With pet-friendly hotels, cabins, and resort spots popping up all over the map, pet travel has never been easier. But while jetting off without planning in advance sounds romantic, it can cause sticky situations if your dog is along for the ride. Boarding your pet while you are away may even be a better alternative for some.
Practice Pet Travel First
In any endeavor, practice makes perfect. Your angel of a dog could turn into a devil in transit if you embark on a lengthy trip without preparing properly. But with a little advance work, you can help your pup learn to take pet travel in stride.
- Acclimate your dog to his carrier or crate. Set the carrier up in the comfort of home well in advance, to help your dog view it as a safe and familiar den that’s just his. Be sure the carrier’s big enough so your dog can stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
- Stick to day trips at first. This is especially helpful for a puppy who hasn’t been away from home much. A Saturday visit to an unfamiliar locale can help your dog get used to exploring new terrain and meeting new people.
- Try an overnight trip next. Once he’s used to short journeys, arrange to spend a night with a friend or relative, or go to a pet-friendly hotel. This will introduce your dog to a variety of potentially anxiety-producing situations, such as sleeping in a new place, meeting strangers, and dealing with the odd noises of a different household or a hotel.
Prepare your dog for a lengthy trip
Whether you’re setting out via plane, ship, or automobile, take these steps first to prevent problems while you and your dog are away from home:
1. See your veterinarian. Make sure your dog is in good health, is up-to-date on shots, and has enough of any needed medications for the trip. Depending on the destination, the vet may suggest additional vaccinations. For example, if pet travel involves hiking in the woods, the vet could advise a shot for Lyme disease.
2. Get a health certificate from your vet. This verifies that your dog’s in good condition, and it may be required by some airlines, hotels, or doggie daycare locations in other cities.
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