By Gary Walker
A vacation with your dog can be a really great time for both of you. But it requires foresight and a bit of planning to make it so.
For starters, you’ll need to find out about the travel requirements for the various places you plan to visit. Some of these restrictions make it difficult, if not impossible to travel with your pet. And even relatively pet-friendly countries have regulations you’ll need to comply with.
You will also have to find out about accommodation. If you prefer to stay at a hotel, you will have to find one at your destination that accepts dogs. Fortunately, hotels are becoming much more accommodating to people with pets.
The next important issue is travel arrangements. If you are traveling by air, use a pet “travel agency” to make the arrangements. Transporting pets is a complicated business so leave it to the experts because mistakes can be costly, and in some instances, even tragic.
You may however, be planning a road trip with your dog, in which case there are a number of things you need to consider and a great deal of planning to be done. Start by deciding how you are going to restrain your dog in the car – either with a dog crate, or a specialized seat belt. This is actually a legal requirement in some countries, but even if it isn’t required by law, it just makes good sense.
Remember that dogs dehydrate very easily. Have plenty of fresh water, and his water bowl at hand. And never leave your dog locked in a car in warm weather.
Also remember all the normal doggy accessories like his collar, leash, harness, toys, bed and blanket and so on.
You’ll also want to plan your journey and identify accommodation en route that allows dogs. And while we’re talking about stops, remember regular comfort stops for your dog to use the bathroom and stretch his legs.
But there is even more stuff to consider. At your destination, make sure that you buy a cheap dog tag, with your name and local number, for your dog. If you are traveling internationally your dog will have to be micro-chipped, but the id tag gives you extra peace of mind.
It’s also a good idea to have a photograph of your dog with you, just in case your dog becomes lost.
And you will need to find out where the local vet and animal emergency centre are. In case of emergency you’ll need this information close at hand.
Be sure to comply with local bi-laws and regulations. These will normally include keeping your dog on a leash and picking up after him. It’s common courtesy to do this anyway, even if there are no local laws in place.
Now, you may be thinking that this is an awful lot of work. But following these tips wiil ensure that your vacation with your dog goes off without a hitch. And that makes it well worth the effort.