Most dog owners think of their four-legged companions as part of the family. As such, they deserve to be with us in every possible situation–out for a jog, relaxing on the porch, or even eating dinner. Of course, one of the biggest family experiences that we want to involve our dogs in is vacation. On top of not wanting to leave our friend’s care to someone else, we also just don’t want to leave him or her out of the fun.
Of course, a dog requires certain plans and preparations that go above and beyond what your biped companions need. It will take a little time and maybe some extra money, but as long as you take these things into consideration, there’s no reason that your dog can’t tag along on almost any trip you embark upon.
Pack For Your Pooch
With so many things required for human travelers, it can be easy to forget that there are also things your dog will need on the trip. He may not require a bath or several changes of clothes along the way, but there will be certain needs you’ll have to plan for as you hit the road.
Getting some training pads for dogs could prove very beneficial in several ways. You’ll be able to prevent accidents in the car and at the hotel, reducing the chances of extra fees from the front desk or the rental company.
You’ll also want to consider pest management. Make sure your dog is up to date on heartworm medication and that you’ve gotten collars or your other preferred products for flea and tick control. Consider pet health insurance as a way to hedge against hefty bills for any medical mishaps along the way.
And while many trips won’t require cleanup time for your dog, a hiking adventure or time along the river could leave him or her in need of a bath. Make sure you have shampoo, a brush, and towels, and be sure that your canine toiletries are suitable for the climate and likely dirt sources that your dog will encounter.
Check Your Lodging
Attitudes toward dogs in hotels have changed recently. Because so many dog owners were either perceived as inattentive toward their dogs’ impact on a room, or because some actually were, many chains and independent hotels alike banned dogs from their premises.
But the ongoing popularity of dogs and the improvements in products for their care, along with a better understanding of how dogs truly behave on the road, has opened many hotel doors to canines once again. It isn’t too tough to find dog-friendly hotels, so make sure that pet accommodations are included in your search terms as you begin planning your trip.
Should you struggle to find hotels in every city where you need them, you still have other options. You can rent a camper or set up a bed inside your vehicle. Whatever route you must choose, you will want to get the plans and provisions made well ahead of your departure date.
Acclimate Your Animal
Travel is a unique experience for a dog. If your pet hasn’t spent much time on the road before, you should figure on some conditioning first. A five-minute drive to the vet’s office is not enough to establish your dog as a traveler. Animals who haven’t spent much time in the car should be worked through gradually-longer drives in the car, weeks before you actually head out on your trip.
There are a lot of things about driving that could prove upsetting to dogs. First, they must get accustomed to long periods of time spent in the confines of a vehicle. Periodic stops to allow a few minutes to walk around are helpful, but you can only stop so many times and still make good progress toward your destination.
Dogs also need to get accustomed to having everyone together in that small space, and to the sensations of movement they will feel on the road. Just as we need to build our “sea legs” before hitting the ocean, dogs need to be comfortable in a car before a long road trip.
Our dogs are a special part of the family. Just as we want to enjoy a vacation for ourselves and our kids, we also want the opportunity to see a beloved dog enjoying time in the ocean or a romp through Rocky Mountain snow. As long as we plan it out, it can be a great adventure for everyone.