Going on holiday is an exciting time for the entire family. Whether it’s a weekend trip up the coast, a six week trip to Europe or an open ended journey, it’s always exciting to plan a holiday and head out the door with your bags packed. Sadly, it usually means leaving our beloved dogs behind. While there are many great services and options for finding a pet sitter, there is also the possibility of taking them with you. Before even considering this option, it’s important to ask yourself whether or not it’s truly realistic. For example, if you’re going for a road trip or away for a couple of days, taking your car, it’s probably going to be possible to take your dog along. If you’re heading overseas for a couple of weeks, it’s best to find other suitable accommodation – we’re sure a good dog sitter will have plenty of fun activities planned to keep your dog happy, or simply maintain their routine. To answer the question, yes you absolutely can take your dog on holiday, you just need to make sure you’ve planned adequately.
If you do decide to take your dog on holiday with you, depending on where you go the list things you will have to do to prepare will be at different lengths. If heading on a camping trip is your plan, the preparation will be relatively minor. If you’re crossing a state border, checking into a hotel or booking a flight, the prerequisites can be relatively extensive. We’ve broken this guide down into important categories, to help you track and understand what needs to be done at various stages of travel – from preparation until return.
- Before you travel
At this stage the most important thing is to check that your dog is actually healthy enough to travel, it’s usually advised to head to the vet for a checkup before any change in routine. This will likely involve all necessary vaccinations and any other treatments necessary. If your dog isn’t chipped, now is the time to get that done. Then you will want to check all the permissions necessary. This can range from approving carriers (which flight companies they can go with) to ensuring that pet friendly hotels are booked. Depending on how far you’re going you might even like to start planning months before you actually go. If there is a flight involved, this will most likely be necessary. As with all things, the more you prepare, the more likely it is that everything will run smoothly.
- Preparing to leave
We all know the last minute stress of ensuring everything is packed into our suitcases. We recommend making a list of everything that you need to take and need to have done before you go, to ensure your dog doesn’t miss out on anything necessary. This will also mean that you both have a good, relaxing time. To keep it brief, at the very least you’re going to need food, baggies, a first aid kit, medical records and all documents, and of course their leash. If you do happen to be taking your dog to Europe, you might also need a passport. We only recommend this if it’s a permanent relocation because quarantine times upon return aren’t pleasant for you or the pup. If you’re travelling by car, also make sure that you’ve packed a crate, a collapsable water bowl and a soft, cosy blanket. Make sure you take your dog for a long walk/run before the trip, as they’ll be idle for a long time – this will be good for both of you! Also, try not to feed them too much while underway, motion sickness is relatively common in our canine friends. Tip: If you’re going away for longer than a few days then we also suggest taking grooming supplies, toys, treats and bedding.
It’s really important that your dog is exercised as soon as possible. This might initially simply involve a quick walk around the block or just something to get their legs moving. Be prepared for the fact that your dog will likely be overstimulated and excited by the new environment and surrounds, so make sure you keep a close eye on them and ensure that they’re by your side at all times.
- Duration of the Trip
You’ve probably already planned activities and bits and pieces that you can do together with your dog, you didn’t bring them so that they would spend the entire day in a hotel room or a tent, after all. What’s important at this point is to make sure that their health and wellbeing is cared for at all turns. So, make sure everything is in order and then take your dog out for some new and exciting fun!
You basically need to repeat the tasks you undertook as part of your preparation for leaving. This means making sure that everything is packed and ready, and that all the things your dog will need during travel are readily available. To reiterate, all forms and permissions should be collected and checked, a health check-up should be undertaken and you should ensure that your dog gets sufficient exercise prior to travel.
What do you think of our tips? Do you take your dog on holiday? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!
Tiahn Wetzler is a journalist, writer, editor and animal lover. Follow her on Instagram @tiahnwetzler