Road Trips With Your Dog

Traveling with your dog can be enjoyable but somewhat stressful for you and your dog. So the best way to keep the stress down is to be prepared. I start traveling with my dogs at a very early age. My Mastiff, Fiona, took her first road trip at the age of 4 months. We traveled all over California, staying in hotels as well as the homes of friends and family. When planning your trip there are several things to be taken into consideration. First of all, when making reservations at hotels it is important to inquire about location of rooms. Although I have found it can be quieter for me on the top floor, if your pet has never experienced a flight of stairs, an elevator, or noises from above this can prove to be quite challenging.

We stayed in cabins and casitas that were private and quiet, as well as motels in busy, noisy areas. So the dog needed to adapt with every new stay. Dogs can adapt easily if they and we are prepared for the changes. This reduces your stress and in turn reduces your dog’s stress. If you know you are going to be staying in a hotel on an upper floor you can practice stairs or even elevators while at home so your dog is already comfortable with these situations.

If you plan on leaving your dog in the room then it is important to have your dog crate trained. Most hotels require that you crate pets in the room if leaving them alone. I would also suggest you leave them alone for only an hour or two at a time, again, to reduce stress. Crating your dog at home with the television on, and recreating the situation in your hotel, can help make your dog feel a little more at ease. I would also advise you to inquire about local dog parks and hiking trails to allow for your dog to get much needed exercise and playtime. Find emergency vet hospitals in the areas you’re staying in. Do not change your dog’s diet while traveling! The trip itself can cause stress related stomach issues so we do not want to add to the problem by changing the diet in any way. As well as having first aide supplies for myself including tropical antibiotic cream, hydrogen peroxide and Benadryl (all suitable for dogs).

I also make sure to add some important other essentials for my animals. Acidophilus and pure canned pumpkin can be a wonderful and easy way to treat mild stomach upsets, however if your pet tends to have one of those ongoing digestive problems or other chronic issues, consult with your vet for medicines and dosages. I recommend you also bring along different leashes, (a 6 ft. and a retractable), training collars, food and water bowls, food, and a blanket for the dog to sleep on. This also helps to give the dog an “at home feeling”. Towels to dry or clean feet, simple grooming tools i.e.: brush & baby wipes, a couple favorite toys and chew bones can be handy as well. And as always plenty of fresh clean water for both you and your pet. Of coarse there are always breed specific, and activity related items that you may also want to include in your supplies.

All these suggestions are just a few of what you can do to insure you and your pet have a happy, safe and healthy trip.

Happy Tails to you……………
Valerie Masi
Best Paw Forward

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