Fresh off the cuffs (I adore this phrase!), of traveling with my darling dog-Soon hee, and in honour of her recently turning six; here are a few things I learned whilst traveling with a dog:
6) Extra Baggage: Just as you are packing for yourself, know that your pet will require a bag as well. Soon hee’s bag was packed with: dual dog bowl, bottled water, food, sweater, coat, her blanket, vaccination papers, dog tag, leash and an extra harness. You’d be surprised how heavy it gets and difficult to juggle carrying bags and a dog-even if she is only 4 lbs
5) Accepting pets does not mean a place is dog friendly: When you travel with your pet, the accommodations are slim pickings. And since I choose to support AirBnb (there is nothing like supporting other business owners/entrepreneurs), the options became even more limited. Out of the 6 places we stayed, half of them, Soon hee became ill after exploring our home stay. She found small bits of food on the floor and since Yorkieshire Terriers tend to have sensitive stomachs-the rest is history. Thankfully she never more than upchucked. If you advertise your place and open it up for dog owners-invest extra time into cleaning it. Its difficult to sit back, relax and enjoy when your dog is spurting speckled, yellow projectile all over.
4. Road trips are meant for humans NOT dogs: Taking your furry friend on the road can be a great idea-IF you’re staying at one or two places at most over several days. When you toss in 6 different accommodations-some of which are a single night, you end up with a stressed dog. Upon arrival to our first stay, Soon-hee did very well. However, two days later and another location, she became spooked. Soon hee frantically paced, cried and spontaneously barked at everything. It was seriously as though she had seen a ghost-or several, after all we were in Old Montreal (she also did not like the smell of the air) Thus my first night in Montreal was spent eating sub par take out food instead of enjoying the french cuisine. That night, we hardly slept-her due to growling or barking at every sound, and me due to trying to keep her calm- which was quite the task because she didn’t want to be held or still for too long-it was a rather LONG night!
3. Prepare to stop every two hours so pup can get a break: I was a bit surprised how well Soon hee did in the car. However, it never failed at the two hour mark she would begin with low cries that became increasingly loud yelps if we did not stop. After day 1, it was learned rather quickly that getting to each destination would take a little longer than initially planned. Stopping every two hours, for 15-20 minutes, meant the time spent in the car was more pleasant for human and fur child alike.
2. Acclimate your pet to new devices/restraints in advance: Knowing this was going to be a long trip, it was important to make sure my dog was just as secure as I was. Therefore a dog booster seat was purchased to keep her from trotting around or flying out of the car. Meanwhile the few car trips that she does take, Soon hee is usually on my lap. Needless to say, she was less than thrilled after learning she wouldn’t be free to roam in the car. When she was finally put into the booster seat, she cried a bit but settled down rather quickly. I’d say by day 3-location 2, she had become accustomed to it. In the future, I would definitely take her out for several car rides whilst in the booster seat BEFORE setting out on a longer trip-Lesson Learned
1. A new Adventure: Traveling is already an adventure one its own, however having your pet makes it a lot more interesting. I enjoyed watching Soon hee at each new locations sniff about. It was great looking in the backseat or sitting next to her and seeing her smile (yes, dogs smile and cry-seriously). But it was equally disheartening each time she became sick or when she was very frantic/afraid in Montreal.
Initially, I’d considered leaving Soon hee with my mum, but I would totally take her traveling with me again, rather it be on a plane or a car trip. However, I would also be selective of the location and make sure the trip was more structured. So if you are traveling with your furry friend, here are a few dog traveling tips:
DO bring a comfort item: blanket/their favourite toy. I really does help for them to have something that is theirs to help transition to the vacation home
DO bring bottled water: giving your dog the local water could upset their stomachs. Either bring water from home and top it off the the local water or just grab a few bottles of water to be safe. Soon hee only drank bottled water during the trip.
DO hold your dog and explore one room, then leave them in that room with the door closed whilst your inspect the rest of the place. This could prevent your dog from getting sick during travel.
DO make sure you inspect your dog for fleas and ticks at each rest stop BEFORE returning them to the car as well as after sightseeing before bringing them indoors.
DO make sure they are secured in the car. If you have to stop quickly, you want to make sure your pet is protected just as you are.
Now here are are a few photos of Soon hee and I from our trip: