How to Include Your Dog In a Family Holiday

Photo by Alvin Balemesa on Unsplash

Your dog is a big part of your family so it makes sense that you would want to include them in your family vacation or holiday trip. But traveling with your dog isn’t always easy. 

By following some simple preparations and making sure your destination is furry-family-friendly, you can make sure everyone, including the dog, have a great holiday just about anywhere.

Planning a Dog-Friendly Trip

Find a dog-friendly destination

Some cities and locales are much better at catering to pets than others. Make sure you research potential destinations before committing to them. Double-check that your vacation is pet-friendly, though, as many places, including parks and beaches, are known for “no dogs allowed” policies. 

Look for places that have dog parks, dog-friendly patios, and other businesses that cater to pets. Some destinations with walking and hiking trails that allow dogs are also a good sign of a dog-friendly community.

Find out what requirements there are for dogs coming into the city or country and if your dog meets them. 

Consider how you will travel to your destination. Some breeds, such as French bulldogs, are not well suited for air travel. 

Find dog-friendly accommodations

It can be fun to travel with your pet in certain situations. When traveling with your dogs, only select a hotel that allows dogs to stay. Many more vacation rentals are dog-friendly and may be a better option. 

  • Filter your search for hotels and rentals based on dog-friendliness.
  • Review charges associated with having a dog stay as many accommodations will charge extra by the night and may even add an extra cleaning fee
  • Review rules associated with dogs staying at the hotel or rental. Some will not allow you to leave the dog alone while others require kennels to be used

Plan activities that your dog can participate in

brown dog lying on gray sand

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

Going to the beach, walking through town, hiking, and opting for picnics over restaurants are all great ways to assure your dog can stay with your family while you are out and about.

However, don’t forget to check local laws and regulations concerning leash requirements and whether or not dogs are allowed in restaurants or on patios.

Consider dog-sitting options as needed

When you are planning activities for your family, consider whether you can take your dogs with you all day or you will need someone to take care of them.

If there are some activities your dog can’t join in on, you can book a local pet sitter to watch your dog on these days. Some hotels offer this service in-house.

Preparing Your Dog for Travel

Get a vet checkup

Whether you are traveling locally or to another country, getting a clean bill of health for your dog before travel is a must. Your vet can provide the necessary vaccinations and paperwork for travel. They can also give your dog prescription medication for motion sickness and anxiety if needed. 

Check the rules regarding travel with your dog

Airlines have very specific rules regarding where and how a pet travels as do foreign countries and even some cities. Make sure you review these rules and can meet all of them before your trip. 

Usually, small dogs can usually travel in the airplane cabin while larger ones will have to ride in the cargo hold. All airlines have rules on the type of carrier your dog will need to travel in.

Crate your pet before entering the airport. The crowds and noises can be a stressful environment or pets. 

If traveling by car, make sure your dog is secured in a kennel or crash-rated safety harness. One of the most common injuries in pets is caused by an accident in a car. No matter what size your dogs are, it will be better off in a travel crate.

Furthermore, some countries have specific vaccination and quarantine requirements that must be met.

Confirm rules regarding dogs where you will be staying

Double-checking rules regarding what you must bring for your dog and what you need to provide to the hotel or rental owner concerning your dog is always a good idea before you leave for the vacation. 

Some places may require you to bring your dog’s kennel and some may also require you to provide proof that your dog is healthy or well-behaved.

Pack for your dog

Just like you need certain items to be comfortable while traveling, your dog will also need their own food, toys, bedding, and other items.

  • Make sure to pack enough food for your dog for the entire trip.
  • Bringing your dog’s own bed and toys will help them feel more comfortable in a strange place.
  • Bring any medication your dog will need.
  • Bring extra bags and cleaning supplies in case of accidents.
  • Put together and pack an emergency kit with vet contact information, first aid supplies, and anything else your dog may need if plans change or you are delayed on your travels.
  • Bring a harness along so you will be able to control them if they gets overly excited. Read more about these small dog harness reviews to find out what are the different types of harness recommended by dog lovers.

Taking Your Trip

Exercise your dog before travel begins

Before you get in your car or go to the airport, make sure your dog is tired out. An extra-long walk or special trip to the dog park is a great way to reduce your dog’s anxiety and assure they sleep during travel. You will also want to limit food and water intake prior to departure. 

Allow your dog to get comfortable in their new environment

Allow your dog to explore the hotel room or rental. Watch them closely as they get used to the new environment and make sure they get plenty of opportunities to potty outside as even well-trained dogs may not understand the rules in a new location.

Do not leave your dog alone in a strange place until they feel comfortable. You can also use toys, games, and familiar items to help your dog relax.

Participate in dog-friendly activities only at first

By bringing your dog along on the first few outings you will help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings and help relieve excess energy and anxiety after travel.

Leave your dog alone only once they are comfortable

Your dog should be tired and relaxed the first time you head out of the hotel or rental without them. If they cannot be trusted to stay by themselves, consider using a kennel or having your prescreened pet sitter stay with them.

If you will be away for most of the day, consider having someone come by to walk or feed your dog as needed.

Other Tips When Traveling with Your Pups

man squatting holding two foot of a white puppy on green sod at daytime

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Consider your dog’s behavior, personality, and if they enjoy meeting new people and doing new things before you bring them along on your next trip. 

Also, very young and very old dogs may not be strong or healthy enough for travel.

This isn’t the end all list for traveling by road with your pet. Let your instincts, and your pet, be your guide. But, above all else, be safe, and have fun on your adventure!

About Shahbaz Ahmed

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