Traveling with Your Dog
Pets in cars
While riding in the car, use some method of restraint for your dog. Either place the dog in a small travel crate and secure it with the seat belt, or use one of the “doggy” seat belts available. In an accident your dog can become a moving project injuring himself and you. If loose, he can also escape, and in terror, leave the area at a high rate of speed. Unconfined dogs have also been known to jump from open doors or windows in a stopped or slowly moving car, never to be seen again.
Don’t leave pets in cars in hot weather! Heat can kill a dog even if it’s only for a matter of a few minutes. Some people think that leaving a dog in the car is okay because often eating out and/or shopping can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time. The message to those folks is: THINK AGAIN! In less than 5 minutes, a car parked in full sun can reach a sweltering 100+ degrees… enough to overheat and/or KILL a dog. What about parking in the shade? THINK AGAIN! Even cars parked in the shade can reach sweltering temperatures inside. The only difference is the slower rate of escalating temperature. A car parked in the shade can become just as hot as one in the sun and a dog will be just as dead. Also remember that the sun is not a sta object. As it moves, the shade moves. A car parked in the shade one minute may be in full sun 15 minutes later. Furthermore, in the case of blacktop, remember that it’s a heat reflector. Parking in the shade on blacktop can often be the same thing as parking in full sun.
What to do if your dog gets overheated?
Wet the dog down. Find shade or, better yet, an air conditioned area. If possible, locate some ice and apply it directly to the dog. Seek veterinary medical attention immediately after the first period of danger has passed. Dogs that are overheated may go into seizures and die if prompt medical/first aid is not given.
What to do in unfamiliar surroundings?
Staying a few days in a strange town? Find out where the nearest good vet and/or emergency animal clinic is located. Keep those names and addresses handy in your travel kit. Even if you’re only just visiting relatives you need to be prepared for a possible emergency. Accidents have a good reason for being called “accidents” and can occur at any me. Always keep your own vet’s number available when traveling. If there is an emergency, your own vet might need to be consulted and having that number on hand can save me at a moment when every minute may count.
Train your dog to accept short periods of crate confinement quietly. Always feeding your dog in it’s crate will help to preserve this good and potential life saving habit.
Out of state travel
Traveling to a different state? Remember to get a health certificate from your veterinarian stating that your dog is up to date on rabies and other vaccines. If you are stopped and asked for proof of rabies vaccination and you don’t have it, chances are you will wind up being an unhappy camper. Authorities have a LEGAL right to take your pet. A rabies certificate or tag should be enough for in‐state travel.
Dogs in hotel rooms
In dealing with hotel rooms the best advice is to keep your dog crated. This is especially essential if you are not going to be in the room. Besides protecting the room from any possible damage, crating can also prevent a dog from escaping through a temporarily open door. Sometimes a hotel manager or staff member will need to enter your room and a crated dog can’t escape as a result of that visit. Escaping poses other dangers besides the possibility of getting lost. Loose dogs can be hurt in any number of ways and could also inflict harm on someone else. There are plenty of staff members at hotels who are terrified of dogs and if your dog is loose… well the consequences can be serious.
Pick up after your dog. There is no excuse for solid waste left for someone else to clean. No matter where you are, keep plastic lunch baggies and/or bags designed for doggie waste available at all times. Be a good citizen and neighbor. Do your part. If everyone accepted responsibility there wouldn’t be so many hotels and motels sporting the sign :NO PETS ALLOWED! It’s easy to think, “Oh it is just one little poop.” If all dog owners had that attitude…hotel people would have tons of “little poops” to contend with. Let’s keep our right to take our dogs with us by being willing to clean up after our animals! By the way, it also doesn’t hurt to pick up after someone else’s animal if you no an unsightly dog mess defacing the landscape!
Food & Water
Sudden changes of diet and water can cause intestinal upset. Always bring a supply of your regular dog food just in case you are forced to make a gradual change to a different food. Getting you dog used to a common brand of bottled water before you travel will help you to avoid upset from a change of municipal water supply chemistry.
What to do in the event of a lost dog
Lost doggie? In the event that your dog is lost or stolen be prepared. Make sure your dog is wearing a safety buckle collar with his rabies tag and an identification tag on it. Have your vet’s telephone number handy, and immediately notify your vet that the dog is lost, and how to contact you. Before you leave home, consider having your dog tattooed or microchipped to permanently identify it. Tags, a microchip or tattoo numbers can mean the difference between finding your pet and never seeing him again. It’s not something anyone wants to think about but being prepared when traveling GREATLY increases the chances of recovery.
Even though most of these tips are simply a matter of common sense…it never hurts to be reminded. Happy traveling!