Travel With Your Older Dog

Travel with Your Older DogYou might be ready to hit the open road on vacation, but is your senior dog? Not all dogs can adjust to life on the road, even for a short time. A sick, frail, and super skittish dog is probably best left at home with a pet sitter checking-in on her daily. But if your older dog is healthy and you do some advance planning road trips can end up being lots of fun.

If your dog has never traveled by car before take a few trips around the block to see how she reacts. It’s better to find out now that she easily becomes carsick or if she just isn’t cut out for this type of traveling before the big day. If this is the case, your dog may need medication for travel stress. Talk to your veterinarian about this option.

Your dog should know basic obedience commands and be leashed trained. This is important for safety because you’ll encounter a variety of new people, places and sounds (think: fireworks and cars backfiring) that could possibly scare her and cause her to bolt. Some dogs tend to become more scared of things as they get older. You’ll also need to make more frequent stops for potty breaks during your trip and a leash is needed to keep her safe while allowing her to relieve herself.

Remember to pack a few things for your dog too. Here’s a list of must-haves:

Food and water dishes. Feeding bowls can be big and bulky. Luckily today manufacturers make collapsible bowls that easily fit into bags and don’t take up much room.

Ramps or stairs. These portable travel steps and ramps allow senior dogs to easily enter and exit the car.

Medication. Bring an ample supply of medication your pet is currently taking. Getting refills on the road won’t be easy.

Crate or seat belt. To keep your dog safe when riding inside the car, she should be inside a crate or fastened by a seat belt. This will help keep her safe should you get into an accident. It also prevents her from moving around the vehicle and distracting the driver.

Travel bed. To make the trip more comfortable consider buying an orthopedic travel bed for your senior dog. If you’re traveling during cooler months, consider a warming bed or a sweater.

Pet Diapers. They make disposable diapers specifically for pets and you may need to consider bringing them on the trip in case your dog may be accident prone.

Bring enough food to last the entire trip otherwise you might not be able to find the brand she normally eats. A quick switch in food can cause an upset stomach and/or diarrhea, making the trip miserable for the both of you.

If you’ll be staying at a hotel, make sure the establishment accepts dogs of your breed and weight and if there are any extra fees. Ask for a bottom floor if your older dog has arthritis so she doesn’t have to climb stairs to get to the room.
After checking-in to the hotel, take your pooch for a walk around the grounds so she can become familiar with the area. This will help lessen any stress she may feel and allow her to become comfortable with her new surroundings. Stick with your normal routine, if possible, while at the hotel by feeding and walking her at the same times everyday.

With the right supplies and a little advanced preparation everyone in the family – traveling with your older dog can be fun for the whole family vacation.