Traveling with your dog can be great fun, adding to the pleasure of a trip. Without question, a travel kennel is the safest way for your dog to travel by car or family auto.
Traveling with Fido
What should you do to make traveling with your dog enjoyable? First, your dog should be trained to the basic obedience commands. This is a must. Even though your dog should be on his leash at all times, he should “come” when called EVERY TIME!
Second, proper socialization is just as important. In other words, your dog should be at ease around other animals and people it does not know.
Most puppies drool and even vomit a little with their first few car rides, this occasionally carries over into adulthood with some dogs. It can often be overcome with a little behavior modification. If not, veterinarians can prescribe anti-nausea medications.
Also be sure to carry a roll of paper towels and some stain and odor remover in case of accidents.
Your dog’s leash should be handy at all times. Make it a habit to snap the leash to his collar before you ever open a car door.
Make sure your dog has identification tags securely attached to his/her collar with your name and phone numbers. Add the number of a neighbor or friend and be sure to tell them that they could get a call if your dog were to become lost.
It’s a good idea to have a portable tie-out for your dog. Your dog can relax in safety at a park or roadside stop while you and your family enjoy some sandwiches.
Pack plenty of his/her regular food. You may not be able to find his/her usual brand and sudden changes in food can cause digestive upsets.
Offer your dog small amounts of water and not food on short trips. On medium length trips, feed half as much as normal and moderate amounts of water. On long trips, feed a normal amount in the evening when you stop, and free choice water during rest stops.
A good idea is to freeze some ice in a plastic cup with a lid on it. This allows the dog to lick and get some water, but not drink too much.
Toys Bring a few of his favorite toys. A new rawhide or two will offer hours of happy chewing along the way.
Don’t forget a pooper scooper and some plastic bags for cleaning up after your dog. It is not only proper and sanitary to pick up where your dog left off, but in many states, it’s the law!
Remember to pack any medications you are currently using on your pet and bring a copy of his/her rabies vaccination certificate.
If your dog is going to travel by air, it must be shipped in an airline approved shipping kennel. Call ahead and check with the airline about any special requirements. Ask when and where you need to check-in. Generally, airlines are very good about handling animals. State and Federal regulations require proper care and humane treatment. The compartment where dogs are transported is temperature controlled and pressurized. Affix your name and phone number to both the outside of the kennel and the inside, in case the outside tag gets torn off.
Freeze water in a plastic dish and attach it securely to the inside of the kennel so your pet will have access to some water, but the water won’t slosh out during loading. Make sure the latch works well and fits securely. Don’t lock the door in case of an emergency and don’t leave leashes or tags where they can dangle inside the kennel and accidentally strangle your dog.
Book a direct flight to minimize the chance of your dog ending up in the wrong location. In warm weather, book an early morning or late evening flight to avoid extreme heat. In cold weather, book a midday flight.
Stay with your pet as long as you can before he/she is loaded.
Dogs in Parked Cars
Each year 10,000 dogs die in parked cars. Even in relatively mild weather, with the windows partially rolled down, the inside temperature of a car can reach 160 degrees within 10 minutes.
When traveling with your dog, never leave him/her in this dangerous situation. If you cannot take your dog inside with you when you stop, then someone should stay outside and walk the dog or wait in the car with them with the air-conditioner on.
Is Bowser Welcome?
One caution about traveling with your dog. Not all hotels and motels allow pets. Be sure to check in advance to make sure your pet is welcome. If you must leave your dog in your hotel room while you are gone, leave it in its travel kennel, or leave out the DO NOT DISTURB sign so that your dog doesn’t accidentally escape when the maid comes to clean your room. Note: Maids don’t like to be eaten by your dog either!
Overnight establishments aren’t nearly as accommodating as you might think. According to the American Hotel & Motel Association, the percentage of hotels permitting dogs has dropped from 53 percent in 1988 to 30 percent in 1998. Many hotel and motel owners who have stopped allowing dogs say they are annoyed with guests who don’t clean up after them, or with the ones who wreak havoc in the rooms.
We suggest that you should always ask when making reservations if your dog is permitted and then call again before leaving home. Be careful, because many change their minds after you’ve booked your stay.
Most hotels or motels that do accept dogs now charge a refundable security deposit to cover any mess your dog may leave behind. Once you’ve checked in to your home away from home, treat it like your own. Be sure to clean up after your dog and dispose leftover dog food in trash cans outdoors.