Let me just start with our story. We live in Romania with a beautiful 2 years old Shih Tzu fur baby, Yuki. It was January 2019 when we decided that it was time to take a vacation somewhere beautiful outside of Romania. As I love the sea, and I know Greece has the most amazing beaches, we decided to go there on our 2 weeks vacation in August.
Things were pretty exciting as it was our first adventure outside of the country together but we have increased it even more by deciding to take our fur baby with us! Even though we tried to think of all possible scenarios, we still did not prepare well because it was our very first time, going on a vacation with Yuki. There are tons of things we found out by our experience in Greece and we would really like to share them to help anyone else who is planning the vacation or even a short trip with their fur babies.
I am going to list everything we know about how to travel with a puppy. Obviously, we tried to take everything necessary with us which could give our baby boy comfort and a good time so there are things which we did prepare for and then there are things which we learned from our experiences so let’s get to them one by one.
Things You Must Know
1. Know The Rules
Before you even get to the packing, there is research you need to do about your destination. We know, most of us care for our pets like our family members but unfortunately not everyone shares this passion. You need to make sure that the destination, you are traveling to, your pet will not have any problems visiting places there or in other words if they are allowed to.
For example, we were going to Tolo, Greece and we only found our reaching there that the dogs were not allowed on the beach. Given the fact that we were planning to spend every single day on the beach, that was such a bummer and we could have chosen a different city or make different plans for our vacation in Greece if we knew this information beforehand. So you do not want to end up in a situation like this. Please do full research about the pet rules for the destination before making plans of taking your fur baby along and make sure it does not bring any discomfort to you or your dog in any way.
2. Clear Reservation in a Dog-Friendly Hotels
If you are not visiting your friends and family, you are probably going to stay in a hotel. There are two things to note when reserving a hotel for the vacation with your fur baby:
- Always choose a Dog-Friendly Hotel, never book a normal hotel assuming that bringing a dog won’t be an issue. Some hotels have very strict pet policies so always go with the hotels which are dogs or pets friendly and have a clear reputation for allowing pets.
- Call them to confirm if a dog of your dog’s breed and age is allowed in their property. Sometimes, hotels only allow small breed dogs such as Shih Tzu or Chihuahua whereas you might own a Husky. So it is very important that you either send them a message clarifying about your dog so that you can get a confirmation in writing to avoid any future discomfort or at least call them to make sure they allow dogs of your dog’s breed and age so that you don’t need to relocate once you reach to their hotel.
3. Safety First
We know that we all are very careful about our dogs but when you travel far from home, it is important that you be extra careful and don’t take any risk. On that note, we advise you to get your dog a collar if he doesn’t have one and have your name, his name, and a working phone number scratched on it.
We assume, your dog has a microchip implant which is helpful in case, you lose your dog but regardless of that, it’s always good to have a collar with your info on it. Not only, it represents that the dog is a pet but also if God forbids, you did lose him and someone found him, it will be easier for them just to call a number than to take him to a veterinarian so that they can read the microchip and inform the owner.
Sometimes, it can prove the only factor for someone to help or leave your dog unattended in case, you lose your dog. So if your dog does not have a microchip implant, please get one and regardless of that, you must get him a collar with his name, your name, and a working phone number on it.
4. Dog Health Card and Passport
Always keep your dog’s health card with you. In case, you don’t have one, please visit your veterinarian to get one and to have the health of your dog checked up before you leave for the vacation. Sometimes, a dog needs special shots, in case, you plan to leave your country. So it is always beneficial to pay your veterinarian a visit before you carry on with the preparation for your vacation.
Also, depending upon where you are going, you might or might not need a Passport for your fur baby which you can acquire again at your veterinarian clinic. When we went to Greece, we had Yuki’s Health Card as well as his passport. However, no one has asked for it but it is always good to have them, just in case. After all, you don’t want to have to return home from half-way just because you did not have all the documents for your fur baby.
5. Know your Transportation
The next thing you want to think about is how you plan to reach the destination and what are the things your dog might need in order to be comfortable during the journey time. In our case, we went to Greece with our car so it was a road trip, and we needed to have the following things with us:
- Bottle of water, we have bought a water bottle, made for pets, it has a place where water collects and he can drink it easily, even in the moving car.
- Food plate, you should always take the plate with you, in which he usually eats at home. Usually, dogs do not prefer to eat during the journey because it can be stressful for them but having a familiar scent and object, might encourage them to don’t remain hungry.
- Food, small quantity, we took 2 kg for 2 weeks. This can differ based upon the breed and age of your dog.
- A Cooling pillow. We knew that it might get hot during the 16 to 20 hours road trip and our AC did not work all that well in the car so that is why we took his cooling pillow so that he does not warm up but this also depends upon where are you going. For instance, you won’t need it if you are going to the mountains.
- His most comfortable, portable nest bed pillow for him to rest on during the journey.
- His most favorite two toys to keep him entertained during the journey.
- His leash in order to walk him around when we made stops at diesel stations.
We believe, most of these things might remain the same even if you are traveling via plane or public transport. However, you might want to add some things based upon your dog’s behavior and the things you might know about your nature of transport. So to conclude, after security, first and foremost thing you want to think about are the things you need to make your dog comfortable during the journey.
Here is how our journey looked like, a Road Trip with Yuki from Romania to Greece
6. Their Bed and/or Crate
Vacations are a relaxing time for us but changing the regular place, can be extremely stressful for your dog. That is why you want to carry their crate if they have one or their bed with you if they are portable. Bed or Crate can give your dog a sense of being home. Something familiar and trustworthy for them in a totally unknown place.
In our case, we carried the crate as well as his bed with us and we mounted it rights next to our bed in the hotel. Every time we came in after leaving him alone for a short while for some reason, we found him resting on his bed in his crate whereas he always stayed with us on our bed when we were in the room. So his own bed and crate brought him a great amount of comfort and relief when he was alone.
Now, obviously, you do not want to leave your dog alone in the hotel room, but you cannot count on it because sometimes a situation can arise when you have to leave your pup alone for a few minutes in the hotel room so it is always good to have things familiar to them to bring them comfort in your absence.
7. For Some Alone Time
It is really wonderful feeling to see them getting excited and happy seeing new places and experiencing new surroundings. However, you might not be allowed to take them everywhere based upon the regulations or if you are traveling with someone, you might want to have a night out just with your partner, to get a romantic dinner or to check out the clubs, enjoy the night-life, etc.
In that case, you would need to leave your dog in your room which is a very difficult thing to do. The last thing you want is your dog to be alone in an unknown place and get stressed and anxious. However, it doesn’t need to be that way. This is why we recommend that you take a toy with you which you can use to make your dog run for a bit. In our case we had a tennis ball which he loves, we used to stand 15 to 20 feet apart and throw each other the ball, making him run for it.
We let him catch it a few times, to keep him interested. It is a very good way to play with your buddy, taking his energy out while keeping yours for your night plans. We used to play with him for 15 to 30 mins, which would make him happy and tired. Please keep in mind, this was after a full day at the beach so he would anyway be a bit tired but after this session, he would enjoy a quick wash up, water, food and then a long nap in his bed which would give us an opportunity to have some time on our own.
So, always carry a toy that you can use to make them run a fair amount of time in order to entertain them and take their energy out while keeping yours for any “me time” you have planned.
8. Pee Pads
We know that we all like to take our dog on a walk whenever they want to do their needs but it is always a good idea to take pee pads with you. Change of surroundings can make your dog anxious and in some cases, they need to pee more than usual. When you are resting in bed, after a good day of a hike or swim or wandering around the beautiful city, you wouldn’t want to have to go outside of the hotel, every 15 minutes when your dog needs to pee, correct?
It is a good practice to have one pad mounted in the toilet where you can make your dog pee whenever they need it. This way, not only your pet will feel relaxed and will hydrate as necessary, but you will also get more rest and enjoy your vacation better. So don’t forget to throw some pee pads when you pack, they will come in handy.
9. Dog Waste Bags
You might be using dog waste bags when taking your dog to a park in your city but this item is essential when you are visiting a new place. In some places, authorities charge a big fee if they find you leaving your dog poop on the side of the street or in any other public place. So, always carry a bunch of dogs waste bags with you whenever you get out in the city with your fur baby.
10. No New Food or Treats
Who doesn’t like to try various types of foods when we travel to a new place. Given the same fact, you might want to buy new kinds of treats for your dog so that they can enjoy the variety of food as well which might not be the best idea. Change of surroundings is enough challenging for the pets, if you also change their regular treats, it might make them have stomach issues which might not be ideal for you when you are on vacation.
The same goes for their regular food as well. If your pet is in the transition to adulthood and you want to upgrade his food from baby starter to adult food, this is not the right time to do it. Please, keep the diet of your dog as it is until you return from the vacation. This ensures that your dog will not have any sort of digestion issues which is one less thing to worry about.
If you are curious to see our Greece Trip of 2019, you can watch all of our videos from the trip here
We wish you a great Vacation
If you follow, all the above points, you will have a blast on your vacation with your dog. It can be challenging at times, but for the happiness, it gives to your pet and the feeling of satisfaction you get yourself, its totally worth it. We wish you good luck for your next adventure with your buddy and urge you to please let us know how was your vacation in the comments section. Please feel free to post any questions or suggestions you have, down below. Thank you so much for reading!