When we took our first dog, a more than happy and over enthusiastic Dachshund named Huub. Huub loves attention and is wiggling has tail faster and faster as soon as any kind of human appears. Most friends asked us how we would ever go travel again. Well, our first trip together with Huub was a road trip. This winter, we brought Huub with us on our road trip to the Czech Republic. A 3500-kilometre road trip through The Netherlands, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Our Roadtrip learned and proved us that traveling with your dog is possible and a very fun and new way of traveling. All it took was a little patience and a small planning ahead.
Some useful tips we used and learned during our Roadtrip.
The most important thing to do when traveling with your dog is to plan ahead.
- How dog-friendly is the Country you are visiting? Some countries require special tests before you arrive. There is a website which gives information about the entry requirements per country. (Pet Travel)
- Does your dog have an ID (Passport) and Microchip? In many countries, an up-to-date microchip registration is needed before you can enter.
- Be sure that your dog has all of the needed vaccinations and ask your veterinary if your dog needs specific shots for the country where you are traveling to.
- Plan your route including rest stops and be sure to note details about vet facilities along the route and at your destination.
2.In the Car
Traveling by car with your dog is relatively easy, but before hitting the road be sure to take some precautions. Safety is very important when traveling long distances with your dog. Although it seems fun for your dog, don’t let him enjoy the breeze by hanging his head out of the window. Your dog should be well restrained in the car as in many countries it is illegal to have your dog freelance in the car while driving. The safest way is to keep him on a bench or crate if your dog is not too big. If your dog is too big to fit in a crate a safe option would be a good quality harness which can be fastened to a seatbelt. Also never put your dog on your lap while driving, your dog can be injured if the airbag is deployed and it is very distracting for you as the driver.
Make enough stops during your trip, it is important for your dog that he can run and play around for at least 15 minutes every two to three hours. A good way of making the trip more enjoyable when you do some research about pet-friendly stops. It is way better for your dog if he can run around in a small park instead of a small green lane next to a busy highway. During the stops make sure your dog drinks some water and a small snack to keep his mood up.
4.Suit up your dog!
Snowy conditions not only means you are cold, your dog is probably also not enjoying these low temperatures. To be sure your dog isn't going to freeze his ass off, it is important to take some warming clothing. To keep our trip low-budget, we went to a second-hand shop and bought some baby clothes which fitted Huub perfect.
Did you know that during freezing winter you dehydrate more than during the summer? Whether you are walking in a snow-covered city or hiking up a freezing mountain always bring enough water with you, your dog can’t hydrate from eating the snow. What we did was every time we fed Huub we added some water to his food. This way we made sure he would hydrate enough.
Walking around in winter wonderland will burn tons of calories for yourself but also for your dog. During long walks it is better to feed your dog more times a day. We gave Huub 3 bigger meals and 2 smaller ones to keep him full of energy throughout the day. Bring food to which your dog is used, so he/she is comfortable when eating in unknown places.
Keep on moving as much as possible when you are out hiking. Taking to many breaks too much will decrease your dog's body temperature very fast.
During Winter season especially in Eastern Europe, many people go out for hunting. When going into the woods, be sure that both you and your dog can be recognized.In many countries, hunters/woodsman or the police do shoot at dogs which are on the loose. The reason for this is that wild dogs do a lot of damage to farms and can be dangerous to human (rabies etc.). So when you are walking with your pooch around in the middle of nature, be sure he is recognizable. The best way to be sure is to keep him on his leash of course.
Most dogs normally sleep around 15/20 hours a day, when taking your dog on a multiple day hiking trips he won't nearly get this amount. Be sure your dog gets enough rest and sleep. Don’t play too much after returning home and give him a nice and comfortable place where he can sleep.
Look for pet-friendly accommodations, ask if there are any fees or any restrictions to the kind of breed. Is your dog allowed to stay alone in the room and do they need a proof of vaccination? Can you bring your dog everywhere where you want to go? In most indoor attractions and in some National Parks it isn't allowed to take your dog, always check this on the park's website to be sure. It can happen that you want to visit a place where your dog isn't welcome, in most bigger cities or national parks there are plenty of animal day-care services.
Traveling is an even better experience if you can do it together with your dog, going to places you enjoy will also make your dog happy. Dogs can be a great icebreaker, walking around with Huub provided us with social contacts we otherwise wouldn’t have. And instead of spending 2 weeks in an animal pension waiting for us to come home, Huub saw his first real snow, climbed up icy Mountains and made friends with many foreign dogs.
Do you also travel around with your four-legged best friend? We love to hear your experiences!