If lingering winter weather has you yearning for warm summer nights and long weekend getaways, we have you and your pooch covered. Don’t let anyone tell you travelling with a dog can’t be done - road trips can be a great adventure for you and your dog. Below are some trip tips for you and your pooch.
Get Your Car In Gear
Before heading out on a lengthy road trip, make sure your car is up for the challenge - get an oil change and have them give your car a quick inspection. And remember to bring battery cables and any roadside warranty information, just in case. You’ll also want to pet-proof your car. Do you have a way of securing your pet while travelling? Carriers, crates or car harnesses will keep your fur baby from landing unannounced on your lap while you’re driving, while also protecting him from injury in case of sudden stops.
Get Your Gear For The Car
The key to a great trip with your pet is preparation. Bringing your dog’s bed and some favourite toys will help ease any anxiety that may arise in an unfamiliar location. Also, remember to pack their medications and preferred brand of food and treats - enough for the entire trip plus a little extra - just in case you can’t find any at your destination. Portable food and water bowls are a great idea and an old towel is a must for rainy days or trips to the beach. You may want to consider bringing two leashes: a shorter one because some parks require pets be on a leash less than six feet; and a longer one for hiking or exercising in unfenced areas.
Pupare Your Paperwork
In case Fido does make a run for it (or ends up requiring medical attention), he’ll need a current identification tag and you’ll want his up-to-date medical records (on a USB drive or the cloud), a recent photo of him, and proof of vaccination (this may also be required at some hotels, campgrounds or doggy daycares).
Speaking of vaccinations, call your vet to ensure they’re all up to date and discuss any possible health concerns that might exist where you’ll be travelling. Also ask about possible remedies for carsickness, diarrhea, and restlessness (better safe than sorry!). And if your dog isn’t already microchipped, this is an essential step. Shelters, vet clinics and humane societies all have scanners that read the chips and can quickly reunite you with your dog if the unthinkable happens.
Stop and Smell the Roses
With so many pet-friendly holiday options available, it can be tempting to stack your itinerary. But it’s important to leave lots of unscheduled time for you and your pooch to explore at his pace. To a dog, nothing is more important (and enjoyable) than giving interesting smells a thorough investigation and rushing him from tree to tree before he’s ready can be incredibly frustrating. Keep some treats on you to keep your pup walking and entice them to move on without upsetting them.
It can be tricky trying to find a hotel that will welcome your dog and you need to make sure your choice is truly pet friendly (as opposed to merely pet tolerant). Call ahead and confirm they’re a dog-friendly place and also if they have any weight or breed limitations. If your pooch is a bit too big, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they’ll make an exception for a well-trained pet.
The two concerns hotels have with pet guests are damage to the room and barking that disturbs other guests. To alleviate these concerns, ensure that you aren’t leaving your dog behind for long periods of time. If you’re travelling with multiple pets, make sure you ask if you’ll be in the same room together and if there are additional pet fees (some hotels pile on additional charges that can add up to more than the nightly room rate).