It’s never easy to leave our pets behind when preparing to travel. Sometimes it’s just easier, and more fun, to bring them along on the adventure! Organizing a trip that includes Fido, however, can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know how to plan accordingly. Here are a few great ideas to get you started, and to make it more manageable to blaze a trail together.
Once you have decided to bring your four-legged friend with you, it’s a good idea to make an appointment for their annual checkup, if they haven’t already had one, and confirm with your vet any out-of-date vaccinations, in addition to confirming the information on your dog’s ID chip.
Make sure, too, that you get a copy of medical records and licenses to keep on hand in case you need them during your travels. There are several types of apps you can use to help keep information organized and all in one place. If you know your pet has anxiety or motion sickness issues, these are concerns worth discussing with your vet. Oftentimes there are medications you can administer before you leave to help your dog have an easier and more comfortable journey.
If you’re driving, you will likely already have a route in mind, but a little extra research on pet-friendly stops and travel spots will give you a better idea of what to expect and where to go. Feed your dog several hours before hitting the road in case your dog tends to have motion sickness; this is also a good time to administer any medications. While on the road, make a point to stop often so your dog can get a short walk and a bathroom break.
Always avoid leaving your pet alone in the car. Extreme temperatures of any kind can quickly turn dangerous. For additional safety, always make sure your dog is restrained with a harness or a soft crate, and never allow your dog to ride in your lap or with their head out the window.
Traveling with your dog by plane is a different situation. It’s important to first make sure your dog is the right size to travel in the plane cabin. Your dog carrier must be small enough to fit beneath the seat in front of you. If your dog is too big for these restrictions, your dog will need to fly in the cargo hold as checked baggage. When deciding whether to take your dog on the plane, keep in mind that your dog will need to be quiet and stowed for a length of time.
Prior to departure, it is best to avoid giving your dog food and water several hours before flying, as there are no options for bathroom breaks on a plane; however, all airports offer “relief stations” for dogs, so you will have a chance to let Fido have a potty break once you land.
What to Pack
You’ll want your pet to have all the comforts of home (within reason), so it’s important to have a checklist of everything you will need to bring:
- Food/water bowls
- Poop bags
- Leash/Harness (We recommend a regular leash – not a retractable one)
- Dog coat/sweater
In the midst of your planning you might realize that your dog would be better suited to staying at home. But don’t fret, there are plenty of options out there for dog-walking or dog-sitting services, which will enable your dog to stay home where they are most comfortable.
Alternatively you can board your dog at your vet’s office or a nearby kennel.