In the Car
Does your dog love to stick her head out the car window as you cruise down the road? It’s fun for pet owners to watch their dogs as their ears and jowls flap in the wind, sending slobber skyward onto windshields in their dust. Unfortunately, this is the kind of fun that can cause injury to your pooch. Insects and road debris can inflict serious harm on your dog’s eyes and mucous membranes.
An unsecured dog can create hazards within the car by distracting the driver or by interfering with foot controls and steering. Consider confining your small dogs in a crate, and ask your veterinarian to recommend a seatbelt-compatible safety harness for larger dogs.
As the temperatures warm up, don’t forget that even on a mild, 70°F day, the climate inside your vehicle can heat up 30°F or more in as many minutes, even with all the windows in the vehicle left partially open. Heatstroke is deadly, and less-severe cases can cause long-term health issues to your pet. We love having our companion animals with us as much as possible, but they are best left at home when running errands.
Planning a road trip with your pooch? With advance planning, your dog can join you at meal stops and hotels so they don’t need to be left in your car. Web sites such as Bring Fido list establishments that welcome well-behaved dogs, but you should call ahead to verify. Municipal regulations often change rapidly, and some businesses have important restrictions.
Travel season is a good time to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are current, in case you need to leave him behind at a trusted boarding facility or one on the road. Most grooming businesses require current vaccination verification, and many states technically require that visitors with pets have a recent health certificate filled out by a veterinarian. Also, vaccinations help keep your dog safe when you visit dog parks or dog-friendly establishments that offer a communal water bowl for their canine patrons. Your veterinarian can advise you on vaccinations specific to the regions through which you plan to travel.
In Case of Emergency
Make sure your dog has a solid foundation of obedience skills when she travels with you, and has proper identification. If she’s microchipped, make sure your subscription is paid up and your information up-to-date. It’s also a good idea to take your vet records and one or two recent, clear color photos of your dog. Vet records are useful for emergency pet care, and if your dog gets lost, you’ll be able to post notices right away. Cloud storage is great for storing emergency information–especially if your dog disappears with your cell phone and wallet.
Finally, be sure to bring your dog’s favorite food with you, as your favorite brand may not be available in the areas you plan to visit. Travel can cause upset stomach in even the most road-savvy pooches, and sudden dietary changes can cause digestive upset that makes sharing your car, tent or hotel room with your dog less than pleasant. Familiar food bowls, toys, bedding and blankets also make the dog more comfortable and secure while traveling, preventing stress-related behavior and health issues.
With a bit of planning and precaution, your dog can enjoy summer as much as you do!
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