Vacationing with Your Dog
By Arlo the Hound with help from Honor Tarpenning
This time of year lots of people take off work, pack their families in the car and hit the road for a vacation. The problem is, we dogs often get left behind with a friend, a pet sitter, or at a kennel. While there is nothing wrong with this, we would much rather go with you. You know we hate to be away from you, even for a minute! So bring us along; it really is easy to vacation with your dog if you make the proper preparations.
Where to go
If you look around the Web, you will find many top ten lists of the country’s most dog-friendly cities. They all use different criteria, so it is hard to say which one is number one, but the following cities are all great destinations for dog lovers and have loads of hotels where you can stay with your dog.
When it comes to plenty of dog-friendly park space and relatively inexpensive veterinary care for your dog (in case of an emergency, or if you love it so much you decide to stay) Colorado Springs, CO; Austin, TX; San Diego, CA; and Charlotte, NC top the list. These cities are guaranteed to be happy to see you trotting your pooch around the many green spaces all over town.
As far as having lots and lots of fun touristy things you can do with your dog, and the availability of dog-friendly public transit, think about visiting Vancouver, British Colombia; Boston, MA; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA.
Before You Leave
Before you hit the road with your pooch, make sure he is comfortable in the car. Take the time to gently, gradually allow your dog to acclimate to riding in the car by first spending time sitting in the car with the engine off, then with the engine on, and then taking short trips around the block. If you ease into it and act like it is no big deal, your dog will get the hang of it pretty quickly.
You should also take your dog to the vet before you start your vacation. Get him a check-up so you know he is healthy and there is less of a chance that you’ll have to cut your vacation short because of an ill dog. While you’re there, pick up a copy of his health and vaccination records, these could come in handy.
Make an ID tag for your dog if he does not already have one, be sure your phone number (with the area code) are on it. Secure this tag to a sturdy, durable collar.
What to Bring
Pack your dog’s records from the vet as well as an extra tag and collar, just in case. Bring along plenty of your dog’s brand of food. Abrupt changes in diet, combined with the stress of travel can wreak havoc on your dog’s tummy. Also bring clean up supplies, including baggies, paper towels, and an enzyme cleaner; as well as travel bowls (they pack better) a travel waterer, and any medications your dog is taking. Don’t forget to pack some fun toys and other familiar items from home too, like a cozy blanket, to help your dog relax.
I can’t say it often enough, DO NOT ever leave your dog alone in the car. Just last week someone left his dog in the car during an American Idol audition and the dog died! This happens ALL the time. Cars in the summertime are just like ovens-- even with the windows cracked, even if it is nice outside.
Do not ever let your dog off his leash when you are away from home, unless you are both in a secure, fenced-in area, like a dog park. Losing your dog at home is difficult enough; imagine losing him in some strange city!
Do not leave your dog unattended anywhere. Hotel rooms, camp sites, in front of cafes or shops—you just never know what could happen to your beloved pooch. It isn’t worth the risk.
Do not make your dog hold it for too long. When you are on the road you have to stop quite often to let your dog stretch, eliminate, and get a drink of water. Making him wait too long can cause him to develop car anxiety, and that’s no fun for anyone involved.
So, I hope you enjoy your vacation with your furry friend. I’ve got my paws crossed for a trip to the beach with my mom this summer. In fact, stay tuned for tomorrow’s article about having fun and staying safe at the beach!