Posted on Aug 22nd 2022
At Dog Training Elite, we know hanging out with your dog is the best. So it makes sense that you want to be able to take your dog with you wherever you go, including on vacation. But traveling with your dog can be tricky. To help you fulfill travel dreams featuring your four–legged companion, we’ve created this guide on How to Plan a Trip With Your Dog.
Choose Your Destination
First things first, figure out where you want to go! Do you want to travel internationally, or stay closer to home? Choosing your destination will help you determine your mode of travel. You’ll also want to do your research to find dog–friendly locations, whether national or international. For example, many national parks in the U.S. do not allow dogs on trails, making them a poor choice for a trip with your dog. Pick a destination that has lots of activities you can do with your dog, whether it’s hiking in nature or just walking around a charming downtown.
Remember, just because a location is dog–friendly doesn’t mean there is a lot of dog–friendly lodging around. Make sure you can find a hotel or rental that allows pets. Once you arrive at your lodging, make sure the room is safe for your dog to explore by removing potential dangers such as electrical cords.
Before you book a room, consider how you’ll get there. If you’re going somewhere in the same country, you may have lots of options between driving, flying, or taking some form of public transportation. If you choose an international location, a major leg of your trip may include flying, which isn’t suitable for every dog.
If you do travel internationally, look into local animal importation laws at your destination. Many places also have long quarantine periods for pets. If you don’t plan with quarantine periods in mind, you could be separated from your pet for the duration of your trip, which defeats the purpose of bringing them in the first place.
Figure Out How to Get There
Depending on the size of your dog, you may have a few different options to choose from when traveling nationally. Traveling internationally will likely include flying, unless you’re roadtripping to a nearby country. For a full breakdown of the different modes of travel for your dog, check out our blog How to Travel With Your Dog. (LINK to How to Travel With Your Dog blog post)
Regardless of how you travel, here are some general tips to keep in mind:
- Get a checkup. Make sure vaccinations are up–to–date and get copies of vaccination records to carry with you. Most airlines require health certifications.
- Bring enough food, water, medications. Consult with your vet about bringing enough bottled water for the duration of your trip for your dog, as water from other sources could result in an upset stomach.
- Prepare for emergencies. Find out where the nearest emergency veterinary hospital is to your destination and program the number into your phone. Be sure to save your vet’s number as well in case the veterinarians need to speak with each other.
- Update identification. If your dog doesn’t have a microchip, consider getting one. As for tags, make sure the information on them is correct. If your trip is a month long or longer in one place, consider getting a second set of tags for your pup with the information and address of where you’re staying.
- Invest in collapsible bowls. Regardless of your mode of transportation, it probably won’t be very feasible to take your dog’s regular food and water bowls. Buy some collapsible ones that pack away neatly, and start using them a few weeks before your trip so your dog can get used to the new bowls.
- Teach your dog to go potty on multiple surfaces. You may not see any grass while you travel. Teach your dog to go to the bathroom on different terrains such as gravel, concrete, and so on so they get comfortable with it. Make sure to bring enough bags to clean up after your dog.
All of these tips will help to keep your dog safe and make your trip enjoyable, but our biggest tip? Train your dog. A well–trained dog is much easier to travel with than an untrained dog. Crate training is especially important for travel because your dog may spend a lot of time in a crate, and a crate will help them feel safe in new spaces. You’ll also want to make sure your dog is trained to behave well in new spaces, so they don’t bark and disturb other travelers or destroy property if they have to be left alone for any period of time.
At Dog Training Elite, our goal is to strengthen the bond between dog and owner, and empower owners to continue training their dogs on their own. Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog who has fallen into bad habits, we know our positive reinforcement method will work. We can help with obedience training, crate training, and even with getting your dog used to new environments.
Request a free in–home evaluation today, so you can start planning the trip of your dreams with your furry best friend!