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Planning a Family Trip with Kids and a Dog. Family Travel files Travel with a Dog  Thinking about your next family vacation? Thinking of taking the family dog (dogs)? Without a realistic plan, including the dog may mean means adding stress.

If your family has been doing this for years, read no further. If you are considering the idea for the first time I have a few first hand experiences to share and some specific things to do for a successful holiday Fido and the kids.

Here's the scoop. Recently friends of mine decided to go away to the beach. Their plan was to meet other families and spend luxurious days on the sandy shore. Because they know how much their dog loves the beach it was always their plan to take their dog. Furthermore they encouraged the other families to bring their dogs. The more the merrier. Right? A destination was selected. No one asked if dogs were allowed on the beach? They found out too late that restrictions from the county and the community restricted beach use even though rental units allowed pets. Two of the families even encountered difficulties while traveling to the beach. They learned the hard way that not all motels or hotels welcome pets, even if they are well mannered.
 
Pet Vacation Advice.
Decide on your vacation. Determine if your pet and your family will enjoy the vacation experience. Establish the ground rules before leaving home. The level of responsibility to be delegated depends on the age of the children however all children need to understand that everyone must be responsible for taking care of the dog. Opening car doors or outside doors at a new place might cause a pet to dart away. Losing a pet along the way would not add to vacation enjoyment.

Ask your vet for feedback. All dogs are not the same when it comes to new experiences including travel. Ask your vet for a travel assessment and at the same time pick up essential shot records. Before sedating your pet for the trip, consult your veterinarian for an appropriate tranquilizer, and try the tranquilizer before the trip to see what the affect will be. Make sure your pet travels with an ID that includes a current phone number.

Obtain the proper equipment for the trip. Some animals feel secure in kennels, crates or pet carriers during trips. Make sure the container size does not restrict your pet. Allow your pet to become familiar with its traveling quarters several weeks before the trip. Set up the traveling kennel in your home or back yard so the pet can add its own aroma to the quarters. Add a familiar blanket or cushion. No matter how rank it smells resist the temptation to wash it the day before the trip.

Same car space every time. If the travel will be by auto travel allow practice time before. Determine where the pet will sit in the auto and during the trip make sure the space is always available. The key to lessening stress for your pet is to try and make things familiar. While traveling, make frequent stops to allow for exercise, food and water. Look around before opening the car door and make certain your pet is on a leash at all times when outside. Clio the Dog Traveling as Her Own Luggae

Same room space every time. If the trip will involve several nights on the road try to place the bed or blanket in the same location of the room. Remember that the more things seem the same the less stress your pet will feel. Try to keep the same bed, same food, same walk time. Ask for a room away from hall traffic and elevator noise. 
 
Never leave your pet alone in the hotel room or vacation rental. Before settling in the room make sure your pet has easy access to water and food if it is part of the routine. Even more important  during very hot weather or very cold weather never leave your pet unattended in the car for more than a few minutes. 

Fly away. Airlines as well as trains have specific rules and requirements so if part of the trip begins with a plane or a train contact the appropriate carrier.

Are we there yet? When you reach your destination, keep your pet within view and try to find a quiet area to allow time for the animal to become familiar with its new surroundings and to recover from the stress of traveling. If your dog is curious make he discoveries together. If your cat is frightened confine the space and restrict sounds for a day, then ease into a larger area.

 Vacation time rules. While on your holiday maintain a reasonable schedule for your dog. Meals at the same time; exercise on schedule and involve your dog in your activities. If that does not seem possible then maybe a kennel near home or a pet sitting arrangement would be a better solution. 

Resources to help in the planning the trip.
Pet Vacations. They offer a listing of lodgings in the US. To find places in a specific place just enter the state code in the form for adding properties. They also have travel tales.  (www.petvacations.com)
Traveling Dogs. Click on the vacations bone icon at this site and find a list of places to stay with pets. The site also offers advice as well as some enjoyable travel tales.  (www.travelingdogs.com)
Pet Welcome.  This is a website with style. They also have a database with lots of interesting places. (www.petswelcome.com)
Pets.com.  This site has a database for the USA. That includes lodgings but also aquariums, veterinarians, zoos and pet sitters. I tried a search for Corpus Christi lodging and the database turned up ten choices. They have products to make traveling easier. (www.pets.com)

Content and images provided by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curaztor of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel File.com. Copyright 2017.


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