Travelling for the First Time with Your Dog 5 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Travelling for the First Time with Your Dog: 5 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We all adore our Furry Family Members and would love to bring them along on vacation. After all, they are part of the family just as much as anyone else! Most of my best and most touching memories are whilst on vacation with my dog. So when we travel together, I want him to be as happy and healthy as possible while we are away.

That being said, whether it comes from over-protection or just-not-knowing, we all make mistakes from time to time about how to manage, supervise, and aid our pet’s wellbeing whilst we travel. Below are some of the common mistakes pet owners make when they first travel long distance with their precious pet, myself included!

Research Before You Select Your Destination

We all have our dream destination in mind when we have decided to invite our Pup along to our next travel adventure! but some breeds are more demanding than others and behaviour expectations are not always met.

Try to find a destination and design a travel itinerary that suits your dogs breed and lifestyle. For example, if you have an active dog then you may want to choose a destination with lots of walks and hikes so you can spend hours of fun exploring nature. If you yourself can’t walk far and your pet isn’t used to long walks, perhaps beach destinations would be best where you can make a splash in sea and chill out in the sand without having to move too far.

Over-Protective Parenting

Guilty as charged. When I first bought my Harry, a Jack Russell Terrier, on holiday for the first time I wanted to protect him from the world – and still do! As the days went on and it was time to let him off lead, I was very nervous because I didn’t know the area and was afraid, he would get lost, or that the local dogs would take a dislike to him.

Thankfully another tourist suggested I buy a 16ft lead so Harry could still run and explore whilst remaining close by. They also gave us directions to a private beach nearby that catered solely for both local dogs and dogs on vacation. I felt easier letting him off his lead in this secluded and secure space, and the other dogs were not at all territorial. Now I always look out for destinations with dedicated dog spots for I can let Harry off lead without worry.

Not Having the Right Travel Equipment

It’s very important that dog owners thoroughly plan for their doggy vacation, and make sure their pet is as comfortable as possible whilst travelling.

Having the right travel equipment makes the vacation experience run a whole lot smoother. You will be better equipped to deal with unexpected challenges or problems you may face whilst out and about with your dog in new locations.

If you want to go on a last-minute excursion whilst you’re on your trip and unsure if the local restaurants will allow dogs, make sure to pack some lunch for you and furry travel buddy just in case.

Always take a portable pet water bottle with you so Doggo can stay hydrated throughout the day. You never know, you may discover a new hiking trail or dog park and be out much longer than expected!

Leaving Pets Alone for Too Long

Okay so you have seen an indoor activity that doesn’t allow dogs…surely the dog will be okay on its own for the evening? This is a dilemma faced by thousands of dog owners who go on vacation with their pet. You may miss out on places that do not allow dogs such as theatres and theme parks if you are not prepared.

In general, it is not recommended to leave your dog alone for more than 4 hours. Leaving dogs alone for too long can cause all sorts of stressful emotions and negative social side effects especially when in a place they don’t know. 

If you must leave your caravan or hotel suite for a long period, consider hiring a day sitter, dog walker, or taking your dog to a day centre so they can get that much needed social time elsewhere whilst you are out without them.

Resorts that cater to dogs often have dog-sitting options available so be sure to check them out. Be mindful that most dog hotels will not allow you to leave your dog unattended at any time and booking them into a hotel managed or recommended kennel for a few hours may be your only option.

Whilst you may make small mistakes the first time you take your pet on vacation, don’t beat yourself up about it too much. Travelling with your dog is a learning curve and you are not expected to know everything about it if you have never done before! Don’t sweat it. The responsible thing to do if you don’t know is to ask! There are tons of helpful resources out there for first-time dog travellers, and even people you meet at the dog resort will be happy to help!