Traveling with a dog can make going to new places more fun and less stressful, but it is important that you approach travel properly so that you and your dog can enjoy your vacation. The more you can do to prepare ahead of time, the better off both of you will be and the less headaches you'll encounter. You want to make happy memories with your best friend and you can't do that if either of you is completely stressed out.
If you're traveling a long distance, either by car or by plane, then the first thing you'll want to do is get a proper crate for your dog. There are various styles of crate for you to choose from but you should always make sure that the crate you pick allows your dog to stand, sit, lie down and turn around comfortably. A travel crate should never feel restrictive and should never be approached as some form of punishment or hardship or your dog will not take to it.
Let your dog get used to the crate before you go on your trip, allowing him to enter and leave the crate on his own. If you will be traveling with a dog by car, you might want to make a couple of "practice runs" first, driving short distances with your dog in the crate so that he can get used to it. When you are ready to travel, make sure your dog has enough water to remain hydrated but not so much that it could cause "accidents" and never feed him while you're moving.
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Like humans, dogs will need to be properly packed for travel. A pet travel kit should include travel papers, food, bowl, leash, waste scoop and plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, and a dog first aid kit. Also be sure to take a favorite blanket or toy to give your pet a sense of familiarity. This can help to ease any anxiety caused by finding himself in a new, unfamiliar location.
When traveling with a dog, make sure to stop frequently for walks and to feed him. This is important for all dogs but particularly high-energy breeds like the Australian Shepherd who will travel better if they can burn off some of that excess energy. Don't let your dog ride with his head out the window as that can be dangerous and remember never to leave him in a locked car, even if the window is cracked slightly. That can be deadly in both hot and cold weather.
Flying can be even more stressful. In most cases, unless your dog is small enough to fit under your seat, you should probably avoid flying with him if at all possible. If he must travel in the cargo hold, make sure he has enough water to tide him over and that airline personnel check on him as often as is possible. Always make sure your dog is microchipped or at least has a tag with all of your important information in case you should get separated.
When you reach your vacation destination, allow your dog to acclimate to his new surroundings on his own terms. You should probably take him for a walk right away too, in order to stretch his legs and allow him to investigate his new environment. Remember that traveling with a dog should be fun and relaxing and not stressful so try not to project your own stress onto your pet. Relax and enjoy yourself and you can both have the vacation of a lifetime.
Need to know if an airline or hotel takes dogs? Check out the airline and hotel pet policy database on Rover.com here.
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