As we near the end of the summer, you might be thinking about a last minute trip before the hustle and bustle of fall arrives. Kudos to you!
And if you’re anything like me, you want to take your dog along, but you’re worried about traveling with them as they get older.
Are they healthy enough to travel? How do I keep them safe in the car? What if they get sick while we’re away? Do I need to bring anything special with me?
These are just some of the thoughts that might float around in your mind. And it might make the thought of traveling much more stressful.
But vacation is supposed to be fun! So let’s go over some “must-dos” and considerations to put your mind at ease so you can enjoy some quality time and relax with your furry best friend!
Medical and Safety Considerations:
1. Medical Records
Make sure to bring copies of your dog’s important medical records. This might include vaccine history, Rabies certificate, recent bloodwork, current medications, and a brief summary of any medical conditions. I suggest putting it all in a folder and tuck it safely in the glove compartment of your car- that way you know right where to find it!
This may seem excessive, but I’ve seen enough overwhelmed pet parents who are on vacation when their dog gets sick, who are then stuck trying to get a hold of their regular vet for records but the office is closed. It’s worth being prepared!
2. Extra Medications
If your dog is currently on medications, of course bring them with you. But I suggest bringing an extra week’s worth of medications in case you get stuck away longer than planned. It’s best if you can keep the medications in their original containers so you can easily access the name of the drug, dose, and directions for use.
3. Research a Local Veterinarian
If you know where you’ll be traveling and staying, research a local veterinarian in that area ahead of time. Nothing’s worse than your dog getting sick while you’re away, then having to scramble to find a vet you can trust.
4. Fresh Water
This may seem obvious, but make sure to bring extra fresh water for your dog. This is especially important if it’s a long car ride just in case you aren’t able to find fresh drinkable water on the way. Your dog is more likely to become dehydrated in the car, especially if they pant a lot, so make sure to stop frequently for potty and water breaks!
5. Consider a Seat Belt
As our dogs get older, it’s harder for them to balance, making them more likely to get injured in the car. Since you’re guaranteed to having some stopping and starting on your trip, putting your dog in a doggy seat belt can help keep your dog safely on the seat, and help them not have to exert as much energy trying to remain balanced.
6. Access to Air
Again, this may seem obvious, but air flow in your car is likely variable. And your dog can’t really tell you if they are getting enough air or not. Whether you have fresh air with the windows down or the air vents on, make sure your dog has plenty of access to air. If it’s summer time, turn on the A/C in the car before putting your dog in, so it’s already nice and cool!
Just be careful not to let your dog hang out the car window to avoid injuries or flying debris that could scratch their eye.
Traveling with your dog should be fun and enjoyable for BOTH of you. Hopefully if you plan ahead, you’ll never have a problem. But it’s better to be prepared so you can have a smooth vacation with your fur baby!
And here’s just a final note: if your dog gets stressed in the car or about new surroundings, it might be best to leave them at home. Some dogs just don’t adjust as well as they get older, making traveling a bad experience for them.
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