For most dog owners, their canine companions are not just pets but members of the family. They stick with you through the good times and the bad, and have been part of all your most cherished family memories. To them, you are their whole life: you feed them, house them, bathe them, and keep them happy. If you were simply to disappear for two weeks then they wouldn’t know what to do.
That’s why the idea of going on holiday without your beloved pooch can seem a little unfair. There’s no doubt that you need your downtime. After all, you only get a limited number of vacation days a year so you want to make the most of them. A well-earned holiday is a time to relax from the stresses of work, spend quality time with your family, and see more of the world. But how can you include your dog in this?
Fortunately, it is easier than ever to go on holiday with your dog. There are plenty of places that are happy to cater to four-legged friends, you just need to be a little smarter with your planning. To help you make the most of your next vacation, here are the ten most important things you’ll need to consider for a canine-friendly trip.
Your dog’s needs
Different breeds of dog have a variety of different needs and preferences, so it’s important to think about this when planning your holiday. Does your dog crave human contact or will it be spooked by large crowds? Does it prefer hot or cold destinations? Can your dog be left alone for long periods of time while you visit museums and art galleries?
A trip to the vet
Depending on your destination, your dog may require certain vaccinations or treatments. And just to make sure nothing goes wrong, it’s advisable to take your dog to the vet for a comprehensive health check before you leave. A clean bill of health will give you peace of mind when you hit the road.
An obedient pooch
If this is your dog’s first holiday then it is likely to be confused and possibly over-stimulated by the new sensations. There will be strange people and animals about as well as exciting new smells, sights, sounds, and tastes. Make sure your dog is well trained before you book a trip. You don’t want them wrecking your holiday cottage or causing havoc in a local museum. Take some time to teach them a few basic commands, or you might even think about taking them to a trainer to instill better behaviour.
A full itinerary
The more planning and preparation you do, the more likely it is that your trip will go smoothly. Create a full itinerary for your vacation with each item carefully thought out to ensure it is suitable for your canine travel companion. When booking things to do, you need to make sure that dogs are welcome or alternatively that you can make arrangements for looking after them.
One of the hardest parts of travelling with a dog is getting them to their destination. They may not be used to long journeys so will struggle with being cooped up in the back of a car or the cargo hold of a flight for several hours. If this is their first trip, get them used to the sensation by taking them on increasingly lengthy car journeys. During the trip, make sure you stop every couple of hours to let them stretch their legs. If travelling by plane, there is not much you can do to keep them happy throughout the flight other than ensure they are in a comfortable enclosure with plenty of food and water.
There are many accommodation providers who welcome dogs and all other furry friends with open arms. But you need to check in advance that your pooch is allowed before you book. Most providers will state their pet policy on their website but if not, then you should get in touch to make sure.
Many dogs need plenty of space in which to run around and go for walks. This should be a major consideration when picking your destination. A cramped hotel in the middle of a city may not be the best venue for an outdoorsy dog like a husky or a wolfhound. It would be a lot better to travel to a rural destination with ample opportunity for long walks, wild swimming, and exploration.
Once you arrive at your destination, your dog will require some time to get used to their new surroundings. Take them for a long walk to familiarize them with this new environment. THis will settle their nerves as well as tiring them out to help them sleep. Don’t leave them alone for too long, as even though they might act fine around you, being alone in a strange place can stress them out.
Dogs can sometimes be unpredictable, especially when they are outside of their comfort zone. For this reason, you need to keep a close eye on their behaviour and watch out for potential dangers. Busy roads, cliff edges, and other animals are major hazards to look out for. Even if your dog is used to running around freely, it’s a good idea to keep them on a leash at least initially.
Planning for emergencies
If anything does happen to go wrong, you need to be prepared for an emergency. Make sure you have the details of a local vet in case your dog gets sick or injured. Although you hopefully won’t need to use it, it will give you peace of mind that you have a backup plan in case of disaster.
In conclusion, as long as you follow this advice and stay vigilant, there is no reason why your dog can’t be a part of your family vacation. With proper planning, you will make plenty of happy memories and enjoy the trip of a lifetime. Happy travels!