It’s vacation time and you’re ready to get out of town for a much needed vacation. But, as all dog owners know, it’s not so simple to just pack up and go.
What do you do with Fido? You can always kennel him, but the thought of leaving man’s best friend in a cage for even a few days is more than many dog owners can bear. Often dogs become sick and depressed, either during their kennel stay, or after they come home. Some of the most common health problems include diarrhea and kennel cough, even if they may have had their shots.
This isn’t to say that kenneling is always a bad option. Many times it’s the only way. I confess. We’ve kenneled our boxer on several occasions, although we didn’t want to do. We just didn’t a choice. However, now that he’s getting older, we’re more prone to just take him along.
If Fido is well behaved and potty-trained, why not bring him along on your vacation? Sounds like a good idea, but first you’ll have to do your homework before you take off.
Although some motels take pets, not all do. You’ll need to call ahead of time and make sure they can take your dog. It’s also best to let them know the breed. I recall several years ago how a motel assured me they took pets. Then, when I shared that our dog was a boxer, I heard silence, then……”Oh…um…I’m sorry, but I just remembered…. several conventions are slated for that weekend and I’m afraid we’re booked…..” Yeah, right! I thought, slamming down the phone.
A good website to visit before you leave is “PetFriendlyTravel.com” where you’ll find a complete listing of dog friendly motels, restaurants, beaches, etc.
If you have a puppy or relatively young dog who appears to have dog ADD (attention deficit disorder), you may want to ask your veterinarian about dog tranquilizers. When we moved 1300 miles from Florida to Connecticut eight years ago, a tranquilizer was a must-have for us to make the long two-day trip and remain sane. The tranquilizer was mixed with his dog food in the morning, just before we left for our trip. It didn’t knock him out, but we thought we had another dog in our car as we’d never see him so docile. But be advised. Dog tranquilizers are not intended for older dogs as they may increased the dog’s blood pressure, putting him at risk for a stroke. When we moved last January from Connecticut to our new home in Georgia, our vet warned us it wasn’t a good idea. However, I was pleased to find that since our dog is now a senior citizen (almost 70 in dog age), he’d calmed down considerably in the car and was a model passenger.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you travel with Fido….
*Be sure to pack his favorite toys, blanket, and treats. If you’re staying overnight in a motel, you’ll need his crate when you go out to dinner. Or, if you don’t want to put up the crate you can either send out for takeout or have your traveling buddy pick up some food, so you can eat in your motel room together.
*If you have a bigger dog, you don’t have to stop as much as a smaller one, unless, of course, he tells you. It makes sense—Bigger dog, bigger bladder. When we traveled from Connecticut to Georgia, we walked Hercules whenever we stopped for gas or restroom breaks, not having to stop just for him to do his business.
*When you do stop to eat, be sure to crack down the window, about halfway, so Fido gets enough air. Before you return to the car, fill up a water bottle in the restaurant and fill his dish before you take off.
* If it’s extremely hot and humid, it may be a better idea to find a roadside park along the way and have a picnic. This way, Fido will get a chance to stretch his legs and get some needed exercise, meaning he’ll be a happier traveler when you hit the road again.
*Once you get to your motel, get out his blanket and favorite toys so he feels at home. Give him lots of water to make up for not having a water dish in the car.
*Don’t forget the pooper-scooper. This is especially important if you plan to walk him along to the beach or other public property.
Most of all, don’t forget to enjoy Fido on your trip. You’re making memories with him. And, remember to take lots of pictures to share those memories.