If you are going somewhere, your dog is probably going to want to come along. But traveling with your dog does necessitate some special considerations. Here are some tips.
Should you take the dog?
Consider whether your dog would be better off sitting out this trip. If your itinerary is going to include a lot of time when you won’t be able to be with the dog, you will probably be better off finding other arrangements for the animal.
Another consideration is the temperature of your destination. You don’t want to leave the animal for any length of time in the car when it’s hot outside.
If you decided that it’s best to bring your dog along, ask your vet for tips on traveling with your dog. Your vet will be able to give you specific ideas based on your dog’s breed and temperament. You’ll want to make sure your dog’s collar is up to date with your contact information and pack a recent photo of your dog, in case the animal gets lost. Bring plenty of plastic bags so you can be a responsible pet owner and clean up after your dog wherever you are. You’ll also want to bring a leash, as well as bowls for food and water and the animal’s favorite toy and blanket. If your dog is crate trained, it will probably help immensely to bring the crate, even when traveling by car.
Air Travel. If you are taking a plane, you will generally need a specific type of crate for your dog. Contact the airline ahead of time and ask what kinds of travel accessories are going to be required.
Traveling by Car. If you are going to be in the car for any length of time, make sure that the climate is controlled. Never leave your dog unattended in a car that could get too hot. Dogs can suffer dehydration, heat stroke or even death from temperatures that become too high inside the car.
Doggy Lodging. There are a surprising number of hotels that are dog-friendly these days. Do a search online before you go and find out the rules and considerations of the hotel where you’ll be staying. You’ll want to make sure to bring a crate, and follow the rules for the particular hotel. Some will not allow you to leave the dog unattended in the room for any length of time. If you purchase a travel crate, make sure the dog is used to it before you use it away from home. If you aren’t sure how your dog will react to a hotel room, you might want to check it out on shorter trips before embarking on longer ones.
Traveling Overseas. If you are traveling overseas, it is probably best to find an alternate arrangement, unless you are planning to be gone for months at a time. If you need to bring your dog, contact the local consulate of the country you are visiting so they can tell you what will be required to bring your pet.
Alternatives to traveling with your dog
Ask a friend to pet sit (or hire someone to do it for you). Depending on the daily needs of your dog, you may be able to take care of your pet best by asking someone to come in and feed him and take him out for some exercise. Or ask your pet-loving friends to see if the animal can stay with someone while you are gone. This arrangement generally works best when you trade off with friends who also have dogs, since their home is already set up for animals. Plus, you can return the favor when their family travels.
Boarding your dog. Another option is to leave your dog in a kennel. Make sure to drop in for a visit at the kennel beforehand. Check to see if the animals appear well cared for and if the kennel facility is clean and comfortable. Again, ask your vet or your dog-loving friends for their recommendations. Some kennels offer a board-and-train program, where your dog will learn simple commands during a training program while you are traveling.