Recently I made two cross-country trips with two cats and one dog (small breed). I am certain that my findings can be useful for many pet owners.
Be patient with your furry friends! Strange surroundings, strange noises, strange smells and a change of their daily routine can turn the most peaceful, loving animal into a hissing, barking bundle of nerves. Pay attention to their needs, especially if you travel for some time, take frequent breaks, talk to them, schedule some play time. You can get many great gifts for your pet on this pet gifts website, though this website is not for dog gifts only; there’s also a lot for horse lovers.
- Make sure that you take enough food with you (you might not find the brand your animal is used to, and a certain change in diet can cause diarrhea and/or general unwillingness to eat.
- If your animal is rewarded at home with treats, take them with you.
- Don’t forget your animal’s toys, at least a few of them.
- Have bottles of water – preferably cooled – ready and offer quite frequently.
- And most important – watch the temperatures! Never let the animals stay in a locked car with windows up. Even on an average warm day, the temperature in the car can rise to levels where your pets will suffer, or worse, even die. The same applies for trips during the cold season, and always make sure your dog is well-behaved and well-trained.
Dogs on the road
My little dog loves to travel. He normally sat on my lap and fell asleep after a short time. I know, this is not the safest way to travel with a mini-dog and I have changed that recently after being witness to a bad accident. He now sits in a safe car seat that I can even convert to a bed or a doggy-suitcase. We both ( dog and me) are happy now and I feel so much better to know that he is safe in case of an accident. Take also a look at this road trip Shih Tzu travel video:
- I do recommend – for large dogs – to use a protective device such as a dog-seat-belt, and for small breeds a kennel, same as for cats. You might want to add some familiar smelling blanket, toys, or even an old T-shirt of yours to make him more comfortable. In general, the recommendations for how to position a kennel are similar to cat advice.
- The kennel needs to be large enough so the animal(s) can stand up, and turn around.
Cover the kennel with a thin blanket, leave only the entrance (which normally has some wire door) uncovered for airflow. Do not position the kennel for the uncovered side to point towards the outside. Dogs too can get confused by cars and lights rushing by.
- Most likely your dog will not eat while being locked in a kennel either. Make sure, especially on hot days, to take mini-breaks every 2 – 3 hours, let the animal outside for 5 – 10 minutes (on a leash!), offer fresh water and the food it is used to. Your dog, when well-educated, might not want to eat, but will certainly drink!
- Arriving at a hotel: Not too many hotels are fond of furry travel companions. Make sure you have your luggage already unloaded and don’t need to open your room door for some time. Dogs will immediately start sniffing around. It might happen that they catch the scent of another animal that previously occupied the hotel room. Put out some tasty food and water, maybe some toys, and let the dog get used to the new surroundings. I always did well to take my dog for a walk afterward, to keep at least part of the daily walking schedule in the mornings and evenings.
- As a courtesy to other hotel guests please do not leave your animal unattended immediately! The new surroundings might scare even the calmest animal and this might result in excessive barking. If you can’t take your dog with you for dinner, think about of ordering room service or let one person stay with it and be sure the dog likes the company.
- When staying in a hotel for several days, make sure the animal is proper attended when the cleaning crew arrives in the morning. Best is to leave with the dog while your room is prepared. Most dogs just hate vacuum cleaners, and a vacuum cleaner in the hands of a stranger is extra scary for the animal. Keep in mind that the maid might be afraid of animals. Bad manners of animal owners make it harder to find pet-friendly accommodations for other pet lovers. Be courteous and considerate, please!
- When arriving at your final destination give the dog time to get acclimated. Dogs should always be on a leash, even more so when arriving at a strange location. Make sure the animal cannot escape and keep the doors closed. Be patient!
- Useful things to take with you: dog blanket, dog toys, T-shirt of yours, dog food the animal is used to, 2 plastic bowls with lid for water and food, treats, chew-bones, bottled water, spare leash. Large, thin blanket to cover kennel in the car.
Make sure your animals are properly vaccinated! Some states (and some hotels) within the U.S. might require you to show proof!