The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a petAnonymous
I love my dogs. Who wouldn’t? They are these cute little cotton balls full of love and energy. But when it comes to traveling, my cute well behave dogs become holy terriers!
So along the way, I have learned some secrets, tricks, and hacks to help even the faint-of-heart pooches tolerate travel.
THE PET SUITCASE
My dogs are spoiled. They have their own suitcase. No plastic bags or left over gym bags for these pooches. The reason to have one is it’s a lifesaver. Most dogs and cats are pretty clever when it comes to learning the habits of their masters. And one of the quickest things they learned is that when the suitcase comes out, the master is going away.
When our suitcases come out, they start to pace and cry and sometimes even try to climb in. So the rule is when my suitcase comes out, theirs comes out too. I make sure they see it, and I will put a couple of things in it, like an extra leash. Usually, this will calm them down and let them know they aren’t being left behind.
Designate a small bag or suitcase to be theirs. Always use that one to pack their stuff in, even if it is a day trip to the park.
Extra Hint: If you are not traveling with your pet, pack the suitcase in another room the pet doesn’t hang out in. I used my upstairs office. Out of sight, out of mind.
We keep a small travel kit in the car. Here is our list for Skyy and Max
- A water bowl
- An extra blanket and towel
- Extra poop bags and zip lock bags (just in case there isn’t a trash can)
- An extra leash
- Chew toys
When I first got Skyy, I created a book for her. Not only did it have her registration, family tree, and proof that she belongs to me, but it also carried her vet records, the contact number for her microchip, her chip number, her insurance records, and up-to-date pictures of her. When I got Max, his information went into the book. Every time we travel or leave them with a dogsitter, the book goes with them.
If something happens, the sitter or I are not trying to find important information.
I cannot stress the importance of having your dog or cat (or rabbit) microchip. I have lived through two very devastating hurricanes, and those chips were the only thing that reunited pet owners with their pets.
Collars can get lost, and tags can get lost, but the microchip stays with them until they die.
KNOW THE AREA
Before I hit the open road, whether it be a quick weekend up at my parents’ or a long road trip, I already have the contact of a local vet and emergency hospital. My little one likes to hide her stuffed animals in her stomach, and it is usually 2 AM when she decides to retrieve them. This usually means an emergency trip to the local vet hospital.
I have this information stored on my phone and a hard copy in the book.
GETTING USED TO THE OPEN ROAD
When I first got Skyy, she was only nine weeks old and barely 3 lbs. So the only trips she took were back and forth to the vet. I realized she was associating the car with vet visits (which no dog likes). So I began to take her on a fun trips. A trip to a local farm so she could meet other animals, a run to the pet store, a walk along the beach, and even a quick trip to the park, helped her to realize that not all car trips are bad.
When we got Max, we started to have fun outings too. They still hate the car, but at least they know not every trip will end with them being stuck by a needle.
I plan most of the trips around a stop at the dog park. If that isn’t possible, we take a very long walk to ensure they will be tired at the start. Energy usually equals nervousness.
It also helps to take a break during traveling. If you are flying, sometime during delays and layovers, take the dog for a walk or find a quiet area and play with them. On one trip, I saw this guy walking his rabbit.
A lot of rest areas on the highways now include a dog run.
Extra Hint: For all my solo travelers out there, this is an excellent way to meet people. In the hour I watched him, Rabbit Guy had about 20 women stop and talk to him. A couple of times, I saw the exchange of numbers.
PET FRIENDLY – AWAYS CHECK
Thankfully this hasn’t happened to me, but one of my friends had plans for a great weekend in the mountains only to find out that when they got there, –no pets were allowed. It ended up costing them a small fortune to board their dog.
Another friend of mine arrived at a “pet-friendly” hotel only to find out that there was a $25 per night fee and that she had to let them know 14 days in advance. So while other dog owners enjoyed their vacation with their pooches, hers was boarded up at the local vet.
Even if the hotel or place you are staying says pet friendly or pets allowed, call up and see what the policy is.
Sometimes plans go astray, sometimes you want to stay, and sometimes your car breaks down. Pack extra food, so you do not worry about food for your fur babies.
Extra Hint: I measure and put the food and vitamins in a bag for each day. It saves space and makes it easy to feed them. Just grab the bag and dump it in her bowl. Plus, if you accidentally leave the bags at the vacation site, you still have food when you get home.
And the last trick – roll down the window, let your pup fill the breeze, and let her smell the air unless you are in a plane.
Remember to plan things they will like too. A dog doesn’t want to spend their vacation locked up in a strange room.
With some planning, your cat or dog can have a great time exploring the world with you. If you have your tip, please leave it in the comments below.