When we travel, we tend to take our dogs with us. It’s a combination platter of boarding being expensive in our area for dogs as large as ours and us just being mistrustful of the care of others. Could you imagine us with our future kids? Yikes.
All this to say, we have to be expert strategists when we take our pals with us. Traveling with pups, or just traveling in general honestly, can be hard work and stressful especially around holiday times. Making sure you are prepare before even leaving, gives you the best chance of success with your pups. Take this as an opportunity to get your pet microchipped and get a brand spanking new identification tag if they need it. Also take this as a chance to stock up on their favorite things; food, snacks, that special toy brand that they love.
Also, if you are staying at a hotel, find out the pet policy in advance. There can be additional fees, per night, per night per pet, per night per pet per pound. You get the drift. Costs can add up. Once you find out the pet policy and have the all clear, let them know you are bringing your little boogers so they can choose a room that makes the most sense for you. Ideally you want to be on the ground floor so your possibly overzealous pets aren’t stomping on someone’s head and away from an elevator so they are not spooked by every sound.
Here are a few more tips we stick to when traveling with our doggy friends.
- Evening arrival. We try to arrive in our location in the evening so we can give our pooches a chance to acclimate to their new surroundings. We put blankets or towels that belong to the dogs inside their crates. We also make sure to put something for them to gnaw on and then hunker down for the evening. Staying in helps them to adjust to this new and foreign place. So whether you are staying in a hotel or with an aunt you don’t see often, giving your fur baby the night to adjust can be crucial.
- Crate. We never ever EVER ever EVER travel without the dogs’ crates. We tried before when we only had Sirius and it was a nightmare. He was anxious and loud and skittish. Talk about a man barking at his own shadow. We more than learned our lesson. Now we always take the crates but if your dog is not one for the crate, bring their bed or blanket with. We cover the crates with an article that distinctly smells like us (read: me. Husband doesn’t really sooth the dogs). Our most recent trip, I used a sweater that I wore during the car ride and a bath towel that I packed. Crates also lessen the chance of being separated from your dog in the event that the door is opened for any reason and they run out. We also use a “do not disturb sign” so that they don’t run out if housekeeping were to come in.
- Check and recheck. When we exit the hotel for the first time on our second day, we leave the dogs in the room and then stand at the door for a few seconds to make sure we hear no sounds. Then we walk down the hall and press the elevator button and don’t get on. We stand and we wait for the sounds. If we hear cries or yelps, we go back and reassure the dogs. We then start all over again until we hear nothing. Our first stop of the day is usually downstairs or to a quick breakfast spot, no more than 15 minutes. We then go back to the room to double check for sounds before starting our day.
- Pet friendly outings If you can take them, do take them. They don’t want to be left alone in this strange place when they aren’t exactly sure you will come back. If you can start your day out with breakfast at an outdoor café or are having Thanksgiving dinner with family friends who don’t mind a dog in their huge fenced yard, bring them.
- White noise. If you are staying in a hotel, leave the tv or your laptop running with a classical station or dog friendly music that will both ease anxiety and muffle any additional noise they’ll make. Whenever we leave the dogs in our home for long hours we usually place PBS Kids and let the dogs enjoy Sesame Street and Arthur for hours on end. This can be especially useful in hotels, an industry that often uses your pet fees to reimburse disgruntle fellow guest who hear your dogs woes while you are away.
- Dog sitter. If possible, you can have a dog sitter come and stay with your dog for the day. They’re an easy option and many dog friendly hotels have a hook up with local dog sitters who they’ve worked with before.
What are some tips you stick to when traveling with your puppy pals?