Someone once said, “The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog”. How many of us can relate to this? Methinks – majority of us!
As a child I never owned a dog, so I couldn’t comprehend what it felt like to have one as a companion. Here I am today, 28 years later, with a 3 year old spoilt four legged boy, who responds to the name Ka-lel. I know what you’re all thinking – where have I heard that name before? Well, it is Superman’s birth name in Krypton. It was love at first sight for us – there he was sitting all quiet and only a month old, while six of his siblings were busy making a mess. That is where it all began, and before we knew it, we were doing everything together – except travelling.
I was always skeptical of taking him for a vacation, for reasons of him facing discomfort of any sort. After reading extensively on this subject, I learnt that people from across the globe were traveling everywhere possible with their beloved dogs. So why should we deprive each other of that ecstasy – I thought! And there we were 72 hours later in a hatchback – summer of 2015 – driving to a small hill station, Mussorie in Uttarakhand. Of course, I had my brother and a dear friend driving with us, as we weren’t ready to do this all by ourselves on our first weekend getaway together. It was three days of pure euphoria for my little guy and I.
Now, I know it seems very tempting but there are a few things to keep in mind to make your trip a fun and successful one with your pooch.
Here are ten tips for you:
1. The leash: Getting a good and strong leash is very important. Especially if it is your first trip with your little one. Get one which is long enough for him to wander around while you can still keep an eye on him.
2. Food: Make sure to carry his comfort food, as they don’t like change. Being in a different place other than home, is already very stressful for them. This way they get to eat what they love while enjoying their holiday with you.
3. Time of feeding: Try to stay as close as possible to the usual time you feed them. As I mentioned previously, they don’t like change – meaning they like routine. Feeding them at the correct time is very important to avoid any kind of crankiness from their end.
4. Treats: While giving them their usual comfort food is important, it is also good to carry their favorite treats. If you are traveling by road, the journey can be quite taxing for your pooch. Give them their beloved treats to calm them down and in turn you get a few extra sloppy kisses from them. It’s a win-win!
5. Toys: Like every child has their most precious toy, so do our little ones have theirs. Carry it with you while traveling with them and it will help them feel at home while sleeping in a different place.
6. Blanket or jacket: Similarly, also carry their personal favorite blanket or jacket. Wrap them in that while they sleep and see how peaceful they are knowing their mommy packed all the things they love.
7. Water and food bowls: Since you are going to carry their food along with you or at least making arrangements for it at the place where you’re going to stay, do carry their water and food bowls as well. This may not be true to all dogs but many of them like their own bowls.
8. Medicines: Some dogs might get sick due to change of weather, location, or stress from the journey initially. Nothing to worry about – it is temporary. Make sure to carry necessary medicines and any other if you think your pooch might need it.
9. Prep him beforehand: For first timers, it is very important to prep your little one beforehand. Especially, if they are not used to sitting in a car or even traveling for short distances, like from your home till a friend’s house. Prepare him one step at a time by taking him for short drives. This will be a great way to help them deal with the anxiety while traveling.
10. Hotels: Where would you stay once you reach your destination? Do not make the mistake of leaving this decision till the last minute of you reaching the location. Look for hotels or resorts which are pet friendly before you head out. Trust me – there are many places which are open to pets while being friendly on the pocket.
This is my checklist before I head out for a vacation with my boy. If you have any other pointers which will be more catering towards your own dog, don’t forget to add them to the checklist. I hope these tips help you in making your travel with your most loyal companion a memorable one. And why stop at just one, make it a yearly tradition! My next vacation with Ka-lel is in June – when are you taking your first?