Dog Summer Travel Tips
With summer here many of us are doing more traveling and taking vacations and we love to take our dogs with us when we can. Here’s some great safety travel tips for you and your canine companion 🙂
- Secure your dog in the car with a crate or seatbelt. If your dog is crate trained and the crate fits in your vehicle, this is a great, safe option. A specially designed seat belt harness works with your existing seatbelts to keep your dog safe. Dogs should be belted in the rear seat to keep them away from front air bags which may seriously harm or kill a dog if deployed. If you drive a pick up truck, it is against the law in many places, not to mention very dangerous, for a dog to ride free in the back; use a secure crate or harness & short leash containment method.
- Never leave a dog in the car on a warm, sunny day as heat as temperatures can sore to over a 100 F within a few minutes regardless if the windows are open an inch or two or the car is parked in the shade. Older dogs, puppies, overweight dogs and those with heart or respiratory problems generally have a harder time regulating heat. Breeds with short muzzles such as bulldogs and pugs cannot pant efficiently and should be kept cool. Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, profuse sweating from paw pads, thick saliva, dry mouth and high body temperatures (above 105F), weakness and more serious signs that include nausea, diarrhea, breathing problems, muscle tremors, seizures and collapse. If heat stroke is suspected, immediately lower body temperature by spraying with cool water (NOT COLD WATER as constricts blood vessels and impedes cooling), covering with towels soaked in cool water and placing the dog in front of a fan or in an air conditioned car. Follow up with a veterinarian is essential as there can be internal organ damage.
- Do not allow your dog to travel with his head out the window in order to avoid being hit by buses and trucks, especially those with wide side windows. Your dog’s eyes and ears may be damaged from flying objects and bugs. Even a tiny pebble may seriously damage the eyes and possibly result in blindness.
- Use a permanent ID tag as well as a temporary ID tag. The permanent ID tag has your home phone number and address but this will not help if you are on vacation away from home. Depending on your destination, a temporary ID tag should have your cellphone number, hotel number, camping site number or relative’s phone number.
- Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle or outside a store to prevent someone from stealing your dog. Thieves may be attracted to your out of town license plates and in addition to your luggage, they may locate and steal your pooch.
- Carry a photo of your pet in the event that your dog takes off, wanders off, gets lost, or gets stolen. You can explain what your cross breed dog looks like but a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Travel with your dog’s own regular food, and even water if possible, to avoid stomach upset. Changing food overnight and even drinking water from a different region may stress the gastrointestinal tract causing vomiting or diarrhea. At the very least, always have some cool water available (you can even freeze some and put in a travel cooler) at all times so that you are not relying on rest stops, store hours or dry streams. Unfortunately, if you are traveling into the United States, only canned or dry foods clearly marked “Made in the USA” will be permitted.
- Know the location of the closest veterinarian to your destination area. In an emergency, you do not want to waste precious time looking in the phone book. Plan ahead and you can search the yellow pages on-line.
- Reduce travel stress by stopping for frequent bathroom stops and exercise breaks; and bring some comforts of home including crate, mat or blanket and some favorite toys.
- Always bring a canine first aid kit and know how to use it in case of emergencies. The kit should also contain copies of vaccination and medical records and any prescribed medications.
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