If you are thinking about piling everyone into the car for a close-by adventure to the beach, lake, or mountains --- why not consider taking your Golden along with you?
You’ll have more fun. And they’ll certainly have more fun! As you probably know already, that’s what makes your Golden the happiest of all --- simply being together with the entire family.
Like with any vacation, there are many important things to consider before, during, and after arriving at your final destination. If you decide to bring your Golden along for the ride, here are some tips on what to plan out, consider, and take along with you on your upcoming family adventure.
*BEFORE THE TRIP * If you don’t own a single-family vacation home or condo and you plan on renting somewhere, always check ahead for “Pet Friendly” accommodations wherever you’d like to visit. Research helpful websites (i.e., DogFriendly.com, BringFido.com, VRBO.com) for possible destinations or call ahead directly to the chosen location for information regarding current policies on dog breed and weight restrictions.
Once you decide on a destination, inquire about any additional charges that might apply for pet and/or cleaning fees at the property where you plan to stay. That way, you won’t receive any “surprises” on your final property invoice or on-file credit card after your trip has ended.
Check with your Vet to see if your Golden is completely up-to-date with all of his/her shots prior to your trip. Have an updated copy on-hand of your Vet’s records showing all completed annual vaccinations. Keep your Vet’s direct contact number in your cell phone along with a few pictures of your Golden while you are away from home just in case of an emergency.
Important items to pack should include food and bottled water (enough for the duration of the entire trip), food and water bowls, all medications, blankets/dog beds/towels, collars and leashes, plastic bags, treats, and of course --- favorite doggie toys.
Ensure all collars have IDs on them with your dog’s name and your correct cell phone numbers. IDs with an out-of-service number or your home phone number are not going to be an immediate help or comfort to you on the road if your Golden does happen to wander away or temporarily get lost.
*DURING THE TRIP * Walk your Golden for about 15-20 minutes before you settle him/her into the car. That will enable the dog to not only do their business but also to calm down as much as possible prior to securing them into their traveling position.
Ensure that your Golden is safe in your car by securing the area he/she will be traveling in. This can be done by utilizing a dog crate, a car seat hammock, or a doggie seatbelt --- whichever one is appropriate for the size and general demeanor of your particular Golden.
Try to have someone in the car be able to comfortably reach your Golden at all times during the ride to help with any problems that might arise with agitation and/or freight issues. That will make them feel better just to know a family member is there to quickly help them if necessary.
Always ensure that the car temperature is warm enough for your Golden during the winter months and cool enough for them during the hot summer months. Also --- when traveling at high speeds on interstate roads and highways --- it’s imperative that you have all the windows closed. This will keep your Golden as safe as possible from any road debris that flies up and hits close to your car.
Plan your driving route carefully on your vacation taking into account that your Golden will need a bathroom and/or water break about every 4 hours or so. Try to map out any available safe, grassy areas along the way so your dog can get out of the car, stretch his/her legs for a bit, and drink some water.
*ARRIVING AT YOUR FINAL DESTINATION * Once you arrive at your vacation property, it’s important that you let your Golden get the lay of the land before you head out on your own "human" adventures. You want to ensure they are as comfortable as possible within the brand new environment they now find themselves.
Walk your Golden immediately --- either within a fenced-in backyard or proper pet relief area --- so they know where to go during their times outside. That will also help you to see where the designated dog sections are on-site as well.
Give plenty of time for the extra sniffing and exploring to die down before you leave your Golden in the rental property. Get him/her settled in with favorite doggie beds, toys, and food/water bowels in the part of the house or condo that will be theirs for the duration of your stay.
Take a look around the inside of the property to ensure it’s completely "dog safe" from previous owners or renters. Secure any rooms of the house or condo that you don’t want your Golden to wander into for any reason. Make sure there are no random food items or toiletries or cleaning supplies that are where your dog can get to them.
Consider leaving a television or a radio on during the day when you are out at different times to help keep your Golden company prior to your return. That will also help with drowning out any strange noises or voices that might be right outside the door, wall, or hallway area.
Every year, more and more vacation getaway properties are catering to families who want to bring along their dogs. It is our hope that wonderful trend continues and additional destinations add to their already-existing “Pet Friendly” accommodations in the future. Besides, your Golden is part of your family, right? Right!
Happy Golden Travels, everyone.
*Submitted by Karen Page *