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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 24 February 2003 Issue

Traveling With Your Dog

Dear Jill,

I'm making an automobile trip from Florida to upstate New York in two months and I want to take my new dog, Lane, with me. We will be staying at my relatives' house in the country, and they want me to bring him. I adopted Lane from our local shelter two weeks ago, so I don't know him well, yet. He seems to like riding in the car, but I'm not sure how he will do on such a long trip. Plus, I want to stay in a motel along the way. He's a big dog, about 55 lbs, and I want him to be very comfortable. What should I do to prepare him for this journey? Are there certain things I should bring or put in my car? Where should he sit? Does there have to be water available at all times (that's what my friend told me)? I don't know how I'd do that! Please advise! Thanks,


Dear Adam,

First of all, congratulations on your recent adoption of Lane!!! That's wonderful!!

I am so glad you want to bring your dog with you on your travels. It's important to plan well for a great trip! Assuring your companion animal's safety and comfort will make traveling easy and enjoyable for both you and Lane. But before you decide to definitely bring your dog with you, determine whether he can travel in a car for longer distances without becoming stressed or physically ill. Take him for at least four or five 20-45 minute car rides to various places. Get him used to car travel and see if he does O.K. If you think he may need medication to travel comfortably, consult your veterinarian.

Lane MUST wear a collar and identification tag at all times, especially when traveling. The I.D. tag should include a telephone number that will be answered while you are away from home. Consider having Lane "microchipped," if he is not chipped already. Microchipping is a safe, permanent identification system designed to unite lost companion animals with their guardians. The microchip is a small, sterile transponder, no bigger than a grain of rice, containing a unique ID code capable of being read by a scanner. A veterinarian can microchip your dog (and cat). It takes only seconds, is relatively painless and is recommended for dogs and cats of all ages and breeds, including kittens, puppies and older animals. When a lost companion animal is turned over to a shelter or veterinarian's office, the animal is scanned, revealing the unique microchip ID number and guardian's information can be retrieved.

If you decide to take Lane with you on this trip, be sure to take along adequate amounts of his food, his food and water bowls, bedding, leashes, toys and any medications he needs. You can keep fresh water in a container and offer it to him frequently. Feed him his normal diet, at the usual times. If Lane is crate-trained, feels more comfortable inside his crate, and there is room in your vehicle for his crate, consider having him ride in it (with his bedding). Otherwise, obtain a companion animal seat belt from your local pet supply store and get him well used to wearing it prior to the trip. Animal seat belts, resembling harnesses, prevent your beloved dog from becoming a projectile, in the event of your having to suddenly stop the vehicle or during an accident. Please do not travel with your dog unless he is crated or secured in a 'pet seat belt'!!

Make certain Lane's vaccinations are current, including parvo virus vaccination. Always carry with you proof of current rabies vaccination.

During your trip, supervise your dog carefully. I strongly advise you to NOT leave your dog unattended. Leaving your dog unattended is an open invitation for thieves to steal your dog. Exercise Lane on a leash while traveling, and make frequent stops for him to relieve himself, exercise and play, so he has a comfortable, enjoyable trip.

It is possible to find motels and hotels that will accommodate companion animals. Make advance reservations, telephoning ahead to make sure pets are permitted. (I find motels are often companion animal friendlier than hotels.) If you must leave Lane alone in a motel room for a short period of time, be sure to lock the door and to place the "do not disturb" sign on the door.

Best Wishes to you and Lane in your travels,

Love and paw pats,
Jillouise Breslauer
Companion Animal Behavior Consultant
What Jill Knows, Copyright 2002
e-mail: [email protected]  

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