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How to Plan the Perfect Winter Holiday with Your Dog

You may not be the only one looking forward to a magical winter holiday this season. If you’re headed somewhere new with your dog in tow, they may be happy about the cool weather, the change in scenery, or the opportunity to spend uninterrupted time with you. 

But just like any other vacation, you’ll need to prepare for your winter excursion with your dog in order for the experience to be an enjoyable one. There are also special considerations that you need to make for the weather, such as your dog’s risk of getting sick or injured from the cold. 

From how to fly your dog, cargo or baggage, you need to plan it and consider your best options.

With that in mind, what can you do to ensure a picture-perfect winter holiday with your beloved pooch? Here are five tips for your first winter adventure together:

Make Sure Your Dog Is Healthy Enough to Travel

Before all else, ensure that your dog is healthy and that they’re in good enough physical condition to withstand winter travel. Get them checked up at the vet’s office and secure their latest health and rabies vaccination records.

You should also get a health certificate for your pet, and even microchip your dog.

Make sure to keep physical copies of these documents in your travel bag and your car’s glove compartment. You’ll also want to save digital copies of these documents on your phone. That way, you’ll always have a physical or digital copy on hand in case any establishment asks you to present these documents before you check your dog in.

Related Read: Tips for Traveling Internationally With Pets

Make a Travel Checklist for Your Dog

Keeping a travel checklist is always a good practice when you’re packing for a trip. After you pack your own luggage, you may want to write a separate travel checklist for your dog. Your list can include the following items: 

  • Winter gear like a reflective leash and a safety light that you can attach to your dog’s collar
  • Fabric layers like dog bandanas, head muffs, and dog sweaters to keep your dog warm
  • An ample supply of dog food and dog treats
  • A winter-proof travel bowl for your dog’s food and drinking water
  • A thermal heating pad for your dog’s bed
  • Dog booties to protect your dog’s paws
  • Dog toys to keep your dog entertained while in transit
  • At least one extra dog blanket or dog towel for multi-purpose use

Making a list will also help you ascertain when to shop for food, medical supplies, and dog accessories for your fur babies. If you’re traveling with more than one dog, make sure that each one has their own complete travel set. 

Look Up Dog-Friendly Locations in Your Holiday Destination

Nowadays, there are a lot of establishments that cater to pets and pet owners. To be sure about which restaurants, cafés, parks, and hotels in your destination are dog-friendly, do your research and look them up way ahead of your trip.

It’s good practice to call any establishments that you’re planning to visit with your dog and confirm whether they allow pets on their premises. In addition, find out about any special rules that you should follow while you’re there, such as keeping your dog leashed at all times.  

Prepare a Doggie First Aid Kit for Addressing Common Winter Maladies

Doggie first aid kits are a must for any excursion, especially one in the winter. Your dog may be extra vulnerable to bouts of sickness, and they may also risk getting hurt from walking on cold, wet, and rough terrain. 

On top of any daily medications that your dog might already be taking, you should include the following items in their first aid kit: 

  • Gauze, non-stick bandages, adhesive tape, scissors, and tweezers for dressing wounds
  • Cotton balls for the application of medicine or for cleaning up cuts
  • An antiseptic solution like hydrogen peroxide
  • Antibiotic spray or ointment for cuts, rashes, sores, or dry skin from cold weather
  • A digital thermometer for taking your dog’s temperature
  • Milk of magnesia to counteract poisons

In cases of dire emergency, like if your dog begins suffering from hypothermia or gets poisoned from ingesting a toxic substance like antifreeze residue, save the contact details and location of the nearest veterinary clinic. Don’t hesitate to get treatment, as the quickness of your response could save your dog’s life.  

Warm Your Dog Up for the Trip

Training and conditioning your dog before you leave home will help the two of you stay faithful to your home routine, as well as help them acclimatize to their surroundings. Take some extra time to practice your training regimen so that neither of you will be rusty with your dog commands once you change environments. 

Generally, it’s advisable to keep your dog leashed as often as possible. During the moments that you let them walk around freely, keep your eye on them and repeat your commands until they follow you or return to you. Straying too far puts them in danger of losing sight of you or losing your scent. 

If it’s your dog’s first long road trip, you should also get them used to staying in their carrier and being in a moving vehicle. That way, they won’t be as uneasy or as frightened about traveling with you once it’s time to leave.

Again, being sufficiently prepared for your trip will guarantee a good time for both you and your dog. Follow these tips to plan the perfect winter vacation—and unlock new core memories that you and your fur baby can always return to.

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