With the warmer weather finally coming around for some of us it means more and more traveling with our dogs. Whether the trips are long distance traveling or right in town we need to make sure our dogs are safe during any traveling. Here are some tips for those trips with your canine best friend.
1) Make sure your dog is comfortable with riding in a vehicle. Working with your dog to feel safe in or around a vehicle is a helpful thing to do. If your dog has some anxiety about traveling then visit a vet to discuss options to make Fido less anxious. You can easily travel with your dog by either using a crate or gating the front of the car so that your dog has a spot to call its own. If you notice your dog pacing, vocalizing, or even getting “car sick” then you might want to take a little more time to train your dog to feel safer and calmer when inside or near a vehicle. For example, reward Fido every time you pass by your vehicle and when Fido gets into your vehicle. Once you feel Fido is more comfortable then start introducing the crate or the gate and reward him when he goes in the crate or tolerates the gate. When Fido is happy to be in the vehicle then you can add touches like his favorite bed or toys to make it feel a little more like a fun adventure!
2) Pet identification and vaccination information is always a good idea to have with you. Having your dog microchipped is a great idea. You can get your dog microchipped at your veterinary clinic, at some pet stores, or some local animal shelters. If your dog is not chipped then be sure to have a collar with your dog’s name and your phone number embroidered on it or a plain collar with a name tag which includes contact information. That way if your dog gets lost it can be safely returned. Bringing vaccination records can be a good thing especially if you are traveling long distance in case your dog has any medical issues while on the road.
3) Always have fresh food and water available. Especially if you are traveling long distance you want to make sure to stop for water breaks if your dog does not have access to water during the long trip. If you are out hiking make sure to bring a bottle of water and a bowl for your dog. There are dog bowls or cups made for hiking/walking with your dog and can be found online or at any pet store.
4) Your dog will not be able to tell when he/she becomes too hot. Therefore, make sure to stop under some shade and break out that fresh water frequently. Heat exhaustion can happen quickly just like in humans. Dark colored dogs tend to get hotter than those that have a lighter fur coat. Do not leave your dog unattended in your vehicle at any time. Even a couple of minutes left in a car with windows cracked can end badly.
5) Always have a first aid kit available. This kit should include things like: Vet wrap, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, cling wrap, scissors, bandage tape, etc. Remember never to give human medications to your dog unless you are told to do so by your Veterinarian. Always make sure to have either your local veterinary clinic or an emergency clinic phone number available.
And lastly, Have fun! Traveling with your dog should be a fun experience and if done right can be the best time!
Amber Kinzel has been a vet tech for 5 years. She works at the Airport Animal Hospital in Duluth, MN. She is the proud mom to 2 dogs and 4 cats. The make sure there is never a dull moment in her house. She loves to take her dogs out for walks on the beach. You can see all of her animals on her MeowWoofChirp page here.