Traveling in the Car with Your Dog

Traveling in the Car with Your Dog

Small adaptable, curious dogs make great traveling companions. Small terriers and toys such as Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, and Pugs make excellent globe-trotters. Larger dogs however, prefer to guard the house and give you a big welcome when you return. But there are always exceptions in both cases due to their personalities.

All dogs should be car-trained as puppies, since this is the most common form of travel for them. If you are dealing with an adult dog who is unaccustomed or afraid of car travel, you may have to make a regular training project out of it. Start out with short drives and graduate to longer trips over time.

The best way for your dog to travel with you in your car is in a pet carrier. An unsecured pet can distract you while driving or interfere with the operation of the vehicle. Too many unsecured pets have jumped from a moving vehicle to be fatally injured, when a carrier or tether could have saved them. Car seats and containment seats are now available and can be secured with your current seat belts, and some form of restraint is being considered mandatory by many states and municipalities around the country.

Your dog should always wear a collar with an I.D. tag and rabies vaccination tag, as many pets can become separated from their owners while traveling. You should consider having your dog micochipped. Most all kennels, veterinarians, and animal hospitals have scanners that can read these tiny implanted chips that are registered into nation-wide data bases with the animals home address, name, etc. The process is inexpensive, quick, and permanent. A recent photograph, especially one that shows colors and identifying marks is always helpful.

You should make certain that your dog has all his vaccinations up to date, and obtain a current health certificate from your veterinarian. The following is a list of items that should include as a travel kit for your dog:
– An extra collar
– A sturdy leash
– Moist towelettes
– His food
– Treats
– A sealable container of water
– A chew toy
– All required medicines and supplements
– Brush or comb
– An old towel
– Plastic bags

During the trip your pet will need access to fresh water regularly, exercise, and breaks to stretch and relieve himself, and comfortable temperatures. Never leave a pet alone in a vehicle especially in hot weather, when exposed to high temperatures, dogs can suffer from a heat stroke. Lastly, just like people, some dogs can get motion sickness. Signs of motion sickness include whining, barking, pacing, salivation, panting, and vomiting. To overcome these conditions, limit their view out of windows, stop frequently, and again, don’t let them become overheated.

Before you leave home, clip or trim your dog’s nails, brush out all loose hair, and feed him lightly, never a large meal. Call ahead and make sure your pet is welcome at your destination, as many hotels and motels do not allow pets. Have a great trip!

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