Dog’s Eye View: Have a good trip
Thinking of taking a car trip with the family dog? Here are some ideas that might help make the journey more comfortable for everyone.
I start with what I call the “summer set-up.” I switch from my dog’s more closed or hard-sided crate to his open wire summer crate. I really like the open wire crates in summer especially because you can leave the windows open and don’t risk over heating. Additionally he is safe inside if you take a picnic break or have an on the road emergency.
Try putting a cooling mat in his crate. I use a flat-sided, bucket-type water container that clips to the inside of his crate. It doesn’t spill and doesn’t take up too much room. Non-spill water bowls work well too.
Battery-operated fans keep the air circulating when you need to stop and leave the car windows open, letting in outside air. Keep a thermometer in the car so that you can check on the temperature.
Use your front window sunshields even when you are just stopping briefly or at a road side park. Large silver reflective cloths are available that allow a breeze to flow through but can also be fastened with magnets or bungee cords to help keep the car cooler overall.
You might pack a tote that has your pal’s veterinary records including current vaccination history. Having the name and phone number of your home veterinary clinic may come in handy on the road.
Remember to pack any medications he’s taking. If you are travelling into an area that has some health risks such as heart worm, you might want to check with your veterinarian before you leave. A pet first aid kit is a very good idea.
Getting lost in a strange place spells trouble. The American Red Cross recommends having the largest possible easily read tag on your dog’s collar with your current name, address and phone numbers as a reliable first line of defense.
Additionally getting a micro chip for your dog just might get him back to you should he get lost without his collar. Many people now have all kinds of great pictures of their dog on cell phones, but it could be a good idea to have a high quality, recent picture of your dog with you.
Something that I think is a good idea is to have destination names and phone numbers written down and left with friends or family at home in case your dog becomes separated from the family on the trip. This list should include proposed stops along the way.
Of course you’ll have his leash but think about packing a 15- to 20-foot line or rope to give him some running exercise space with you so you don’t have to turn him loose in a strange location.
Oh yes, and have plenty of pet waste pick-up bags along to show America what good dog owners from Colorado are like.
Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training, LLC with over 30 years of experience.
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