Vacation & Travel Tips for Better
WHEN SPOT CAN'T COME ALONG -
KENNELING YOUR DOG:
If you ever think you may kennel your dog
(meaning at a boarding kennel or even a friend or relative's house),
consider taking your dog there when he is young for a "test run" night or
weekend. Ask your friend or the kennel personnel to report on your dog's
behavior. This way, you can get your dog used to the idea of staying
someplace different and have an idea how he will react.
When you take your dog and leave him -- DO
NOT cry and hug him and tell him how much you will miss him! DO NOT become
emotional in front of the dog -- NO KIDDING!! Your dog will think: "Why
are they SO UPSET?? This must be a bad place!" DO take your dog there with
a positive, happy attitude and tell him hat a good time he will have, then
give him to the attendant and walk away. You can do your crying in the car
(I do!). If you become emotional, you are setting your dog up for fearful
and panic-like behavior at the kennel!
When you kennel your dog, it is best that
he eat the same thing you feed him at home; that way the stress of the new
environment AND new food won't set him up for vomiting or diarrhea.
Make sure your dog is up to date on all
vaccinations - this is the simplest and least expensive way to protect
your dog against the contagious things we CAN prevent, like Bordatella,
Coronavirus, Parvovirus, etc.
I ALWAYS make sure my dog has prevention
against Heartworm and especially fleas (and ticks, if necessary) by having
them on Sentinel (by Novartis - a veterinary prescription product), and I
may even put either FrontLine, Topspot, or Advantage on them. At the very
least, it is not a bad idea to have the kennel bathe your dog the day you
pick him up. This way, if you request a flea bath, the fleas he may have
picked up will be left there and he will be clean from any kennel smell he
may have picked up.
TIPS TO REMEMBER - TRAVELING WITH
If you want your dog to behave and be
comfortable in the car, then start young, and take him to fun places.
Many people don't understand why their dog doesn't like car rides, but
say they only take him to the vet, kennel, or groomer! Gosh, I wouldn't
have fun either!! When I have a puppy, my puppy goes with me on short
trips to the corner store, to the post office, to the park, to the pet
store, etc. Trips should be frequent, short and fun to make a good "go
Bye Bye" impression on your dog.
Traveling with your dog is safest when
the dog is either in a crate or with a seatbelt on. That way quick stops
or accidents don't have to mean injury to your dog. This also keeps
busybodies in one place!
If you have doubts whether your dog will
be carsick, DO NOT feed at least 12 hours before travel.
If you must leave your dog in the car for
any length of time, REMEMBER EVEN CLOUDY DAYS CAN KILL YOUR DOG! The
heat in your car can become unbearable within minutes. Windows should be
more than cracked (I found window guards which allow me to open my
windows further without letting would-be thieves get their hands
inside), a sunscreen should block the windshield (they make nice
reflective ones), and you should park in the shade. Vans or minivans
(especially if they have smoke glass side and rear windows) stay much
cooler than cars and they have more windows that can be opened. If you
are gone any length of time, CHECK on your dog frequently. When you come
back, give the dog a drink of water. Don't let him gorge, just let him
drink some and then wait a bit and offer more. Dogs will sometimes vomit
if a large amount of water hits their stomach all at once.
Speaking of water, it is a good idea to
bring a jug of water from home, both for on the road use and also
because some dogs don't get used to other water easily and can develop
vomiting or diarrhea from an unfamiliar water supply.
PLAN AHEAD - SOME HOTEL HINTS:
When you take your dog to a new place to
stay (hotel, cottage, etc.) they may not be on their best behavior. They
understand what the routine and rules are at home, but may not
understand that those rules pertain no matter where you are! Often the
best insurance for that is to bring your dog's crate along on the trip
(you did purchase a fold down suitcase style variety, didn't you???).
This will do two things: it will provide a confinement for your dog and
prevent damage that you may have to pay for, and it will be a safe and
familiar place for your dog to call his own while you are on the road.
If you leave the motel room, I would
first try to leave for a short trip (maybe to get some ice) to see how
your dog acts in the room. You don't want your neighbors complaining.
Even a dog-friendly hotel won't hesitate to kick you out if you disturb
others! Still, a new traveler will react to passers-by by barking - it
is up to you to let him know this is NOT acceptable. If I leave my dogs
in the room, I leave the room vent/air conditioner on, and the
television on to create some white noise to drown out all the outside
noise the dog won't be used to.
BE PREPARED - THINGS TO BRING ALONG
When I travel, I have a bag I pack just for
the dogs. In this bag are things I have learned that I may need.
A blanket or king sized flat sheet to put
over the covers on the bed to keep the dog hair off for subsequent
Towels to wipe wet dogs, or dirty ones (I
once had to take Cody to a coin operated car wash for a hose down after
he had diarrhea in my van! Luckily, I had the seats covered and I just
had to throw the cover out, but I did not have towels to dry him off!)
First aid kit for dogs
Cleaning and deodorizing solution and
Travel bowls for food and water
Jug of water from home
Shampoo - for those emergency baths
Travel leash (your dog should be on a
leash at all times - after all, he IS in a strange place) and
Flexi-leash for more freedom
Identification tags (on the dog!!!)
Baggies to clean up the dog poop (you DO
clean up after your dog, don't you???)
Large garbage bags for big problems like
Cody's diarrhea incident!
Heartworm preventative and flea and tick
Brush (I once had to pick burrs out of my
dog's coat after a romp in a field)
PROBLEM CASES - HOW TO DESENSITIZE
YOUR DOG TO CAR RIDES
Dogs who become carsick must be exposed
SLOWLY to riding in the car. Each step should take a week, and if the dog
gets sick on a step, you need to back off to the previous step until he
doesn't get sick.
Put the dog in the car. Have a toy to
keep the dog's mind off the car, but don't let him get too rowdy.
Dog in the car, car started and running
Dog in the car, car started. Back down
the driveway and then move back up the driveway (IF the dog hasn't
gotten sick on the way down!)
Dog in the car, take car around the block
(shorten the trip for a week if even that is too much)
Dog in the car, take car to local
convenience store and back home (or any place close but farther than
around the block with a couple of starts and stops along the way).
Dog in the car, short trip (you decide
the length based on how your dog is responding.
Dogs who get carsick will especially
benefit from either a crate (especially the more enclosed plastic crates)
or a seatbelt (check your local pet shop for dog seat belts). These will
limit unsteady movements. Keep in mind, dogs don't always vomit when they
are carsick. Some may just drool excessively or look wet around the mouth
and may have a sick or queasy look in their eyes. Watch your dog for signs
of carsickness and work with the steps above to make both of you feel
Pam Young, LVT
Dog Gone Good LLC
Dog Behavior Consultant
Personal Dog Trainer