No matter how old our dogs get, they are a part of our family, so it is natural to want to include them on family trips. However, when your dog is in his geriatric years, certain considerations must be taken into account to ensure the comfort and safety of both your dog and your family. If you’re planning to take a trip with a pup in his AARP years, here are some tips to make the journey easier on both of you.
The first thing you should do it talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s health. Make sure your pooch has all the right vaccinations and is fit for travel. Of course, this is something you should do with any pet before traveling. But in traveling with a dog that’s older, it’s necessary to ensure that he can take the stress of travel – whether that is by airplane or car.
If you’re planning on traveling with a dog via airplane and he or she is too large to fly in the cabin with you, take the time to acclimate your dog with the crate she will be flying in. Being crated can be harder on older pets than it is on younger ones, so it is imperative that you invest the time to make sure your dog is comfortable and adapted to the confined environment. Older dogs, like people, get set in their ways and become territorial of their surroundings. They need time to adjust to the crate in order to decrease the amount of separation anxiety they may feel.
Feed your dog a light meal only two to three hours before travel. It takes a dog about three hours to process food. Making sure they have fully (or nearly fully) digested their food will reduce the chance of motion sickness issues. If your pet is flying, he will be restricted to the crate for the entirety of the flight, and if he’s like my dog, he’ll hold it and not eliminate anywhere near where he lies. Lightly feeding or skipping feeding will reduce any discomfort on this front. If you’re driving, you can stop along the way for bathroom breaks and leg stretching walks.
Old dogs, as we’ve mentioned, are set in their ways, so it only makes sense to give your dog something familiar such as a beloved toy or blanket to help ease the stress he feels by being in a strange place.
You know your dog best and likely are aware of the particular challenges there may be traveling with your geriatric buddy. Still, there’s something so awesome about the idea of one last road trip with your old friend. Just make sure you follow these tips and the guidance of your vet to make sure it is smooth sailing.
Remember, booking early is essential when traveling with pets. See what’s available today so you get the best deals. Start your search for pet friendly hotels here. Then sit back and think of all the fun things you can do with your little buddy when you get there!