TOP 10 TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR DOG
By Christine Hunsicker
Review by Madelyn Miller
Know any good shaggy dog stories? Christine Hunsicker, editor of TRAVELERS' TALES: A DOG'S WORLD (Travelers' Tales Inc; ISBN 1-885211-23-6; $12.95)has plenty. And she shares them in her new book.
To make sure all your doggy travel stories have a happy ending, she shares some tips on how to travel with man's best friend
For a dog lover, there is no more wrenching experience than having to look in your dog's eyes as you head off on a trip. The easiest way to avoid "The Look," says Christine Hunsicker, editor of Travelers' Tales, is to take your dog with you.
Here are her Top 10 Tips for taking a trip that is enjoyable
for both you and your dog.
1. Start your trip with a healthy pet.
Check in with your veterinarian at least one week before you begin your trip to be sure your pet is healthy and all vaccinations are current. Your vet can also alert you to any special problems that may exist in the area you are planning to visit.
2. Be sure to pack all the paperwork.
Be sure to have a current health certificate, license and proof of all vaccinations. Bring along your vet's phone number-it's a lot easier (and cheaper) to call your vet with a non-emergency concern than to try to find a local vet who doesn't know your dogs.
3. Have your pet wear identification at all times.
Your pet's I.D. tags should include your name, address, and phone number, and if you are staying somewhere for a while, add a local phone number where you can be reached in case you are separated from your pooch. Pack a recent photo of your dog too, just in case.
4. Make sure your dog is travel-worthy.
Not all dogs are natural-born travelers. It's best to get your dog accustomed to riding in a car at a very young age, but even older dogs can adapt. Take them on short trips (10-15 minutes) to the store or to a park for a game of fetch. Make it fun and part of your usual routine. Gradually lengthen the drives so your dog is in the car for a few hours. Try very hard to avoid having your dog's first car adventure be a trip to the vet!
5. Keep your dog cool and comfortable.
If you are traveling by car, always keep a car window open so your pet has fresh air and when you park, try to find a nice patch of shade and don't leave your dog in the car unattended for long periods of time.
6. Plan ahead for all travel accommodations.
This is especially important during peak travel times when motels, hotels, and campgrounds fill up quickly. Many accommodations do not accept pets and some that do have only a limited number of rooms available to pet owners. If you are planning to fly with your pet, you should make reservations at least 3 months prior to your journey since many airlines limit the number of pets flying on each plane (both in the cabin and in the hold).
7. Make sure your dog is well-trained before taking her/him on the road.
Please be sure your dog has learned the basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, and quiet before you embark on a trip of any length. This is necessary for your dog's safety and for your own sanity.
8. Keep your dog leashed whenever possible.
Many places require this anyway, but keeping your pet on a leash is the best way to prevent runaway dogs. In fact, even before you get your dog out of the car, it's best put him on a leash so he doesn't leap out of the vehicle ahead of you and dash off to investigate some tantalizing aroma.
9. Clean up after your dog-please!
No one actually likes this task but it is necessary. The more people pick up after their dogs, the more welcome all dogs will in public places. Tip: Always travel with a 4-1 mix of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle to remove traces of any indoor accidents or lingering doggy smell.
10. Try to create a traveling environment that is as close to home" as possible.
This means trying to feed your dog the same food at the same time you feed her at home. Also if you pet sleeps in a crate at home, bring it along. If he doesn't have a crate, bring an old blanket or large towel to create a designated pet area in your sleeping quarters.
"Taking your dog with you provides you with a great conversational ice-breaker," says Hunsicker. "When you travel with your dog, the journey often becomes more important than the destination." Her book, Travelers' Tales: A Dog's World, is available at local bookstores or by phoning 800/998-9938 (707/829-0515).
Also, for more resources for pet travel, visit the largest pet travel resource on the Internet - takeyourpet.com
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