If you think traveling is stressful for humans, it’s even worse for your canine companion! Throwing on a dog leash and strolling around the park is a much different experience from a cross-country road trip. However, just because they aren’t used to travel doesn’t mean you can’t bring your puppy along for the ride. Here are a few ways you can help make travel something you and your dog can look forward to.
1. Car Crazy
While some dogs are perfect angels on car rides, others will bounce from window to window. Loud noise, strange sights, and new smells may make your dog anxious or overly excited. Even if you never plan to take your puppy on a long trip, you may want to get them accustomed to car rides from a young age. At least that will make the drive to the vet more tolerable!
If your dog is anxious around cars, don’t force it inside. Have a friend drive around while you hold the dog leash and observe from a distance. Then, bring the dog closer to the vehicle, letting it explore the inside and outside of the car. Eventually, you can try short drives, progressing into longer trips as your passenger becomes more comfortable. Some dogs will take to it right away while others may need a little more time to adjust.
2. Fur-Baby Friendly
One of the most difficult things about traveling with a dog is not the pet itself, but how some overnight establishments react to your four-legged friend. While you may assume the hotel will be fine with a small pet, you’ll want to make sure before finalizing the booking. You don’t want to go flying with your dog from one shore to the other, only to learn there’s no room for you at the inn!
If you are looking for home rentals, bed and breakfasts, or Airbnb offerings, your best option is to contact the owner directly. Traveling with animals is becoming more common every year, and many places have yet to update their digital information. Conversely, a hotel or restaurant may say it’s pet-friendly online, only for you and your pup to be turned away upon arrival.
3. Dog Leash Etiquette
Your dog might be great off leash; it comes right when you call and never gets distracted. Even if a dog is expertly trained, there is still no way to tell what it will do in a new situation. Any new place will be a smorgasbord of smells and sights for dogs, and even the most docile of animals may burst with energy and excitement! Keep your dog on a leash when in new locations to keep it out of trouble and close at hand.
4. Consult Your Vet
It’s always a good idea to check with the veterinarian before taking any big trips with your pet. Some dogs get very upset when encountering a new form of travel or a strange place. If you need some ideas to help calm an anxious dog, the vet will know your pet’s history and can offer some excellent advice. Your vet may recommend medication, but in some cases, all you need is a soothing voice and a soft touch.
It’s also a good idea to get any vaccine updates and pick up copies of some basic medical records. If the puppy runs into an issue, you’ll have all of its important information ready to go. Just as with your own critical documents, keep a paper set in your luggage and a digital copy in the cloud so you’re prepared to go anywhere.
5. Stretch Four Legs
Just like kids who need to use the bathroom the moment your car hits the highway, dogs also need potty and exercise breaks. Being cooped up in a car is no fun, and your puppy isn’t going to understand why it can’t jump out the window and run alongside. You’re going to have to grab the dog leash and take it out for a stroll, unless you don’t mind rolling down the windows to deal with the smell of an accident.
Plan frequent rest stops on car trips to make sure your dog has plenty of time to relieve itself. If you’re taking a plane, make sure there is an area close by that your pet can use before you board and at your destination. Remember that you are both in an unusual situation, so it may take some extra time for shy pups to do their business.
A New Way to Travel
Bringing along your barking buddy when you travel changes how you experience the trip. There are certain places that you’ll have to explore just to make sure your puppy gets the stimulation it needs. Let your dog leash pull you towards new friends and find exciting experiences that you never would have seen without your pet. With the right preparations, you’ll have a companion that will never let you down no matter where your travel takes you!
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