Guide for Traveling with your Dog
Dog is man’s best friend. Best trips are traveled with the company of best friends. So why let the pet at home or let someone else take care of him/her when
instead he/she could tag along? It isn’t easy, sure, it needs a lot of preparations and planning. So here is a guide to help you prepare in case you decide to travel with your dog by your side:
A copy of your dog’s veterinary and shot records:
It is always better to be prepared if ever things go wrong. In case of an emergency, a copy of your dog’s veterinary and shot records can be a lifesaver; not to mention there are hotels, camping grounds, boarding facilities, and parks that require a copy before registration.
A Collar with ID Tags:
Another excellent bit of gear for dogs during travel is a GPS locator. These devices are small enough to be clipped onto your dogs collar and use GPS technology to track your dog’s location to within a few feet, anywhere in the world, using an app installed on your smartphone.
And, always carry a current photo of your dog, just in case.
In terms of other catastrophes, there’s also the possibility of the dog getting lost. Make sure then that the dog has always a collar on with an ID tag containing your cell phone number, even if he/she is leashed.
It is also better if the dog is microchipped so that if the collar is lost or removed, you can still identify him/her. Make sure then before starting your journey that the information embedded in the chip is updated and has everything necessary for identification.
The best way yet to retrieve a lost dog is a GPS locator that you can clip onto your dog’s collar. It can track very precisely with the use of an app on your smartphone the dog’s location anywhere in the world. Also think to always carry a photo of your dog to ask people if they had seen your dog.
A Visit to the Vet before embarking
Think to do a check-up with your dog’s vet in order to make sure he/she is healthy and up-to-date with vaccinations before heading off. Ask for remedies in case the dog gets carsick as well as tips or meds to calm the dog if he/she gets too nervous, special type of music or anxiety wraps for example. Ask also for the necessaries for a pet first aid-kit. Take also important phone numbers with you, your vet’s, pet poison hotline, and emergency veterinarians for after-hours call.
The Travel Essentials
Be sure to bring portable food, water dishes, food storage containers, a travel bed, and safety gear. Take also a non-spill travel bowl used to drink water so as to keep clean water available for the dog at any time. If the dog switches from the regular food he/she usually gets at home, there’s a risk to upset the stomach so let’s avoid that by bringing his food and drinking habits along. Bring extras in case you decide to add a day or two in your fun trip.
Safety Restraints or Carriers
If traveling by car, a safety harness that you can attach to a seat belt can make your dog safe. The alternative is to put the dog inside a sturdy crate or a carrier specially designed for car travels. If the dog has the bad habit of jumping around, a barrier or a gate that stops him/her from getting to the front seat solves the problem.
If traveling by pick-up truck, the dog has to stay in the cab as it is unsafe in the bed and it is illegal in many states.
If traveling by airplane, make sure the carrier is conform to the regulations and call the airline to let them know beforehand so there wouldn’t be any bad surprise.
Safety Guidelines in-car
Include several stops every few hours during the roadtrip to let your dog stretch his/her legs, eat, and “visit the restroom”. For that purpose, most highway rest stops have nice dog walking areas. It is better to avoid letting the dog sticking his/her head out the window while driving, especially at high speed. If the dog insists, you can make him/her wear safety goggles in order to protect the eyes from debris that can cause lasting injuries. Also, it is paramount not to leave the dog alone unattended in the car as it could very dangerous for him/her in warm weather because of the greenhouse effect that raises the inside temperature to extreme highs.
Bring Home with you
To keep the dog comfortable and unstressed during the trip, it is nice to bring familiar objects from home with you. A blanket, a bed, a favorite plaything, or chew-treats can do the trick. Dogs are very sensitive to smells, so bringing items whose smells are reminiscent of home can only be beneficial for the dog’s convenience.
Last but not least, the best thing to prepare for is to plan lots of fun. You can’t control every aspect of the trip when a dog is involved, so stay flexible, light-hearted and don’t stress too much, the dog will notice it and stress too. This all may seem like a lot of trouble but a successful trip with your pet would without a doubt be one of the fondest memories of your life.