Tips for Taking Fido Along on Your Next Vacation
About 74 percent of dog owners consider their pets members of the family according to a recent article on “Road Trip America”. Therefore, it’s no surprise more and more owners are taking their dogs on vacations and weekend road trips. But before hitting the road, make sure that taking along Fido is the best option for both you and your best friend.
Questions to Consider
Behavior — If your dog isn’t well behaved or doesn’t respond to simple commands, you need to reconsider your decision to take him (or her). Long before your trip, make sure Fido understands commands such as “Come”, “Sit,”, and “Stay”. Otherwise, your trip will be one from hell as you’ll run the risk of everything from your pet running away to being thrown out of your motel.
Crate Train—-Weeks before you leave for your trip, crate train your dog. Realize that dogs are den creatures and actually feel secure in crates. Your dog should not have total freedom of your home at all times and should go in his crate at bedtime or on other occasions when he needs to be out of the way (such as when company comes to visit.)
Start by positioning his crate in your kitchen or family room so he doesn’t feel isolated. After about three weeks of training, he should be familiar enough with his crate to be comfortable when he’s traveling. Also, make sure to use a crate that’s compatible with his size. While you don’t want too small a crate for a larger dog, you also don’t want an oversized crate for a toy dog. And, when he’s fussing, do not take him out of the crate as he’ll learn that’s how he gets his way.
Of course, not all motels welcome pets. To find out which ones are pet-friendly, check out sites such as Petsfriendly.com
Visit Your Vet
Besides giving your dog a thorough physical examination, make sure he’s caught up on all his shots. Not only is this vital for his health, but it’s also necessary if you place him in a kennel. What’s more, if you board your dog when you get to your destination, you’ll be expected to show all records of updated inoculations.
Your vet should also test for heartworm, as well as Bordetella (kennel croup), parvo, and Lyme disease (if you’re headed for an area where it’s prevalent.) Be aware that even more legal documentation is required if you plan to take your dog with you over the border to Mexico or Canada. And, if you have a high strung dog, such as a boxer, your vet may recommend a mild tranquilizer, if he’s not too old.
What to Pack
To make the trip as comfortable as possible for your dog, be sure to pack familiar items that will remind him of home. For example, take favorite toys, as well as his blankets and anything that will make him more contented on the road and when he gets to your destination. Rather than give him unfamiliar food where you’re staying, bring his own food, as well as favorite treats. Also, include any needed medications (both oral and topical). Most importantly, don’t forget his medical records just in case you need to make an emergency trip to the vet.
If in Doubt…
If you have any reservations about taking your dog along, then don’t. There are many options, ranging from kennels to having someone doggie sitting in your home. Not only will you be miserable, but your dog will also suffer.