Your dog is part of your family, so it only makes sense that you want to bring your dog with you during your summer travel. You definitely can travel with your dog, but you do need to keep a few things in mind when planning and going on vacation.
Whether it’s a weekend camping trip, a drive across the country, or a visit to a national park – you can do it all with your dog. Just like traveling with young children, friends, or other family members, you need to do some extra planning and be ready for the unexpected.
The primary goal is to make sure that your dog’s joint health and overall needs are taken care of. Remember that your dog has specific mobility, hydration, eating, and sleeping needs. Keep in mind all aspects of your dog’s personality and health when planning summer travel. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to summer travel with your dog.
Do Your Travel Research
It might sound obvious that you need to do your travel research, but we want you to think of the extra questions and scenarios that can come up when you travel with your dog.
- Hotel accommodation: make sure you choose a pet-friendly hotel. Ask about additional fees for your dog. It’s a good idea if the primary hotel doesn’t work out to have a back-up plan for your accommodation.
- Dog parks: whether you’re in the car for just one day or are in the car for multiple days, research dog parks along your route. Your dog needs to run and play in an area that is welcoming. Remember, your dog might not adjust to the change in routine so choosing regular stops at dog parks gives your dog a welcoming place to chill out, run, play, and sniff around.
- Veterinary care: have the contact information, address, and hours of veterinarians along your route and at your final destination.
- Have an alternate: you never know what will happen during your vacation so it’s always smart to have an alternate plan. This includes your destination, your travel schedule, your accommodation, etc.
Doing extra research before your trip can make traveling with your dog so much more enjoyable and safer for everyone. The last thing you want to do is put your dog under stress due to an unexpected problem or oversight.
Remember the Essentials of Dog Health and Happiness
No one, wants to be stuck in a car all day – this include your car-travel loving dog. It’s important during your summer vacation that you remember the essentials of dog health and happiness.
- Walk, run, play: your dog’s joint and mental health depends on being able to get outside. If your dog is used to three long walks a day or a daily visit to the park to chase a ball – you need to give your dog the same during your summer travel.
- Bathroom breaks: your dog might be very well-trained, but your dog is going to need bathroom breaks. Don’t expect your dog to adjust to your pit stop schedule. Pay attention to the signals your dog is giving you. Remember, your dog cannot poop or pee on command – so give your dog the time and space needed to comfortably do so.
- Pack for your dog: when packing for your vacation, it’s vital that you pack your dog’s food, favorite toys, blanket, leash (and a spare), a car harness, ID tags, portable water and food dishes, a urine and stain remover, proof of immunization, your vet’s phone number, and some all-natural dog chews.
Your dog has unique needs so make sure you consider these when planning and packing for your summer travel.
Is Your Dog Ready for Extended Car Travel?
Enjoying the car ride to the local dog park or around town is very different than sitting in a car for multiple days in a row. Make sure your dog is ready for extended car travel. The best way to do this is to practice and test out your dog’s reaction to longer car trips.
Plan some longer car trips with your dog and monitor how your dog reacts. Pack all the items you plan to bring with you and take note of how often you need to stop for bathroom breaks. As well, pay attention to how easily your dog adapts to walking in a new environment.
How to Manage Air Travel
There is no way to get around it, air travel is stressful for your dog. Before planning a trip that requires air travel, seriously consider if you should bring your dog with you. Talk to your veterinarian about the stresses of air travel on your dog.
If you’ve got a senior dog or a dog with joint health mobility problems, air travel might not be a smart option.
Do your research about how your dog will be taken care of during the flight, requirements on the pet carrier, and how much it will cost to fly with your dog.
How to Camp with Your Dog
We can’t cover all the information you need to consider when camping with your dog, but we’ve highlighted the key items here. Above all else, do your research – don’t assume a campground or park is dog-friendly.
- Choose the park carefully: many national, state, and local parks are dog-camping friendly – however, not all parks are dog-friendly. Visit the website for the park and double-check the rules surrounding camping with your dog.
- No alone time: you cannot leave your dog in your tent while you go rafting or mountain biking. You need to plan activities that ensure your dog can always come with you and be happy to come with you.
- Nothing new: if you’ve never taken your dog hiking, mountain biking, swimming, or overnight camping – don’t assume your dog can and will enjoy these activities. Your summer camping trip is not the time to teach your dog to hike or mountain bike.
- Practice the tent: your dog needs to be ready to sleep in your tent. Practice in your backyard and then before your vacation, practice in a nearby campground. This also gives you a chance to test out your dog packing list and how your dog reacts to a new environment.
- Remember the leash: not everyone is comfortable around dogs. Keep your dog leashed for his safety and that of others. The last thing you want is your dog getting spooked and running off into the woods.
Have Fun with Your Dog This Summer
The ultimate key to a successful summer of travel is in doing what is best for your dog. If your dog doesn’t tolerate long car trips or really dislikes sleeping in a tent, it’s okay for you not to bring your dog. There are lots of great dog boarding opportunities and people to care for your dog.
We want you to have the best summer travel experience possible with your dog. Visit our Leaps & Bounds Facebook community and tell us about your summer travel plans. If you’ve got some summer dog travel tips, please share them. Here’s to a great summer of dog travel!