Traveling during the holiday season is a given—hiking across town for brunch, driving over state lines for dinner, going on a road trip for a holiday getaway—and if you’re bringing your dog with you, there are some precautions you need to take before buckling up and driving away. Here are four tips from the pooch experts at Perfect Pooch on how to make traveling with your dog during the holiday season a fetching good time.
Make Sure Pups are Permitted
Whether you’re staying with friends, family, at an Airbnb or in a hotel, it’s best to make sure your furry friend is allowed before you get there. You may also want to find out what activities your hosts have planned for your holiday visit. If you’re going to be out and away from your dog most days during the trip (and you know your dog won’t do well on their own for long periods of time in an unfamiliar place), you may want to consider boarding them instead.
Get Your Dog Travel Ready
If you’re about to embark on a holiday road trip—and your dog doesn’t ride in the car regularly—then it’s time to start getting them used to it. Start with shorter duration trips, then gradually increase the time. To make this training a “paw-sitive” experience for your dog, make sure they have a spot in the car that they’ll feel safe in, use an encouraging tone of voice and give them treats when they do well.
Prep the Car for Your Pooch
Just as you have to prepare your pooch for riding in the car, you also have to make sure your car is dog-friendly. To protect your pup in the car, secure a dog bed in a seat, purchase a harness that can be secured by the seat belt or install a cargo or backseat barrier; to protect your car’s interior from wet and muddy paws, lay blankets or towels down on the seats. You can also avoid having excess hair floating around the inside of the car by getting your pooch groomed prior to departing for your road trip!
Double Check Dog IDs and Microchips
For some dogs, new surroundings (this includes homes, roadside stops or rest areas) are scary and intimidating, and when they panic, they may try to run away. Even if your dog has a microchip, it’s better so be safe than sorry, so avoid holiday heartbreak by making sure they’re wearing their collar and ID tags. If your dog doesn’t have a microchip, you may want to consider getting them one before leaving for your holiday travels or, at the very least, making sure your contact information is up to date on his or her collar.