What Are Some Tips For Traveling With Your Dog?

A Reader Asks…

I've looked up cool places around the country that have tons of -friendly activities and places to stay. are ? should be expected? What are of experiences?

(Scroll down to see responses)

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    • Nightlil
    • August 11, 2009

    1. Get to the vet. Before a road trip is a good time to take your pet for that overdue visit to the veterinarian. Beyond ensuring your pet’s health, it’s the only way to get a bona fide health certificate. That certificate — and proof of an updated rabies vaccine — is necessary if you board your pet at your destination.
    The vet may also test for heartworm and give other vaccinations, including Bordetella, parvo, and even Lyme disease, depending on where you’re headed. Pets traveling to Canada, Mexico, or beyond, require more legal documentation and sometimes a quarantine period. (Check with your veterinarian).
    Is your dog the nervous sort? Your vet may also choose to prescribe a sedative (for him, not for you).
    2. Tags aren’t just for luggage. Your dog should always have a sturdy collar with home address and telephone number on a tag. To protect him while traveling, tape your local contact information or your cell phone number onto the tag before leaving, or get a second tag. Many pets today also have a microchip implanted under their skin as a form of permanent ID; it can be read with a special scanner. Also carry a current photograph of your dog that can be copied, to make it easier for others to recognize and return him if he gets lost.
    3. Pack — and plan — for your pet. Just like you, pets like the comforts of home: their own bedding, toys, brush, even their own dishes. Bring them with you if possible. Pack a bowl for his water, treats, a first-aid kit, medications (both oral and topical), and a copy of his medical records. Most important, though, bring your pet’s own food. Trust me; this is not the time to get experimental with your pet’s digestive tract. (If you’ve ever changed your dog’s food all of a sudden, you know what I mean.)
    Nationally known veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Werber, also warns that municipal water systems vary from place to place, so don’t just let Fido drink the local water — the abrupt change could give him diarrhea. Instead, start with a gallon of water from home, and “water your dog” along the route, topping off the gallon from a local water source at each stop. That way, the change is gradual.
    If you’re planning on staying at a hotel with your dog, confirm the details of your reservations in advance.
    “Make sure the hotels are truly pet-friendly and know what their services are,” says Werber. “You don’t want any last-minute surprises, like weight limits.”
    And of course, don’t forget the pooper scoopers.
    4. Use some restraint. Just as humans need seatbelts, animals need some form of safety restraint when in the car. Pet barriers — which merely separate your pet from the rear of the seat — don’t do much to protect animals. Pet carriers, however, do. Carriers are essentially boxes made to confine and secure your animal. They come in different shapes, sizes and materials, but all should be well ventilated and have a secure door and latch. They should be large enough so your animal can sit and lie down. You can make the carrier more comfortable by lining the bottom with sheepskin, towels or foam. (How’d you like to lie on hard plastic all day?) Most important is to actually secure the carrier to the car; otherwise it can become a projectile, injuring both your pet and the car’s occupants.
    Fortunately for dogs, they have a more liberating option than a carrier. A special restraining harness can connect a dog to safety belts, preventing him from flying forward during sudden braking or impact (see photos). The dog can stand, sit or lie down, but not get loose. When you’re ready to leave the car, just snap the leash onto the dog’s harness and you’re ready to go.
    Before you open the car door, even for a second, make sure the leash is on him and that you have a firm grasp. If not you might find yourself chasing your dog through an unknown environment — or worse — traffic.
    5. Dogs love trucks, but…. Dogs love trucks; it’s true, but it’s estimated that more than 100,000 dogs die from falls from pickup trucks each year. Bumps in the road or quick swerving motions can throw the dog out of the truck bed, injuring or killing him and potentially causing more accidents as other drivers swerve to avoid him. Dogs can also jump out — sometimes because the bed becomes too hot for their paws. According to the Humane Society of the United States, though, there is no harness or leash that will keep a dog safe in the back of a pickup truck — in fact, it could strangle or drag him if he’s thrown. Instead, place the dog in a carrier in the back of an extended or crew cab. If you must put a dog in the bed, get a crate made especially for that purpose — and tie it down tight.
    6. Animals get car sick, too. Some people get car sick; so do some animals. If this sounds like your pet, give him a light meal a few hours before you leave and feed him minimally during the drive. Offer him small amounts of water periodically in the hours before the trip. If you can, take along i

    • Aaron W
    • August 11, 2009

    well depending on the size of your car you would want to rent a bigger car or suv. it helps, if you put them in a kennel on trips thats what i do make shure you have lots of toys to keep them entertained. let them go to the bathroom peiordodicly to keep from being bored. Thats what i do when i drive to colorado.

    • needtokn
    • August 11, 2009

    Make sure your dog has tags and a collar or something that will give info if you loose him. Make sure you take breaks. Thats the key, as long as your dog can get out and walk around, it wont be too hard. Bring treats and water. Also, make sure your dog has a bed and maybee a toy if he/she can have one. My dog is lazy and sleeps through car trips. It also helps to travel at night because your dog would be asleep anyway.

    • Dana K
    • August 11, 2009

    I always traveled with my dogs even on long trips. I try to make a effort to stop in areas where no other people seems to stop and take a little walk or play a little fetch, let them eat drink and be marry. Also try to make enough space for the dog to relax comfortably in the car…keep them nice and cool and have a happy trip!
    Some people also put their dogs in kennels, I have ever done that.

    • Jess
    • August 10, 2009

    I have never travelled with my dog but I have researched what you need. These are some of the supplies:
    -Their bed
    -Food and water
    -Food and water bowls
    -Crate (if you crate train, or if you’re flying)
    -Any medicines
    -Shot records
    -Collar and leash
    -Bags to pick up after him
    -First aid kit for any injuries
    -Contact info for vets in the area you are traveling (if you have an emergency, you’ll need a vet)
    If you are driving, you need to stop every couple of hours for the dog to relieve itself and stretch its legs. If you are flying, make sure the crate is labeled with the dog’s name and your name and contact info.

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