It’s that time of year where we all start to wind down into holiday mode and get ready to enjoy the Summer period. This often means holidays and trips away and if you are anything like me, you like to bring your dogs along with you when you travel.
I love spending time with my dogs and I especially enjoy holidaying with them. However, I work with lots of clients each week who tell me while they’d love to bring their dogs away with them, their dogs bad behaviour often stops them taking them or if they do bring them along, severely impacts on their enjoyment of their down time.
There are lots of things we can do to make holidaying with our dogs more relaxing and enjoyable. Here are my Top Tips to help you prepare for traveling with your pets.
One of the easiest ways to make travel and holidaying with your dog less stressful, safer and more enjoyable is to make sure they are crate trained. Crate training your dog means your dog always has its own safe place that makes them feel comfortable and relaxed. It then doesn’t matter if you are staying with friends, at pet friendly accommodation or camping, you always have a safe place to contain your dog when you can’t supervise it, need it to relax, sleep, or be contained to a smaller area.
Crate training is particularly essential for dogs that can be nervous and uncomfortable in new places and environments because it gives them a place to feel safe and secure while it adjusts to new surroundings.
When you purchase a crate from our online store we provide you with a free crate training program so you can make sure your dog learns to LOVE their crate.
Check for services in the holiday area
Before travelling with your dog make sure you check any areas you are staying in for essential dog related services like pet supply shops and vet surgeries, in case of emergency. Summer is a time where dogs can easily become ill from snake bites, paralysis tick, heat stroke and other issues so make sure you know where you can go to get your dog treatment if you need it.
Look for dog friendly cafes and activities
Not only do I love to holiday with my dogs, I want them to spend time with me when we are visiting new places. I always research ahead of time to find local cafes, restaurants, markets, walks and tourist attractions that are dog friendly so I can take my girls with me to grab a coffee, have a nice walk in the local area or visit the local farmers markets.
It is also worth considering before you take your dog somewhere whether they will enjoy it or be capable of behaving appropritately. Some dogs do not enjoy crowded areas or noisey places or get over stimulated in highly distracting environments and while this is something we can address with training, if your dog is not yet at a place where it will enjoy those things it may be better to leave them safely crated or contained at your accommodation.
Pack essential items
I am always prone to over packing especially when I am travelling with my dogs, but there are a few essential items that I always pack.
Leashes and collars
This seems like an obvious one, but it never hurts to have a spare leash and collar set when travelling in case you lose or damage one. I always make sure to bring waterproof Syn Tek leashes and collars so if I swim my dogs, they have appropriate equipment that won’t need drying or may get damaged in water.
I like to bring our light weight and easily portable 4Legs4Pets Place Beds with me when I travel with my dogs. They are easy to rinse off if they get grubby and are ideal for trips to cafes, at the camp site or even at your relatives/friends houses for times you want your dog to be with you but need it to relax on its own bed.
If your dogs don’t have reliable recalls, and even if they do, you can never go astray packing a long line. They aren’t just useful for proofing recall and giving your dog more freedom, but can be useful to back tie your dog if you don’t have a crate or place bed with you
I always have crate buckets with me when I travel with my dogs, as I find they are the easiest way to ensure my dogs have a fresh supply of water on hand. The Ruffwear Bivy bowl is also great for on the go water supply.
For travelling it is hard to go past the Torus Filtered Water Bowl as it is actually designed specifically for travel.
The Torus Bowl can be locked to prevent water spilling out when you are moving and is designed to keep water cool and fresh.
Make sure to pack your treat pouch when travelling with your dogs, it makes it so much easier to store their treats when you are out and about.
I always have a variety of toys packed when I travel with my dogs. I have a number of water proof toys to use at the beach or in the river such as the Hurley and Durafoam Disc. I also have engagement like our French Linen Pocket tug, Chuckit Ultra Tug and Holee Roller ball. Chuckit Launchers and Ultra balls are also great for exercise and play.
I feed my dogs a raw diet so when I travel with them I usually plan ahead of time to purchase their food from a supermarket like Woolies or a local butcher when I arrive at our destination, or I pack some in a cooler bag if we need some on hand.
If you can’t feed your dogs normal food when you travel with them for any reason, make sure you transition them or test them on what you will feed them before traveling to make sure they can stomach it easily. No one wants a dog poop explosion on holidays!
Practice life skill basics before you go
Are your dogs life skills up to scratch? If your dog doesn’t have the basics down pat it will strongly effect the enjoyment of your time together on holidays. Any bad behaviours they exhibit at home will be amplified when you are in a new location and outside of their standard routine.
Make sure you practice their loose leash walking, place training, recall and crate training before travelling. If your dog doesn’t have good basic life skills then contact us, we can help you polish these so time spent with your dog is much less stressful.
Summer is here which means we need to be very conscious of the heat when travelling with dogs. We stock a wide range of cooling products that are great to have on hand during hot weather. Also be conscious of the heat when taking your dog out, early mornings and late evenings are the best time to take dogs out when it is hot.
We also recommend having K9 Power Go Dog on hand during Summer to rehydrate your dog after exercise. It is very easy for dogs to get heat stroke.
Transport them safely
Plan ahead of time how you will transport your dogs when you travel with them. I prefer to travel my dogs in car crates, but if you can’t fit a suitable size crate in your car then make sure you have an appropriate car harness like the Ruffwear Load Up harness so your dog can travel securely and safely in the car.
Respect other dog owners
The biggest issue I have when travelling with my dogs is the lack of respect dog owners can have for one another.
My dogs have great off leash reliability, but if I have them off leash and see a person and/or another dog approaching us I ALWAYS call them back to me and put them back on leash. Not only is this is a signal to the other person that I am not interested in having my dogs greet or play with theirs, but it reassures them I have control of them.
When you are travelling with your dog make sure you respect other people and dog owners. Don’t let your dog rush up to other dogs or people. Pick up their poo if they toilet, and don’t let them mark in inappropriate areas (like at a café). If your dog is not reliable off leash, do not let it off leash, or use a long line.
Steve’s latest blog describing what to do if an off leash dog runs over to you is a must read for any dog owner and is especially helpful if you are planning to take your dog and about on holidays. Also be sure to read “Dog Etiquette, he’s friendly” and share it with your dog loving friends to spread the message of respect amongst more dog owners.
If travelling with your dog will create more stress than enjoyment on a holiday, it’s ok to leave them at home. We board many of our clients dogs when they travel, and sometimes this is the best and safest option for the dog.
But if you are prepared and your dog has good basic life skills, travelling with them can and should be fun, so enjoy your time off with your best furry friend. Relax and have FUN!
If you are travelling with your dog over the festive/Summer season, send us your holiday snap shots by posting them on our Facebook page or on Instagram with the hashtag #k9pro – we would love to see them!