Active holidays with a small dog – yes or no?
Our lives changed completely since we got Lota, the cavalier, in January earlier this year. We had Frida, the pug, for almost seven years already, but she was never very active dog. Her longest travels were to Maksimir park 20 minutes away and favorite activities eating and sleeping. Also, she is not the youngest anymore so her walks are shorter, but more often.
While I was chit chatting with one passenger who wanted to pet Lota in Ljubljana, he asked me how we choose which dog is going to travel with us. My answer was very simple – we travel with the dog which loves to travel. You can teach your dog to ride in a car or to calmly sleep in the hotel room while you are having dinner, but if you are planning to hike 15 km each day and she cannot walk so much then it is better to leave your pup at home or change your travel plans.
You know your dog the best
While planning the travels, make sure the way you travel is suitable for your dog. Active holidays are much simpler with big and more active dogs. When you have a puppy which has less than 8 kg, you need to plan better. Will she be tired after walking more than 10 km? How much can she really handle? Is she in a good physical condition? Is that trip really good for her?
At first, we wanted to go to the coast, but since Lota did not show much interest in swimming, we changed our plans and went to the mountains. Few weeks before we had a “trial run” – we went on a 14 km hike to the local mountain and she handled it very well. We could imagine her running around happily in Logar Valley or exploring the lake Bled. We knew she is going to like the trip and that’s why we traveled with her.
Prepare your dog physically
Going on a challenging hike trip after long winter is probably not the best idea. Even if you spent winter in a gym, let’s be honest – your dog was mainly sleeping next to the radiator. Small dogs are much less active during colder periods of the year and you should not expect they are ready for an extensive hike after the long winter “hibernation”.
With the first signs of spring, start to prepare your puppy for a trip. Longer walks, running in the meadow, easy half-day hikes – all of that will get her muscles ready for the trip. Late summer or early autumn trips are great – your dog was active the whole summer and she can’t wait to run around that meadow.
Think about the weather
Many dogs, including Lota, are very dependent on the weather. If it is too hot, they tire easily, can get a sunstroke and even burn their paws on a hot asphalt. If it is too cold, they will be shaking and they need some winter coats (especially small dogs), they can also get burns on their paws due to the ice and coldness. Spring and autumn are ideal for traveling with the dog.
Also, do not forget the raincoats in the case of the rain and consider the fact a small puppy cannot spend hours and hours outside wet on the rain. Lota starts to shake after 10 minutes approximately so we always need to have a backup option if it is going to rain.
Include different activities
Or in other words, don’t be active the whole day. We rode in the car, we rode in the boat, we rode the boat, chill next to the lake and so on. We were definitely not walking all the time. We gave enough time to ourselves and to Lota to have some rest and recover.
In Bled, after walking the half circle around the lake, we rented the boat to go to the island. She enjoyed the ride, using it to get rest and enjoy the sun, after which we continued the walk. Be aware of your dog abilities and when the activities stop being good for her.
Get ready to carry her
When we are going on longer hikes, I always take a big, thick scarf with us. I can use it to improvise and make a carrier for Lota. She is small, but it is not easy to carry her for the longer period of the time. This way, when she gets tired or in the case of her getting hurt (hopefully never), we are able to carry her for hours if needed.
Also, if you are visiting a place with a questionable level of safety for your small dog, you should consider carrying her all the time. During our visit to Vintgar Gorge, she was in Jaime’s hands. She is naturally very curious dogs and the combination of many people passing by, narrow unfenced paths and river rapids were not a safe environment for her. That’s why she enjoyed the visit like a queen, being carried the whole time.
Bring additional food
Since you are going to be walking a lot, your puppy needs more energy as well. Lota eats small amounts of food, but we ensured she gets more than usual for each meal. She was also getting pet snack and fruits every day. She was walking much more than usual, so normally she needed to eat more as well. When we travel, I always pre-pack her food in small plastic bags so we always have exact portions ready.
Don’t forget the documentation
Last, but not least, make sure your dog’s documentation is up to date and that she received all the shots on time. In the European Union, the puppy receives a passport upon her first visit to the vet. We can travel in more or less all countries of EU without any problems, just out vet needs to put a stamp to confirm her physical condition is good for travel.
If you are going abroad, make sure your dog has all the documentation and shots required, as well that you are familiar with the rules of pet travel – some countries even require a quarantine.
In the end, I must mention that Lota is the incredibly calm dog. She is very curious and often acts like a little explorer, likes to run around and she needs to see everything, but in the situations when she needs to be good and calm – she always is. She was riding a cable car to Vogel like she does it every day, she was chilling in the boat like a sailor and she regularly takes a nap in coffee bars and restaurants.
We take our small dog on the trips which are good for her, which she is going to enjoy and to the places where she is going to be welcome. A decision should you bring your dog along or leave it at home or with a dog sitter is very comprehensive one. There are many details you need to take care of. Please, if you think you or your dog will not be comfortable, leave her at home.
Active holidays with a small dog are very simple if you choose a right destination and your dog likes it. If you are ready for it, go ahead and have the best vacations in your life. 🙂
If you are a pet owner, do you travel with your pet? Would you ever consider this way of travel?
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