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Dogs on the road

A dog owner’s life is a stressful one, as joyful as it is. And when they plan vacations, they need to get away from it all. Sometimes this means leaving the family dog with a friend or a family member for the week or weekend, and sometimes this means putting a very social dog in a doggie hotel. Some owners, however, do not need to get away from a frenetic home life, and see absolutely no problem in bringing their dog with them for an enjoyable summer vacation. The following tips will inform you what things you have to be wary of, if you are one of those adventurous dog owners.

Flying

A plane trip is usually an ordeal for humans, whether they fly first class or coach. Pets, however, do not get the choice of where they want to sit on a plane. All dogs fly cargo, and that’s probably the worst place on a plane you could occupy. It is loud, stuffy, claustrophobic, and an all around traumatic experience. If you simply must take your pooch on a plane, do it a favor and let it sleep through the whole journey. You will need to schedule an appointment with your vet beforehand either way, especially if you are flying abroad. But even if you do not need to vaccinate it for the trip, explain to your vet that Fido is going on a plane, and they will understand – that dog needs to sleep it out. Some vets will do house calls, and lightly tranquilize your dog before the trip, which is the best option.

You will also need to call your airline and check their regulations for pet travelers. Before the trip, your dog should have a makeshift water bottle feeder (of water) attached to their carrier, to get a sip when they feel thirsty, but not to make a slippery mess around the cargo area. Also, do not feed your dog before the trip – an upset tummy is a terrible thing to have on a plane. All business – number one and number two – should be taken care of before you board the plane. Some airports have dog-friendly parks for Fido to stretch his legs and go about his business before the trip (after the trip as well). You could also always do this at home, before you leave for the airport, and before your dog has had its “sleeping pill”

Understand that your dog might feel hurt and abandoned after the trip – they are really not meant for flying in cargo areas, but that is the most modern airlines can do for them so far. Show your dog how much you love them when you land!2

Driving

Driving is significantly more fun for everybody involved than flying. Your dog is probably already used to the car, so a longer journey will only come as a little bit of a shock, not a big problem. Know that dogs get car sick, just like humans. This is something that happens on longer journeys, so be prepared as if you were traveling with a small child – except for travel sickness pills. Unless you have something specifically meant for animals, forget feeding your dog humane medicine.

There’s a couple of things you need to pack when going on a road trip with your dog. You will obviously need dog water bowls, and dry food. Be sure to pack an extra leash just in case, and make pit stops for the dog to do its business as well. Just because you’re car-trained and can hold it in for long periods of time doesn’t mean your dog should have to! Dogs can also get sun stroke in cars, so make sure it has plenty of shade in the back seat. And never, ever leave your dog alone in a closed and locked car!

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