Summer Car Travel with Dogs: you have packed you luggage, got your car keys in hand and locked the door behind. You are about to embark on a great summer vacation along with your furry friend. Leaving man's best friend behind, in a spooky, unfamiliar boarding kennel has really never crossed your mind.
Dogs, ultimately, are very gregarious, social beings that seem to enjoy a car ride every now and then. They are pack animals that generally do pretty well, as long as they have their favorite pack leaders along for the trip.
However, if you own a nervous dog that easily gets anxious or motion sick, you want to discuss with your vet about the option of giving sedatives or products against motion sickness. It also helps to get your dog as used to the car as possible, before departing on a trip. This can be done gradually by starting short trips around the block and then increasing the length of the trip as the dog seems more comfortable.
If you must provide sedatives it is best to try give the dose prior to the trip and see how the pet does. Do this one day your vet is open in case of an allergic reaction or adverse side effects. This should help you determine the level of sedation acquired and gives you time the adjust the dosage accordingly with your vet's advice.
When the big day comes, remember to give the medication as prescribed, usually one hour or more prior to the trip, so to take effect. It is also best to allow your pet travel on an empty stomach if he or she tends to get motion sick easily. The less food in the stomach the less need to clean up.
When it comes to car travel, special precautions are particularly needed during the summer time. Dogs generally do not do very well in hot climates. Therefore, safety is of utmost importance. The main concern is dehydration and heat stroke. Every year countless pets die in cars especially in the summer. Owners must never leave their best friends unattended in a car, not even for one second.
[adinserter block="4"]Typically, owners may think it is OK to leave a dog in a parked car for a few seconds with the window slightly cracked open, time to run an errand and come back. They may not be aware that the car may easily turn into an oven often reaching temperatures as high as 120 degrees in just minutes!
Owners must bring along lots of water. Dogs will benefit from frequent small sips of water given at intervals. Dogs tend to easily get distracted during car trips and they may forget to drink. By offering water often you are reminding your dog that it must drink every now and then.
Water will naturally cause the dog to need to stop every now and then. Try to keep a routine of stopping every now and then to give your dog a potty break and allow him or her to stretch its legs.
Ticks and fleas may be a nuisance in the summer if you are heading towards camp grounds or farms. Having your pet vaccinated against Lyme disease is a must. Also make sure your dog has been treated against fleas and ticks by applying a monthly topical product such as Frontline.
Heartworm infested areas can be a threat in the summer. Make sure your dog is on monthly pills and if your dog has never been on them, ask your vet to run a heartworm test and have the heartworm pills prescribed. There are some areas that may be very abundant with mosquitoes, thus making it fairly easy to get infected.
[adinserter block="7"]It is a good practice to ask your vet about a good sunscreen product. Dogs can get sun burn just as humans. This particularly applies to white dogs with sensitive skin on their noses and ears. All dogs though may be affected. Please do not use human sun tan lotions as they may contain chemicals which can be harmful if ingested.
Avoid walking your pet during heatwaves. If you must walk the dog, do it in the early morning and late evening. Avoid also walking over asphalt and pavement which can easily reach high temperatures causing serious burns on the dog's foot pads.
As seen, taking your pet along may take some effort. It is up to you to ultimately decide if your pet will do better coming along or being left at home with a pet sitter or at a boarding kennel. Each pet is different and reacts differently to travel and moving out of familiar environments. However, if your pet does well in the car and enjoys seeing new places, summer trips may be rewarding and wonderful opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.