Top Ten Tips to Vacation with Your Dog

Physician's Money Digest, September15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 17

LosAngeles Times

There are approximately55 millionpet dogs inAmerica today. The recentlyreported that more petsare going on vacation.That means more and more families are taking theirbeloved dog on their autumn road trip this year.According to a study conducted by the AmericanAnimal Association (AAA), 53% of pet owners vacationor travel with their pets today. No wonder petsare welcome at many hotel chains and campgrounds,and this trend is growing. Professional dog trainerDuane Overturf shares some helpful tips when consideringtravel with your dog.

"Why leave your dog at home with a pet sitter orin a kennel when they can come along for the fun?"explains Overturf. "With a little bit of preparation,taking your dog along for the ride can be a wonderfulexperience for the entire family."

Before you make leave, research pet-friendly lodgingsand attractions. The AAA can give you names ofhotels and resorts that cater to pets, or look online atwww.takeyourpet.com, www.dogfriendly.com, www.petswelcome.com, and www.pets-allowed-hotels.com. The following are Overturf's top 10 recommendationsfor pet owners who travel:

  1. Make reservations in advance and let a managerknow that you're bringing your dog. Sometimes,you will be charged a nominal fee.
  2. Bring your dog's normal pet food brand and stickto its diet throughout your vacation. Changing foodcan upset your dog's stomach and may bring on diarrhea.Make sure you bring food and water bowls orpaper plates and bowls.
  3. If you're driving long distances, stop every 3hours to allow your dog to relieve itself and drinksome water. Many gas stations have dog runs. Bringbags to pick up after your dog.
  4. Make sure your pet has on its regular identificationas well as your cell phone number in case ofemergencies. In a pinch, you can write the informationin permanent marker on a piece of duct tape and attachit to your pet's collar.
  5. Make sure your air conditioner is working andthat your dog stays cool.
  6. Bring an old towel with you to clean up afteryour dog. You can use the old towel to keep yourpet cool by getting it wet with cold water and keepingit on your dog. When using water to cool off your dog,only get the underbelly wet.
  7. Bring a first aid kit, grooming supplies, medications,an extra collar, and a sturdy leash with you.
  8. Buy a pet harness or a crate for your dog to maketravel in a car safe. If you should be involved inan accident, the harness or crate will prevent your petfrom going through the windshield or escaping ifsomeone should open the car door.Bring your pet's bed so they will feel at homewherever you are.
  9. Don't leave your pet alone in a vehicle on hotdays, even if the windows are rolled down. Onwarm days, the temperature in your car can rise to120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windowsopened slightly.

Physicians traveling withtheir dogs no longerhave to accept bland dogcarriers as their only option.PuchiBag, Inc, offersan eclectic line of totes, purses, back packs, and bagsthat cater to every doctor's style. These practical as wellas fashionable carriers are built with your dog's needsin mind; amenities vary according to each type of carrierand include a plush head rest for your dog, a leashto secure your dog, and sturdy handles to make carryingyour precious cargo more manageable. For moreinformation, visit www.puchibag.com.

Duane Overturf has been training dogs in Los Angeles since 1978.He welcomes questions or comments at 818-999-3999 or by visitingwww.yourbestcompanion.com.