Summertime brings rest, relaxation, vacations, and also challenges.
If you are leaving for the summer and have pets that you are taking with you there are some travel tips you might want to consider. We travel extensively with three Rottweilers and while traveling with your pet is fun, it also takes some time to prepare to make your travel more enjoyable.
Some things to think about include:
If you are staying with relatives, have a very detailed conversation ahead of time as to the ground rules for your pet’s stay. Below are some things to discuss. Has your relative met your pet? People are often more receptive to a pet visiting if they know them personally. If they do not, there are a few things you can do to increase a positive environment. Teach your pet to be comfortable in a portable crate before you leave home. There are very nice flexible crates that fold down for easy travel and storage and do not take up much room for travel. Once at your destination, the dog will have a home away from home and be much more comfortable. Also, it gives your host the feeling that you will respect his property if you are conscientious about containing your dog, especially if you all decide to go out to dinner and a movie.
Make sure you bring doggy clean up baggies
Never leave piles in your host’s yard. Do not let your pet relieve itself on the building itself or nearby decorative items in the yard if you have a male. Also, bring along a little spray deodorizer for your room. Even the cleanest of dogs can have a slight odor. If your guest does not have a pet, they will appreciate your extra steps to leave the room clean and fresh.
Walk with your pet
If your host does have a pet, make sure the other pets meet in a neutral place like take a walk down the street and have the dogs walk together for a short time to get acquainted. Do not let your dog take the other dog’s toys, or sleep in the other dog’s bed. If the dog is not used to having other pets around, you might want to help things along by teaching your dog the leave it commands before leaving on your trip. It will help your dog ease into a strange environment by knowing this command, so you do not have to continually correct him/her by saying, No, don’t touch, or otherwise correcting his behavior.
Staying at a hotel
If you are staying at a hotel/motel, you will want to call ahead of time to be certain of the arrangements for bringing a pet with you. Many places will allow pets up to a certain size, or weight. Some will restrict the breed, not all breeds are welcome in all communities. Some will charge a pet fee no matter what size dog you have, as they will take extra measures to clean up afterwards. Make sure and be a good citizen, and carry doggy pick up bags, and once again, never leave any piles behind. Do not wash your dog in the bathtub, as it can clog the drain, and it is more work for the cleaning people to clean up after you if you have dog hair all over the place. You will want to request a ground floor room if possible if your dog is not used to using an elevator, it can be traumatic to him/her. You might want to practice going to some building that has an elevator and let your dog ride on one. Usually, if you remain calm, your pet will remain calm and there will not be a problem.
Some Little Preparation!
A little preparation ahead of time can make all the difference between an enjoyable trip with your pet or a headache. Some small preparation tips go a long way in making things go smoothly. Take along a gallon of your own water, so your dog can adjust slowly. Some dogs are sensitive to difference in the chemicals used in water in different cities. Place each meal, if using dry kibble, in a baggie, one for each meal. Premeasured meals are much easier to take on the road. Always keep a first aid kit with you. If your pet should happen to step on something, hurt himself, or get stung by a bee or wasp, you will be prepared. Make sure your dog knows safe travel and is not in your lap or jumping around in the auto the entire time or leaving his head hanging out the window. All of these are distractions and can cause an accident. Teach your dog to travel in a crate, seatbelt, or to lie down, and not get up while traveling. This can be accomplished easily by some early training with a helper sitting next to the dog to reinforce the behavior while you drive.
There are many other topics that could be included, but these few basic tips will help keep your vacation safe and enjoyable.
Wishing you a safe and healthy summer.