For many people, traveling with their pets sounds like a blissful, economical, fun solution to the age old issue of what to do with said animals when you are planning a vacation. Certainly, there are destinations and road trips that can be designed with your pets in mind. It is also the case that there are trips you may be planning where it is in your pets’ best interest to be left out of the festivities. Weddings and graduations, for example, while family affairs, are often held in venues that cannot accommodate pets. Or the couple getting married/grads simply doesn’t want any members of the furred or feathered set in attendance. Even if the events you are planning to attend will allow you to bring your pets, you do need to be duly prepared. I think taking my dogs on a trip requires even more planning and equipment than traveling with my kids did when they were small! So, in the spirit of being helpful, and to remind myself of all that pet travel requires, I am sharing my list of what I need to bring if I am traveling with my two canine sidekicks:
- Crates – Even though my dogs ride in the car with safety harnesses, crates are required for hotel rooms so that they are safely confined. I like these nylon crates that pop up and down quickly and easily.
- Dog Beds – Providing their own bedding means my dogs will feel “at home” wherever we roam.
- Food and Water Bowls – Plus food and their own water, of course. It is definitely the case that all water is not created equal. You may be traveling to a place where the water is different from home and that can create stomach issues. Which reminds me: Don’t forget poop bags!
- Toys – All kinds…something for every possible occasion…squeaky toys, fetch toys, interactive toys to keep them busy in their crates, etc.
- Treats – I need treats for the interactive toys and treats for reinforcing good behavior. And bones and bully sticks for occupying the dogs when they are confined.
- X-pen – An exercise pen means that my dogs can be confined outdoors but still have space to spread out and enjoy themselves. This pen is a favorite because it collapses easily for travel.
- Pop-up Sunshade – I have collies. Those luxurious coats get warm in the spring and summer, so a sunshade is a must, for them and for me. Better throw in the beach umbrella while I am at it.
- Towels – Dirty paws are a given. Don’t want to use someone else’s towels to dry those sandy feet. I also bring shampoo, dog ear cleaner, brushes, detangling spray for getting out burs, and a tick remover, just in case!
- Back up leashes and collars, as well as the ones we use daily. I also bring an extra-long, 30 foot leash so that my dogs can wander but still be on leash. I NEVER use retractable leashes on my dogs as those are dangerous for dogs and their people. In addition, be sure to check that all of your pet tags are secure on the collars and reflect your most current information, in particular your phone number.
- Vital Records – A file with their vaccine information, microchip information, home vet’s phone number, and phone numbers for vets and emergency vets in the places I will be traveling.
- All of the other things I forgot to put on this list!
When I look at this list, it always makes me so happy that I have a great pet-sitter to watch my dogs while I am on vacation if I choose not to bring my faithful canine companions along for the ride. My dogs get to stay in the comfort and safety of a familiar environment, and I don’t have to worry about them (as much). Plus, I have more room for my stuff in the car 😉
If you really want to plan a trip with your pet’s fun in mind, check out www.petfriendlytravel.com for great ideas on where to go, where to stay, and what to see.