When you thought about your next vacation, did you consider bringing your dog?
But part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing how to care for your dog in all situations. That includes travel. Here's what you need to know if you plan to bring your dog on the next family vacation.
Mode of Transportation
Before you take your dog on a trip with you, you should first know the mode of transportation you'll be using and whether your dog is well-suited to it.
Dogs are most accustomed to traveling in cars. That said, you still need to train your dog for a long car ride.
Ideally, you should keep your dog in a secured crate if possible. This will keep them from wandering in the car while you're driving and prevent them from getting hurt. You can also provide them with a blanket and toys for comfort.
Either way, even the hardiest dog can fall victim to motion-sickness, so make sure that they travel on an empty stomach with plenty of water. Stop frequently for bathroom breaks and a short walk--this will help your dog relax while in the car.
From there, things get interesting.
Service dogs are permitted on buses, trains, and boats, but every individual company has its own policy about other pets. As a rule, it's safe to assume that your dog can't come with you.
Planes are more lenient, but they're crystal clear that it's your responsibility as an owner to ensure that your dog is able to travel.
Make sure to check the weather conditions at your start and end points--federal regulations prohibit the shipping of live animals if they'll be exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They must also have food every 24 hours and water every 12 hours.
Health and Safety
When traveling, your dog's health and safety should be your foremost concern.
Always take your dog to the vet before any trip. Make sure any vaccinations are up-to-date and get shot records and health certifications.
Bring your dog's regular food along with you to avoid an upset stomach. You should also find the phone number of the nearest emergency vet hospital and program it into your phone.
Finally, while you may not want to think of a situation where your dog could get away from you, it's best to be prepared.
Make sure your dog has appropriate identification so that they can be identified and returned if they get separated from you. A collar is a good start, but a microchip is your safest bet. Make sure any identification includes the dog's name, your name, your phone number, and proof of rabies shots.
You should also keep a picture of your dog with you at all times, along with identification papers and health records (think of it like bringing your passport or driver's license).
Have Fun Traveling with Your Dog
Traveling with your dog can be fun for the whole family if you have the right preparations.
Remember, you want your dog to enjoy this trip too. So you should take all the precautions that you would take if you were traveling with another person--getting identity papers in order, packing the right supplies, and making arrangements for comfortable travel.
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to encourage treatment or diagnosis of any animal medical condition. For medical advice, contact your veterinarian.