Obviously, I love animals so it should be equally obvious that I love my pets. I also love to travel. Therefore, if I can travel with my pets (primarily my dogs), life is perfect.
When I am considering taking my pets, I have to consider a number of questions. Will my pets enjoy the trip, is the trip appropriate for my pets and how to best prepare for the trip?
1. Will my pet enjoy this trip?
To determine if my pets will enjoy the trip I have to consider many things such as how we will be traveling. Going on a plane would be too scary for any of my pets. They don’t regularly travel in planes and I am sure it would be highly stressful. Putting your pets through significant and unnecessary stress should be a red flag for any trip.
It is important to remember that all our animals are different. For example if my family is traveling by car or RV, I know my dogs will love it. I also know that my cats would still rather stay home. Again, this is only for my family. I do know of cats and birds who travel quite well in an RV.
2. Is the trip safe and appropriate for my pets?
Once I know my dogs will enjoy the transportation, I have other things to consider to make sure the trip is safe and appropriate for my pets. I therefore consider:
- How long will it take to get there?
- Where will we be staying?
- Why are we going?
- How is the weather going to be?
If we are planning on driving for days I have to consider the weather. If we will be stopping a lot and the weather is too hot or too cold, I ask myself, if my dogs will be safe in the car or hotel. If my answer is no, the pets stay home.
When traveling with pets, I also have to be sure I find pet friendly hotels or camp grounds. I research the activities we plan to do. If my dogs cannot participate in the activities and will need to stay in the car or hotel, I may end up leaving them at home.
It is fine to admit that not all vacations are pet friendly. There are times traveling with my pets is not safe or just will not be fun for them. In those cases when my fur babies cannot travel with me I leave them with a highly trusted pet sitter.
3. Have I packed everything my pet needs?
As much as I love to travel with my dogs, it creates additional work. Not only does it take more planning, I also have to bring extra stuff (like traveling with a toddler). You have to pack food, bowls, bedding, possibly a crate (or 2) and anything else needed to keep your pet happy and comfortable. 4Knines.com has some wonderful products to help equip your car for traveling that are worth checking out in this regard.
For me, the extra work is often worth it. I have great memories taking my dogs places such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and Lake Tahoe. But there are still times I leave them at home with a trusted sitter. If you are considering traveling with your pet, make sure it is the best thing for you and for them.
Shannon has been a pet lover all her life and a dog trainer for over 20 years. She has spent her life observing, caring for and training animals of all kinds. She has worked in the Bird Department at Marine World Africa USA, and worked as an handler and trainer for an African Serval Cat at Safari West, a private zoo in Santa Rosa, California. She has participated in behavior studies including observations of bald eagles and addax antelope through the San Francisco Zoo and Safari West.
Her education includes a Biology Degree, specializing in Zoology from Sonoma State. She is a Registered Veterinary Technician, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (Knowledge Assessed), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Shannon is currently serving as President for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians.
Shannon’s dog training philosophy revolves around force free, positive reinforcement, however, her ultimate goal is for healthy happy relationship between pets and their people. Diet, exercise, environment and training all play a significant role in achieving this goal.
Shannon is currently the owner of Ventura Pet Wellness and Dog Training Center in Ventura, CA where she works with anxious and fearful dogs privately as well as teaching agility classes (Venturapetwellness.com). Shannon has also started a training website called Truly Force Free Animal Training (trulyforcefree.com).