Recently, PopSugarPets tweeted out what to do with your dogs while on vacation. While I agree with the statement somewhat, I’d like to tell you what we do with Alfie when we vacation.
When we were looking at bringing a dog into our home, we decided we wanted a smaller one that we could bring with us wherever we went. I understand not all vacation spots are pet-friendly, especially if you are planning to do a lot of sight-seeing, eating out at restaurants — what have you. For instance when my husband and I were in Alberta, we knew Alfie couldn’t come since we’d be hiking up mountains — clearly not fit for a little ten pounder with spindly toothpick legs, regardless of how fearless and tough he is.
Alfie had been in obedience school for most of his life leading up to our move to the USA, and the dog trainer we went with took a liking to him, so whenever we needed a dog-sitter, she was there with open arms. With that being said, we try to bring Alfie with us on as many vacations as possible, especially now that we’ve moved from Canada to California and we no longer have our trusted dog trainer within driving distance of us.
Alfie is not a convenience dog, he is part of the family! We don’t like to think that dogs are just a convenience to us, and play/walk with them only in the home. As you can tell from the 20 previous Pomeranian Friday posts, we like to bring Alfie along for the ride. He will be going places with us — not left behind. Especially since he fits the regulation size to go in the cabin. We have flown from California to Newfoundland, Canada multiple times with Alfie, and he is an excellent traveller. While the day is long he is trained and understands what’s going on (there isn’t a direct flight, and when you add it all up it’s a 10 hour in air flight + many stop-overs).
It’s comical travelling with Alfie by myself, as people think I am having a difficult time, but quite honestly I’m used to it. He knows he has to pop out of his carrier going through security, so I lift him as he digs his nails into me since he’s scared, and we walk through the metal detector together. Many people comment on his cuteness (I swear, once you acknowledge Alfie, that’s when he starts growling). Sometimes the airport staff had tried to help me put him back into the carrier he’s like a cat trying to get into a bathtub — arms splayed across not wanting to get back in. I politely decline their help because once Alfie got a little angry and barked to scare them off when someone tried to help. Clearly not a fan of strangers.
Some tips for travelling with your pet that we’ve learned along the way:
- Bring a days worth of dog food in his carrier. You don’t want it packed away in your checked luggage or carry-on, mainly because one of you might be gone off walking around the airport and want to feed your pup.
- Your dog needs to be hydrated just as much as you do. Bring an empty plastic cup and fill it up with your water, he needs to lap it up!
- Pack a cover-up. This is mainly for dogs that get nervous/excited when seeing people they don’t know. Alfie barks uncontrollably when he’s in his carrier and doesn’t know the smells/sights surrounding him. I drape a scarf or my jacket around the door so he feels more protected.
- Poo bags/potty pads. Sometimes you cannot leave the airport security area, especially if you have a quick layover. Bring your pup into the family washroom and lay down a potty-pad for him to do his business. Alfie knows the words “go potty!” pretty well since we use it on a daily basis, and of course if they need to go, they will. We praise Alfie (seriously, we clap and say good boy lol) and give him a treat after he’s done his business since he’s not used to the pad anymore and he successfully accomplished what he needed to do.
- Give them a pet, and praise. In order for dogs to be up in cabin with their owners they need to be able to stand up, and turn around comfortably in their carrier. Although dogs are not allowed out of their carriers inside the airport, many people break the rules. I don’t like to do it, but on occasion (delayed flights etc) I do take him in my lap for a cuddle, or scratch his belly (his favourite) as much as possible.
- Bring toys/treats — the more things that smell like home, the more comfortable your dog will be. Reward him with treats every now and then also doesn’t hurt.
- Talk to your vet about benadryl. We don’t like to ‘drug’ our dog for the flight in fear we might give him too much, regardless of our veterinarian saying a 1/4 of a pill of children’s benadryl. But supposedly it makes them dopey and relaxed and sleep soundly for the flight.
Hope these tips help, when you want to travel with your pet next time! Of course, it’s not as easy to travel with an animal that doesn’t fit the airline regulations due to the size. In that case, I’d advise you to get someone that your dog is comfortable with to look after them for the duration of your vacation.