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Going on Vacation? 30 Tips to Support Your Dog

Taking a rest, getting away from it all, and going on a vacation is a perfect way to recharge and reconnect with loved ones – all the more so if we can take our dogs with us! 

The companionship value that our dogs provide has never been more recognized. So as long as your doggo is healthy, happy to travel, and you’re visiting a dog-friendly location; it may be possible to bring your pet with you and share new experiences together!

All you need to do is make sure that your dog is supported throughout every stage, including the planning, the selection of the destination, the journey and the actual vacation itself. 

These 30 tips should help you plan your perfect trip together!

People running on beach with frisbee and dogGoing on Vacation? 30 Tips to Support your Dog

The Planning Stage

Just as you need to consider your own preferences for a vacation, your dog’s well-being must also be taken into account; you might enjoy a long road trip, a hot destination or may be fit enough to take energetic walks every day - but will your pooch cope with those? When planning, consider:

1. Is your dog happy travelling long distances in a car? 

2. Are you confident that their training skills are honed? Your pooch needs to remember their doggie manners when away from home, and return to you when called.

3. Is your dog healthy? Get them checked out by a vet to ensure they are travel-fit and that your dog is up-to-date with the preventative parasite treatments and vaccinations they need, with appropriate paperwork in place.

4. If they are on regular medication, ensure you have enough supplies with you.

5. Is their microchip up to date with your contact details? This is especially important when you are visiting new and unfamiliar places in case your dog becomes lost.

6. Find out the details of local vets where you are staying in case of emergencies.

7. Does your dog’s health insurance cover all eventualities? If you are travelling overseas you may need different protection for them.

8. Can you maintain your current routine while on vacation?  If not, you might need to develop a temporary routine while still at home to help your dog adjust to what will be a big change! This routine should include some familiar elements for your dog, e.g. mealtimes, exercise, playtime, and training sessions.

9. Check out the weather forecast for your destination, and be prepared to keep your dog as cool as possible in warm conditions. For example, you may choose to only go on walks early in the morning or in the cool of the evening - and never leave your dog in a car alone. Remember that dogs like to lie in the sun, but can get dehydrated or even get sunburn! Alternatively, if you are visiting a cold climate, consider a doggie coat to keep your pooch warm, especially if they are a short-haired breed!

Couple walking hand in hand along beach with two huskies

Destination Selection

A further, or international vacation comes with many different considerations than a local one! Consider what type of holiday destination - and travel journey - will best suit you both, and create the least stress for your pet.  

10. If you are planning to fly with your dog, this will require additional thought - this is one circumstance where you should evaluate whether the stress of flying is worth it for your dog, or whether a pet sitter or kennels are a better option for short vacations. When flying, you must assess:

  • What are the destination country’s local requirements for dogs?
  • Does your dog need additional vaccinations, health certificates or a pet passport?
  • Does your airline support travel with dogs?
  • Is your pooch fit and healthy enough to fly?

11. Is your accommodation pet-friendly? And, will your dog settle – and remember their manners – if you book a hotel; or would they prefer a location with an outdoor space to explore?

12. Is your destination quiet, or busy? Will there be places that your dog will be comfortable visiting – for example are they happy with crowds, or do they prefer wide open spaces?

13. Are the places that you would like to visit dog-friendly? Or would you need to leave your pet at your accommodation for periods of time?

14. Are you thinking of a country break with lots of lovely walks nearby? Choose carefully to make sure you have as much freedom for you and your pooch as you want.  Follow countryside codes, especially when near farmland and keep your dog on a lead, where appropriate, to protect any local farm stock.

15. Are you looking for a seaside destination?  Most dogs love the freedom of running along a beach and some even love to swim in the sea – but so do humans!  Some very popular beaches are closed to dogs during the main holiday season - don’t just arrive and hope for the best – check out doggie facilities before you book!  

Beagle sitting in back seat of car

The Journey

16. For car travel, or air travel, make sure your dog is used to the crate or carrier they will be travelling in; set it up in your house a few weeks before you are due to travel, encourage them to use it frequently, and sleep in it overnight.  

17. Use ADAPTIL Transport spray to provide reassurance during the trip.

18. Get your dog used to shorter journeys - such as in the car, or on public transport - and lengthen the trip every time you are out. Make sure they are not only comfortable but safely restrained. 

19. Plan places to stop during the journey where your dog can stretch their legs and toilet (and you can have a rest too!). Don’t leave this to chance – you may find yourself stuck on a motorway with nowhere to go.

20. Have an essential travel kit for your dog – a travel water bowl, some fresh water, poo bags and some treats! Other items might be useful e.g. tick remover, your dog’s brush, a towel to dry off/wipe your dog after fun walks. 

Golden lab at beach in shallow water with ball in mouth

The Vacation

21. Remember, for your dog, the change of location can be huge and unnerving. Use an ADAPTIL Calm collar to provide support for your dog wherever you go – such as when travelling, at your holiday home, and at places you visit.

22. Make sure you have enough supplies for your dog for the trip, such as their normal food, their lead and collar/harness, their bed, favourite blanket and toys.

23. Keep to a routine as much as possible, and avoid leaving them alone in a strange environment.

24. If your dog has access to a garden, check on arrival that it is secure, so that you can allow them to explore without escaping into an unknown area.  If it is not secure, only take them into the garden on a lead, giving them time to sniff and explore the outside space at their leisure. An extending lead or long line will be very useful on these occasions.

25. Work out where your dog is going to be most comfortable in your holiday home for both sleeping and eating – create a quiet area where they can have their bed and relax undisturbed. 

26. If you are going to stay with a larger group of people, try and introduce them before the trip, and do so gradually – help your holiday housemates to understand how best to interact with your dog, and let them know of any rules they need to be aware of.

27. Let your dog settle into your holiday home before rushing out to explore your new environment. A walk then will be a good way for them to stretch their legs and relax. 

28. Don’t react negatively if your pet has a toilet accident  – remember that a dog’s instinct is to mark their territory, so keep a watchful eye and take them outside as soon as you see any signs of them needing to go!

29. Always reward your dog for being calm and relaxed and responding positively, either indoors or outdoors.

With these points, you and your doggo should be ready for a happy and relaxing trip together! 

30. However, if you decide that travelling to a strange location will not suit your pooch – it is wise to consider having a pet sitter look after them while you are away. This may be someone who is familiar to them, or you may choose to send them on their own doggy vacation to boarding kennels where they can be looked after professionally. Always use licensed kennels and check them out before your vacation.

Man and woman laying in back of camper van with terrier

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