Going on vacation is always lots of fun, being able to bring your furry best friend makes it better and knowing how to make vacation extra special and safe for your older dog makes vacation awesome. Having 2 dogs of very different ages takes some planning, but with planning, the vacation works for everyone!
If you’ve never taken your older dog out of state on vacation before, here are some tips on what to do.
1. Visit your vet! Make sure that the old girl/guy is healthy. It’s easy to miss something in your older dog because change can be very slow and subtle. Make sure you are up to date on any changes in your old friend. Ask about any health concerns in the states you are going to visit as that may change plans on where you go. In our case, there were no outbreaks of Kennel Cough or Parvo Virus in the states we were going to visit so we felt safe taking them to dog parks.
The "kids" at a dog park, in the shade. Chasing balls and getting some love under the trees.
2. Make sure if your older friend is on medication that you have enough to cover you while you are away and even a little extra so that you can up the medication if need be (with your vet’s OK)
3. Bring what your pet is used to. In our case we brought Becke’s orthopedic bed from home as well as her food, treats, harness, leash, and a fan that blows on her face while she is sleeping. All the things she has at home. We have dog bowls in the car that both dogs have used so we used those rather than bring the bowls from home.
Becke's bed and her fan is in the upper right of the picture.
4. For Becke, who is 14 ¾ years old, her eyesight and hearing is going. So keeping her safe is important. She stays on a leash and connected to one of us while we walk and we walk slowly so that she can stop and smell the flowers (the nose still works). We limit how far she can walk and then we stop. After letting her rest, we can then continue. We carry water with us for her to either drink or splash over her if she is getting too hot. She also has some arthritis so she has medication that we give her in her breakfast and can increase it if needed. At night she got a great hip massage from Hubby which made her feel better and kept her going the next day.
Don’t forget to plan for the younger, more active dog as well!!
5. For August (who is 3 years old) we had his food, leash, long line, coats, clothes, bed toys, stroller with blanket to lay on, and blanket to put on top of the hotel bed for him to sleep on. August sleeps with us but it’s just plain polite to bring a blanket to put on top of the hotel bed to keep shedding and smells down to a minimum.
August all sprawled out on the blanket in the hotel room
6. While Becke is sitting under a tree with daddy resting, I would walk August at a faster clip around the block or park that we were visiting. When we all walked together he would be on a long line where he could move out and explore away from us but could still keep moving while Becke, Daddy and I sat and rested.
7. Letting August play outside with some of his toys at the hotel early in the morning on the long line while Becke lay in the grass and watched allowed August some time to burn off energy while Becke conserved energy for the day ahead. I drank coffee which made me livable.
8. Bring medical info in case you need to go to a vet. It will come in handy for the Vet if you will info on your dog’s medical conditions and vaccination’s. If you have a smart phone, it should all be in there with a current photo of your dog.
Yes, it takes planning to take two dogs of such different ages and needs to have a great vacation, but it’s no different than planning a vacation with kids of different needs I suspect. After all, the idea is for everyone on vacation to have fun.
Have you ever taken your dog with you on vacation? Do tell