travelling with your dog
first aid kit
costs of owning a dog
pack dynamics
canine hip dysplasia
chocolate Toxicity

Feeding your dog
Getting a puppy

Traveling with your Dog

Traveling by Car

Label your Dog
Make sure that your dog's collar is secure, and that your phone number is securely fastened to it. If you're going to be stopping in many different places, it might be good to keep a supply of those paper and string key tags available so that you can write the current phone number of the hotel and other local information on it and replace them as needed.

Crate your Dog
The Norman Rockwell picture of the family vacation: kids in the backseat, family dog with it's head out the window is an enduring image. Even though dogs seem to love hanging out the window, it can be dangerous. Rocks, bugs, even the wind can cause damage to sensitive ears and eyes. Sure, open the windows a bit so Fido can get a good sniff in, but don't let your dog run loose in the car.

Your dog should be crated in the backseat of the car, in a securely fastened crate large enough for him to turn around in. This will prevent him from becoming a fuzzy projectile if you have an accident, and will protect him, as well.

There are also 'dog seatbelts' that can be used, if your dog will sit calmly in the seat. Some dogs hate them, others could care less.

Exercise your Dog
Just like us, dogs get pretty tired of sitting down and staring at the passing scenery. They need to be walked regularly and given a chance to eat and drink. Bring a long leash and make sure you control your dog completely at any stop. Some dogs get very stressed when away from home and may bolt from the car and run away in a strange town.

In hot weather, a car is a large dog-oven. Don't ever leave your dog in the car, even with the windows open. Even in cold weather, sun on the closed-in car can heat it up to uncomfortable levels, and leaving the windows open is an invitation for your dog to jump out and run away in a strange place.

Hotel Manners
Make sure to call ahead and verify that the hotel takes dogs - never try to "sneak" a dog into a hotel, thinking that no one will notice. Many hotels have specific pet policies (a deposit, extra for the room, etc) that you should follow to the letter. Don't ruin it for someone else traveling with pets by being a bad guest.

Walk your dog away from the grassy areas in front of the hotel. Make sure you pick up after your dog. Don't let your dog bark, and don't leave him alone in the hotel room - either take him with you , or don't go yourself.

Traveling by Plane

Direct flights
Book a direct flight, if possible. If not, look for a short layover and make sure you monitor the loading and unloading of your dog. I bullied my way onto the tarmac once to watch my dog being unloaded - I can't recommend that plan of attack, but be persistent and make them check.

Most airlines have a range of temperatures that are acceptable to ship animals. Usually it's somewhere between 40-80 degrees. This is to protect them from having to leave animals in the sun to overheat, or freeze before unloading. Most airlines will tell you in advance their rules and will not hesitate to refuse to allow you to load your dog if the temperature suddenly changes. Make sure you have a backup plan.

Crate your Dog
Small dogs can sometimes travel in sherpa bags or crates in the main cabin of the airplane. Larger dogs will have to travel in the forward luggage compartments (don't worry, these are pressurized and heated) in an airline approved crate (Vari-kennel, Doscicil, etc) of sufficient size for your dog. Make sure that the crate is well labeled with your name, address, contact, destination, and flight information.

Put water in the crate. Usually, freezing a block of ice in the plastic clip-on caddy for the crate is adequate. If the flight is long, make sure to provide adequate water.
Don't lock the crate. Close it securely and make sure it will not open, but remember that the crate may need to be opened in an emergency.

When we've traveled with our dogs in cargo, I"ve been a right horrendous bitch about making sure that I SEE the dogs being loaded, and that they are unloaded and transported immediately upon landing. If you're polite, you can often get one of the flight attendants to check on things for you and watch from the plane as they move your dog. However, with the new TSA rules, I have no idea if that will be allowed. Make friends with a clerk from the airlines and plead your case.

Don't tranquilize
It shouldn't be necessary to tranquilize your dog for airline travel, and in some cases (especially for the flat-faced breeds) it can be dangerous. Talk to your vet if your dog freaks out traveling.

Some people have recommended Rescue Remedy, or other herbal supplements to calm their dogs. I haven't tried them, so talk to your vet.

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