Traveling with pets – yes or no?
Even your pup deserves a vacation! That is absolutely true but before deciding to take your dog along, please honestly answer a question should you really do it. In some situations, your dog is going to be happier staying at home, with a pet sitter or even in a dog hotel. Make sure you put her needs first. If the dog is injured, old, pregnant, suffers from motion sickness or gets upset while changing routines – probably it is for the best if she stays at home.
Will the trip be fun for your dog as well? If she is physically ready for the travel, you should make sure you will be able to spend enough time with her. You don’t want to let her alone in an unknown environment for hours while you are having fun outside. Search for pet-friendly accommodations, plan lots of activities where your pet can happily accompany you and think about her more than about yourself. You need to make sure they reach the destination safe and sound as well as enjoy their stay there.
This time, I am going to talk only about car travel, since it is the only way of traveling with pets we are experienced with.
Prepare for travel
First and the very important advice about dogs and riding in the car I can give is – leave the front seat to humans only. Your dog has nothing to do in front. She can disturb you while driving and, if an airbag deploys, it can seriously injure your pet. Also, even it might look cool or cute otherwise, your dog’s head and paws should be in the car. Driving with her head outside of the window may cause ear and eye damage or different lung infections.
Secondly, do not never ever leave your dog alone in a car. Even it may seem like a quick stop for you, the temperature in the car rises extremely fast and the heat can cause serious health damage and even death in no more than 10 minutes! During the cold weather, the car works like a fridge and can cause your animal freeze to death.
Third, your pet should never be able to walk around the car. Put her in the crate (if she is crate trained!), transporter which you can use for airplanes as well or get a dog safety belt. Since our dogs usually travel only short distances, we use the belt to stop them from roaming around the car, distracting the driver.
Also if it comes to an accident, it would stop them from falling out of the car or hitting other passengers. It can literally become a flying bullet. As you can see, unleashed dog in the car can be very dangerous for humans as well, but also she can get serious injuries if it comes to a car crash. Please keep in mind that transporters have been shown as the most protective for the dog during the crash.
Keep the dog calm during the travel
For the longer trip, I prepared Lota’s bed and fixed it on the back seat. I put few toys around, a towel and something to chew. This way she is always comfortable and very calm in the car. Usually, she just looks around and falls asleep fast. However, some dogs get very upset and nauseous while driving in the car. Please check with your vet before giving them any medication.
To avoid any unwanted situation, prepare a first aid kit for your doggy. It should contain your dog details, numbers of vets in the area, antiseptic wipes, bandages, tweezers, blankets, cotton balls and basically everything that can help your dog in an emergency situation or any kind.
Give your pet plenty of rest stops
Stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise, eliminate and drink. Never open a window or door without putting the leash on. Countless dogs have been lost that way! Make sure she always has her collar and ID tag (if she wears any) on. Always have water and portable dog bowl. They are awesome because you can fit them into every bag and ensure your puppy always has enough water.
Also, depending on a destination you travel to and stops you use, be aware of wild animals. There could be spiders, snakes or other animals that might injure your love. Not so long ago there was a story how a cavalier got bitten by a snake right on A1 highway in Croatia. You can never be too cautious!
Find pet-friendly accommodation
Today lots of people travel with pets and big booking portals like Booking.com and Airbnb developed a filter which is going to help you find pet-friendly accommodation easily. After booking, I always drop a message to the owner confirming that we will be coming with a dog and double check it is fine with them. We did not have any problems finding accommodation of that kind in Croatia, nor we encountered any difficulties while staying in different apartments. Both Lota and Frida are excellent travelers!
When we arrive, we always bring the dog to the apartment first. We let her explore the place while we are bringing the rest of luggage. Frida is more of explorer, but Lota usually just sniffs a bit and then finds her place on the bed. That is her way to say “I approve!”.
Of course, make sure your cutie will not destroy anything in the loft and do not leave her alone too long in the unknown environment. A couple of hours after a long walk or busy day is perfectly fine (she is going to sleep anyways), but if you plan to leave her alone more than that, maybe you should consider leaving her at home rather.
Include your puppy into your activities
If you want to take your pup, organize more dog-friendly travels. How does weekend in nature sounds to you? Plitvice Lakes are perfect for a visit with the dog and there is plenty of dog-friendly accommodation around. Our next destination will probably be Bled Lake in Slovenia, about which we heard lots of positive comments when it comes to dog travel.
If your destination has a beach, try to find dog beaches. In Split we found two and we were happy with both of them – Duilovo under hotel Zagreb in Žnjan and Kašjuni beach under Marjan, where dog beach is located on the left side from the main beach.
Today we are lucky because there are lots of pet-friendly places, bars, and restaurants everywhere. In Zagreb, even Ethnographic Museum organized special schedule when you can come to visit with a dog.
I just want to say that traveling with pets is not easy and you should think it through before you go. But when you find a wonderful dog beach and your puppy plays like a crazy, it is all worth it. And of course, when her cute face is the first thing you see in the morning, wherever you are. 🙂
What do you think about traveling with pets? Do you travel with your pet?
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