Summer is almost here, which means it’s time to start preparing for your all important summer family getaway! No matter where you go or how long you go for, don’t forget to include one very important member of your family: your dog. Even if you’re not taking your pal with you, he still needs to prepare for his own little vacation.
But, how do you know if your dog is ready for travel? Whether you are taking him with you on a road trip, on a plane or boarding him somewhere while you are away, here are some tips to know whether or not your dog can handle travelling.
Is your dog caught up on his vaccinations?
No matter where you are taking your pet, with you on vacation or boarding him, you need to make sure he is protected. Some kennels or boarders may require that your pet get certain vaccinations before being dropped off. Be sure to ask if they have any special requirements at least three weeks in advance to ensure your pet is properly protected. If you are taking your pet out of state, you may also want to research whether or not ticks and fleas are a problem in the area you are staying.
Do a crate test.
Even though he behaves perfectly in a crate at home or on short trips, extended trips to unknown areas may cause him to act out. If your dog has never been in a crate or has only stayed in one for a few hours at a time, gradually introduce the crate at least a month before travel to get him used to it. While he may not have to stay in a crate long while being boarded, if you are taking your dog on a plane he needs to be prepare. If he’s never been in a crate before, you don’t want to introduce it to him the same day you introduce him to flying!
Crates are also great for learning the next step in the process: how easily does he adapt to new places? Ask neighbors, friends or family members if you can board your dog at their house for a night. Make sure it is a place he’s never been before. If he seems scared or anxious in his new surrounding, that is a clue that you need to continue to board him away from home to teach him that new places are okay.
Take him on a car ride.
While he may act fine whenever you take him to the vet or the park, it doesn’t mean he will do well on long road trip or plane ride. Before you leave take a few practice drives and recognize if your pal seems to be anxious or begins to act out. It is advisable that you use a dog seat belt, crate or some sort of car barrier when travelling to keep your dog and your family safe (never travel with your dog in the bed of a truck, this can easily injure him). If he has never been in any of these, gradually introduce travel in them a few weeks before the trip.
Can he eliminate on command?
You will have to change his feeding schedule to help deter your pet from having to relieve himself often, but you still don’t want chance accidents happening in the car. As long as he can respond to commands like “go outside” and “go potty” you should be fine. If he seems to being having a hard time catching on, train him during your test drives to help further his understanding of travel. If your dog does not respond on command, here are some tips for training him.
If your pet seems to have a problem traveling for extended periods of time there are a few things you can do. Your dog could be anxious because he is suffering from carsickness. Look for signs of trembling, excessive drool or vomiting. Your vet may be able to prescribe some medicine to deter his sickness. If he seems over excited or exhibits behavioral problems in the car, check out these websites, VeterinaryPartner.com and PetEducation.com, for some more tips and helpful tricks to get him ready to travel.
Once he’s passed all these tests with flying colors you can be sure that he’s ready to travel. So pack him and the kids up and head on your way! You all deserve some fun in the summer sun!