If there’s one animal that likes heading out on a new adventure, it’s your dog! So why not bring him along on vacation?
For many dog owners, taking your best friend on vacation is as natural as taking any member of your family. After all, you spend every day at home with them – why not every day on holiday, too? It also saves the hassle and emotional distress of leaving your best friend in a boarding kennel or with a pet sitter.
Where can you go?
Dogs are natural explorers and are likely to be comfortable in almost any environment. Some will prefer the outdoors, while others will be happier indoors – so you should think carefully about which destinations are most suitable for your dog. You should also check whether the destination is ‘dog friendly’. Look for dog beaches and dog parks, and hiking trails that allow dogs. A great website for checking out canine-catered destinations in Canada is Bring Fido.
Where can you stay?
The most important item on your checklist should be whether your intended accommodation is ‘accommodating’ for dogs!
Many sites such as Airbnbor booking.com now have a ‘pet friendly’ filter for choosing places to stay. Certain luxury accommodation such as resorts may have rules about whether animals are allowed, or how they are to be restrained.
The same goes for camping grounds: don’t just assume that all camping grounds allow four-legged friends.
What can you do?
If you and your best friend are the adventuring sort, the possibilities are endless! Whether it’s the beach, the woods, the lake or just chilling out around the campfire, your dog will be only too eager to join you. And you can bet he or she won’t complain about getting wet feet if it rains! Consider hiking, camping, boating, fishing, or just strolling around the lake or the beach.
If it’s a more relaxing holiday you’re after, no doubt your dog will be happy with that, too. You can catch some sun on the beach while he or she tests the water. Just beware of any wildlife (such as birds!) that may not appreciate your dog’s friendly advances.
What will you need to bring?
Depending on the activities you have in mind, there may be a few extras you’ll need to keep your dog safe and happy. Here’s a basic gear list to cover most vacations:
How will you get there?
Even more important than where you’re going is how you’ll get there! Travelling with a dog requires some careful planning.
Tips to keep everyone happy
This should be the easiest part! There are lots of ways to keep a dog happy and relaxed while travelling.
1. Get a pre-trip check-up: A quick vet check-up before you head off could save a lot of trouble! Make sure vaccinations are all up to date and that your dog is fit and healthy for travel. You may need to provide proof of health, so check what’s required ahead of time.
2. Do a test run: If your dog hasn’t been in a moving vehicle before, it may be a clever idea to prepare him for the trip ahead by going on a few short journeys first. This will help him get used to the feel of the car, the noise, and the carrier or restraint he’ll be travelling in.
3. Take some travel treats: Dogs love to snack – and a healthy treat might be just the thing to keep them distracted when they’re on the move. Look for something that’s tasty AND good for them.
4. Take their ‘home’ stuff: Keep things familiar by bringing along the food and toys your dog would normally have at home. This will help to minimize the abrupt change of environment and relieve some of the stress they might be experiencing.
5. Bring along some anxiety relief: If you think your dog might be a nervous traveller, there are a variety of homeopathic treatments that are known to be calming for dogs. You could try a supplement or a pheromone spray that mimics natural dog pheromones.
And most importantly – have fun! A vacation with your dog is one to remember. And no doubt there’ll be many more!
Tell us in the comments about your favourite vacation with your fur baby, and share any tips you've discovered to travelling well with dogs!
Bio: Katie Stone is a qualified naturopath and former journalist who now roams the world as a freelance writer. Having grown up on a dairy farm in New Zealand, Katie adores all animals – especially pigs! She is also passionate about natural healthcare for pets and believes good nutrition is as important for animals as it is for humans.
*Bernard and Kitty's Waggy Tales articles are for information purposes only and are neither intended as, nor should be substituted for professional advice, or the treatment or diagnosis of any health conditions. Information that is provided in this blog is intended for general knowledge: consult your veterinarian if you have questions about caring for your animal, or about your animal’s health or condition.
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