Summer is prime time for vacationing with children, but if your familys little ones have four legs and bark, the better time to hit the road is now.
The weathers cooler and the hot travel spots are, too. And that means youll find favorite destinations a little less crowded and possibly a lot more friendly to people traveling with their canine companions. Maria Goodavage, an author whos an expert in traveling with pets, offered her rules for traveling with a dog in our book The Ultimate Dog Lover. They include:
• Bring only a well-behaved, friendly, clean, flea-free, healthy, house-trained dog on your travels. Dogs who are dirty and ill-mannered can close doors for future canine travel companions.
• Beware of leaving your dog in the car. Even if it seems cool out, the suns heat passing through your windows can kill a dog in a matter of minutes.
• Make sure your dog always has access to cool, clean water. Dogs on the road may drink even more than they do at home.
• Take regular breaks. Theres nothing more miserable than being stuck in a car when you cant find a rest stop and really need one. Imagine how a dog feels when the urge strikes and he cant tell you the problem. How frequently you stop depends on your dogs bladder and disposition.
• Play it safe by making sure your dog is wearing his license, ID and rabies tags. Make sure your dogs ID tag shows your cellphone number, since thats how youre reachable while on the road.
The biggest mistake people traveling with dogs make is not following proper petiquette. This means:
• Never leave your dog alone in your room. Leaving a dog alone in a strange place invites serious trouble. If you just cant bring your dog along to an outing, some hotels offer pet-sitting, or can provide you with contact information for local sitters and kennels.
• Dont let your dog bark when youre at a lodging or a restaurant.
• Always scoop the poop on your walks. You know its there. Dont ignore it.
• Dont use your rooms ice bucket as a food or water bowl. Gross!
• Yes, your dog needs to be clean. No, dont bathe him in your hotels tub.
Pack a doggy bag that includes your dogs food, bowls (including a non-spill bowl for car rides), bedding, a brush, leash, towels if youll be in mud or water, a first-aid kit, poop bags, prescription drugs, proof of vaccination, treats, toys and your favorite dog travel guide. (Water you can get on the road.) For dogs who insist on sleeping on the bed with you, bring a sheet to protect the hotel bedding.
Bookmark websites that help you find pet-friendly lodgings or veterinarian practices, or download apps that find hotels and emergency care for you. Plan ahead, stay safe and be considerate, and you and your dog will always be welcomed back.
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet care experts headed by Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Gina Spadafori. The two are affiliated with Vetstreet.com and also the authors of many best-selling pet care books. Dr. Becker can also be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker.