Dogs are not only part of our family. They’re also guides that can connect us to nature, vulnerability and unconditional love. In 2000, David Blank took off on a 1-year, 20,000 mile motorcycle odyssey with his newly adopted 18 month old Australian Cattle Dog, Max. They didn’t have any Dog Travel Tips so David and Max just made it up as they went along. Soon they were totally in tune with each other, exploring new places, meeting new people and enjoying an adventure that transformed their lives forever. The result was Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours, founded by David & his wife Claudia to give other dog lovers the opportunity to have the same amazing, transformational experiences with their dogs. The following Top 5 Dog Travel Tips are some of David’s non-negotiable secrets to successfully traveling with your best friend.
Dog Travel Tip #1. Hydration:
Always make sure your dog has access to water! As long as your dog is hydrated, 90% of your problems are avoided. Dogs dehydrate much more quickly than humans, especially if they are stressed. They don’t sweat like we do, so they cool off via evaporative cooling by panting, which means a lot of water loss from the lungs and mouth. It also means that if they are dehydrated, they will not be able to cool down. Two great spill proof travel bowls are the Road Refresher and the Buddy Bowl.
Dog Travel Tip #2. Consistency:
Dogs do best when they feel safe, and consistency is big for dogs especially when traveling and (almost) everything is new. When on the road, some of the simplest and most powerful ways to ensure consistency are regular meal & walk times, their usual food, your dog’s bed (or crate if they are crate trained) in the car/hotel/friend’s home, regular exercise, consistent rules, and of course most of all, YOU!
Dog Travel Tip #3. Communication:
Dogs are not human, no matter how much we like to think of them as little people in fur-suits. They communicate differently. Being able to understand them – both your dog and the dogs you will interact with on your travels – will make life much easier. For example, when your dog licks its lips or blinks a lot, it’s usually her way of communicating that she’s not a threat and all is ok. Calming Signals is a book and video by Turid Rugaas and is life changing. You’ll finally speak dog.
Dog Travel Tip #4. First Aid:
Our dogs have stepped on cactus, cut their feet, been kicked by horses, and had other emergencies out on the road. Nothing was ever life threatening, but being able to evaluate a situation and treat minor injuries is really important to your mental health and theirs. A simple first aid kit and having some basic canine first aid knowledge is easy and worth the effort. Most importantly, make sure you don’t give them human medications unless a vet has confirmed that it is safe, and then only in appropriate doses.
Dog Travel Tip #5. Tracking:
First, make sure that your dog has a good collar that won’t fall off and that it has proper tags with your cell phone number. Second, microchip your dog so that if they do get lost and lose their collar, they can be identified. Third, there are a variety of GPS tracking chips available for reasonable prices. If you are wilderness bound, there are even satellite tracking collars and receivers available.
Happy Tails Tours is about helping all of you to fulfill the childhood dream of having a canine sidekick and the consequent life transforming experiences by creating a world where your dog can be with you all the time, sharing amazing adventures.
You can download David and Claudia’s EBook “Everything You Need To Know To Travel With Your Dog – Road Trip Edition” for free and check out their website.