If you are travelling to go on holiday, away for the weekend to visit friends or just taking a day trip, if you decide to bring your dog it's important that he feels safe, secure and comfortable on the trip. If he is calm and happy on the journey, he will be a more enthusiastic passenger the next time you decide to hit the road.
First things first - secure your dog
If travelling by car, your dog needs to be secure with little space to roam around the vehicle. A dog that isn’t secured can create driving hazards and may even lead to an accident.
One option is to use a pet seatbelt. These are attached to your dog’s harness and prevent him from moving around in the vehicle. For optimal comfort, lay a soft mat or dog car rug across the seat for your dog to lie on.
Better still, use a dog crate. Crates have many benefits, one of which is stress-free travel. See this useful guide for crate training your dog so that he feels safe and secure in his own space and you are not distracted from driving.
Most importantly, don't secure your dog in the front seat! Not even a crate or a carrier will stop an airbag from potentially injuring your precious pet!
Make sure your dog is a calm traveller
If your dog is prone to car sickness, a quick and simple remedy is to feed him something that contains ginger about an hour before leaving. Ginger is a plant with natural anti-sickness properties and there are several pet remedies that contain it. If you don't have a natural ginger product to hand, a ginger biscuit will do the job
Bach Rescue Remedy also has an immediate calming effect on a stressed dog, not just for travel but for other experiences such as fireworks, separation anxiety, thunderstorms, visits to the vet etc.
Choose dog-friendly locations to stay
Your dog will still need his exercise while you're away so choose a pet-friendly location to stay in. Dog-friendly hotels often have recreation areas where your dog can burn off a bit of energy or enjoy nice walks close by. Otherwise, he'll be bouncing off the walls with energy around bedtime, which doesn't make for a great nights sleep for anyone.
On a similar note, it’s also important that before travelling that you research accommodation that allows pets. If you have a larger dog, make sure the accommodation provider allows larger pets inside. Campgrounds and similar places are usually quite good places to look to stay. Hotels, motels and fancier accommodation may be less permitting of your pet.
Don't forget your dog's toys!
Bringing along your dog's favourite toys, bedding, or even a blanket or two is a great idea. These items carry familiar scents, which may put your dog at ease if he is an anxious traveller.
Taking the time to bring along small items like these means you’ll most likely avoid a night of barking keeping you and your neighbours awake! What's more, toys enable you to exercise your pet without much exertion from yourself so it's definitely worth packing a few of his favourites.
A home from home
If your dog is used to certain sounds or noises at home, there are some small things that you can do to make him feel more comfortable in his new environment. Leaving the hotel TV on can create some background noise and may help your dog feel more at ease. It may also drown out some city noises that your dog may not be used to.
There are plenty of useful websites, such as BringFido, which can help you research your destination, including lists of accommodation and activities that are dog-friendly.
What travel tips do you have for trips with your dog? Let us know below!