Families all over Texas are hitting the road and taking to the skies for vacation this summer. Oftentimes, the family dogs are left in a boarding facility, but traveling with your pup might be easier than you think!
Austin-based dog trainer Sterling Isdale works for Fidelio Dog Works, a company that helps people train their dogs. Sterling, who attended the most prestigious dog training school in the U.S. and is a certified Professional Canine Trainer & Animal Behaviorist, loves to see dogs tagging along with their owners on trips! Here, she shares her tips for successful travel with your four-legged friends.
Doggie travel essentials:
– Portable water bowl and water to keep your pup hydrated.
– Paperwork and health certificates if leaving the U.S.
– An extra day of food. You don’t want to run out of food during a flight delay or if you’re unable to find the same kind at your destination.
– Potty Pads if you’re flying on an aircraft without breaks. Your dog can use them in the bathroom during the flight or during a layover.
– A good leash — Sterling loves her 6′ leather leash (not the retractable ones, which can break)
– Medications (it can be difficult to move prescriptions over state lines or at border crossings)
– A dog collar with your cell phone number on it.
– Favorite toy or a t-shirt with your scent on it if going to leave dog in hotel room while crated.
– Collapsible wire kennels are easier to transport. They’re easier to get in and out of your car and hotel room.
For Road Trips:
– Give your dog a great workout before you get in the car. Try either a long walk to tire him out or a great training session. Work on “down,” “hold” and “come” commands for mental stimulation, then your pup can relax in the car.
– Some pups get car sick, so consider crating your dog once you start the drive. If your dog is not used to the crate, be sure to work on kennel training for a few months prior to the road trip.
– Remember, puppies need to stop for potty breaks more frequently than older dogs, so build that into your travel time.
For Beach or Mountain Trips:
– If your dog will be getting dirty or sandy, bring dog shampoo, a brush and a towel. Most human shampoos in hotels can irritate a dog’s skin!
– Doggie booties for dogs who are not used to rough mountain terrain or hot pavement. They protect the pads and prevent blisters.
For Museums and Hotels:
– Many cities offer dog friendly walking tours, allowing you and your pet to get out together for dual sightseeing and exercise.
– Look for pet friendly harbor cruises and ferries.
– Many theme parks offer kennel service.
– There are a few pet friendly museums and aquariums, but Google your city prior to the trip to learn more. For a list of pet friendly travel, visit http://petfriendlytravel.com/activities.
For International Travel:
– Know what your destination requires. Most airlines and U.S. border crossings (Canada and Mexico) require a certificate of health that has been created/verified within 5 days of the travel/border crossing. Rarely is there an issue with Canada. With Mexico, often the paperwork is just a formality.
-Things get infinitely more complicated when there is travel to Hawaii or any island nation. Often, there are weeks/months of lead time to complete the paperwork, quarantine requirements and health test requirements before a dog can enter those countries.
– Other countries, like France, are extremely dog friendly and require only a valid health certificate and the dog to be microchipped. Pet lovers will really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of France, which boasts lots of restaurants allowing dogs at tables as long as they are well behaved.
– To keep dogs calm in a new environment, allow time for the pups to acclimate. It takes most dogs a day or so to settle down in a very unfamiliar place. If you’re leaving the dog in a hotel room, make sure it’s crate trained and leave it with something that smells like you (the t-shirt you wore on the flight/drive).
By Elaine Krackau