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Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

When we hit the road on vacation or to visit family, our dogs come along for the ride and the fun. Sometimes it can be challenging to make your dog comfortable and to find a pet friendly hotel. Planning ahead can make your trip easier and more pleasant. Here are a few tips to make traveling with your dog a breeze:

1) Be sure to pack a bag just for your dog. What works for me, is to have two bags. A larger bag that has dog food, doggie bowls, extra leashes, poopy bags, dog toys, a doggie sweater (depending on the destination weather), pet first aid kit and anything else my doggie might need when we reach our destination. The second bag, is my “in the car bag” and has whatever my dog might need while in the car like poopy bags, portable water bowl, medications, wipes, towels, treats, and a few favorite toys. Always keep bottles of water on hand for your dog for drinking or to wet a towel to cool them down when the weather is hot.

2) If you have a GPS collar for your dog, now is the time for them to wear it. Be sure that it is fully charged and that your dog has it on at all times while traveling. Your dog should also have an ID tag that has your current contact information.

3) Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date and you have all the medications that they may need while you're away. I always take along over-the-counter medications in case of my dog has a stomach ailment or an allergic reaction.

4) Book a pet friendly hotel, in advance, for anywhere you plan to stop along the way. Finding a pet friendly hotel can be challenging, but it’s a good idea to book a room before your arrival to be sure that one is available for the day(s) you need. Bring Fido is a web site and phone app that can help you locate a pet friendly hotel in many cities around the world.

5) Make your car as comfortable as possible for your dog letting them find the best place for them to settle. You might have their bed in the car along with their favorite blanket and toys to make them feel more at ease. Pet seat belts are also a good idea when your dog is traveling with you in a car to keep them safe.

6) Plan for regular stops along your route to give your dog a chance for a bathroom break, stretch their legs, and have a drink of water or a quick snack. What I find helpful is to give small snacks like pieces of cooked chicken or small treats throughout the trip and then feed my dog a small meal when I make an overnight stop.

7) It’s a good idea to have a plan for how you will handle rest stops especially when traveling with more than one person. It may be helpful to plan for one person to walk the dog while the other person pumps gas or uses the bathroom. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS BE SURE YOUR DOG IS SECURE BEFORE YOU OPEN THE CAR DOOR.

8) Some dogs are uncomfortable traveling and may be anxious or nervous in the car. Calming treats can be helpful in relieving anxiety as well as the use of calming solutions like Adaptil spray that mimics the pheromones that mother dogs use to calm their puppies. Keeping your dog’s favorite toy near by or a piece of clothing with your scent may also help calm and relax them.

REMEMBER: Never leave your dog in a hot car. Cars can get hot very quickly and your dog could suffer heatstroke which can be fatal.

Most of all, traveling with your dog should be a fun and happy experience for both you and your doggie. So plan ahead, take your time and enjoy!

For more information, check out these articles:

“The Complete Guide to Traveling with Your Dog”

“A Guide to Dog-Friendly Hotel Chains in the United States”

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