Traveling With Your Dog
Brought to you by: Purina Dog Food
Most dog owners at some point will travel with their pet, whether it is for a trip across town, a weekend trip or long drive or airline flight to a new home in a distant city. Proper planning in advance of traveling with your dog can help ensure his comfort and minimize the chances of trauma or accident.
If you plan to make your dog a welcome traveling companion, begin by answering these key questions: Is your dog in good health? Will he really enjoy the trip? Will he be welcome at your vacation site?
If you can answer, "yes" to these questions, accustom your dog to riding in your car. Ideally, this begins when the dog is a puppy. Take him for rides in addition to trips to the veterinarian's office. If he associates riding in the car with visits to the veterinarian's office, he may not be a willing passenger.
Begin by taking him for a short ride each day, even if it is only around the block, and gradually increase the length of the ride. If you discover that your dog is unable to adjust to short rides, a responsible sitter or boarding kennel may be preferable for both you and your dog. If you choose to board your dog, make kennel reservations well in advance of the trip, particularly during summer months and around major holidays.
Before You Leave Home
Be certain your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date well in advance of the trip so your dog has time to develop his immunity levels. Carry the dog's health and rabies certificates with you. They may be needed if you fly; will be necessary if you cross international borders; and may be required by a kennel if you should have to board your dog during the trip. To ensure heartworm protection for your dog, ask your veterinarian if the mosquito season begins earlier or ends later in the area you will be visiting. Take heartworm and/or other necessary medicine your dog may require on the trip.
If your dog is prone to carsickness and you must take him on a long car trip, consult your veterinarian for suggestions. If you are not certain that your dog's usual diet will be available at your destination, take a supply with you. This will avoid digestive upsets, which could be caused by a sudden change in your dog's diet.
In addition to his water and feeding dog bowls, your dog will also need his grooming equipment. Along with his comb, brush or hand mitt, you may wish to pack a spray-on/rub-in/brush-out shampoo as an emergency alternative to a full-fledged bath. Always be certain your dog is wearing an identification tag giving his name, your name, your home address and telephone number including the area code; and, if possible, your vacation address and telephone number. Take color pictures of your dog and write a description of his height, weight, color and distinguishing marks to carry with you. If your dog should become lost, these identification aids could make the difference in locating him.
When You Travel By Car
Before leaving, take your dog for a walk. You will still have to stop along the way, but he will be more comfortable as the trip gets underway.
During your stops, provide water for your dog to drink. You may also reward him for being a good traveler by offering a dog snack. Do not feed your dog for at least three hours before leaving on a trip. Feed him shortly after arriving at your destination or when you have stopped for the day.
While most dogs enjoy riding with their heads out of a car window, their eyes may be damaged by stones or debris thrown from the road. The dog is also in danger of falling out of the window if the car is stopped abruptly or the dog may decide to jump. Car windows should be kept open far enough to provide as much air as possible without allowing the dog to put his head out. Although it is possible to train a dog to sit in the car by enlisting the aid of a friend or family member (who drives the car while you train the dog to sit in his area), it is not advisable. A frightened or excited dog could jump out an open window or door; cause an accident by blocking the driver's view or by lodging itself around the accelerator or brake.