Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Have dog, will travel

Finian (Papillon) is ready to hit the road!

Finian (Papillon) is ready to hit the road!

Thinking about br inging your canine buddy along for summer vacation? Taking the time to plan ahead can mean the difference between a vacation to remember and one you wish you could forget!

Before you automatically include Fido in your plans, take an honest assessment of your dog’s temperament and lifestyle. Will he really enjoy your vacation? If you have an active dog who loves the outdoors and you’re headed for a camping trip, it may be a perfect fit. But if you have a fear ful dog that will need to spend a lot of time by himself in a hotel room, think twice before bringing him. Vacations should be fun for the entire family.

If you know your dog will have a blast during your vacation, here are some tips for ensuring you have a safe, happy trip:

• Ensure your dog is in good health and up to date on all vaccinations, as well as flea and tick control. Be sure to pack any medications he will need. Get a list of nearby veterinarians and emergency clinics at your destination. If you have a medical emergency, you don’t want to have to scramble for information.

• Make sure your dog has a current ID tag attached to his collar, with a phone number where you can easily be reached.

• If you’ll be traveling by car, put a sign in your vehicle’s window stating you’re traveling with a pet or pets, and in case of emergency please look in the glove box. Then, for each pet, include a document with his or her name, a current picture, age, any medications necessary, special issues or medical conditions, and a little bit about your dog’s personality. Include a note for emergency personnel to take your pets to the nearest veterinarian for boarding with expenses paid, along with contact information for your family or friends who will help. Don’t forget to coordinate this with your contacts ahead of time.

Hopefully, you will never need this, but if you are incapacitated due to an accident, you want to be sure there are directions on how to handle your pets. Or, in case your pets somehow get lost along the way, you’ll have all their current information handy, including a photo, to help spread the word to get them back.

Vacations can be a ton of fun, but they’re also stressful. To help reduce your dog’s stress while you’re on your trip, keep to his routine as much as possible. Bring along his favorite toys. Also understand that stress and a new location can cause a dog to exhibit behavior problems he may not do at home.

For example, you may check into your hotel room and minutes later, find Fido peeing in the corner. He never pees in the house at home, so what’s up? Your dog learned not to pee at YOUR house, not all other indoor places. The stress of the trip could also have caused this or other issues, such as chewing destructively. A dog that never chews furniture at home could surprise you by unstuffing a chair back at the hotel while you’re out to dinner. This is not spite. Your dog isn’t mad at you for leaving him. Instead, he’s likely stressed you left him in a strange place and chewing makes him feel better. It’s a good idea to bring your dog’s crate along to safely contain him if you can’t supervise him carefully.

If you don’t think your dog will truly enjoy your trip, hire a professional petsitter or board him at a quality boarding kennel. Interview prospective caretakers carefully, and ask for references.

You want to be sure your dog will be treated with respect and care while you’re gone, so you won’t spend your time away worrying about him. That way you can both enjoy your vacation!

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