Holiday Travel with Your Dog
Your pooch is part of your family. If you’re like many Americans, you don’t leave home without her. In fact, when it comes to holiday travel, if your pup can’t make the trip, then chances are you won’t either. The reality, however, is that travel with your dog isn’t always in everyone’s best interests.
If you insist on taking your pooch everywhere you go, regardless of the consequences, there are a number of steps you can take before you go to ensure that you and your entire family can all get along and enjoy the holiday season. Travel with your dog, like going places with two-legged babies, requires a little upfront planning. When done right, everyone remains happy … and healthy.
Health Comes First
Before going anywhere with your dog, check in with your veterinarian. In addition to getting any appropriate shots that may be required by an airline or the country you’re visiting, other questions to ask your vet include:
- Can your dog withstand a mild sedative for a long trip?
- Does your pooch possess a calm enough demeanor to spend hours in the car or in the air?
- Is she strong enough to withstand a stint in the cargo hold?
- How often should you have to stop if you’re driving a long distance?
- Is there time to implant a microchip if your dog doesn’t have one to make sure you can find her should she wander off in a strange place?
- Will your vet supply you with a clean bill of health if you’re crossing state lines?
- Is your pup up-to-date on all her vaccines?
- Can your vet give you a vet recommendation at your destination?
You should know your pet well enough to know whether she travels well. You have to know if she has the temperament to get along in unfamiliar environments —and possibly with other pets and children. If you’ve got a new puppy or recent rescue, then your vet may recommend that you take a short trial trip, maybe overnight to a nearby town.
Alternatively, to keep everyone healthy, safe and happy, your vet may recommend that you not travel with your dog just yet. Maybe it’s for the best to call a local spa or doggie hotel, where your dog can wait for your return. If your pooch has separation anxiety, consider an in-house pet sitter who can take your place until you come home.
Travel with Your Dog in Style
Once you’ve been given the go-ahead to travel with your dog, whether you’re traveling by air, sea or land, there are certain items that make the trip more fun and comfortable for you and your furball. Some items are “don’t leave home without them,” while others are just for fun and fancy, playing up the festive season.
Consider the weather, the amount of time you’ll be cooped up and your ultimate destination. Then get ready with a few necessities and some fun items for good measure. You may not be able to find your dog’s favorite foods and treats where you’re going, so stock up before you leave. And don’t forget essentials like a:
- Carrier. Get the right kind of pet carrier for your holiday travel. If air travel is in your plans, check with your airline to make sure you meet their specifications. Choose a carrier that fits your little friend too: a tiny Yorkie, for example, may do best in a pocketbook-sized carrier that you can keep close. The right size car seat is an absolute must for automobile travel with your dog. It ensures her safety on busy holiday highways.
- Collars. Naturally, you’ve got collars, harnesses and leads at home that work very well for walks in the park and other forays. But not every collar may be suited to travel with your dog. You might want to flaunt your holiday spirit with a Naughty Nice Collar. Choose to carry an array of colors to match your outfit of the day. Definitely bring along at least one extra lead — not only in case one breaks, but also so you’ll have a stylish one when you decide to bring your pooch with you during the days or evenings out.
- Bed. If you’ve got room in your luggage or plan to travel with your dog by car, it would be very considerate of you to bring along a bed for your special pal, especially if she’s getting older and needs a little help or a lot of support when resting from all the travel and excitement. Don’t expect your hosts to have a special place for your doggie to crash.
Wardrobe. Just as you pack for the weather for you and the rest of your family, so you need to pack appropriately for your four-legged buddy. Especially if you’re heading someplace cold this holiday season, prepare with:
- Boots to keep her paws warm and dry if it gets wet or chilly during walks at your destination.
- Sweaters in as many different styles and colors as you think the occasions may call for. And definitely, don’t leave home without her holiday garb!
- Dress-up time isn't always going to take place outdoors, so don’t forget special tees and dresses for your pooch. A holiday tee is a natural hit at any party you will attend at your destination
Be a Good Guest
As you travel with your dog, be on the lookout for ways to make the visit go smoother. Find out all you need to know about the place you’re going. If you’re staying with friends or family, ask about potential snags, like if you have to leave your dog temporarily. If you’re renting an Airbnb or a hotel room, learn all the pet regulations and restrictions.
Be gracious. Bring your doggie’s gifts and maybe even some treats for your host’s pets. Consider:
And have a wonderful holiday season from the staff at Canine Styles. Stay safe, whether you travel or not, and enjoy your time with friends and family.