How to travel with dogs: Expert travel trips

THE EXPERT

Lara Shannon has been a passionate animal welfare advocate for more than 20 years. Trainer/behaviourist Shannon is also a TV producer and host of dog training shows and runs her own dog training business in Melbourne's Bayside suburbs. See poochesatplay.com

STEP ONE

Be prepared. There's nothing worse than rocking up to a "pet-friendly" caravan park or hotel only to find they aren't as friendly as they proclaim, potentially leaving you and Fido homeless for the night. Plan and call well ahead of time and check rules and restrictions. Booking via a pet-friendly travel site such as holidayingwithdogs.com.au can help.

STEP TWO

Ensure Fido's vaccinations and flea and tick treatments are up to date, and bring a copy of the certificate with you. Make sure their microchip details are up to date and they are wearing an ID tag on their collar with your mobile phone number. As there are a number of microchip registers, ask your vet which one your pet belongs to.

STEP THREE

My dog Darcy tends to have a bigger suitcase than me. Take along a bed and blankets, a lead and collar, food and drink bowls, poo bags, favourite toys and any medications. If you're away for a while, it's important not to change your dog's diet without transitioning them across to a new diet, so research local stockists to top up their food.

STEP FOUR

Pets can get carsick too, so give them only a light meal before the trip, but plenty of water. Stop every couple of hours for exercise and toilet and make sure the car is well ventilated. If your dog is anxious about car travel, it's important to go back to basics and get them used to it by taking slow, short and frequent trips to fun places to create a positive association, gradually increasing the length of the ride and regularly rewarding them with small treats or praise for calm behaviour in the car.

STEP FIVE

If your dog barks or is reactive, start addressing any dog behaviour issues well before your trip with the help of a qualified trainer. If your dog is prone to barking at people, do not yell at them to be quiet as they will think you are joining them in barking, and it will get louder. Instead, issue them an alternative command such as "sit" or "on your mat", then reward that desired behaviour.

Lara Shannon is executive producer and host of Pooches at Play, which airs nationally on TEN. Series 4 premieres Saturday, July 20,  at 2pm.

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