Going on vacation should be exciting, fun and most importantly a chance to get away from stress and irritations. Unfortunately, if you are a dog owner, going on vacation can bring up a whole new bunch of questions and stress factors that have to be considered. Does your dog get to go with you or will he have to remain behind? If you do leave him, who will care for him while you are gone? Will a trusted friend of family member take care of your furry baby, or will you hire a pet care service to come into your home? If that is not an option, will you be boarding your pet at a kennel? All of these things are stressful enough, but what if you decide to take your dog with you on vacation? Talk about a whole new set of worries to take into consideration!
Doggies on a Drive: How to Road trip with Rover
Some pets, (yes, even cats) love a good car ride. Some of them would rather chase behind them, or patiently watch for them to drive away rather than get into a car and go down the block. Does your dog get carsick backing down the driveway? Did you luck out and get the dog that will happily stick his head out of the window and ride off into the sunset? Will your pet ride in one spot, or will you have to keep chasing him off of the driver’s lap for safety’s sake? Before leaving for vacation, take your dog on a few short trips to get a basic idea of what kind of a rider he is. Once you know how he behaves in the car you will then have an idea of what kind of adjustments you will need to make with him, if any.
If your dog freaks out the minute the car is started and howls and whines the entire trip, you have to seriously consider whether it is worth taking him along. You can try starting the car beforehand and bringing the pet out afterward to see if that helps. If not, consider calling the vet for a prescription sedative to help relax your overwrought pet. (This may also be helpful for dogs that are prone to motion sickness.) Because a tranquilized dog may be too drowsy to hold himself upright, it might be necessary to keep in a carrier or crate for the duration of the ride.
A pet carrier or crate might be necessary for a lot of reasons, including safety. If your dog is one that will run wildly back and forth around the vehicle, keeping him contained may become necessary. Trying to drive with a dog trying to edge himself behind your back can be more than just annoying; it is an accident just waiting to happen! If you know that your dog will not settle down and patiently watch out of a window, then he must be put in an approved carrier. Make sure that it is of the proper size, sturdy and well ventilated. Do not put your carrier on the backseat where it might fall off, but do place it on the back floorboards. If your dog is in a carrier, make sure that you give yourself the time for frequent potty and leg stretching breaks. A cooped up pet will be crazed when you get to your destination, so keep that in mind as well.
If your dog is prone to motion sickness, then frequent stops become even more important. Do not allow your best friend to be stuck in a dirty cage. Being miserable is no way to spend a vacation, even if you have four legs.
And finally, remember that temperature issues may be more of a problem for your pets than for you, especially if they are stuck in a crate. If you are traveling during winter weather, make sure that the crate has a warm blanket lining the bottom of it so that your dog can snuggle when he is feeling cold. In warmer weather, realize that if you are feeling hot and sticky, it is probably far worse for your pet, so frequent water and fresh air breaks become even more necessary. Again, remember that hot weather may affect some dogs in different ways and those that have never been carsick before might have problems because of the heat. If you must travel during hot weather, try to head out during the early morning or late evening hours, stopping for longer breaks during the hotter afternoons.
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