Family Vacation? Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

Summertime means sun, fun, and family vacations. And your family doesn’t only include you, your spouse, and the kids. Your dogs are just as much a part of the family as the rest of the gang. That means your summer family vacation may likely include your pets too.

If you’re taking your dogs on the road, prepping for a trip out of town takes on a whole new meaning. Before you leave for your destination, take a look at what you need to know about traveling with your dog.

Pick Pet-Friendly Places

While many hotels, motels, campgrounds, and other on-the-road accommodations will accept pets, don’t expect every option to be pet-friendly. Some hotels/motels (or other similar types of overnight accommodations) have strict rules prohibiting pets.

As you map out your road trip route, note the hotels or other overnight options and start making calls or emailing establishments. Ask for the specific rules regarding pets. Some hotels and motels allow pets, but not all pets. What does that mean? Simply stated, they have rules prohibiting specific breeds or sizes of dogs.

Large dogs and breeds that some establishment owners deem as aggressive may not be welcome. You don’t want to spend all day driving just to find out that the so-called pet-friendly hotel won’t allow your 100-pound dog because of their no-large-dogs-allowed policy.

Visit the Vet

Even though an unexpected illness or injury is out of your control, you can do everything in your power to make sure that your pup is healthy before leaving for vacation. Schedule a checkup a few weeks before your departure date.

Along with checking your pet for possible problems, the veterinarian can make sure that your pup is up to date on their vaccinations. Depending on where your travels take you, your dog may need immunizations that go above and beyond rabies and distemper – especially if your pet will be around other dogs.

If you’re visiting a friend or relative who also has dogs, talk to the vet about vaccination against Bordetella bronchiseptica, Leptospira bacteria, and Borrelia burgdorferi.

Ask the vet about other protective measures to keep your pet safe during your trip. Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention can all help your dog stay healthy and happy. These medications are always important but take on a higher degree of necessity if you plan on camping or traveling to wooded areas.

Before leaving the veterinarian’s office, ask for records or printed documents. These should include a report of your dog’s health and all current vaccines.

Bring Plenty of Water

Hydration is absolutely essential during the hot summer months. Don’t count on every rest stop along your way having fresh drinking water for you or your dog. Bring bottled water and your dog’s bowl in the car with you. This gives your dog the opportunity to sip fresh, hydrating water any time that you pull over.

Keep Your Pet With You

It’s tempting to crack the window and leave your dog in the car as the family pops into a rest stop for a bite to eat. This is never an acceptable or healthy way to treat your pet. In as little as 10 minutes, a car can reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit on an 85-degree day (with the windows cracked open), according to the Humane Society. If left unattended, the interior temperature of a car can soar to 120 degrees by 30 minutes.

Bring your pup’s leash along, and take your pet with you 100 percent of the time. If it’s not possible to bring your dog into the restaurant or another establishment that you’re visiting, have one adult family member stay outside in the shade with the dog, trading off doggy-sitting duties.

Does your dog need a pre-vacation vet check? Contact Animal Medical Center of Appleton for more information.