Feature Article: October
Ready to Hit the Road
by Tara Kain
Summer is over, but that does not necessarily mean that
there are no more road trips for the year. Many people will be hitting
the road during the holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Years. And
many dog lovers will be taking their best friend with them. Whether
you have never traveled with your dog before or have traveled thousands
of miles with your dog, it is always a good idea to plan ahead. If you
forget your toothbrush on a trip, it's pretty easy to get a replacement.
However, if you forget your pooch's food bowl or favorite toy, it might
be a little tougher to get that replaced. Below are some guidelines
that will help you prepare for a dog-friendly road trip and perhaps
will help you remember to bring all of the necessities.
A Month Before
If you don't already have one, get a pet identification tag for
your dog. It should have your dog's name, your name (at least your last
name) and phone number. Consider using a cell phone number, a home number,
and possibly the number of where you will be staying.
Get a first aid kit for your dog. It comes in very
handy if you need to remove any ticks. The kits are usually available
at a pet store, a veterinary office or on the Internet.
If you do not already have a dog harness for riding
the car, consider purchasing one for your dog's safety and your safety.
A dog harness can keep your pooch from hitting the windshield or from
becoming a projectile that could possibly hurt you or others in the
car. The harnesses are usually sold at pet stores or on the Internet.
Make a trip to the vet if necessary for the following:
||- A current rabies vaccination tag for your dog's
collar. Also get paperwork with proof of the rabies vaccine. You
might need this if you day board your dog.
||- Consider any recommended vaccines. A Lyme disease
(from ticks) vaccine might be recommended if you plan on hiking
in an area with high rates of Lyme disease, usually in the northeastern
United States. A Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine might be recommended
if you plan to day board your pooch or if your dog will be in contact
with many other dogs. Check with your vet for any other recommended
vaccines. If you do give vaccines to your pooch, try to have the
individual shots given instead of the multiple vaccines in one shot,
and try to space them about 2-3 months apart.
||- If you are not already doing so, consider placing
your dog on a monthly heartworm preventative medicine. Dogs can
usually get heartworm from mosquitos in the mountains, rural areas
or on hikes.
||- Consider using some type of flea preventative for
your dog. This is out of courtesy for the dog-friendly hotels plus
for the comfort of your pooch.
||- Make sure your dog is in good health. If you are
driving to Canada or Mexico, you will probably also need a recent
Several Days Before
Make sure you have enough dog food for the duration
of the trip.
If your dog is on any medication, remember to bring
Some dog owners will also purchase bottled water
for the trip, because some dogs can get sick from drinking water they
are not used to. Talk to your vet for more information.
The Day Before
Do not forget to review DogFriendly.com's Etiquette
for the Traveling Dog.
Remember to pack all of your dog's necessities:
food, water, dog dishes, leash, snacks and goodies, several favorite
toys, brush, towels for dirty paws, plastic bags for cleaning up after
your dog, doggie first aid kit, possibly dog booties if you are venturing
to an especially cold or hot region, and bring any medicine your dog
might be taking.
On The Road
Before you head out, put on that doggie seat belt
Keep it cool and well ventilated in the car for
Try not to let your dog hang his or her head out
the window. While it may look like fun for your dog, particles like
dust, bugs, etc., could blow into their face, causing possible damage
to the eyes, ears and nose.
Stop at least every 2-3 hours so your dog
can relieve him or herself. Also offer him or her water during the stops.
Never leave your pet alone in a parked car - even in the
shade with the window cracked open. According to the Los Angeles SPCA,
on a hot day, a car can heat up to 160 degrees in minutes, potentially
causing your pet (or child) heat stroke, brain damage, and even death.
If you need to find an emergency vet, look in the
local yellow pages phone book. They are usually listed under Veterinarians.
If it is not obvious which vets are open for emergencies, call one or
two local vets for the information. You should even be able to call
any vet after regular business hours and get this information. Vets
that are open only during the day typically have a recorded message
that gives the phone number of a local evening emergency vet.
If you go for a hike in an unfamiliar or even a
familiar area, it is best to keep your dog on a leash. This will help
your pet from becoming lost or being bitten by rattlesnakes or wild
To voice your opinion on this article or
subject, please fill out our
form. We will include some of the comments or letters in next month's
Letters to the Editor section.