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Traveling with Pets?

Dear Lynda,

We are talking about travel through Central and South America, and have a dog we adore.  We can’t decide whether to take our dog with us or leave her with loved ones. What would you recommend?


Dear Liv,

Four-legged travelling companions require special considerations before bringing them on any adventure, and especially one by bike to multiple foreign countries. Of course, leaving a beloved pooch for an extended time is equally challenging, no matter how much someone else will love them in your absence. Looking at it first from the viewpoint of your dog should be your top priority.

How well does she travel, how comfortable is she being left with strangers if you decide you want to take a tour, eat somewhere that isn’t pet friendly, or has to spend time with a veterinarian if she gets sick? Conversely, if you opt to leave her at home, what will her care be like? Will she tolerate your absence well or become depressed or anxious? Some dogs adapt easily to change while others are so bonded to their owners the loss causes a high degree of stress.

If you decide on taking her, have you researched what is required to gain entry into each country you are planning to visit, such as border crossings, veterinary approvals, vaccinations, or potential quarantines? Have you read blogs of others who have made similar journeys with their pet, and if so, are you prepared to deal with whatever issues arose for them? What are your plans for visiting anywhere your dog may not be welcome? What provisions will you need to make for emergencies, either to one of you or your pup?

If you opt to leave her at home, will it ease your mind to know she is well tended while you are free to take full advantage of your petlessness to go places you might not be able to with her? Silly as it may sound, will you be able to video chat with her caretakers so you can see her while you’re gone just to know she’s happy in her temporary home?

Taking pets with you puts definite boundaries on what you can and can’t do while traveling, but their love and snuggles often make up for those hassles. It comes down to which option is the best one for your pup, and you, to live with.



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