On the Road Again! Travel Tips for Smooth Sailing with Your Dog

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Posted by Angela Klein on 7/30/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

There are few phrases in a dog’s vocabulary that elicit joy like the phrase “Let’s go!” As more and more families bring their pets along on their travels, we wanted to compile a list of tips to remember to help make your journey safe, memorable and fun.

The adage says that the devil might be in the details, but planning before you go will help not only relieve last minute stress but give you the knowledge you need to make choices you’ll be happy with. Be sure to ask about the features, fees and restrictions of each hotel or campground you’re considering as some establishments charge a flat fee where others offer a refundable deposit. Ask which category the prospective hotel falls in, since some can be as high as $100. Also, knowing that the motel you’re wanting has a policy of no dogs over 25 pounds will help ensure that when you show up with your Great Dane that there are no surprises waiting for you, such as having to find another hotel at the last minute.

Speaking of surprises, we’ll state the obvious here as a side note, but as more and more dogs are out and about, remember to pick up after your dog when you’re traveling, whether you’re at a campground, motel, dog park or even a rest area, to keep the good will and friendly attitudes toward our pets strong.

Other potentially obvious tips that deserve repeating when planning a trip:

-Bring your dog’s favorite toy or blanket.
-If traveling by plane, don’t feed your dog for six hours before the trip and be sure to check the airline’s policies for caring for your dog if you can’t fly together.
-When traveling by car, allow extra time to get out and stretch and be sure to have plenty of water on hand so there’s no risk of dehydration.
-Remember that a tired dog is a happy dog. Exercise before you go.
-Enter and unpack in your hotel room first. This will make sure that your scent is in the room before your dog enters it.
-Bring along a first-aid kit and an extra leash, just in case.

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As much as we all don’t like to think about emergencies, the truth of the matter is that they happen. Plotting out several veterinarians on your route before you go means that if something happens, you’ll know where to go without having to spend time looking. Use our Vet Locator to quickly find several options, including emergency clinics, in the areas you’ll be vacationing.

Finally, be sure to remember things like water safety (yes, there absolutely are life jackets for dogs, and they’re recommended) and avoid any potential for heat stroke and other summer dangers like hot cars and walking on black pavement for any period of time. (Ouch! Those poor paw pads!)

Most of all, whether you’re going just up the road or halfway around the world, enjoy yourself. Pack up those doggy goggles, whatever he or she needs to be comfortable and repeat those wonderful words, “Let’s go!” Your next adventure is just a road trip away.

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