With Sandbridge Beach being so pet-friendly, however, these vacation rentals are a natural place to bring the entire family.
Whether this is your first excursion with dog in tow or your one hundredth, there are a few things you'll want to consider before heading out.
#1 - Walk Your Dog - Before, During and AfterDogs are walkers by nature. That's just what they do. It gives them a sense of their surroundings, makes them more secure and gets rid of energy. Before you put your dog in the car to leave for Sandbridge Beach, take him/her for a long walk. In addition to providing an opportunity for him/her to do their "business," walking will relax them and make them more comfortable for the drive.
If you have a long trip, stop periodically to let your dog stretch his/her legs. Using that pent-up energy will help keep him calm and feeling settled during the remainder of the trip. Upon arrival, as soon as possible, take your dog for a long walk. (See more in tip #3.)
#2 - Crating Your DogPractically no one likes putting his or her dog in a crate. Truth be known, dogs don't mind it, provided the crate is of proper size, is clean and is comfortable. Over time, a dog's crate becomes his or her "room." Just like a human child can take refuge in playing and sleeping in their own room, dogs will take ownership of their crates, voluntarily going into them when they need some peace and quiet or are ready for bed.
When traveling, it is especially important to crate dogs for their safety and yours. When a dog is bouncing all over a car, there is the possibility he/she can distract you, bump the steering wheel and cause an accident or get carsick and make a mess. Put something familiar in the crate with your dog (a blanket, a toy) and most dogs will be quite happy to ride along.
#3 - Use Proper Arrival ProceduresTo help your dog get acclimated to the new surroundings, you should immediately take him/her for a walk around the Sandbridge area upon arrival. When you return to your beach rental, you go in first. According to Cesar Millan (aka, the Dog Whisperer), your dog will be more comfortable and at ease if s/he smells your scent everywhere. Leave your pet in his/her crate until you've unpacked.
#4 - Be a Pack LeaderBecause your dog will be out of his/her element, he'll be looking to you for leadership more than ever. Sending the right cues that everything is all right is crucial. If your dog growls (without lunging) at others while walking initially, don't react... keep walking. If he/she barks at night, don't encourage the behavior by petting him/her. Instead, be firm, but gentle, and, if necessary, take your dog for a walk to calm him down.
#5 - Travel on an Empty StomachDogs are prone to carsickness, which can mess up everyone's trip. The American Kennel Association (AKA) suggests, "Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure he has plenty of water at all times."
#6 - Document Up-to-Date ShotsPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recommends, "Get a vet checkup. Have your vet issue a health certificate stating that your animal is healthy and able to travel and that all necessary vaccinations (recommendations and requirements change frequently) are up to date."
#7 - Set a RoutineJust like at home, your dog has grown to understand what will happen and when. That's part of what makes him/her feel safe. Set a routine for your pet while at your Sandbridge Beach rental, too.
#8 - Keep Things FamiliarWhile humans are excited about seeing and doing new things, your dog can get overstimulated quickly, which may cause aggravating behavior to occur. Bring as much of your dog's belongings from home as possible, including food/water bowls, blankets, toy(s) and leash.
#9 - Get Water ReadyIf you plan to take your dog to the beach, have water toys, a life vest, a small tent or an umbrella for shade, bottled water and his/her water bowl.
#10 - Don't Abandon Your DogDon't leave your dog alone in a strange place for hours on end, day after day. He may get scared and/or bored and could turn to destructive behavior.
It's your K-9 kid's vacation, too. Following these tips will help ensure s/he has just as much fun as the rest of the family.