The great outdoors
With your doggo
The world’s open (not that it’s stopping viruses or global warming, but still), and it’s time for an adventure with your lovely pooch!
Unfortunately, with dogs, you have to do more than just bookings. From checking for pet-friendly properties to packing everything you may (or may not) need, travelling with your dog can be quite the ordeal, if you’re unprepared. While the exact details will depend upon where you’re going and how long your trip will be, here are a few things you can carry to ensure you have a lot of fun without compromising on your dog’s care + some tips for your travels.
Let’s start with a checklist of essentials:
- Copies of your dog’s vaccination
- Daily meals and treats/broths
- Supplements and daily medicines
- A long leash, preferably reflective
- Pet wipes, dry shampoo, towels
- Boots — with thick soles if required
- Bowls — collapsible work well
- Anti-tick and flea products
- First aid kit: at least SDD, Betadine, cotton and gauze. Ask your vet for safe, common medicines. Do not self-medicate your dog.
Moving on to the tips:
Check with your hotel/BnB in advance to ensure they allow dogs on the property. Find out where you can take them on the property (if there’s a stay + restaurant, dogs may be allowed in one place but not the other).
Other useful things to know:
- Extra pet charges per night, if any.
- Does the property provide pet food?
- Is there an area to cook your dog’s food?
- Can they assist you with dog food prep?
- Rules regarding meat & dog poop and pee.
- Rules regarding the dog within your room.
If you’re travelling by car (own/rental/taxi):
- Do trial runs beforehand to ensure your dog is comfortable in a car. Many dogs experience motion sickness.
- Use a car seat cover for easy cleaning.
- Factor in stops so your dog can walk, relieve themselves, and have water.
If you’re travelling by taxi/rental:
- Car seat covers are a must!
- Ensure the driver is comfortable with the dog in their car. Discuss extra payment.
- Remember to vacuum & clean rentals before returning to avoid fines.
If you’re travelling by rail/air:
- Find out the process beforehand — you’ll require paperwork (there’s a train travel guide — applicable to travel via Indian Railways-for purchase here).
- If you have a long travel, prep and carry your dog’s meal(s) in an ice box (not applicable for air travel). Use ice packs — loose ice will melt, and you’ll have to deal with all the water. In air-conditioned spaces, the ice will last a day (or a bit longer if you keep it out of the sun).
- For train travel, you can carry a small kettle to heat water (or ask the pantry for some). Ensure the kettle works with the train sockets (110V DC).
- If your dog needs daily medicines, you can prep them into pill boxes for travel, especially if something needs to be crushed (don’t crush and store medicines for a long time, though).
- Check the train timetable and mark long stops where you can take your dog for a toilet break on/around the platform. Try to keep these as consistent with their daily schedule as you can. Remember to pour water on pee and pick up and dispose of the poop, so that the platform remains clean.
- Avoid sudden diet changes.
- If you’re relying on dehydrated products for your travel, ensure you rehydrate them properly before feeding them.
- If you’ve carried fresh meat for your dog, keep an eye out for spoilage. Meat develops a rancid smell and changes colour (yellowish or greenish) if it goes bad.
- You can ask your host if they can arrange meat for you / direct you to local shops.
- Your dog can have a little extra food if they’re more active on your holiday.
- Use wipes to ensure your dog’s feet and belly are clean, and they don’t bring mud into the room. This will also help you find any cuts, leeches, etc.
- Use anti-tick and flea powders and sprays before every outing. Check your dog thoroughly for ticks after every outing.
- If you’re visiting an unfamiliar nature area, try using boots to protect your dog’s feet. Dogs take a while to be comfortable in these, so they’ll have to wear them a few times before the trip. Boots with thick soles can prevent bites from insects and small critters and can prevent cuts and scrapes too.
- Keep a close eye on your dog. Dogs may try to snack on dead lizards or rotting fruits, some of which may be poisonous/ cause a stomach issue.
- If you’re exploring the local area outside your hotel/BnB, ask your hosts how dog-friendly the area is, where you should not take your dog, and for any other local travel tips that they can share, especially regarding your dog.
- Always keep your dog leashed outside enclosed areas, especially if they do not have a good recall.
- If your dog is going for a hike/ to a beach for the first time, a long leash will be very useful in ensuring their safety.
- Remember to carry water for outings.
If you’re in an area frequented by wildlife:
- Keep your dog on a long leash outdoors.
- Ensure they sleep inside the room with you at night — do not let them out unsupervised.
- Check if the property has an electric fence, and keep your dog away from it.
- Ensure you follow food storage rules diligently; not doing so can put you and your dog at risk.
The above checklist and tips are very, very basic, and you can tweak them as per your requirements. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. If you have a point of contact at the location you’re travelling to, don’t shy away from asking them questions. If you feel you’ve tested their patience, thank them for it and carry a small thank you present for them if you feel the need. With some advance planning, you can have an enjoyable and safe trip with your dog. Happy adventures!