The big sad eyes and tilted head send a gut-wrenching feeling to a dog owner. The decision weighs heavily on families whether one of the most significant members of the family should stay home in the care of familiar comforts, board at a kennel, or join his human pack. Not every situation lends itself to summer travels with Charlie; yet, meticulous planning can ensure everyone is dog-gone happy!
Contact the Vet
Do you have up-to-date and certified vaccination records in your care? Schedule an appointment to verify the health of your four-legged friend, especially if he’s older.
Tip: Before leaving, update your contacts to include a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital.
Update ID Tags
As much as you rub ears and touch your dog’s body, the last thing you notice is the condition of the ID tag. If missing or scratched, order a new one, including the dog’s nickname, the phrase, “Call Jean [the owner],” a cell number, and a critical description, such as “skittish” or “anxious,” or “loves kids.” The information presented on the ID can help reconnect you quickly!
Tip: Check Charlie’s collar to ensure it is durable and unlikely to break. If threadbare, replace it!
Diversify Potty Events
Through training and opportunity, you can encourage a four-legged friend to relieve himself on multiple surfaces, and not just grass! Take note of Charlie’s stress levels when visiting friends or walking down a street. Common signs of anxiety may affect a dog’s ability to eat, drink, and urinate frequently. Great planning and calming techniques can eliminate potential problems.
Accommodations, Call Ahead
Not every hotel appreciates a dog and owner striding through the main lobby. Surprisingly, the restriction of pets also applies to campgrounds. Before you hit the road, take the time to secure a pet-friendly reservation. Ask detailed questions regarding the pet policy, to ensure the establishment accepts a medium-sized or large breed. Request the availability of a ground-level room to encourage safety, rather than trudging up or down stairs at odd hours.
Tip: Aunt Helen may be less than thrilled if she sees you neglected to inform her of the additional guest. Whether you lodge overnight or visit family or friends, be sure to ask if Charlie would also be a welcomed guest.
Turn Up the Air Conditioning
The dog days of summer can become deathly hot for your small polar bear, namely the drooling Great Pyrenes not far from your side. Shaving Charlie in advance will help ease the thick coat; however, the next worry is the inside of a vehicle. How many pet owners said, “I’ll only be a minute,” and left their pooch contained in the hot, metal box? Statistics prove leaving the windows open has little effect on the interior. Consider this computation: factor in the outside temperature, and add 19 degrees per 10 minutes the car is without air conditioning. Therefore, an 85-degree outside temperature can reach 104 degrees in a car in a matter of minutes. If driving with Charlie, consider leaving early in the morning or late in the evening to prevent his distress or dehydration levels.
Tip: Dogs who suffer from excess panting on stifling days may enjoy an “icy comfort bed,” which requires no electric cord, only cold water. Rather than sitting inches from the vent, lying on a cold, vinyl raft may ease travel from here to there and back again!
Packing the Doggy Bag
Keep the list simple! Say yes to Charlie’s favorite, tattered blanket and purple elephant toy! Toss in a few new toys to ease boredom! Make sure new tools, such as collapsible bowls or harnesses are familiar and used often!
- Simplify feedings by packing each portion in a sealable bag.
- Bring the harness and twenty-foot lead for multiple types of walks.
- Pack poop bags in an accessible location.
- For quick access of water, take a pre-filled gallon jug. Keep available the no-splash dog bowl to ensure Charlie remains hydrated throughout the trip!
Beyond the decision to take Charlie on the family trip, the next big decision will be the seating arrangement! Delegating the dog’s comfort seat will ensure travels with Charlie go smoothly! Good luck!