The Dog Days of…You Know
Summer is nearly here! It’s time to put your cares aside and start having fun with all your friends. But what about your “best friend?” You know who I’m talking about. Your most faithful companion: Your dog.
Traveling With Your Dog: The Basics
Taking a day trip with your dog should be a fun and enjoyable experience for both of you. With proper planning ahead of time, traveling with your pup doesn’t have to be stressful for anyone.
Here are a few basic items to take with you on any outing :
- Water. I recommend the Handi-Drink Dog Water Bottle for short trips and inside-the-car use (easy to use, easy to carry, and less mess than a bowl or bucket) and a regular bowl or bucket for longer trips or for use outside the car. Yes, you should offer your pooch water, even inside your car!
- Food. Dry food tends to be less messy, but if your dog isn’t used to it, it could cause problems. Try to stay with his or her regular diet.
- Treats. Because they’re such a good doggy, oh yes they are!
- A Crate or Harness. Your dog’s crate should be large enough for them to stand, turn, and lie down in. Never, ever, put any dog in the bed of a pick-up truck! Not only could they be sent flying if you hit the breaks suddenly, but high-velocity wind, dirt, and debris are also a prevalent danger.
- Stop for Exercise and Potty Breaks. No one likes holding it in.
- Pooper-Scooper or Poop Bags. It doesn’t really matter how you clean up your dog’s poop, it just matters that you do do it. (hehe…doo-doo…)
- A Photo of Your Dog. Yes, you’re a responsible pet owner. Your perfect pooch has a collar, an ID tag, and/or a microchip. However, things can happen. Someone else in your party might get hurt, you could get distracted, and the next thing you know: your dog has disappeared! Having a current picture of your dog on hand makes tracking him or her back down a whole lot easier.
- Have the Number for Poison Control. In the USA the number is 888-426-4435 If your dog eats something he’s not supposed to—whether it be suspicious flora/fauna or a potential dangerous handout from an unknowledgeable stranger (a child tried to share her chocolate bar with my friend’s dog once!)—this number could save your dogs life, or simply give you peace of mind.
- Dog First Aid Kit. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
- Medical Records. Your usual vet knows all this stuff, but if your dog gets injured when you’re out of town, you’ll most likely be dealing with someone new. Having your dog’s medical records on hand can save a lot of time and money. This is especially recommended if you’re going on an actual vacation with your pup rather than just a day trip.
Tip: Think about your dog’s daily routine. What time they usually eat, go for walks, and so on. The closer you can adhere to your dog’s regular routine while you’re out, the easier it will be on you and your dog.
Things to Keep in Mind During the Summer
While the above traveling tips still apply, there are a few extra things to keep in mind when taking your dog for a day trip in the summer months:
- Have Someone in the Car With Your Dog at All Times. Never leave your dog unattended. Dogs have a lot of trouble faring in the hot weather and things could go horribly wrong in mere moments.
- Know the Signs of Heat Stroke. Dogs cannot sweat (they rely solely on panting and their paw pads to cool them down) and therefore are perfect candidates for heat stroke in the hot weather. Some of the beginning signs of heat stroke are: increased panting, rapid pulse, staggering or unsteady movement, glazed eyes, dark tongue (deep red or purple—in advanced stages, the gums may turn blue or white), and vomiting. If these things happen to your dog, get them to a cool/shady place IMMEDIATELY. Apply cool (not ice cold!) water to their bodies, offer them lots of water, put a dab of rubbing alcohol on their paw pads, and get them to a vet as soon as possible.
- Check with the Lifeguard for Water Conditions. Going to the beach can be fun for you and your dog, but knowing the condition of the water can be imperative. Jelly fish, sand lice, and rip tides can all be problematic. Small dogs can easily be swept out with the tide, keep ’em on a leash if are not sure or if the water seems rough.
- Bring a Beach Umbrella. Even if you aren’t headed to the beach, you may end up somewhere where there isn’t a sufficient amount of shade to keep your dog comfortable.
- Watch Them Paws! Doggie paw pads are sensitive and can burn easily. Hot sand and/or pavement can injure your pooch. Try not to keep them out on hot ground for a prolonged amount of time. You like to relax on a towel at the beach, right? Bring one for your dog too!
- Keep Them Cool Inside the Car as Well as Out. Turning on the A/C, cracking a window (if the breeze is cool enough), putting up a sun shade, and/or putting a couple of ice packs in their crate can do wonders for keeping your best buddy comfortable in the car. But again, never ever leave your dog in the car alone!
- Even More Water Than Usual. Offering your dog water is always important, but it’s even more important in the hot weather.
- Keep an Eye Out for Fleas and Heartworms. Well, this might be something more for your vet to look out for. If you go on an extended vacation with your pooch, be sure to get an pre-trip check up to make sure that everyone is ready for the road!
- IF THE WEATHER IS TOO HOT FOR YOU, IT’S WAAAAY TOO HOT FOR YOUR DOG! You know what I’m talking about. If the weather is in the hundreds and even you’re wondering if you should go out in it…don’t take your dog out in it.
Tip: Summertime is the time for fairs, concerts, and lots of fireworks. While these are all very enjoyable to humans, dogs don’t always appreciate the heavy crowds and loud noises.
Tip: If your dog is prone to getting carsick, avoid giving him/her a full meal before getting in the car. But always, always offer water!
Contributed by Lauren R. Tharp