By Carol Bryant
Travel time for the holidays (and year round) need not be a stressful time if the family pet is going along for the ride. In fact, the experience can be quite enjoyable and memorable for you, your loved ones, and your canine sidekick.
Having traveled life’s highways and bi-ways with my dogs for 20 years, I’ve learned a few tricks and tips along the way to make the journey a smoother one. As you buckle up for your next Fido-friendly trip, here are some insider tips to make the excursion a pleasant (and stress-free) one:
Before making “pet-friendly” accommodations there are three key questions to ask the booking department:
Do you accept pets and are there any weight limits or breed limitations? (if you are bringing more than one pet, be certain this is allowed)
Are there any fees associated with bringing a pet and if so, what are they (and are they one-time only and refundable or are the fees per night and non-refundable)
What is included in the “pet-friendly” package?
Pack a “what’s the worst that could happen” kit including items like a first aid kit, medications, hydrogen peroxide, tick remover, extra leash and collar, flashlight, and emergency contact information along with vet records.
I recently appeared on TPPC.TV blog talk radio with Robbin and Joe Everett where we dished traveling with pets, especially in time for the holidays. You can take a listen by scrolling up to position 31:00 in this podcast:
Did you know that ultraviolet rays can be as harmful to pets as they are to humans? An air-conditioned car may keep Fido cool, but the sun’s rays can still cause harm. Vet-recommended sun block and in-car sun shades will keep your dog safeguarded en route. Never leave a dog alone in a car.
Never force a travel-fearful dog to go with you for a car ride, as this could only cause further trauma. If your dog doesn’t like car travel, you can try to change this. Think about it like the dog: If the only time you have car access is for a veterinary visit or to see the groomer, the car does not seem like a happy place.
Try a five-minute ride around your neighborhood. Increase the amount of time the dog spends in the car and make the destination the best place on Earth—his or her favorite park perhaps? On arrival, praise Rover with a treat. You can try desensitizing and gradually acclimating your dog and/or seek the assistance of vet or animal behaviorist.
Being prepared is the key to pet-friendly travel. Although visiting a vet isn’t something any of us wants to do when traveling (and away from home), this can happen (as it has to me). Locate the nearest animal emergency clinic prior to leaving and/or ask staff when you arrive and check in. Having access to this pivotal information can save your dog’s life when minutes count during an emergency.
These are only a few of the items and ideas to keep in mind when planning your next road trip. Do you have a favorite travel tip with Fido you’d like to share? We’re all ears. Weigh in below. Happy Travels!
(photo courtesy Carol Bryant)