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Holiday Travel With Your Dog: Here’s What You Need To Know To Be Prepared
Millions of people will be on the move this holiday season to visit loved ones or take a much-needed vacation. Many travelers bring their dogs along to join the celebration. But holiday trips can be a stressful experience for pets and owners, especially if you have an anxious dog. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies that you can use to make traveling with your dog easy and fun, like feeding Ketona calming chews before you travel, and picking dog friendly restaurants so your pup can tag along on your adventures.
Getting ready to hit the road? Here are our top ten canine travel tips for your next holiday trip.
1. Make Travel Preparations With Your Veterinarian
First, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is healthy enough to travel. During this visit, you can refill your dog’s medications so you don’t run out on your trip. If your pet has anxiety, you can also ask your vet for prescription medication to help them relax during your journey, or see if a calming supplement like Ketona’s Daily Calming Chews would be an option to keep your pup comfortable during travel.
Additionally, your vet can help you arrange any necessary travel documents. Airlines may require your dog to have a health certificate, microchip, vaccination records, and other paperwork. You’ll also need appropriate documentation for international travel. Always research the requirements of each airline and country ahead of time, so you have everything you need to transport your dog safely.
2. Update Your Dog’s Identification
Holiday travel is often chaotic and stressful, which can lead to pets getting loose or lost. Prepare for the unexpected by updating your dog’s identification. Add an ID tag with your current contact information and vacation destination to their collar, and microchip them as a backup identification method. You should also write your name and phone number on your dog’s crate to help employees keep track of them during airline travel.
It’s also a good idea to take full-body pictures of your dog in case you need to prove ownership or create lost pet posters quickly. It would also be helpful to include a photo of you and your dog, to prove ownership.
3. Provide Ample Physical Exercise
No one wants to travel with a bored and hyper dog. Providing adequate canine exercise before and during your trip will keep your companion calm and happy. For example, you can take your dog on a long walk or play fetch before you leave to tire them out.
While traveling, take frequent breaks to get your dog moving and let them use the bathroom. During a road trip, you can bring a 30-foot leash to safely play with your dog in green spaces at hotels and rest stops. You can also rent a fenced-in Sniffspot to let your dog run off-leash.
4. Use Calming Chews To Help Your Dog Relax
Even the most mellow dogs can feel nervous or stressed during holiday travel. Natural calming chews are a non-prescription treat that can ease your dog’s anxiety, like our Ketona Daily Calming Chews.
Some retailers also sell pheromone spray which can be sprayed on a bandana for your pup to wear during travel to keep them calm. You may also see cannabidiol (CBD) oil or treats for dog online or in store. Research does show that CBD may decrease anxiety, but it’s a good idea to consult your vet before giving your dog new supplements.
5. Keep Your Dog Busy With Enrichment Toys
Mental enrichment is just as beneficial for your dog as physical exercise. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to give your dog’s brain a workout while traveling.
Canine enrichment toys can keep your dog occupied in their crate during car or plane rides. First, soak small morsels like Ketona high-protein dog food & Ketona single-ingredient dog treats in pet safe bone broth. Stuff the mixture into a kong or spread it on a lick mat and freeze for a long-lasting snack. The act of licking a frozen treat, in itself, has a calming effect-and can actually tire them out so they can rest throughout the travel day.
You can also hide Ketona low-carb kibble around your hotel room and encourage your dog to find it with their nose for extra enrichment.
6. Prioritize Safety While Traveling
Keep your dog safe during a holiday road trip with a crash-tested crate or seatbelt. The Center for Pet Safety has compiled a list of independently crash test certified carriers and harnesses that will help protect your canine in a car crash.
7. Give Your Dog Space During Holiday Gatherings
The holidays are often a busy time filled with visits with family, friends, and other guests. Many dogs feel overwhelmed by company, especially if they’re not used to being around strangers, small children, or other pets.
You can help your dog feel comfortable during holiday gatherings by giving them a safe and quiet space to relax. Set up their crate in a spare bedroom or leave them at your hotel while you attend a party. Simple steps like covering their crate with a blanket and turning on the TV or a sound machine can also reduce anxiety.
8. Acclimate Your Dog to New Surroundings
If you’re staying in a dog-friendly hotel or at a loved one’s home, try to arrive at least one day before the holiday festivities to give your dog time to settle into their new surroundings. Monitor your dog closely as they explore to ensure they don’t find any old crumbs or pills left behind by a previous guest.
You can also help your dog acclimate by bringing their bed, favorite toys, and other familiar objects. And try not to leave your dog alone during their first day in a strange place, which can make them feel afraid and unsafe.
9. Research Dog-friendly Locations
Many locations now welcome friendly and well-socialized dogs, allowing your pet to enjoy more of your vacation with you. You can grab lunch at a dog-friendly restaurant, re-energize at a dog-friendly coffee shop, or enjoy drinks with friends on a dog-friendly patio. Your dog may also enjoy socializing with other canines at a local dog park. But remember, if your pup doesn’t enjoy these types of activities and outings with you and shows visible signs of stress-it is best to let them decompress at your place of lodging vs. forcing them into activities that are causing more harm than good!
Always research dog-friendly locations ahead of time to ensure your dog can join you at your Airbnb, hotel, restaurant, and other spots. And be sure to obey all policies, like not allowing dogs on furniture, so these locations keep welcoming pets.
10. Pack the Necessities
Finally, it’s essential to pack your dog’s supplies. Bring enough Ketona low-carb dog food for the duration of your trip, along with your dog’s favorite KetoNatural chicken-liver treats. Ketona’s daily calming and mobility chews can also keep your pet relaxed and joints lubricated & healthy to help offset any aches and pains from being more sedentary than usual if traveling for long periods of time.
And don’t forget emergency preparedness. Supplies like extra kibble, a first aid kit, an additional leash, and a spare tire can help you cope with medical and vehicle emergencies that may crop up during your travels.
With the proper preparation, you can enjoy the magic of the holidays with your furry companion at your side.
American Kennel Club, “The Complete Guide to Traveling With Your Dog.” https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/complete-guide-to-traveling-with-your-dog/
Center for Pet Safety, “CPS Certified.” https://www.centerforpetsafety.org/pet-parents/cps-certified/cps-certified/
Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, “Traveling with Pets.” https://www.cdc.gov/importation/traveling-with-pets.html
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, “CBD: What you need to know about its uses and efficacy.” https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/riney-canine-health-center/health-info/cbd-what-you-need-know-about-its-uses-and-efficacy
Purdue Extension, “Implementing Environmental Enrichment for Dogs.” https://extension.purdue.edu/county/lagrange/_docs/Implementing-Environmental-Enrichment-for-Dogs-1.pdf
Sniffspot, “Home.” https://www.sniffspot.com/
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