Travel With Your Dog - Its Fun!
By David P Lee
Traveling with your dog can be a lot of fun, especially when you are going on vacation. We've all seen them with their heads out the window, ears flying back and tongue hanging out looking happy. You will have to plan carefully, determine if your pet we be welcome at friends and relatives or at the hotel, and make sure he or she's in good health. If everything is a go, then you are going to want to move on to how you plan to make your pet safe, secure, and comfortable based on how you'll be traveling.
When you travel with your pet, you need to worry about more than your own safety. Be sure you have a secure crate or a harness for your dog that can be attached to the seatbelt. Make sure your dog has adequate water available at all times, as well as something familiar like a blanket or toy. Give them enough room to move safely. If you are using a crate, make sure there is nothing inside your dog can hurt themselves on and that it is strong with convenient handles. The crate should be well-ventilated. Don't forget to mark the outside of the crate with the words "Live Animal" as well as your name, address and telephone number. Double check that your pet is wearing his collar with an ID tag, so if somehow you do get separated, you'll be able to find him later.
Before you start your long road trip, take your dog on a few short day trips to acclimate him to the car. Some dogs get nervous in the car, others get motion sickness. If you find this out before your trip, you can get a nausea medication from your vet. If your dog gets overexcited at the mere suggestion of a car ride, and once in the car he won't settle down, you may be better off putting him in a boarding kennel, hiring a pet sitter for them, or crating them for the trip. You can also ask your vet for methods to keep your dog calm on the trip. Besides making the trip easier on the dog, it will keep both of you safe so you don't spend time worrying more about Rover than your driving.
Make sure you plan well enough ahead of the trip and that you can bring your pet with you into lodgings. A lot of hotels nowadays are pet friendly and you can easily find them with a little searching online. Bring plenty of 'pooper scooper' bags as well so that you can keep others from stepping in it. Also, when traveling, look for places off the side of the road to stop and let your dog go to the bathroom. While pet friendly areas at rest stops are nice, they've been used by other animals that may not be so healthy. Always bring two leashes with you and make sure it is secure to your dog's collar and you have a good hold of it before you release your pet from the car.
If the weather is hot when you're traveling, don't leave your dog inside. Even cracking a window may not provide enough ventilation. Cars can overheat on a hot day very quickly, and even though you were only popping inside somewhere for just a second, that may be long enough to cause harm to your pet. If you have someone else traveling with you, maybe they can either stay in the car with your dog, or run the errand for you. If that is not a possibility, make sure your animal is secured and has enough water, then leave the windows open enough to provide adequate air circulation. And don't get side-tracked and be gone too long.