I love my dog. Who wouldn’t? She is this cute little cotton ball full of love and energy. But when your secret identity is that of a vagabond, having a dog that is as excited about travel as you are is crucial.
Mine isn’t, and she lets you know.
So along the way, I have learned a couple of secrets, tricks, and hacks to help the even faint of heart pooch tolerate travel.
The Pet Suitcase
It says a lot on how spoiled my dog it, that she has a own suitcase, but it’s a life saver. Most dogs and cats are pretty clever when come to learning the habits of their masters. And one of the quickest things they learn is when the suitcase comes out, it means the masters is going away.
When our suitcases come out, she starts to pacing and crying, and sometimes she even tries to climb in. So the rule is when my suitcase comes out, hers comes out too. I make sure she see it and I will put a couple of things in it, like her extra leash. Usually this will calm her down and let her know she isn’t being left behind.
Designate a small bag or suitcase to be theirs. Always use that one to pack their stuff in, even if it is a day trip to the park.
EXTRA HINT: If you are traveling without your pet, pack the suitcase in another room, one that the pet doesn’t hang out in, if that is possible. Me, I used my upstairs office. Out of sight, out of mind.
Have a travel kit
We keep a small travel kit in the car. Here is our list for Skyy
- A traveling bowl of water
- Wipes (if she gets sick)
- Her blanket
- Extra poop bags and zip lock bags (just in case there isn’t a trash can)
- An extra leash
- Some chew toys (something she can play quietly with)
Make them Comfortable
Most pets (especially dogs) are not used to be cooped up without room stretch. In a plane it is kind of hard to do this. But in a car, a couple arranged suitcases and a blanket turns you back set into an area they can take a nap or chew on a toy.
If it is a cat, try investing in a large carrying create. Something that the can move around in.
My mom’s dog used to get car sick, so they learn not to feed her until they arrived at the location. Less in the stomach, less to throw up.
When I first got Skyy, I created a book for her. Not only did it have her registration, family tree, and proof that she belongs to me, but also carries her vet records, the contact number for her microchip, her chip number, her insurance records, and up to date pictures of her. Every trip that she goes on or if I leave her with someone, we bring it.
Just in case something happens, she either gets lost or hurt, I am not trying to find important documents.
I cannot stress how important it is to have your dog or cat (or rabbit) microchip. I have lived through two hurricanes and those chips were the only thing that reunited pet owns with their pets.
Collars can get lost, tags can get lost, but the microchip stays with them until they die.
Know the area:
Before I hit the open road, whether it be a quick weekend up at my parents, or a long road trip. I already have the contact of a local vet, and emergency hospital. My little one likes to hide her stuff animals in her stomach, and it is usually 2 AM when she decides to retrieve it. This usually means an emergency trip to the local vet hospital.
I have this information not only stored on my phone, but also a hard copy in her book.
Getting her used to road trips.
When I first got Skyy, she was only 9 weeks old and barely 3lb. So the only trips she took, were back and forth from the vet. I started to realize that she was associating the car with vet visits (which no dog like). So I started to take her on fun trips. A trip to a local farm so she could meet other animals, a run to the pet store, a walk along the beach, and even a quick trip to the park, helped her to realize that not all car trips are bad.
Exercise them before hitting the open road.
I try to plan most of the trips that Skyy will be traveling with me around a stop at the dog park. If that isn’t possible, we go on a very long walk to ensure that she will not be too energetic at the start. Energy usually equals nervousness.
It also helps to take a break during the traveling. If you are flying, sometime during delays and layovers, take the dog for a walk or find a quiet area and play with them. On one trip, I saw this guy walking his rabbit.
A lot of rest areas on the highways now include a dog run.
Extra hint: For all my solo vagabonds out there, this is a good way to meet people. In the hour that I watched him, Rabbit Guy had about 20 different women stop and talk to him. A couple of times I saw the exchange of numbers.
Make sure every place you are going is pet-friendly.
Thankfully this hasn’t happened to me, but one of my friends had plans for a great weekend in the mountains only to find out that when they got there, –no pets allowed. It ended up costing them a small fortune to board their dog.
Another friend of mine arrived at “pet-friendly” hotel only to find out that there was a $25 per night fee and that she had to let them know 14 days in advance. So while other dog owners were enjoying their vacation with their pooches, hers was boarded up at the local vet. Even if the hotel or place you are staying says pet-friendly or pets allowed, call up and see what the policy is.
Sometimes plans go astray, sometimes you never want to leave, and sometimes your car breaks down. Pack extra food so that you are not worrying about food for your fur babies.
Extra Hint: I measure and put Skyy’s food and vitamins in a bag for each day. It saves space and makes it easy to feed her. Just grab the bag, and dump it in her bowl. Plus, if you accidently leave the bags at the vacation site, you still have food when you get home.
And last trick –
Roll down the window, and let your pup feel the breeze, let her smell the air. Unless you are on a plane.
Remember to plan things they will like too. A dog doesn’t want to spend his/her vacation locked up in a strange room.
With a little planning, your cat or dog can have a great time exploring the world with you. If you have your own tip, please leave it in the comments below.