Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Keeping Your Dog Safe As You Travel

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Dog Health and Nutrition

Are you planning on taking your dog on vacation with you this year?  Even as you travel around your neighborhood with your pooch, there are some important precautions you should take to keep your dog safe.

Before the trip

Before you plan to take your dog on a trip, give some thought to whether or not the dog will actually enjoy this.  Although it’s true that most dogs would rather spend time with the family than anywhere else, if your dog is elderly or if he gets car sick, taking a long trip may not be his cup of tea.  Investigate other options like in-home pet sitting, visiting grandma, or camping at a doggie spa before deciding to take the dog along with you.

During the planning stages of your trip, take the time to make sure your dog is up-to-date on all shots.  A visit to the vet can check your dog’s overall health, review his shot record, and check to see if any special vaccines are required to protect your dog in the part of the country to which you’ll be traveling.

Check your supplies.  You will need, at a minimum, a harness or seatbelt if you will not be crating your dog for the trip, food, water, dishes (collapsible dishes work well in the car), a sturdy leash and collar for rest stops, poop bags to clean up messes, and supplies to clean up any accidents the dog might have in the car.  Make sure you have room for all of this inside your vehicle – no Romney-esque dog crates on the roof.

Check your dog’s ID tags.  The tag should be legible and should include a way to contact you while you’re on the road.  If the current tag includes only your home phone number, you’ll be out of luck when your dog gets lost at the beach.  If your dog has a medical condition such as diabetes, you might also include that information on the tag so any good Samaritan that finds the dog can provide the proper care until they find you.  If it’s time for a new tag, check out the innovative designs available.

In the car

The safest way for a dog to travel is in a crate.  If you don’t think you can stand crating your dog for the trip, invest in a good seatbelt or harness.  Letting your dog roam the car while you’re driving isn’t safe for the dog or for you.  Loose dogs can create distractions that take your eyes off the road, and they become projectiles in the event of a crash.  You wouldn’t let your two-legged kids ride un-belted; don’t let your four-leggers do it either.

Take frequent breaks to allow your dog to stretch, run, and do his business.  Pay attention to the posted rules wherever you stop – most rest areas have designated dog break areas.  And for goodness sake, clean up after your dog – your mama doesn’t work here, and it’s the maid’s day off.

When you make overnight stops, ask about the pet policy of the places you’ll be staying.  There is often a pet deposit which may or may not be refundable, and there may be rules about supervision such as not leaving dogs unattended in your room.

When you arrive

Again, make sure you know the pet policies at your destination.  National parks often have leash laws or may outright ban pets from visiting.  Campgrounds may have rules governing off-leash areas.  Even grandma may have some guidelines regarding visiting pets.

Check your dog’s tags again to make sure they are securely fastened to his color and legible.  You don’t want your dog to become the next Milo or Otis, walking thousands of miles to get home after becoming separated from your family.

Unless you are 110% sure your dog will stay with you, keep him on the leash, in the crate, or inside a secure fence.

There may be places you’d like to visit that don’t allow dogs.  Make sure you carve out some time each day to spend with your dog, even if he can’t be included in the day’s activities.  You wanted to bring him along – make sure you make the trip as fun for him as it is for you.

If you’ll be too busy doing tourist stuff, you might be better of to just leave the dog at home.  It’s not going to be any more fun for him to be stuck alone in a hotel room than it would be for him to be stuck at a boarding facility.  At least at the kennel, he can visit with other dogs and get some playtime with the staff.



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