Traveling with a Canine Companion
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An enjoyable family vacation doesn’t have to exclude anyone. Today more and more people are traveling with their dogs, and as a result, many travel destinations are now willing to accommodate pets. Taking your four-legged friend along is a great way to enjoy spending time away from home with the entire family. By following a few simple tips, you can be sure that both you and your canine companion will enjoy a relaxing vacation.
1. Make sure your destination is pet-friendly.
While many hotels and resorts now allow pets, it is important to be sure. A simple phone call or visit to their website should provide you with the information you need. Once you know for sure that they allow pets, check for any additional policies they may have. Some places charge a non-refundable deposit for pets, and some do not allow certain breeds or animals that weigh over a certain amount. Many hotels also require that you take your pet with you when leaving the room or that it be kept in a crate. When traveling internationally, you may not be able to bring your pet along or a quarantine period may be required. Find out all the policies and laws regarding pet travel and accommodations before you leave home so you won’t have to deal with any unpleasant surprises along the way.
2. Plan ahead for the journey.
Whether you plan on traveling by car or plane, taking a pet along requires additional planning. If you will be flying, check with your airline to learn about any policies regarding animals. Before leaving, make sure your dog is up-to-date on all his vaccinations. If you will be visiting another country, you may need to obtain additional vaccinations. If you’re going on a road trip, make sure you have proper restraints to ensure safety. Doing so will keep your pet secure and prevent dangerous driving distractions.
3. Pack with care.
Just like we humans enjoy having some of the comforts of home while we are away, so do canine companions. There is no need to go crazy and load yourself down with tons of pet supplies, but bringing along a blanket and favorite toy will greatly increase your pet’s comfort in a new environment. Unless your pet is on a prescribed diet, it may be best to only pack a minimal amount of food, and buy the rest at your destination. Make sure you bring along other necessary supplies like a brush, leash, and supplies for cleaning up accidents. Keep your dog’s licenses and an identification tag on him at all times, and make sure to bring along any important paperwork. Add phone numbers for your veterinarian and animal poison control to your cell phone’s contact list in case of emergencies. It may also be a good idea to add contact information for an animal hospital near your destination.
4. Plan pet-friendly activities.
Spending all day locked up in a crate or in a hotel room isn’t likely to be a very fun vacation for your pet. When you are planning out your daily activities, make sure to look for some things that will be enjoyable for all members of the family. Most cities have dog parks or public parks where pets are welcome. If you are planning a beach vacation, make sure pets are allowed. Many places only allow pets during the off-season or during certain hours of the day. There are some areas, however, that do have specified beaches where pets are welcome. Some attractions that do not allow pets have animal day care centers where you can be sure your dog will be safe while you enjoy the day. If you have a smartphone, there are also apps that will help you locate pet-friendly activities near your destination.
5. Never forget about your pet’s comfort and safety.
Unlike human companions, a dog can’t tell you if he is feeling ill or if he is too hot or too cold. Some dogs are prone to motion sickness so you may want to ask your vet about medicine just in case. Never leave your pet in a hot or cold car, and look for any signs of discomfort. If your pet will be spending any time alone in a hotel room, make sure there is nothing he can injure himself on or get sick by eating. Ideally, pets should be created, but if this is not possible, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door to prevent escape.