THERE comes a time when you may want to take your dog on a long car trip, whether to exhibit it at a dog show or for a few days vacation. It's not always just a matter of putting the dog in the car and driving off. The following tips may make the time away from home more enjoyable for both you and your dog.
There are two main areas which need planning if you should decide to go.
Firstly, hotel-room accommodation for pets may not be permitted in some countries. Therefore, one needs good friends. But even friends need to be considered if their hospitality is to be extended, so be prepared when visiting.
Pack your dog's equipment. A familiar piece of bedding is important. Not all friends are too keen to have a dog sleeping on the beds or sofa. Don't forget bowls for food and water, and a supply of the dog's usual food as quite often the local store does not have your dog's brand.
A favourite toy or chew strap can keep a dog occupied in unfamiliar surroundings. Also worth considering are newspapers for the paper-trained house pet to relieve itself. Also pack one or your towels (to dry the dog) and grooming aids to keep it looking and smelling its best.
You will need leads, one to secure the dog if necessary and a walking lead. Dogs enjoy a long walk in new surroundings, it stimulates their interest and they tend to settle down after exercise.
Boredom often results in naughty activities such as barking or worst still your host's best leather shoe being chewed up. Destruction of your host's belongings is a big "NO" and I can assure you, you will never get a return invitation.
A small first-aid kit for minor injuries or insect bites is a must. Ask your vet to recommend the contents.
However, should you be taking your dog to remote parts of the country, you should get your vet's instructions of what to do in an emergency until you can get professional help.
During the planning stages of your trip, you should find out if your dog loves travelling. Most dogs enjoy car rides but there are some that suffer from motion-sickness.
By starting when they are young pups, taking short trips around the block and extending it for longer periods, you will soon find out if they suffer from this problem. If they do and you still wish to take your dog with you, consult your vet as there is medication you can give the dog to help prevent it getting sick.
A word of warning: Your dog will feel drowsy, so those dogs travelling to dog shows need sufficient time to wake up before a show otherwise they may very well sleep through the show.
Experience has shown that it is best not to feed a dog just before a trip especially one that suffers from motion-sickness.
Make sure your dog is comfortable before starting out. Also ensure that there is enough room for it to turn around and stretch.
Stop occasionally to let it relieve itself, always on a lead and make sure there is plenty of ventilation. Never have the windows fully open as someting may attract the dog to jump out of the moving car.
Never allow the dog to interfere with the driver. If you are travelling alone, it would be best if it is caged during the trip.
Common sense, good planning and the enjoyment of your dog's company can make travelling together great fun. Dogs love new places and smells and it solves the worry of what to do with your pet during your vacation.
A final piece of advice: Never, never leave your dog in the car with all the windows closed when you park. In the tropical climate, your dog may die as the temperature builds up fast.