Here’s the scenario: you’re going to visit family several states over, and you want to bring your dog along for first time. A stressful scenario, right? You’ve got to pack the right equipment for Fido, decide whether to fly or drive, and make sure that your pooch doesn’t yowl and whine the whole way there. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make sure your dog is safe, comfortable, and happy while traveling, no matter how you decide to travel.
Before You Go
Before traveling, make sure that your dog has had a recent trip to the vet so that there will be no health complications for your pup. The ASPCA recommends that you pinpoint emergency clinics for your pet wherever you are traveling in case something unfortunate happens to her. You also want to make sure your pet is micro-chipped and that you’ve got her tagged properly in the event you are separ ated and she is lost in a unfamiliar place.
If you’re taking your dog on a plane, you’ll need to find a crate that will keep him comfortable for the duration of the flight. The crate should be large enough that your furry friend can turn around comfortably, and should be equipped with a leak-proof bottom. According to the American Kennel Club, you should also stock the crate with your dog’s favorite mat, toys, and a water bottle. If you have a small dog, your favorite airline might let you bring him on-board, however, only if her carrier will fit underneath your seat.
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Just like people, your dog can get carsick. Even if she doesn’t vomit, check to see if she drools or trembles when you go for short rides before taking her out for a longer one. To aid in carsickness, you’ll want to make sure your dog is used to the car by letting her ride in the front seat with you several times before you make the long trip. On the day of the trip, make sure that your dog is tuckered out from a long walk, and doesn’t have much in her stomach in case she gets sick. If you’re keeping her in a doggy carrier, you’ll want to find one that is well ventilated and that she can see out of properly. It’s also unsafe for you to drive with your dog running all over the place. Our Collapsible Traveling Shoulder can keep your small dog comfortable and secure so that you can focus on the road.
First and foremost, you’ll need to check with your hotel to make sure that they allow dogs. Also, dogs can be agitated in new places, so you might also want to bring a fan to muffle your dog’s barking so that other hotel guests won’t complain. Even if you stay at a pet-friendly hotel, it is important to clean up well after your pet. If not, you could incur fines, and possibly cause the hotel to rethink its policy. Also, don’t leave your dog alone in a hotel room. They’re more likely to destroy things when left alone in an unfamiliar place.
Some people medicate their dogs to keep them calm during long car or plane trips. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, says that this can begin a negative pattern that can bleed into other parts of your life together. Instead, you can make your dog calmer with your own calm voice and body language, as well as stopping as many times as you can on long driving trips for walks, fresh air, and for high-protein snacks. Also, your first road trip together might teach you that your dog doesn’t like to use the bathroom anywhere but your backyard, so make sure you’ve taught her to go in several locations before you get too far away from home.
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