This is Rooney.
He is one unique dog. Right after we adopted him about three years ago, he became very ill. For a while, I wasn’t sure if the poor guy would make it. Luckily, he made a full recovery. But then our neighbors in San Antonio decided to set off fireworks until 1 a.m., making Rooney terrified to venture outside, even if we offered him treats, went out with him…you name it, we tried it. The poor dog just did not want to go outdoors.
Fast-forward two years to last fall. We were trying to plan our move to Las Vegas. We had all kinds of things to worry about, but one of our concerns was how Rooney would deal with the move. Because of his rough start with us, he has never been an adventurous dog. Everything and everyone makes him nervous, with the exception of our immediate family. How would he handle adjusting to a new home? And how on earth would we get him from Point A to Point B?
Here are some tips that we learned along the way when travelling with our dog from San Antonio to Las Vegas. Things went surprisingly well (and I’m pleased to say that Rooney has adjusted just fine to his new home).
1. Research hotels: Under normal circumstances, if you were driving from San Antonio to Vegas, you could drive until you’d had enough and then worry about finding a place to stay. However, travelling with a dog requires extra planning. It seems like every hotel has a different policy regarding pets: some don’t allow pets at all, some allow dogs under 50 lbs., others require a deposit, and a few allow dogs of any size without a pet deposit or extra fees. Research and book hotels ahead of time so that you won’t be stuck without a place to stay.
2. Buy a portable travel kennel: I know some people don’t believe dogs should be crated at night. However, we were glad we’d gotten a fold-up, lightweight travel kennel for Rooney to use when we stayed in hotels along our route. Since he is a nervous dog, I think it gave him a sense of security to have his own little spot to sleep at night. It also ensured that he wouldn’t destroy the hotel room. You never know what dogs will do when they get nervous or are in unfamiliar surroundings.
3. Have a plan for the car ride: When going on a road trip with your pet, it’s important to make sure the dog can’t bound around the entire car. Not only is this unsafe for the dog, it can also distract the driver. There are all kinds of fancy contraptions you can buy at pet stores to keep your dog in the backseat: there are seat belts, harnesses, and even mesh nets that block off the back seat from the front of the car without obstructing the driver’s view. For us, we were able to put Rooney in the back of our SUV and raise the headrests in the back seat. He wasn’t able to jump over the seat, yet he had lots of room for the long drive.
4. Consider extra costs: Travelling with your pet will add some additional costs to your trip. Fees and pet deposits at hotels, boarding fees if you are in a situation where you can’t find a pet-friendly hotel, extra immunizations that might be required before your trip…all of these expenses add up. Plan accordingly!
5. Allow extra time to get to your destination: Travelling with a pet is a bit like travelling with a small child. You’ll have to make frequent stops that you might have skipped otherwise. Don’t rush things in an attempt to have an extra day or two at your destination (or to get to your new hometown faster, if you’re moving). The journey is part of the fun, so enjoy it!
Have you travelled or relocated to a new state with your pet? Have any tips you’d like to add?