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Traveling with a Bernese Mountain Dog: Tips for Success

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on December 18, 2023

Traveling with a Bernese Mountain Dog can be a delightful and rewarding experience, given their gentle nature and affectionate demeanor. Known for their striking looks and friendly temperament, Bernese Mountain Dogs are excellent travel companions when their specific needs are addressed. These large, sturdy dogs, originally bred for farm work in the Swiss mountains, require special considerations due to their size, coat, and general health predispositions. This comprehensive guide is designed to help you navigate the nuances of traveling with your Bernese Mountain Dog, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable journey for you both.

Understanding Your Bernese Mountain Dog’s Travel Needs

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their calm and friendly nature, but they can be sensitive to changes in their environment. When planning a trip, consider their temperament and health. Due to their thick coat, they are more suited to cooler climates and may require additional considerations in warmer weather. Also, their large size means they need ample space to be comfortable during travel.

Preparing Your Bernese Mountain Dog for the Journey

Preparation is key to a successful trip. Start by ensuring your Bernese Mountain Dog is comfortable with traveling. If you’re going by car, acclimate them to vehicle travel with short trips, gradually increasing the duration. For air travel, familiarize them with their crate. Ensure all vaccinations are up to date and consider a vet check-up before embarking on a longer journey.

Selecting the Right Travel Crate or Harness

For safe travel, especially in a car, a well-fitting harness or a spacious crate is essential. The crate should be large enough for your Bernese to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. If opting for a harness, ensure it’s specifically designed for larger breeds and provides adequate support and comfort.

Managing Your Bernese Mountain Dog’s Comfort in Different Climates

Bernese Mountain Dogs are built for cold weather. If traveling to a warmer destination, take steps to prevent overheating, such as providing constant access to water and avoiding intense midday heat. In cold climates, they generally fare well but always provide a warm, dry place to rest.

Feeding and Hydration on the Road

Maintain a regular feeding schedule and bring enough of their usual food to avoid gastrointestinal issues. Pack collapsible bowls for easy feeding and hydration during stops. Remember, larger breeds like Bernese Mountain Dogs require more food and water, especially when they’re more active.

Exercising Your Bernese Mountain Dog While Traveling

Despite their size, Bernese Mountain Dogs require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Plan for frequent stops on road trips for short walks and bathroom breaks. If you’re staying in a hotel or camping, look for nearby parks or trails where they can stretch their legs and explore.

Health Considerations and Emergency Preparedness

Carry a first-aid kit tailored for large dogs. Include basic supplies and any specific medications your Bernese may require. Be aware of the signs of common health issues in Bernese Mountain Dogs, such as joint problems or heat stress, and know the location of emergency veterinary services in your travel area.

Navigating Public Spaces and Accommodations with Your Bernese

Research pet-friendly accommodations and understand their policies on large breeds. When in public spaces, keep your Bernese on a leash and be mindful of their interaction with strangers and other animals, given their size and strength.

Stress Management and Comfort Strategies

Travel can be stressful for pets. To keep your Bernese Mountain Dog calm, bring along familiar items like their bed or a favorite toy. Stick to their routine as much as possible and provide plenty of reassurances and affection to help them adjust to new environments.

Returning Home: Post-Travel Care for Your Bernese Mountain Dog

Once you return from your travels, monitor your Bernese Mountain Dog for any signs of stress or health issues. Gradually return to their normal routine and give them plenty of rest. A post-travel check-up with your vet can be beneficial, especially after extended trips.

Traveling with a Bernese Mountain Dog requires thoughtful preparation, but the rewards of having your loyal companion by your side are immeasurable. By understanding and catering to their unique needs, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for both of you. Remember, each Bernese Mountain Dog is an individual with its own preferences and requirements, so tailor your travel plans to suit their specific needs.


Must-Have Items to Bring When Traveling with Your Bernese Mountain Dog

Traveling with a Bernese Mountain Dog, a breed known for its friendly nature and large size, requires careful planning and the right equipment. This guide will help you pack the essential items needed to ensure a comfortable and safe journey for your furry companion.

Spacious and Durable Travel Crate

Given their large size, Bernese Mountain Dogs need a spacious and sturdy travel crate. It should be big enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Ensure the crate is well-ventilated and secure, as these gentle giants need both space and safety during travel.

Comfortable Harness and Heavy-Duty Leash

A well-fitting, comfortable harness is crucial for controlling your large Bernese Mountain Dog during travel. Pair it with a heavy-duty leash that can withstand their strength and size, ensuring secure and manageable walks during your stops.

Portable Water and Food Containers

Hydration is key, especially for large breeds like Bernese Mountain Dogs. Bring portable, collapsible water and food bowls to ensure your dog stays hydrated and fed on the go. Pack enough of their regular food to maintain their normal diet and avoid gastrointestinal issues.

Climate-Appropriate Clothing and Gear

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick coat suited for cold weather. If traveling to a warmer climate, consider protective gear like cooling vests to prevent overheating. In colder environments, although they are well-equipped, a waterproof coat can provide extra comfort during rainy or snowy conditions.

Dog-Friendly First-Aid Kit

Prepare a first-aid kit tailored for large breeds. Include essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and any special medications your Bernese Mountain Dog might need. Due to their size, they are prone to joint issues, so consider including joint supplements or pain relief medications as advised by your vet.

Comfort Items for Stress Reduction

Travel can be stressful for dogs, so bring along familiar items to provide comfort. This could include their favorite blanket, bed, or toys. Such items can help soothe your Bernese Mountain Dog in unfamiliar environments and reduce travel-related anxiety.

Grooming Supplies for Coat Maintenance

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick, long coat that requires regular grooming. Pack grooming supplies like a brush or comb, especially for longer trips, to keep their coat tangle-free and clean. This is important for both their comfort and health, as their coat can collect dirt and debris.

Updated Identification and Health Records

Ensure your Bernese Mountain Dog wears a collar with an up-to-date ID tag. Also, carry their health records, especially if crossing state lines or traveling internationally. This documentation should include vaccination records and any other pertinent health information.

Emergency Contact Information

Have a list of emergency contacts, including your veterinarian and emergency pet care centers at your destination. For international travel, familiarize yourself with local animal care facilities and any specific health risks in the area.

By packing these must-have items, you can ensure that your travels with your Bernese Mountain Dog are as safe and enjoyable as possible. These items cater to the specific needs of the Bernese Mountain Dog breed, such as their size, coat maintenance, and potential health concerns, helping you to be well-prepared for various travel situations.


Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling with a Bernese Mountain Dog

1. How do Bernese Mountain Dogs handle long car trips?

Bernese Mountain Dogs can handle long car trips well with the right preparation. They need a spacious area in the vehicle to lie down and stretch. It’s important to take regular breaks every 2-3 hours for exercise and bathroom needs. Keeping them entertained with toys or chew items can also help make the journey more comfortable.

2. Can Bernese Mountain Dogs travel safely on airplanes?

Yes, Bernese Mountain Dogs can travel on airplanes, but due to their size, they will likely need to be in the cargo area. It’s crucial to choose an airline with pet-friendly policies and a reputation for handling large breeds safely. Acclimate your dog to the crate well before the journey and include familiar-smelling items to ease their anxiety.

3. What type of travel crate is best for a Bernese Mountain Dog?

The best travel crate for a Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, sturdy, and well-ventilated one. It should be big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Look for crates that are airline approved if you plan to fly.

4. How can I keep my Bernese Mountain Dog cool during summer travels?

To keep your Bernese Mountain Dog cool in the summer, ensure they have constant access to fresh water and avoid traveling during the hottest part of the day. Consider using cooling mats or vests, and never leave them in a parked car. Regular breaks in shaded areas are also important.

5. What should I pack for my Bernese Mountain Dog for a road trip?

For a road trip with a Bernese Mountain Dog, pack their food, water, collapsible bowls, a leash, waste bags, grooming supplies, a first-aid kit, and a comfortable travel bed or blanket. Don’t forget their favorite toys and any medications they need.

6. How often should I stop for breaks when traveling with my Bernese Mountain Dog?

You should stop every 2-3 hours for breaks when traveling with a Bernese Mountain Dog. These breaks allow them to use the bathroom, drink water, and stretch their legs, which is essential for such a large breed.

7. Are Bernese Mountain Dogs prone to anxiety during travel?

Like any dog, Bernese Mountain Dogs can experience anxiety during travel. They are generally calm but can become stressed in unfamiliar environments. Keep their routine as consistent as possible, and bring familiar items like toys or blankets to comfort them.

8. What are the signs of travel-related stress in Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Signs of travel-related stress in Bernese Mountain Dogs include excessive panting, drooling, whining, restlessness, and in some cases, refusal to eat. Keeping a close eye on their behavior and providing reassurance and comfort can help alleviate stress.

9. How can I prepare my Bernese Mountain Dog for a first-time flight?

To prepare your Bernese Mountain Dog for their first flight, introduce them to their travel crate well in advance. Make the crate a comfortable and positive space by including their favorite blanket or toy. Gradually increase the time they spend in the crate to build their comfort level.

10. What health precautions should I consider when traveling with my Bernese Mountain Dog?

Before traveling with your Bernese Mountain Dog, ensure they are up to date on vaccinations and preventative medications. Carry a copy of their medical records and a first-aid kit. Be aware of any breed-specific health issues, such as joint problems, and prepare accordingly.

11. Can I leave my Bernese Mountain Dog in a hotel room alone?

Leaving a Bernese Mountain Dog alone in a hotel room is not recommended. They may become anxious or cause damage. If you must leave them, ensure they are crated and comfortable, and inform the hotel staff that you have a pet in the room.

12. What should I do if my Bernese Mountain Dog gets sick during our travels?

If your Bernese Mountain Dog gets sick during your travels, seek veterinary care immediately. Carry a list of emergency vet clinics in the area you are visiting. Keep your vet’s contact information handy in case you need to consult them.

13. How do I handle my Bernese Mountain Dog’s food and water needs during a long drive?

During a long drive, keep your Bernese Mountain Dog’s food and water schedule as normal as possible. Use collapsible bowls for easy access to food and water during breaks. Avoid feeding them right before or during the drive to prevent motion sickness.

14. What are some activities I can do with my Bernese Mountain Dog while traveling?

While traveling with your Bernese Mountain Dog, consider activities like hiking, walking in dog-friendly parks, or visiting outdoor attractions. Ensure the activities are suitable for their size and physical capabilities, and always provide plenty of water and rest breaks.

15. How can I make sure my Bernese Mountain Dog is comfortable in a new environment?

To make your Bernese Mountain Dog comfortable in a new environment, bring items from home that are familiar to them, like their bed or toys. Maintain their regular routine as much as possible and give them time to explore and get accustomed to the new surroundings at their own pace.

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