3 Tips For Making Your Dog’s Vacation Stress Free

Provided by: Wendy Lipscomb – Author of Totally Goldens Website & Blog — TOTALLY GOLDENS

A growing number of people are choosing to take their dogs with them when they take a trip rather than leaving them behind – after all, your four legged friend is just as much a part of the family as the kids, so why would you leave him behind. However, any form of traveling can be very stressful for your dog, especially on the first occasion. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some helpful hints and tips for making traveling with dogs as stress free as possible for everybody involved.

Introduce Confinement Dog Training Prior to The Trip

If your furry friend is not used to traveling, then being confined in an unfamiliar place like the back of your car or on an airplane could cause them a great deal of stress – think about a time when you were thrown into an unfamiliar situation without warning, it wasn’t too pleasant for you was it? It is important that you do whatever you can to make sure that your canine companion feels relaxed and safe in this situation. One of the ways that you can do this is to introduce crate training or confinement training as soon as possible before your trip. This will help your pet to feel more settled when restrained or confined during travel. Confinement training is another term for crate training. The goal is to make your dog feel safe and secure in their crate so that they are not as frightened when they have to go inside one in order to travel with you. If your dog is already crate trained, then you can start making short car journeys with your dog confined so that he or she gets used to it.

Preparing Your Dog For Air Travel

Depending on where you you are headed on your vacation, you might need to travel by air. The travel requirements for taking any animal onto an aircraft will vary from one airline to the next and of course, if you are traveling internationally there are likely to be quarantine restrictions. In the majority of cases, your pet will be required to travel in the cargo hold. Some airlines will allow a small dog in a dog carrier in the cabin and service dogs are carried with their travel companion.

It is best to assume that your dog will need to travel in the hold, in which case you must prepare your dog for this experience. You should get a crate the same size as the approved airline carrier that your pet will be placed in and commence with crate training. While he is in the crate you should attempt to desensitize him to the noises of an aircraft. You can play a recording of these sounds and gradually increase the volume and the duration of the noise.

Medicating or Sedating Your Dog

Some dog parents may consider simply sedating or otherwise medicating their dog in order to make traveling easier. This should only ever be done under supervision of your vet as it is necessary to assess fido’s general health status and determine the most appropriate dose based on various different factors. Really, medicating your pet should only ever be a last resort used only if training is not settling them down and you have concerns about their safety during transit if they are not able to relax during the journey.

The key to stress free travel for you and your fur-baby is preparation and training. Spend some time working with your pet on confinement/crate training and noise sensitivity. It could be time consuming, but it will certainly be worth it to make sure that your little buddy feels settled during travel. Once your pet is comfortable with traveling, you may never need to leave him behind again and you can both start planning some wonderful new adventures together.