Travelling with Man's Best Friend? 5 Tips to Protect Your Pooch
Many dog owners can't imagine being without their canine companion for any length of time. That means when the owners go on vacation, so does their pet. They even plan their vacations around pet-friendly destinations and lodging choices to make the most of their trip.
But just as any trip away from home presents humans with a number of increased risks and hazards, the same is true for our furry friends. When planning a trip with your dog, whether you are flying or hitting the open road, it is important to prepare for any unexpected situations that could arise and do your best to prevent them.
1. Bring Your Records
First and foremost, you'll want to be sure to bring a copy of your dog's most recent vaccination record. A paper copy is best, but a digital copy that you can easily access will work as well. Better yet, plan to bring both. Not only will this come in handy if you decide to board your dog for a day or two, but will also be important to prove your pet is up to date in the event that it bites another dog or person. If you are flying with your dog, there is a chance you could be required to show proof of vaccinations in order to board.
2. Plan Plenty of Potty Breaks
Taking your dog on a road trip is a lot of fun, but if you don't plan sufficient stops for your dog to go and relieve itself it may not be fun for them. Locate potential rest stops and parks that you can visit ahead of time, especially if you are driving through unfamiliar territory where it might be difficult to find a suitable and safe place to stop. Make sure you give your dog a chance to use the bathroom and stretch its legs every three to four hours. If your dog is panting excessively while you are on the road, he might be trying to tell you something. And don't forget to bring pet waste bags to clean up after them!
If you are flying with your dog, you'll also need to plan bathroom breaks. Many airports now have pet relief areas, so you can let your dog use the bathroom before checking in and as soon as you depart.
3. Consider Pet Insurance to Avoid Expensive Vet Bills
As fun as it is to travel with your dog, it is important to remember what to do in case of an emergency. Chances are you will be far from your regular veterinarian, so if your dog becomes ill or injured you may have to visit an emergency vet. Unexpected vet care away from home can be incredibly expensive, but if you have a pet insurance policy in place before you travel you can potentially avoid a substantial dent in your wallet. Some policies even provide protection while travelling from Canada to the United States, but be sure to double check with any provider you are considering obtaining a policy with.
4. Stay Cool in the Heat
In addition to eating regular meals, it is essential that you keep your dog well hydrated during the course of your journey. Be sure to have a travel water bowl that you can fill with water on the go, and make sure your dog drinks at regular intervals. This is especially true if you are enjoying hikes or other outdoor activities together. Of course, never leave your dog in a car unattended on warm summer days as the temperature can rise to lethal levels in just a few minutes.
5. Microchip Your Dog Before Leaving
Make sure your dog has a collar on at all times with an identification tag marked with your contact information. You don't expect your dog to disappear on you, but if it gets spooked or catches sight of prey it might take off. Dogs can also slip their collars if they are too loose. You should consider getting your dog microchipped to make finding them in a strange place much more likely. If a vet or animal control department picks up your dog and scans the chip, they will be able to view your contact information. Just be sure to confirm that the data on file with the chip provider is up-to-date before you take your trip!