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Traveling With Your Pet - Five Tips for a Great Vacation

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 2 3

If you are heading out for the holidays, or simply going on a road trip and you want to bring Fido with you, then here are 5 simple tips that will help you enjoy your time away with your pet.

I have a 65 pound dog that I have traveled with on occasion.  When we head to my sister-in-laws farm for a few days we like to bring Sasha with us, as there are fields to run and play in, and we simply stay put for the few days we are there and enjoy the farm.  It is a 4 hour car drive so we have to be prepared.

But from experience, I have found these five tips to really help us enjoy the trip and the time away from home.  It is relaxing for us and for Sasha.  

Traveling with your pet

Schedule a Veterinarian Visit – This is especially important if you are crossing any borders.  You should get a certificate or letter written by your Veterinarian showing that your dog is up to date with vaccinations and also a list of medications he may be taking.

Make sure you get enough medications for the trip and a few extra days in case of weather issues or delays.  The same goes for yourself!

If your dog is a nervous passenger in the car or in his carrier, then this would also be the time to discuss a mild sedative.  I got a few doses for Sasha when we were moving.  With the movers at the house and then the car ride to the next house we felt it was the right thing to do. 

You know your dog’s personality.  Let the Doctor know if he is a nervous pooch, they have all kinds of very mild sedatives that will help keep the trip calm for your pet and for you.

Dog Water Bottle

Bring a Doggy Water Bottle – I have found these to be the perfect way to keep your dog hydrated.  Even in the winter they need lots of water and don’t forget to schedule some pee stops and getting out to stretch their legs and yours. 

Packing a water dish and a bottle of water was a pain for the car ride, so I purchased these really cool doggy water bottles that I was able to fill ahead of time and then you simply open the trough and squeeze the bottle and water rushes into the trough.

It might be a good idea to get them used to this water bottle before you go away, so they recognize it as their own.  Sasha loves it, and it can be easily packed and doesn’t spill and can even hang off your belt for when you are doing hikes or walks.  

Bring Their Own Food and Bowl if Possible – Depending on how or where you are traveling to, it is important not to change their food.  If you have a common brand and are sure you can get it at your new destination then you don’t need to pack much, but we were heading to a farm out in the middle of nowhere, so I packed her bag of food and treats and I even brought her own bowl.

Try to keep as much of their routines the same, such as the same bowl and the same food and the same treats.  This way they will enjoy exploring with you without getting stressed about their food and water.  I found if you kept their necessities the same they enjoyed the trip. A good dog car seat cover helps too!

Dog Car Seat Cover
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Bring Lots of Poop Bags – Nothing worse than heading on vacation to a dog friendly hotel or your friend’s house and not picking up their business.  That is just rude.  Try to stick to your regular walk times and this way they won’t run into tummy troubles.

Be ready with these bags as many people may not have them.  You can get them at pet supply stores or online.  

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Bring a Portable Bed That They Know – If you can’t bring their own bed from home then you need to have one you use when traveling.  Get this ahead of time and get them used to it.  This way they will recognize it when away from home.

Don’t let them up in a hotel bed or your friend’s bed; they should sleep in their own bed.  It could be right beside you but on the floor.  You want to be invited back again.  Not everyone likes dog hair and slobber all over their sheets.

Enjoy your time away, but don’t forget your pooch.  It can be so easy to get caught up in the vacation and lack of a schedule, but you need to still have a basic schedule for your dog, especially walk times.

Dogs love to explore and if you keep many of his necessities the same he will not stress about his food, water and habitat and will then enjoy his time with you.

If you will be doing lots of day trips and traveling around where you will need to leave your dog all day in the hotel or a friend’s house then you should really reconsider taking your pooch.  Being away from his people in a strange place for hours at a time could result in destructive behaviour from stress and fear.

So, really consider your itinerary before you decide to take Fido with you.  If you will simply be renting a cottage for example and relaxing nearby or going for many walks, then Fido would love to go, but if you are heading out every day to tourist sites that don’t allow pets, and will need to leave him alone, then please reconsider.

If that is the case then you need to find a house sitter, or pet sitter that you can trust to come into your home and take care of your pet.  Yes they will miss you but at least they will be in the comfort of their own home with all the familiar things around them.



Jan 25, 2014 10:48am
Great advice for pet owners.
Jan 25, 2014 2:28pm
Thanks for sharing these great ideas to make your dog's trip/vacation as easy as possible. Thumbs Up!
Jan 28, 2014 7:37am
Great article. If only those people that leave their best friends in cars on scorching hot days would read it too, because sometimes a day trip is little more than torture for some dogs.
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