A pet dog on vacation not only doubles the fun, but also saves you from worrying about his its doing back home. However, a trip with a four-legged friend can be stressful for both you and your pup. Cars and planes are not particularly dog-friendly, and you need to do your homework and plan the details in advance. Here are some useful tips.
Use a pet crate
Many people ignore this advice. After all, the cinematic image of a dog’s head sticking through the window of a speeding car, tongue hanging out, is more likeable than a crated dog. Still, dogs don’t mind crating as long as you are around. They might even feel safer in one. Exercise your dog well before it goes in the crate, and make sure to remove the leash and collar. The most important thing is to stay positive all the time, and let the dog walk into the crate. Only close the door when it is all comfy inside.
Driving with a dog
Although not as cool as having your well-behaved dog on the passenger seat, crating the dog is much safer for both of you, as it lets you concentrate on traffic. Dogs cannot wear safety belts, and if you have to floor the brake, you will send your dog flying into the windscreen. Speaking of flying stuff, dogs are prone to motion sickness, so feed you dog sparingly before the trip and never while on the move. When you stop for a break, walk your dog or play with it a little.
Dogs on a plane
Airlines have rules for pet travel. Apart from a health certificate, many carriers will have specific rules. One way or another, you do not want to be surprised at the airport, so check the details with the airline. Airports are stressful places, so crating your pet before arriving there will make life easier for everyone. Do not feed the dog six hours before the trip and let it relieve itself as close to departure time as possible. Freeze a small tray of water for your pet. This way it cannot spill and it will melt by the time she becomes thirsty.
Should I medicate my dog?
With the pet pharmaceuticals we have today, it might be tempting to medicate your dog with a sedative or calmative before the trip. While medication will keep it resting, this pattern can lead to you or your pet becoming dependent on pills. No one knows your dog better than you, and your voice, attitude and body language should be enough to keep it calm.
Keep it calm on the road
Bring along your dog’s favorite stuffed animal, toy, or blanket. A familiar item will comfort and relax it. A rawhide or starch-based chew bone will entertain your dog for hours, while keeping its mind stimulated, which is especially important for older dogs. For a little extra treat, warm a bit of lavender oil between your palms and give your pet a bit of an aromatherapy massage beginning at the back of its head.
Exploring new places
Your dog will surely find the new destination full of inviting smells, sights, sounds and stuff to taste. Remember that your pooch is used to the streets and parks back home, while your destination is something it yet needs to familiarize itself with. If you happen to lose your dog, a collar with the dog’s name and your phone number can save the day. Now you can even design and order pet ID tags from Australia and have them delivered to your door.
Travelling with your dog can be an unforgettable experience for both of you, as long as remember that the more you prepare, the fewer things can surprise you once you hit the road.