Summer vacations are the best part about the summer! As you prepare for your Labor Day plans if your planning on bringing your furry friend there are a few things you should do ensure everything goes smoothly for both you and them.
Some things to consider BEFORE you head on your summer vacation:
- Is your destination pet-friendly? Check to see if there are parks nearby, where you can exercise your dog. Remember big cars, honking and street noise can by scary for dogs who are not accustomed to sounds. Practice “hard-surface” elimination in case there are very few grassy areas for your dog to relieve himself.
- Is the hotel you are staying in pet-friendly? Will they accommodate all breeds and sizes? Often there is a small fee per night added to your bill. Usually pets are not to be left alone in the room, but exceptions may apply if your dog is crated. So be sure to bring a good sized crate he/she will be comfortable in if you have to leave them. Be sure to check with the hotel you are staying at, as each hotel has different policies.
- Are you camping, or renting a cottage? Don’t assume that the cottage or camp ground is pet-friendly and don’t try to sneak your dog in. Many campgrounds allow pets, with specific rules regarding leashing, dogs left alone on site, and where exercise and elimination are allowed.
- How will you get to your vacation spot? Will you be travelling by car, plane, or train? If you are travelling by car, consider where you will stop for bathroom breaks. Plan out bathroom breaks at rest stops or welcome centers – stopping at the side of the freeway is dangerous both for you and your dog! If you plan on travelling by plane or train, check with the airline or train carrier to find out the specific regulations for travelling.
- Dogs can get motion sickness or car stress? Many dogs will salivate excessively and vomit while on road trips. Train your dog to like car rides by spending time in the car playing and exploring – be sure to give treats. Gradually increase the time spent in the car. It may take some time for your dog to become accustomed to the car, but it sure beats your dog vomiting each time you drive somewhere! See your veterinarian for other options if your dog continues to become sick in the car.
- Have you packed everything you will need? Food, water, food and water dishes, treats, leashes, proof of ownership, vaccination records, identification tags, toys, comb/brush, bed, crate, towels, medications (including flea, tick, and heartworm preventives), waste bags, and travel water containers for hikes. If you are leaving the state or the country you will need certificates provided by your veterinarian and/or customs that may take several days to process.
- Will you be in extreme heat or humidity? Your dog may be accustomed to the heat, but not to the humidity; others may not be used to the heat at all. Don’t plan big hikes or a lot of outdoor activity until your dog has acclimated to the new climate. Make sure to have lots of water on hand at all times as dogs can become dehydrated quickly in extreme heat and humidity.
- Will you be hiking? Bring along a collapsible water bowl or dog water bottle and carry lots of water with you. If you are hiking in the mountains, take it slow and allow your dog (and you!) to stop every 20-30 minutes for a water break – it is easy to get dehydrated if you or your dog are not used to higher elevations.
- Be aware of specific health concerns at your destination. While heart worm, tick-borne diseases, fleas, and other disease may not be a concern in your hometown, your destination may be a different situation. Your veterinarian can provide you with information on what parasites are present at your destination and provide you with any preventives that your dog needs.
- Ensure your dog is properly identified. Losing your dog would ruin your vacation. Make sure your dog is micro-chipped before you head out on your vacation. Verify that the contact information associated with the chip is up-to-date. Consider buying an ID collar for your dog that has your cell phone number on it.
- Finally, consider if you (and your dog) will enjoy your vacation. A vacation is only fun if everyone is having a good time. If you plan on going out a lot and leaving your dog in your camper or hotel room, that may not be fun for your dog. If you think that the activities you will do on your vacation will be unsuitable for your dog, have him stay at home with a Pet Sitter, or send him to “camp” at a kennel with his furry buddies!
Family vacations are all about having fun and making memories! Including your dog is great, especially if you have planned for him to be a part of the fun! Call Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital with any travel concerns at 201 646 2008 or for health certificates.