Traveling with your dog or pet

Traveling with your dog or pet can be rewarding and a lot of fun, but only if you’re prepared.

Besides the travel basics to keep your furry companion safe, such as safely restraining, allowing adequate time for “potty breaks”, and bringing along comforting items from home, make sure your pet’s identification tags are up-to-date and readable.

Be sure not to forget to bring a lead or harness to allow exercise during “pit stops” and it is a good idea to have an extra leash/lead.

Puppies especially should not be allowed to jump in and out of cars. They should be lifted down from these places or, better, be taught to use dog ramps or steps.

Restricting jumping activities is very important in preventing immediate and future cartilage and spinal disc damage.

When a dog jumps down instead of using portable steps or a dog ramp, the impact pressure is absorbed into the front legs. The line of force is directed down the length of the spinal column, causing compression of the individual discs.

This increases the risk that a disc may rupture or become herniated, causing a portion of the disc to protrude and pressure the spinal cord, which in turn typically inhibits nerve transmission. This can lead to pain, weakness and major paralysis in the hind legs, and can affect abdominal organs from the resulting spinal cord damage.

A dog ramp will not only make life more comfortable for your dog, but can help your loved pet remain more active and involved in your life, especially in its later years.

On your trip, cover your car seats to keep them clean and free of shedding hair. A Dog Hog Travel Blanket is ideal with features like thick cushioned fleece bed, strong and durable oxford nylon backing, as well as outer pockets to store treats, toys, grooming items and water bottle. Warm in winter and cool in summer and can be used indoors or out and about and is machine washable.

If applicable, it is a good practice to include your destination address and/or phone number on your pet’s tags and cage/crate.

If your pet will be traveling in a cage, crate or carrier be sure toenails are properly trimmed to prevent injury due to snags.

NEVER leave your pet in a hot car, even with the windows cracked. In as little as 2 to 3 minutes, pets can suffer heat stroke and even die from high temperatures.

Be sure to have water with you and available to prevent dehydration. A portable inexpensive water dispenser is a perfect product for travel and outdoor activity with your dog. Now, when you travel, go on walks or hikes, you can keep your pet hydrated with a Speed-E-Drink water carrier.

This particular water carrier attaches with a simple belt clip to your waist for portability when you are out and about while leaving your hands free. It attaches to most .5L bottles, so you never have to worry about breaking or cleaning a bottle.

Bring along a collapsible Port-A-Bowl. We found the Dog Tucker Traveler is “the civilized solution for food and water to go”. Features a bag that holds up to 15 pounds for storing and transporting food; double wall water proof with ripstop liner. Very easily cleaned and quick drying. Includes 1 food bowl and 1 water bowl and has elastic retaining straps to secure the bowls or carry a water bottle. Very convenient.

Be sure to remember to take along all medications and supplements to avoid missed doses, and to have a first aid kit to ensure readiness in the event of an injury or medical emergency.

A tired pet is typically much more amenable to easing into the travel experience, so exercise your pet prior to departure.

Try a soothing non-prescription product like Homeopet Anxiety or Pet Calm if you know your pet usually becomes anxious about travel.

To prevent car sickness, try to feed your dog at least four hours prior to departure. If the trip is long, feed smaller amounts than normal at least two hours before you leave.

Above all, have fun and a safe trip.

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