Hello world!  Stanley has very graciously given me the reins of his blog for a few weeks to chat about taking trips with your pets in the summer!  This first part is about PRE-TRIP PLANNING.  For the purposes of this series, I’m going to assume pet = dog, but if you have a road tripping cat out there send a girl some pictures, because AWESOME!  Taking a trip with your dog can be both amazing, and daunting.  Making sure in advance that your have his/her well being taken care off can be a huge weight off your shoulders (not to mentioned being safer for everybody in case of emergency).

Are you going somewhere hot?  If the ground is too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for theirs! Consider protective booties to keep their feet away from hot pavement.

A few things to consider:

  • What does your dog need to survive? At a bare minimum, food and water. Make sure you work out how much food you will need for the trip, and then bring a little bit too much in case of trip interruption. Will you be crossing an international border? My recent road trip with my dog involved driving from Vancouver, Canada, down to San Francisco, USA. When crossing from Canada to the USA, the recommendation is to have a sealed bag of food (presumably so they know it hasn’t been tampered with), and not to include any beef ingredients. Bonus item if you’re an over-packer like me: a smaller water bottle/bowl for the dog that is easily accessible throughout the day while the car is all packed up.
  • Legally, pets also need to be rabies vaccinated (and importantly, you need to carry proof in the form of a certificate with you) in order to cross international borders. Have I ever been asked to produce it? No. But I’m reasonably certain the time I forget it is the time I will be asked. So be safe and have it handy when crossing borders.
  • is your doggo on any monthly preventatives? Think about where you are going – fleas are a given, but ticks? Heartworm? Unfortunately for our pets’ health, and for our wallet, all of the above are quite common throughout North America these days, so a safe bet would be to assume you need all 3. Talk to your vet about your options. Make sure your dog is dosed before you go, and that you have enough for the duration of the trip.
  • What about a first-aid kit? Check out mine below. I use some veterinary specific products because I have access, but comparable products can be purchased at any drug store. It should at least include some bandage material in case of injury, and an antihistamine like Benadryl. Ask your vet about an appropriate dose. If your dog is like mine and somewhat regularly tends to stick his face directly in a nest of bees and anger all of them, then this will come in handy. I tend to over prepare, but you can also see some optional items like paw protectant wax (because I knew we’d be walking around San Francisco on pavement all day and I wanted to protect his feet in case it was hot), probiotic tablets in case of minor diarrhea (can often be brought on by stress), and a tick removal tool (gross, but necessary). If you’re going for a hike, be sure to remember to bring it with you and not leave it in the car like I did… luckily it wasn’t needed.

A basic first aid kit should include at least some bandaging material and an antihistamine.

This may sound like a lot of information, but the best way to ensure that you won’t need to worry about anything is to be prepared for anything.  Feel free to give us a call or ask your local vet for more information or advice on traveling with your pet in the summer.  And get ready to have a blast!

See everyone next week for the second installment: ON THE ROAD!

 – Janet and Royce