Tips for Traveling with Your Dog During the Holiday Season

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog During the Holiday Season

Yay! You and your fur baby get to travel together over the holidays. This will be so much better than leaving him at home or in a kennel. Traveling with your dog requires a little extra preparation and patience for a successful trip. Let's look at some ideas to ensure a great holiday for both of you.

A Pre-Trip Vet Visit

If your dog is due for vaccinations, has any concerning symptoms, or is not already microchipped, go to the vet well in advance of leaving on your trip. If you choose to make a vet visit before traveling with your dog this holiday season, take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions. Make sure your vet knows when and how you will be traveling. Make a note of any other pets your dog will be likely to encounter on the trip, the area that you will be traveling through, and come with a list of questions. Vets can be great resources to help you keep your fur baby safe and happy on your trip. In addition to their professional knowledge, there is a good chance that they have been there and done that as a pet parent, too.

Safety First

Make sure that your furry friend is physically secure. Whether you are traveling by plane, train, or automobile, you will need to make sure that he can’t bolt. Dog crates are useful (and may be required for some modes of travel), but the most important thing is a good collar with identification and a good leash. When you stop for bathroom breaks, make sure that both your dog and the area are safe.

In addition to making sure that your buddy is secure. Be aware of other animals he may encounter (both wild animals and pets). Don’t let him chase squirrels or get near any other wild animals at any point while traveling. Also, don’t expect him to want to play with other dogs that you meet. This may well happen, but respect that this is a new environment and make sure that any other dogs that could become part of his temporary pack are safe playmates.

Make sure that your dog stays well hydrated throughout the trip and that you have proper food available for him. Don’t let a well-meaning but uneducated person try to feed him something dangerous like chocolate, alcohol, or anything that could be a choking hazard.

Both of You Deserve to Be Warm and Cozy

Will you be traveling in through or to a chilly or cold climate? Both you and your dog need to dress appropriately. Perhaps the people just need a women’s fleece jacket or a men’s fleece jacket in addition to their street clothes. Whether or not your dog needs a jacket will depend upon both its breed and the weather. Get your vet’s advice on this. The smaller the furry body, the more insulation they need.

If you are traveling to a truly cold climate, don’t forget a warm winter coat for yourself and a dog coat for your buddy.

Tips for Traveling to New Places

If you are traveling somewhere new, check with the locals to learn if there are specific hazards that you may not have encountered previously. Many plants are not healthy for dogs to eat and there are different types of wild animals in different locations. If you are traveling somewhere hot, have water for your dog with you in case it isn’t immediately available. Perhaps a portable water bowl in your carry-on is in order.

Give Your Buddy a Break

If you are a pet parent, you know that playtime is important. Your dog needs exercise, a break from any confining safety equipment, and just some simple fun. There is a reason that rest stops have jungle gyms for little kids. Kids need to run off energy on a regular basis. Your furry kid is no different in this respect. Be sure he is safe but let him have some freedom and play with him. You will be a happier pet parent and he will be a happier dog.

Be Patient

Traveling with a dog is a lot like traveling with a toddler. Yes, you can get there safely and have a fun trip, but things will go much more smoothly if you ensure the basics of safety, hydration, mealtime, bathroom breaks, playtime, and nap time. Even if your dog loves new places and new people, this experience is likely to be stressful for him. If possible, bring your dog’s regular dog bed with you. The familiar smell will reassure him. You will be experiencing new people, places, and routines than you have at home, too. Give both you and your dog a little grace. Give him plenty of hugs, bring along a couple of his favorite toys, and make sure that he feels secure that you will be nearby. While you’re at it, plan some basics for yourself whether that is morning coffee, vitamins, enough sleep, comfortable clothes, or yes, even nap time.

With a few safety precautions, the right clothing for both of you, and a little flexibility, you and your dog can be great travel buddies this holiday season.

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