Factors to consider when traveling with your dog

It happens every year. Millions of vacationing and moving families face the question of “what to do about their pet.” If you are going on vacation or traveling for the holidays, should you take your pet, board them or leave your furbaby behind? As a member of the family, your pet is entitled to share the fun of traveling. On the other hand, some pets can take all the pleasure out of a trip. Think before you decide. A week or two in a clean, well-run boarding kennel might be your dog’s idea of a perfect vacation!

Your dog should be thoroughly familiar with riding in a car before you consider taking him on a long trip. After a few rides around town, most dogs overcome their motion sickness and begin to enjoy riding with the family. If your pet does not travel well and continues to get sick or restless, consider a boarding kennel. Don’t take a sick or unhappy dog on a trip. Both you and your pets will be miserable. But suppose you decide to take him along.

Important tips when traveling with your dog

Be sure to make your hotel reservations well in advance, advising that you will have a dog with you. This could save much time and aggravation. Automobile clubs and hotel/motel guides often list facilities that accept dogs. A great resource for accommodations when traveling with your dog is Bring Fido. The site also has ideas for activities and lists local dog beaches.

Take along your pet’s own bowl. Use it for water and mixing his food. He will have an added feeling of security using his regular bowl. Try not to feed your pet for six or more hours prior to traveling. Most dogs travel better on this feeding schedule. Also, take along a square of an old blanket or his sleeping pad. This is your dog’s travel bed in the car and motel. After you’ve shown him a few times, he’ll understand.

Your dog should wear two collars: One light collar and a leather collar rolled or flat. Put an identification tag on one and your local dog license on the other. Even if one collar is lost, he could be identified with the other.

Keeping your dog healthy

Flea control is a must. Make sure your dog is being treated for fleas or bring flea powder. Your pet may start out without a single flea, but he could pick some up along the way. You don’t want fleas in your car, and the hotel or motel doesn’t want them either.

Some dogs insist on hanging their heads out the window. Don’t permit this, as bits of grit may be driven into the eyes. In any case, the dog may get nasal and eye passage inflammation just from the wind. Keep him in his place and close the windows part way to discourage him.

If you will be traveling between several states or provinces, check with your veterinarian or humane society to find whether health certificates and proof of rabies vaccination are required. Most states and provinces require some form of health certificate.

Wherever you go, remember that you are responsible for your dog’s conduct. The impression you make on hotel and motel managers will determine their attitude toward all dogs and dog owners. By planning ahead and observing the rules of courtesy, you can take your dog with you anywhere. If your pet enjoys car travel, you and your family can a expect a most enjoyable trip.

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