Pet Safety Month – Vacation Safety

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July_badge_final-300x300July has been named Pet Safety Month by our friends at BlogPaws. You’ve probably seen many posts throughout the month with lots of tips and reminders about your pet’s safety. Well, here’s another one.
Given that we just got back from vacation, I thought I would focus on vacation safety. It’s one thing to be prepared when you are in your own home and have all of your routines and supplies right at hand. It’s another thing to be mindful of your pet’s safety when you are traveling or staying someplace far from home.
Here’s a few things I learned on this recent vacation:

  1. Reducing Anxiety. Dogs like routine and to reduce their anxiety during a trip, you should try to keep to their routine as much as possible. For me, that meant bringing Jack & Maggie’s beds with us so they would both have a safe spot. I brought our regular food, so we would feed them the same food, from their same bowls at the same time. Try to keep the waking in the morning and going to bed routine the same as well, it will go a long way in reducing any anxiety they might have at being in a strange place.
  2. Collars, leashes microchips. No matter how good you think your dog is, how superior their recall is, there is always the chance that the strange environment, sounds, critters, or people could spook them or cause them to run off. If that happens away from home, they may not be able to find their way back home, so make sure you keep them leashed or fenced, and that they have collars with their name and contact information on at all times. Or better yet, get them micro chipped. I would do all of the above just to play it safe.
    We let Maggie off leash on our trip because she freezes when spooked or afraid, so we know she wouldn’t go anywhere. Jack we let off leash only a few times. He starts off very calm and sedate and then slowly gets wound up as he realizes he is free. The saving grace is Jack is also a mama’s boy and never likes to stray too far from my side. Interestingly, when we were in the woods hiking and we let him off leash a couple of times, he was even more velcro’d to me and kept a very close eye on where I was. We joked that he was afraid we were going to leave him behind…which may indeed have happened to him before since he was found roaming in the hills of Simi Valley.


  4. To leave them alone or not leave them alone in a strange house or hotel room? If you travel with a crate and can leave your dog contained in it, then it’s probably okay to leave them alone. If your dog is 100% reliable, then you can leave them alone. When we traveled with Sally & Tino, we left them alone frequently, with no thought to it. But with Jack & Maggie, I didn’t feel comfortable doing that, at least not on this first trip. They were both a bit anxious about the whole deal and leaving them alone in a strange house was just asking for a disaster.
  5. Swimming. As you’ve probably seen from earlier posts here and on FB, this trip was Jack and Maggie first real introduction to swimming. Yes, we’ve been to the beach, but you can’t really ‘swim’ in the Pacific Ocean. I didn’t think of it beforehand, but I probably should have considered life vests. I knew we weren’t going to go out in a boat, but I didn’t count on Jack jumping off the dock (in search of fish). Luckily, Steve was right there to grab him and steer him towards shore, and the water at the end of the dock was probably only about 4 foot deep, but still, know your dog and their capabilities when it comes to water and swimming. Having a life vest and playing it safe is never a bad idea.
  6. First Aid. Be sure and bring along any first aid equipment you might need. A pet First Aid kit makes a lot of sense as it will have the basics. Know where there is an emergency vet in the area you are vacationing so you don’t waste time looking for one. Our friends over at Keep the Tail Wagging provided a great list of First Aid Kit Must Haves – check it out.
  7. If you are going somewhere with special adventures or activities, be sure and prepare your dog. If you plan to go boating, make sure your dog can get on and off the boat without harm and that they enjoy it. We brought Sally and Tino on a pontoon boat at Big Bear once. Sally loved it. Tino hated it and as soon as we got close to the dock, he jumped off the boat and ran down the pier until he was on dry land. I never subjected him to it again. If you’re flying to your destination, be sure and acclimate your dog to being in a crate for long periods of time and study the policies and procedures of the airline prior to your trip.

Most important is to enjoy yourself, that’s what a vacation is for. It’s always more fun to bring along your dog and it makes your vacation more fun to see them enjoying themselves. Don’t let safety lapses or concerns ruin your vacation. Follow the Boy Scout’s motto: Be Prepared.

Additional Resources:

Travel Goes To Dogs: Tips To Keep Pets Safe On Vacation

How to Bring Pets with You on Vacation

Keeping your pet safe during vacation



We are joining the Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop Co-hosted by our friends at 2Brown Dogs and Heart Like a Dog. Grab the badge and join the fun!



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  1. Good tips! We would never be off leash on vacation, heavens, not even at home! We are not crated but we are fine alone in a hotel room, we don’t destroy stuff and just wait for Mom to return. After having been in hotels several times we know there are sounds in the hall too and don’t bark or anything. We usually travel 1-2 times a year, which helps keep us reminded of how it all works. You all had such a great vacation, we are still jealous!
    Emma recently posted…Peppermint In A Patty, Anyone?My Profile

  2. Great post! When we go to canada we take their beds too. I make sure I bring lots of chewys also. I have a Hugh emergency kit, can’t be to prepared.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes~More Hay Bale PicsMy Profile

  3. With Ducky being so reactive to the sight of strange humans, she’s better off staying home with the pet sitter. Our favorite vacation spot is Charleston, SC…it’s only a few hours away by car…but we’re not beach people and most of the historical sites are not dog-friendly. So, Callie & Shadow also get to stay home with the pet sitter. But, we haven’t been on a “real” vacation in years…they’ve all been “stay-cations”. And I really don’t mind because I’d rather spend the time with my dogs than strangers anyway.
    Sue recently posted…Ducky’s Newest ChallengeMy Profile

  4. I found traveling with Eko’s bed invaluable because no matter where we went, he always had his familiar home. And microchips offer peace of mind when thinking about the worst case scenario. Solid tips!

  5. All great tips! Tons of people have had wonderful pet safety posts this month!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Siberian Husky LOVES #BowzerBoxMy Profile

  6. We haven’t traveled with Bentley yet, but these are all great tips for our first time.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Superman or SuperdogMy Profile

  7. Great tips! I especially liked the part about dogs liking routine and trying to keep to their routine as much as possible. I think this definitely helps dogs feel less anxious about traveling.
    Rachele Baker, DVM recently posted…“Pets Make Us Smile” Blog Hop with Linky List July 21-23, 2014My Profile

  8. Great tips. I’d be way too apprehensive to let my dog off leash while on vacation; she’s a bit too prey driven and reactive. Trying to keep up a similar routine really does help. I always bring her bed and a few toys as well to make sure she has something familiar to rest with.
    Jen Jelly recently posted…Comment on You Can Help Animal Shelters Without Leaving Home by Jen JellyMy Profile

  9. Excellent tips. Thanks so much for sharing them on the hop.

    We usually don’t leave our dogs alone in hotel rooms unless we can crate them. I don’t trust them not to get into trouble…lol. One tip I learned from dog pals is to let the hotel front desk know that you don’t need maid service and that you will get fresh towels from the desk. That way you don’t have to worry so much about strangers showing up at the door, especially if you are out grabbing a bite or something.

    Oh I should do a post on staying at hotels with dogs. Between shows and hunt tests, we have a lot of them. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes–Sunday Walk In The ParkMy Profile

  10. Great post. Mauja and Atka are never off leash because a pyr recall is pretty terrible 😉 I try to embrace their instincts! I still can’t decide if they would rather go with us or stay home. I prefer them with us, but I don’t want to cause them any unnecessary stress.

    • The stress is why we’ve left Jack & Maggie home when we’ve gone away overnight or whatever, but we really wanted to take them to Big Bear and knew they would enjoy the hiking and the water. It took them 12 hours to settle in, but then they were fine.
      mkob recently posted…Fitness Tips I Learned from my Dogs: Importance of RestMy Profile

  11. Thank you for joining the blog hop. We traveled last year with the dogs and Delilah was so out of sorts that we never left her alone.

    I’d also add your medical records. I have the dog’s medical records in three ring binders and they travel with us. If an emergency ever happened, you have all the information at your finger tips. Things like, have they ever had this medication before? You would remember the important things like which vaccines they are current on, but in a true emergency would you remember they’d taken a certain drug with no reactions before?

    Great post (as always!)
    Jodi recently posted…Follow-Up Friday – July 25, 2014My Profile

  12. This is great advice, there are a lot of things I might not have thought of since we haven’t traveled with dogs in so long.
    Jan K recently posted…Summer K9 KampfireMy Profile

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