Traveling with Your Dog
As I write this, I should be packing! We are taking a 17 hour drive tomorrow to the U.P. of Michigan! So that got me to thinking, maybe I should include an article about traveling with your pet. As you know, if you are familiar with my articles, I never travel without my dogs!
However, before you make plans, ask yourself if your dog will be happy and comfortable traveling with you! Some dogs would prefer to stay home! Not all dogs enjoy a car ride or an adventure far from home. If your dog would rather stay home you can look into the options of leaving your dog with:
- Or a Pet Sitter (some will come and stay at your home)
And, although it is not my favorite option, some dogs do fine in a clean, well run boarding kennel. Just make sure you check out the kennel to ensure it is up to your standards. My recommendation is that you stop in at their busiest time unannounced (don’t make an appointment) so that you can guarantee it is clean even when they are busy and not expecting a tour. I prefer a busy Saturday morning. If they won’t give you a tour when you stop by, I probably wouldn’t leave my pet there!
Your dog his comfort and his safety requires as much planning and preparation as your own! If you will be staying in motels call to check and see if dogs his size are allowed; some motel/hotel chains will accept dogs in crates or carriers that would not otherwise accept dogs.
- His shot record, you are required by law to have a shot record if you travel across state lines
- If you are planning a car trip, pack appropriately! Your dog will need
- A seatbelt or carrier to ensure his safety (this is the law in FL)
- A leash
- A collar with current information tags
- Make sure all microchip information is up to date
- A harness or martingale, some type of collar he can’t slip out of
- Plenty of food and Water (enough to last the trip) especially if on prescription dog food
- Water from your home may lessen his chance for tummy upset
- Food and Water Bowls
- Any medications he may be taking, or may need
- Toys (he will need to play and entertain himself!)
- Chewies (he may need things to do to entertain himself in a new or boring environment)
- His crate
- His dog bed
- His Clicker! You can always train, even when you are on the road!
Make sure that you plan to stop and take breaks at least every 2 hours. Your dog will need to stretch his legs, potty and get a drink every few hours. He may also need exercise and mental stimulation if he is cooped up in a car for a long period of time.
Never leave him in the car when it is hot. The heat can rise rapidly and can kill dogs in a matter of minutes! If you must leave him, leave the car running for a short time while you run in and take care of your needs!
When You Arrive
Make sure you try and make his environment as close to home as possible. This is why traveling with his crate(his home), his bed and his toys is so very important. This semblance of normalcy can help him adapt quicker to his new environment and ensure his happiness when he travels.
Keep his schedule as close to normal as possible. Feed him, walk him and try to spend as much time with him as you normally would, if not more!
He will need something to do to entertain himself. So I like to train my dogs and exercise them a lot when I travel. Exercise guarantees that they are tired when I leave them in someone else’s home and keeps them out of trouble. I also like to take bones, rawhides and other chew toys to give them something to do if they have to stay home.
Traveling with your pet can be fun and rewarding, but it is also a lot of work! So, make sure you are all going to have a good time traveling together and take the right precautions so that everyone has a fun and memorable time!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.