For most pet owners, our dogs are part of the family and we want them with us no matter where we travel, including to Alaska. But, since Alaska is so vast and wild, it is wise to consider the hazards and plan for ways to ensure the safety and comfort of your pets while traveling in Alaska. Below is a list of tips to consider:
1. If traveling by road, a recent health certificate ( done within the last 30 days) is necessary in order to cross through Canada. This certifies that the pet is up to date on all necessary vaccinations. The border agent may or may not ask for the certificate but have it ready. There are veterinary clinics in all major cities in Alaska and can be located through the internet.
2. Keep your pet leashed at all times. There are many distractions for even a most well-behaved pet, with many things to smell and chase. Snowshoe hares, squirrels and porcupines, to name a few, are plentiful up here and we could quickly lose sight of our pet if it ran after any of these critters. It would be easy for a dog to get lost and their excellent sense of smell is not a guarantee that they would find their way back to us.
3. In addition to getting lost, alot of the wild animals are dangerous. A moose, particularly a female with a calf, can be quite aggressive and will attack if a threat is perceived. Porcupines don’t attack, they don’t have to; an attempt a bite a porcupine will result in a muzzle and/or a mouthful of sharp, painful quills. Quills are difficult to extract and if you are hiking miles from a vet clinic, it could be quite stressful for you and your pet.
4. Make sure you have contact information on your pet’s collar.
5. If you are hiking, carry enough water for you and your dog.
6. Become familiar with the plants of Alaska that could be noxious or poisonous to your pet.
7. Do not leave your pet alone outside of your RV, even if you have their leads secured to your rig. If you plan to take an extended day trip without your dog, such as a bus tour through Denali National Park, find a pet-sitting service. Some RV parks, such as ours, offer dog-walking and pet-sitting services. This ensures your pet’s safety and comfort so that you can put your focus and energy on the activity rather than worrying about your dog.
8. Become familiar with national and state park pet regulations and do this in advance of your trip so that you don’t waste time and money traveling to a destination that may prohibit pets. For instance, in Denali National Park, pets are allowed only on the main road. Hiking on the trails with a dog is not permitted and they are not allowed on the buses.
Don’t let this list give you second thoughts about visiting us. These tips are mostly things that pet owners already know and that you already do. It’s just that Alaska is so much bigger and so much further than most other places we visit and we want both you and your 4-legged family member to have a memorable and fun-filled, but safe trip.