Alexandra Vlad

working dog owner // photographer // yogini

Big City Vibes

Have you always wanted to travel with your dogs on vacation, even to big cities? I had much respect for the big cities myself, but with good planning and a positive attitude, the vacation will become a success!

I personally have a love/hate relationship with big cities. Love the vibe, hate the crowdedness. I adore the old part of each city. It tells a story of hundreds of years back, something that gives me a chill down my spine when I am there.

Best tips Traveling With Dogs
Zwinger Dresden by Alexandra Vlad

Best Tips for Traveling With Dogs - Make a Plan and a Backup

  • book a hotel that accepts dogs. Ask specifically about their policy on accepting dogs. some hotels charge around €10 here in Europe per night for a dog.

  • check country rules for dogs, in case you are traveling to other countries,

  • check with your vet months before you plan a vacation in a different country. They can advise on what vaccines your dog might need (some vaccines need some time in advance to work)

  • check where you can find a local vet and save the contact details on your phone in such a way you can also access it without the internet.

  • check where you can find an ER for small animals.

  • check where you can let your dog out to relieve itself.

  • check where you can leave your dog run for free – e.g. dog parks

  • make a general plan what you want to do and find alternatives in case the weather doesn’t go with your plan

  • I personally bought tourist guides on what to do outside the big cities: hiking routes, lakes, restaurants, etc.

Best Tips for Traveling With Dogs - Check List

  • leash – 1x 1m and 1x 2-5m (depends on your dog)

  • collar – 1x wide and 1x chain (in case of swimming) – make sure the collar has an ID on.

  • first aid kit and medication for your dog

  • blanket – best the one your dog sleeps on, or any familiar blanket your dog uses.

  • bowls – 1x food and 1x water – I love the foldable one

  • portable water bottle for dogs

  • food – I personally take dry food for on the road, although I raw feed.

  • treats for extra attention and rewarding

  • water – make sure you have plenty of water

  • grooming supplies

  • favourite toy(s) – maybe one for in the hotel room and restaurant (btw bring the blanket in the restaurant as well if your dog likes that) and one toy for playing outside: chuckit balls, chuckit ball launcher, chuckit tug balls, kong frisbee, etc

Best Tips for Traveling With Dogs By Car

  • take breaks every 2h to allow your dog to move, relieve itself, drink, eat, play.

  • use either a crate or trunk or the back seat. The crate should allow the dog to turn and change positions during the travel time. If you transport your dog in the trunk or back seat, make sure they can not jump in front to startle you while driving. Use special carseat covers to protect your dog and your car.

  • I will still state the obvious: do not let your pet during the hot weather in the car; as well as don’t let you pet during freezing weather in the car.

Best tips traveling with dogs
My JeepRenegate DesertHawk TrailHawk Edition Logo - Pic by Alexandra Vlad

Big Dogs in Big Cities

Be aware that most of the people you will meet in big cities either have no dogs or small to mid sized dogs.

And here I am, showing up with a big breed, on top of that a German Shepherd & Belgian Malinois mix dog. I live in Germany and some people do not like this breed and they fear them. So YES, people will stare, cross the street to avoid us, look at us as if we are some sort of aliens lost on planet Earth, they will be annoyed if we sit at a restaurant and the big, bad dog barks… bc yes they heard him until the outskirts to the big city. And YES, some people will simply like us and smile at us :-).

Now, in the big cities seems to me like humans think that ALL dogs are buddies. I train a lot with my dog, and I like to first communicate with other humans before allowing my dog to go free to another dog. Thor is an intact male and has issues with other intact males. I hold it my responsibility to make the best choices for him and the other dog implicitly. NOT all dogs can “play” with each other.

What I learned to do is to KEEP COOL AND KEEP CALM. There is no perfect human as well as there is no perfect dog. So I make the best out of what I have. Not everybody likes us and we do not need to like everybody, but I do my very best to be kind and respectful to everybody.

Best Tips for Traveling With Dogs - Into The Big City

  • roam around the city but be alert of your environment – this doesn’t mean you need to look around desperately every 2 seconds, but just be aware where you are and what is happening around you bc your dog sure is especially if you own a guarding dog-like from the shepherd family

  • if your dog likes to carry its toy, then give your dog that job! They love it and that keeps their mouth “occupied” instead of sniffing at people

  • have your dog on a 1m leash. This gives the dog a little bit of room to turn and move instead of being glued to your thigh all the time.

  • walk in the shade if you travel during the summer. check the temperature of the pavement. if it is hot for your hands than it is hot for the paws!

  • take potty breaks

  • take playtime breaks. You see a green spot, get on it and play with your dog. I personally do also heel training among people.

  • if you notice people are scared, respect that and put distance. Chances are these people will stare at the dog, and the dog in response might get reactive. Avoid putting your dog into that situation.

  • if you have your partner with you, put your dog in between the two of you. This gives your dog some space.

  • wake up early and hit the roads. Be an early bird! This way you can get some peace and quiet in normally very busy places.

best tips traveling with dogs
Thor in a Side Street Dresden Altstadt by Alexandra Vlad

So...What does Thor do?

Thor has basically two jobs when he is walking with me: carry his own toy and be my photo model. These two things give him a job as well as they make him be more concentrated on me rather than get into other people’s or dog’s business.

best tips traveling with dogs
Residenzschloss Innenhof Dresden by Alexandra Vlad