One of the great things about many large breeds (and combinations thereof) is the degree to which they bond with their families. Whether you have a Newfoundland, Presa Canario, Great Dane or Cane Corso, your dog surely loves you and wants to spend every waking moment by your side.
Yet while this is normally a great quality in a dog, it also represents additional responsibilities. For example, many of the bigger breeds hate being left alone and suffer from severe separation anxiety when kept from their families. This means that you’ll need to make arrangements to take your dog along with you on vacations and other major outings.
Although this sounds daunting, it isn’t an impossible task; and you’ll get better at traveling with your dog over time. However, you’ll want to understand the road ahead of you, what kinds of things you’ll need to make the trip proceed smoothly and how to best take care of your dog during your adventure.
*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table
Goughnuts Maxx 50 Stick
Julius K9 IDC Powerharness
AKC Deluxe Plus Pet First Aid Kit
Find My Pet GPS Tracker
Phydeaux's Durable Nylon Dog Collar
Traveling with your canine will significantly alter your trip. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and you’ll probably love having your dog with you (there’s no doubt she will prefer tagging along).
But you need to understand the major implications of traveling with a dog before setting out on the road.
Traveling frequently demands that you devote all your attention to the task at hand (for potentially lengthy periods of time), so you’ll need to be able to ensure your dog stays safe and out-of-trouble until you can re-shift your focus.
The best way to do this is with a secure crate. However, it pays to select a crate that suits your circumstances: If you plan on taking a road-trip with your incredibly-chill Chihuahua, you may be well served by a soft-sided crate. But those who own big dogs will need a hard-sided crate. Additionally, if air-travel is in your future, you should strongly consider getting a crate suitable for the purpose.
It is also a good idea to consider getting your dog a seat-belt-harness for the car, as almost all of your travels will begin there.
You can learn more about crates for large dogs in our review, but if you’d rather just go ahead and get a good crate, try the Midwest iCrate. It is one of the best models available and we recommend it highly for most dogs. It has rounded corners for safety, some of the most secure latches in the category and it is priced very reasonably for the quality it provides.
As long as you are traveling to a major metropolitan area, you can probably find your dog’s typical food if you give her a mainstream brand. However, if your travels are taking you to a foreign land or one far from civilization, you will need to bring food along with you.
But to take your dog’s food with you, you’ll need a good air-tight container to ensure her kibble doesn’t become stale during the trip. You’ll also want a good travel bowl, unless you plan on improvising one two or three times a day.
The Vittles Vault Pet Food Travel-Tainer Kit is a fantastic choice for bringing your pet’s food on the road, and it even comes with a detachable food and water bowl to make dinner time quick and easy.
Toys mean quite a lot to some dogs. Ropes, balls and bones keep dogs occupied, interested and stimulated, and they provide a great deal of comfort in the process. These types of things are crucial for your dog’s well-being while traveling the country (or world) with them.
If your dog already has a favorite toy, you can just get her a fresh one for the road. But give strong consideration to ultra-strong toys, which will give you a little more peace of mind while traveling. Plus, these types of toys will also stand up to the increase in anxiety-caused chewing that is sure to happen.
There are a number of excellent toys on the market for big breeds, and you can learn more about them in our review of the most indestructible dog toys. But, if you are in a hurry, just go ahead and go with the Goughnuts Maxx 50 Stick or the KONG Extreme Goodie Bone.
It is easy to neglect your dog’s exercise needs when you’ve been cooped up in planes, trains or automobiles for the last several days. However, you still need to prioritize exercise to help tire her out, and to help her cope with the unusual happenings while living on the road.
This means you’ll need to have a leash and harness or collar, and be sure your dog is prepared for inclement weather. We recommend the Julius K9 Powerharness, but you can read about a few other great options in our review of the category.
You’ll want to be able to take care of minor medical situations that may arise, such as lacerations or ticks, as well as emergency situations, which require immediate action. The best way to do this is by purchasing a first-aid kit designed specifically for dogs.
Minimally, you’ll want such kits to contain tweezers; disinfecting pads, gel or spray; a triple-antibiotic; a gas-relieving drug; a pair of scissors; tape; some bandages and a couple of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). However, you should never administer any medication to your dog without first consulting a veterinarian.
The AKC Deluxe Plus First Aid Kit for Pets is a great choice, and it contains these items plus a whole lot more.
The best way to ensure that you can reunite with a separated dog is by using multiple, redundant systems. In an ideal world, you’d attach a GPS-tracking leash to your dog; have your vet insert a microchip ID; and you’d put a good ‘ole fashioned metal tag with her particulars (and your contact information) on it.
If you did all of these things, you’d probably find your dog shortly after she wandered by using the GPS tracking unit. If that failed, you’d be comforted by the thought that she’d be returned to you once she reached a vet’s office, shelter or animal control unit. And if both of those failed, anyone who could read and was inclined to help, could get her back to you.
The Find My Pet GPS Tracking Collar is one of the best options available for keeping track of your pet, and it is designed to work in conjunction with your smart phone. You’ll have to discuss a microchip implant with your vet, but you can get a high-quality flat collar – we recommend the Phydeaux's Durable Nylon Dog Collar – right now.
Traveling with your dog will require you to take a few additional steps and acquire a few travel accessories for your pet, but the rewards will far exceed the costs.
Just think through your pet’s daily rituals and try to envision how they will play out while you are bouncing between hotels or staying with some friends. With practice it will get easier, but if you simply follow the tips listed above, you’ll get off to a very good start.