Should he stay or should he go? Deciding whether to take your pooch along on your road trip
Your dog is family, so it’s only natural to want to enjoy his company all the time, and take him along everywhere possible. However, the decision to travel with a pet – particularly on an extended road trip – is one that requires a good deal of consideration. There are several questions you should ask yourself before loading Rover up in the car, and all of them involve ensuring your pet’s ultimate comfort and well-being.
What is your pet’s temperament?
If your pet is easygoing and adaptable, taking him along is an easy decision. However, if your pet is nervous, anxious, grumpy, uneasy on car rides, or skittish when it comes to new places or new people, you may have to rework your plans.
You also have to consider other factors as you plan your trip. If your intended destination involves dealing with crowds, using public transportation, or visiting more urban locations, your pup needs to be comfortable in this environment and properly socialized.
Is the trip one your pet will enjoy?
Make sure that your travel plans include staying somewhere your pet will be comfortable, and doing things he’ll be happy doing. For example, if your pet loves an outdoor adventure, a destination with hiking or river romping will be right up his alley. However, if you will be engaging in mostly people-only activities, you may want to rethink bringing Rover along. Leaving your pet unattended in a hotel room is really no fun for him. Further, many pet-friendly hotels do not allow pets to stay alone in rooms. If your plans are to stay at a friend or family member’s home, be 100% certain that your pet will be a welcomed guest.
Is your pet in good health?
If your pet has health issues that will be compounded by a long car ride and an active agenda, it may be best if he stays home until he is feeling up to it. After all, he may need more care than you can give him while you’re traveling, and since he can’t speak, there’s no real way of knowing his actual level of discomfort. Pain or discomfort may even cause a change in your pet’s temperament, and you may find that your happy-go-lucky furry kid suddenly isn’t such a pleasant travel companion.
If your pet is healthy and will be a comfortable and active participant in your travel adventures, then you’re ready to hit the road! Road trips are a fantastic way to break up the routine with some new memories, and a great opportunity to bond. However, even if your pet isn’t ideally suited to travel, all is not lost.
There are many ways to work through temperament issues. The right training and coaching can help desensitize your pet to the things that upset him and help him become comfortable with traveling. Be aware that most of these techniques take time, and if you want your pet to be a happy traveler, you must be patient and go at his pace.
If your pet is a nervous traveler, planning shorter trips, or planning trips that would be fun and interesting for him, can help him adapt and learn that travel can be pleasant. If he suffers from motion sickness, there are plenty of proven remedies that can help him stay well on car rides, including reconditioning, holistic remedies, or medication.
In the end, with a little bit of patience and work on both your parts, even a reluctant rider can learn to enjoy road trips with you, making traveling with your pet a win for everyone.
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