Summer is just around the corner as I write this article. You know what that means. Vacations! Ah, but what if you just recently brought a new puppy home? What do you do with them? Simple - take them with you. Do so and you will avoid separation anxiety for your fur ball as well as hefty kennel fees.
Do you take your puppy on car rides? If not, the last thing you want to do is introduce them to the car for the first time when you go on vacation. There is a very good chance your puppy will be scared and miserable. If you are really lucky, they will get sick all over the car…multiple times.
How do you acclimate a puppy to a car? The answer is to start taking them on drives with you immediately. Start with short trips to the store and then go farther as they get used to the vehicle. Soon, they will go from being afraid to demanding you roll down the window so they can get some breeze!
The next thing to consider is your destination. If you live in an apartment, but are heading to a national forest, you need to be aware of the potential health risks the puppy will face. Chief among them are things like ticks carrying diseases, rattlesnakes and a host of other risks associated with the location. Don't stress over the risks. Just know what they are and plan for them ahead of time. Your pup might need shots or a healthy dose of Frontline to deal with critters getting on them.
Your next step is to consider whether you should get a microchip put in your pup. The chip will allow you to locate the dog if it runs away or gets lost. Dogs can be a bit frisky when they are in new areas. There is so much too explore that they can easily walk off and get lost. If you can't find them by looking around and calling their name, the chip could be your saving grace.
Is the pup going to be able to sit in a moving car for six hours without going to the bathroom? Probably not. Try to map out areas where you can stop, let them do their business and run about a bit. If you've been in a car for a long drive, you know how you feel getting out of it. Now imagine your dog. Giving them a chance to run about is smart and will also tire them out a bit for the rest of the trip.
Another issue you are going to need to consider is where you stay during the trip. If you need to drive a few days to reach your destination, you need to identify a hotel or motel that will allow your pet inside during the night. Some do and some don't, so make sure to call ahead and find out.
Traveling is stressful for your pup. This is true even if they are with you. To minimize the stress, try to stick to their usual routine where possible. If you typically wake up in the morning and immediate go for a walk or run with your pup, do the same thing on your vacation. Bring their food with them so they are eating the same thing and don't develop diarrhea. The more that remains the same, the easier they will adapt to traveling.
Taking your puppy on vacation is really not a choice. Puppies do not do well when separated from those they have bonded with. Take them with you. You will both enjoy the vacation. Make sure to take plenty of pictures!
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