Lots of us women like to travel with our dogs. We get to explore more trails and early morning beaches than we ever would on our own. Plus we meet some great people that way.
On The Road With Your Dog
Personally, I think dog people are the best. If you're thinking of taking a trip with your pup, especially if it's your first time, here are some some things to bear in mind.
- Be sure to take your dog to the vet for a checkup before going on a trip. Check that his vaccinations are up-to-date. Ask the vet for a copy of the dog's health records to carry with you because accidents and illness can happen anywhere.
- Unless your dog eats food available in stores nationwide, bring as much of his regular food as possible. New foods should be introduced gradually if you want to minimize the possibility of stomach upsets.
If He Gets Lost
Your dog should wear a collar with identification tags with his name, your name and phone (cell is preferable) number, and proof of a current rabies shot, at all times. Carry a recent photo of your dog. Also, have an identification microchip inserted under the skin between his shoulders, and then register the microchip number online (or over the phone) with the microchip manufacturer. (Note: The microchip will not track your pet, nor does it contain any of your personal information.)
In The Car
- Get a good crate that folds and sets up easily. It can keep your dog safe in the car and out of trouble in a hotel or your host's home. The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand, turn around, and lie down. Bring along a favorite toy or towel for cuddling.
- If your dog hasn't travelled by car, get him used to it little by little. Start with just sitting in the car with him. Then try short rides, graduating to longer ones as he seems ready.
- You can lessen the chance of car sickness by having your dog travel on an empty stomach. But have fresh water always available.
- To avoid eye injuries, never let your dog stick his head out of a moving car window.
- Make periodic potty and exercise stops and always clean up after your dog.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a closed car (actually against the law in some states), especially in the summer. Even partially open windows may not be enough to protect your dog from literally dying from the heat--especially during summer months. Remember, dogs cannot sweat properly (they have some sweat glands on the pads of their feet which can't really cool them off) and heat can build up quickly in a car, even in the shade. To limit in-car time for your pet, look for restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor dining facilities, plan picnic meals, and try to limit shopping to evenings and early mornings when the temperature is lower.
Dogs Who Are Better Off at Home
Sick dogs, dogs who experience motion sickness, elderly dogs, pregnant dogs, untrained puppies, dogs who are very sensitive to changes in their routines, fearful dogs--are all probably better off at home with a trusted sitter or boarding facility.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Ashley W. Priddy, BVMS