Pets on Vacation: Traveling with your Furry Family

Recently I was contacted by Kendra who some of you may know from her twitter account @KendraThornton She invited me to collaborate on a post about travelling with pets. So half of the post is by Kendra and the second half by me. Hope you find it useful.

Travel tips by Kendra

Our best family trips have always included our dog.  While it takes extra effort and planning, it is always worth the time spent to include the dog on our vacation.  Next month we get to host some family as they visit Chicago, and I have shared some of my proven tips to make their trip more memorable for everyone.

Use a Dog Crate

While you may feel guilty at the thought of using a crate, don’t let yourself go down that road. Crates, when used regularly, become a dog’s home and allow her to feel comfortable in all situations. Our dog is used to sleeping in her crate at night, so when we travel I don’t worry about her being anxious and pacing in the new environment. When we crate our dog during long travel days, we make sure to give her plenty of exercise prior to leaving. After an extended game of fetch, she’s likely to sleep in her crate while we travel.

Travel by Car

Planes make travel easy for people, but for dogs, flying is very stressful. Most dogs fly in the cargo hold where it is cold, and they are not monitored by anyone during the flight. In addition, each airline has several strict rules, and a plane ticket for your pup can end up being more expensive than your ticket! I recommend only flying your pet when relocating. It’s important to start planning early and to follow all guidelines.

Research Pet Requirements

Many states have different requirements for pets crossing into their jurisdiction. Before you go, research necessary vaccines and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian. Make sure that your destination doesn’t require quarantine. I also recommend a microchip for your dog in case she gets away from you during travel. Micro chipping is a quick, pain-free procedure that will let the authorities know that your dog belongs to you should she get lost.

Bring Home With You

Like kids, dogs appreciate a piece of home to travel with them. Bringing a favorite blanket or toy helps dogs feel more comfortable while away from home. Make sure the items fit into the crate easily to avoid packing an additional bag. Another calming trick is to apply lavender oil to your hands before petting your dog. A spinal massage helps our dog to relax when she’s feeling anxious. These tricks will certainly make your dog feel much more safe and secure.

Vacationing is so much fun, and making everyone feel comfortable while we’re away from home makes the trip fun smoothly. Finding a great hotel for both your dog and family makes everyone feel more comfortable. That’s why I suggested the family stay in a hotel right in downtown Chicago. Not only are many pet friendly but they are close to all the sites! By following our same feeding and exercising routine, for both the kids and the dog, we avoid unnecessary travel anxiety. It takes a little extra time to incorporate daily walks, but the enjoyment we get from traveling with our dog is more than worth it.

Travel tips by Misaki

Are you ready?

Before making a long car journey make sure your dog is comfortable travelling. Many dogs only go in the car when they visit the vets so they are stressed as soon as the engine starts.
I used to hate travelling in the car, (which I suspect had more to do with daddy’s driving than anything else lol) and would refuse to even get in. So mummy and daddy fed me in the car a few times. We didn’t go anywhere, we just sat in the car while I ate and then we got out again. Then they tried without the food and just made some short journeys. And gradually I got comfortable with travelling. Now I just settle down and fight off sleep.

Buckle up

Make sure your dog is restrained in your car. Whether in a crate or by a car harness. This will help protect in the case of an accident. I have a hammock which covers the back seat. It prevents me from jumping into the front of the car and also stops me from falling down the seat-wells (although don’t think I’d really fit lol). I’m also restrained by my harness.
If you like to have the windows open, it’s worth thinking about getting a window guard to prevent them from sticking their head out or even jumping out – I have some experience with this!

Regular stops

When planning your journey add some extra time to make some planned stops along the way. Allowing for a wee and water break and letting your dog stretch his/her legs will make them more comfortable during the trip. Although tbh I find that it’s mummy who needs to use the bathroom more than I do lol!

ID

Before you travel, check your dog’s microchip details are up to date and they are wearing ID tags. Also have a recent photo with you just in case they do get lost. It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

First Aid

It’s worth taking a first aid kit with you for that just-in-case scenario. You can either buy one ready-made or make up one yourself. And worth looking up the number of the nearest vet to where you’ll be staying, in case you need it in an emergency.

 

So there you go. Thanks to Kendra for inviting me to join in.