Traveling with your pet: Tips for both your safety
If you are planning a trip by car, the first thing you need to do is to get your dog used to riding in the car. The best way to do this is to take short trips in town to places such as pet stores, the dog park, or other places that are fun for your dog. He will learn that car trips mean great fun and you will experience much less of a hassle when traveling longer distances.
Another thing you need to do is decide how your dog will travel in the car. If your dog is crate trained, and your vehicle is large enough, you may want to consider crating him during car travel. This will help prevent him from roaming around the car and offer some protection in case of an accident. Bringing your dog’s crate with you will also help keep your dog safe and happy once you arrive at your destination. Many people choose to use other forms of restraint, such as canine seatbelts. These products usually hook on to a harness as well as your car’s seatbelt. You can choose which seat to put your dog in. He will remain restrained in that seat just as you are in yours. Canine seatbelts offer excellent protection in the event of an accident. Whichever way you prefer to travel, it’s best to have a plan well in advance of a trip to get your dog used to the method of restraint you will be using.
The next thing to consider is what supplies you will need to bring with you. Make sure your dog has plenty of water available to him at all times. You may not be able to find clean, drinkable water available at rest stops along the way, so it is very important to have an ample supply of your own. Some dogs will drink directly from bottles, but if your dog does not, make sure you have a bowl available for your dog to drink from. If your dog will be crated, you can purchase a water bottle that attaches to his crate, just like those used to water small animals like gerbils. You will also want to make sure that you have an ample supply of food. Dogs’ digestive systems get used to their regular food. You do not want to run the risk of not being able to find his usual food, otherwise you may be dealing with loose stool or vomiting.
You will also want to make sure that you bring favorite toys to help keep your dog occupied on the road and when you arrive at your destination. It’s always a good idea to bring your veterinary records with you as well. Some places that you may stay require up to date records proving vaccination history. If your dog should happen to get sick, you will also need your records. Some states require health certificates for interstate travel so it is very important to check with your veterinarian if you will need one of these prior to traveling. Having your dog microchipped prior to travel in case he should lose his tags is a great way to ensure his safety.
Make sure to take frequent potty breaks along the way as sometimes the motion of the car and stress of traveling will make your dog need to go more often than usual. He will also need to stretch his legs frequently, just as you will.
If you will be staying in a hotel during your travels, make sure in advance that they will allow dogs. There are many resources on the internet that will help you find dog friendly accommodations.
Some dogs will get stressed out during travel. If this has been your experience in the past, make sure you talk with your veterinarian prior to travel. There are medications available to help calm your dog during events such as long car trips.
By following this advice and the advice of your veterinarian, you can be assured that your travel experience will be a great one for both you and your dog.
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