Vacationing with your dog can be rewarding. In the case of service animals leaving your dog behind may not be an option. You have to do some homework and make some preparations but in most cases, vacationing with your dog can be done.
Two years ago we went traveled to Walt Disney World to tag-along with my daughter’s high school marching band. A few weeks before the adventure we acquired a new puppy. As time for the trip neared we were torn between leaving our dog behind or taking him with us.
We researched our options. After doing the checking we decided it would be easier and cheaper to take him with us.
The kids who were on the trip loved it. They took turns petting him in rest areas. My daughter was constantly quizzed by her friends as to his welfare. Because of vacationing with our dog, to this day he thinks that the whole world exists to pet him.
Prior to the arrival of Tomlin (aka “Disney Dog”) we took a car vacation with our older dogs. We drove in our mini-van from North Carolina to California. The dogs rode well and seemed to enjoy the trip.
Vacationing with your dog can be fun. To do it safely there are a few things that you should know.
Make a trip to the vet.
Be sure all vaccinations are up to date. Ask if your pet needs anything special for the area in which you will be traveling. Bring copies of records and vet contact information on vacation with you.
Acclimate your dog to riding in the car.
Be sure your dog is used to riding in your vehicle. Even a short ride can be a long one if the dog isn’t used to the feel of the motion of the vehicle. Take time to acclimate your dog to being in the car. Start with short trips and gradually build up the length of time.
Make sure there is enough room in the vehicle.
Before we traveled to California we made sure there was room in the mini-van for the dogs and the people. Traveling in a small car would never have worked. People need room to stretch out their legs and so do the dogs.
Bring dog toys.
When vacationing with your dog bring toys. Just like kids, they need their familiar comfort objects too.
Give the dogs water at stops and allow for longer stops than usual.
When vacationing with your dog in the car be sure to offer water at each stop. This is important to make sure that the dog stays hydrated.
Stop at rest areas and parks instead of at restaurants.
Picnic dining instead of using a restaurant allows for a member of your party to stay with your dog. Water your dog first. Then let your dog play near you while you eat.
Take a leash and clean-up bags.
This should go without saying but sometimes people forget.
Declare you dog at check-in.
Many motels allow dogs. Some charge an extra fee. Ask about it when you make a reservation. Don’t try to sneak your dog into a motel. Tell the staff at check-in. Some motels that charge fees will waive it if you can show that your dog is a registered service animal.
Is your destination pet-friendly?
Check before you go. Nothing is worse than arriving at the beach and staring at a sign reading “No Dogs Allowed”.
Monitor your dog.
When vacationing with a dog in the car, watch for any signs of distress. If your dog seems anxious stop at the next rest area or park. Get your dog out of the car and take a walk. Just like people, sometimes dogs need a break too.
Banfield Pet Hospital