Pet Travel: Should You Bring Your Dog on Vacation?
My dogs, both now seniors, have traveled their whole lives. They took their first trip to the seaside when they were just over a year old and have traveled with us ever since, climbing mountains with us, hiking through rainforests, canoeing on lakes and rivers, and romping oceanfront and chasing waves. They're not alone either -- on our travels we've met many happy dogs vacationing with their families and having a grand time.
Not all pets, however, should travel. Some pets don't even want to travel, preferring instead to stay in a familiar environment with someone they love (my cats throw a fit if they even suspect that we're trying to get them into the car). Here are a few ways to figure out if you should bring your pet with you on vacation.
- Is your pet healthy? Pets that are ill, have limited mobility, on medical treatment, or are elderly, may not be the best candidates for travel. Your veterinarian should be able to advise you best.
- Does your pet have the right temperament for travel? Traveling means new sights, new sounds, new surroundings, and new people. Well-socialized animals are much more likely to enjoy themselves. Pets that are anxious in new environments or nervous around strangers will likely not have a good time - nor will you, if you're constantly trying to sooth a distraught pet.
- Has your pet traveled before? If he has, you'll have a better idea of how he reacts to long trips and unfamiliar surroundings. If he hasn't yet traveled, try starting out with shorter trips to get him accustomed to it.
- Can you travel to your destination by car? Most people who travel with their pets do so by car, since it allows you to keep your pet near you. Re-consider if you must put your pet on an airplane since you won't be able to monitor his well-being.
- Is your dog a barker? This is an especially important question if you're going to be staying in an accommodation that has other guests nearby. No one likes to be disturbed by a barking dog (and the hotel isn't going to be too pleased with you either).
- What do you plan to do on vacation? If your idea of a holiday is to take in the local attractions - attractions that do not allow pets - then it might be best to leave your pet at home with someone you trust. For example, if you're planning to spend the entire day skiing then it's probably not appropriate to bring your dog. Leaving him alone all day long isn't any fun for him and he could get upset or anxious in the unfamiliar setting of your hotel. Even the quietest, calmest dog may become barky and destructive when he's not at home! On the other hand, if you enjoy spending your holidays basking by the lake and roaming the local parks, then it could be a perfect fit to bring your dog along.
- Are you planning to travel with a pet other than a dog? Most pet-friendly accommodations allow dogs but not necessarily cats or other pets. Always check with your accommodation first to make sure your pet is welcome (even if you're bringing a dog, since many lodgings also have restrictions on dogs). Although some people do take cats and other pets on holidays, it's much more difficult to find lodgings that will accept them.
Traveling with the family pet can be a lot of fun. Just be prepared and make sure Fido is too! My dogs love to travel and their perfect day consists of exploring new sights and smells. Maybe your pets will love it too!
Pet Travel Links
- Travelling Tips for Pets on Planes, Trains, or Ships : The Humane Society of the United States
The following tips will help ensure that your pet travels safely, whether it be by train, ship, or airplane.
- Car Sickness & Fear of Riding in Cars | from PetEducation.com
- Pet-Friendly Hotels & Lodging in the United States and Canada
- Vacationing With Your Dog at Pet-Friendly Hotels
Ready to travel? Here are some tips on common pet policies when you look for pet-friendly accommodations.