6 steps to follow when taking your dog on vacation

Going on vacation with your dog can be broken down into 6 steps: 3 things to consider before you travel, and three while you’re tanning.

1. What’s best for your dog?

If you want to vacation with your dog as part of the family, researching where to stay should be your top priority. Your dog’s happiness and well-being should be focused on your vacation plans. All the “dog-friendly” notices on the countless websites you come across may not always refer to the actual reality you’ll eventually find. It is essential to always call before any booking to confirm what their pet policy is and if it actually meets your requirements. You can discuss any questions specific to your dog’s needs that can be discussed with the hotel owner. You can get a feel for how “dog friendly” they really are before committing. Do they have dogs of their own?

2. Visit the vet before traveling.

An overall health check of your dog is essential before you go on holiday. In fact, a ‘one-over’ is advised at least once a year. It is extremely important to make sure this vet visit takes place before you travel, as your dog may come into contact with other dogs that may be carrying some form of vermin. Being up to date on your pet treatments and vaccinations will go a long way in keeping your pet happy and healthy. It is highly recommended that you have your dog microchipped (if not already done). The cost is between £10 and £40 at a vet’s office, or if you live near a Dogs Trust you can get the procedure done for free. Pet insurance is also another sensible idea to consider. In the unlikely event that your dog does become ill, you will not be out of pocket.

3. Plan your itinerary in detail before departure

When you find dog-friendly accommodation, that’s just the beginning of your task. Next comes filling in the blanks to reveal the bigger picture. While still at your kitchen table, make a list of places you plan to visit and things you will do. Research is key. Keep an eye out for all the restaurants and cafes that cater to your canine friend. Here, internet resources are the key to making your life easier. Making a list of everything your dog needs is the next step. Essential items you will need such as: leash, food and water bowl, collar, dog poop bags, ID tags, bed, shampoo and an old towel – all of these are obvious but worth writing down. It may not be the end of the world to buy the things you forget to pack, but there are some things you definitely don’t forget. These include a photo of your dog and any medications he or she is taking. Write all this in your agenda and you can enjoy your holiday without any worries. Preparation and organization will be the reason for your successful trip.

On vacation with your dog

4. Traveling with your dog

Whether traveling by car or bus, make sure your dog is used to the experience by the time you leave. If your dog is not used to long trips, take him for shorter trips to build up the travel day. Safety is paramount in all cases. For the sake of your dog and your own, they should be secured. A crate can be a good, safe solution because it restricts a dog’s movement and minimizes driver distraction. A dog harness offers another travel aid solution. It is strongly recommended that dogs be kept away from airbags in the event of an accident. A comfort stop every two hours is recommended to give your dog a chance to stretch its legs. For those delicate doggies who can suffer from motion sickness, it’s wise to keep remedies in the car. (this is also a good item to write on your inventory list) and avoid feeding them near the time of travel.

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5. Home from home for your dog

As soon as you reach your holiday destination, an introductory walk is recommended. A nice long walk ensures that your dog can quickly get used to his / her new environment. The exercise helps them de-stress and get tired after a long car or bus journey. Try not to leave your dog alone for too long. This can really upset animals. If left alone, feelings of confusion can lead them to fear the worst. This can lead to frenzied scratching and the destruction of furniture, which can end up being costly.

6. Be vigilant about your dog’s safety

Now that you have arrived safely and are starting your holiday, you have had time to unpack and your dog is fully acclimatised. It gets really easy at this point to switch off to those potential dangers just around the corner, as you start to slip into vacation mode. Constant vigilance regarding your dog’s safety should always be paramount. Remember, never be complacent or naive just because you left normal life behind for a few weeks. Most dog breeds adapt extremely quickly to any new environment. Changing routine drastically can also have a disturbing effect. Your pooch’s favorite toy or blanket can serve as a reminder of home and provide enough distraction to help calm him/her down in an unfamiliar environment. It is advisable to keep meals at about the same time as at home.