. Fortunately, there are lots of options for taking your dog with you on vacation. Here are some practical tips to make it happen.
Get the Right Gear
To make the most of your family vacation with a dog, you’ll need to invest in the right gear. The experts at Pet life recommend getting a convertible carrier car seat to keep small dogs safe while traveling. Having portable food and water dishes is also extremely helpful when on the road. Don’t forget to stock up on waste bags and pick up after your pet at every stop.
If you have a bigger dog, having space in the vehicle that’s just for them is vital. Consider renting a larger vehicle if needed to ensure your pooch has lots of room to lay down and relax comfortably.
Choose a Pet-Friendly Destination
There are plenty of pet-friendly Airbnb and short-term rental options available when traveling with a dog. However, it’s essential to look beyond the accommodation itself and consider the space around it. Look for a place with a yard or something located near dog-friendly parks. Consider the fact that your dream trip to Paris might not be ideal with a dog, but a beach vacation could be amazing.
Don’t be surprised if your accommodation requires an additional deposit for housing your pet. This is pretty standard to protect the owner from damages. Feel free to take photos of the place when you arrive, noting any damage that was there before you stayed.
As a courtesy, you should also pack a few blankets from home to cover the furniture. Not only will this help keep surfaces clean while you’re staying in a rental, but it can also create a sense of relief and familiarity for your dog. Finally, don’t leave your dog in the rental alone for extended periods. As the surroundings are new, your pet might be more likely to act out as a result of separation anxiety.
Choose the Right Transportation Method
There are a lot of considerations when traveling with pets. Generally speaking, traveling on airplanes can be a big challenge for some dogs. Larger dogs are often restricted to the cargo hold, which can be overwhelming and even dangerous. There are also a lot of regulations in effect regarding airline travel with pets when crossing borders.
While driving with a dog is generally the easiest method of transportation, it’s not without its challenges. Obviously, your destination options will be limited when traveling on the roads. Additionally, some dogs do poorly with motion sickness and long car rides.
Look into other options in your area, such as traveling by train or ferry. Remember that when you use public modes of transportation, you don’t have any control over scheduled breaks. Depending on the duration of your trip, you may need to invest in some puppy pads to line your crate or carrier.
Work on Some Training Cues
Before heading off on your vacation, it’s worth practicing some basic training cues, such as sit, stay, and come. Working on these before you go will make traveling a bit easier, especially if you’ll be in a new place surrounded by new and exciting smells.
Be mindful of the temperament of your dog when you plan your trips. Rather than trying to make your animal fit the trip, make the trip accommodate your pet. If you have a dog who barks a lot and struggles in public spaces, find alternative solutions to mitigate stress for everyone involved.
Rehearse Your Vacation Beforehand
A vacation rehearsal may seem like a strange idea, but it can make things a lot easier when it’s time for the real deal. Take lots of drives with your dog to get them used to traveling in the vehicle. By doing this now, you’ll also be able to evaluate whether or not your pooch needs some medication for car sickness.
The same theory applies to being around people. If your dog has had limited contact with other humans up until now, going for walks in more populated areas can help reduce the culture shock.
Crate training is another focal point to rehearse before you head out on your family adventure, especially if you’ll be flying.
Consult with Your Vet
Before you head anywhere, check in with your vet. Schedule a regular check-up to ensure your pet is ready to travel, and update any necessary prescriptions. This is also the prime time to ask your vet about any concerns you might have about traveling with your dog.
If you’re traveling via airplane, a trip to the vet is a requirement. You will need to prove that vaccinations are up-to-date and that your animal is approved to travel. Check out the limits and restrictions if you’re crossing borders to determine what certifications are required for entry. Be mindful of breed restrictions as well.
Update Your Contact Information and Tags
One critical thing to remember before you head off on an adventure is your dog’s tags and contact information. As you’ll be venturing into new territory, prioritizing your dog’s safety is essential. Even if your pet has never run off before, the new surroundings can cause uncharacteristic behavior.
Have a chat with your vet about having your dog fitted with a microchip. This small chip goes under the skin so that if your dog is recovered, they can be taken to the vet and scanned. Consider this extra step an insurance policy for if your dog somehow loses its collar or tags.
Coordinating a trip for your entire family can be a fun experience. Use these tips above to plan a vacation that gets everyone outdoors and moving together.